this project began while I was living in a small studio apartment in Manhattan Beach, watching a special about Elvis Impersonators on the Discovery Channel. I thought that it was worth doing some research - a neighbor told me about a funky Video store on Sepulveda, that had a lot of Documentaries, named Video Archives. When I went there I met a overly excited manger that directed me to a video “Mondo Elvis” - I was hooked….. It wasn’t until a few years later when I went to see “Reservoir Dogs” did I make the connection and say “there’s the strange guy from the video store”, it was Quentin Tarantino. Go Figure***** ;)
It was the week of the 15th Anniversary of Elvis death at Bad Bob Vapors club in Memphis, Tennessee were the Elvis Impersonators and Fans would come for the annual contest. I spent many a nights there, meeting and setting up shoots around town. Throughout the week, I would wander around town, with my Elvis’s - we shot at Bus Stations, Diners, Gas Stations, the Shell where Elvis 1st performed, News Stands, Wrestling matches, Cornfields, and the Mausoleum were Elvis was first buried.
We owned the town……
Early on the last night - the Vigil at Graceland, I wandered inside the gates on the lawn were I saw all the press photographers……….I thought No Problem, I’m one of them……..When Security approached me and asked who I was working for, I told them “that I was doing a Great Book of Portraits on the King”…that is when they escorted me out and said “don’t come back”……… What was I to do ? After milling thru the crowds of fans, I ended up at the Shoney’s restaurant down the street - a photographer from England (Graham Trott) that I had met earlier in the week was on his 2nd course at the breakfast buffet, so I scammed some of his bacon and told him about getting thrown out……Graham was working for AP and said No Problem, you carry my gear and act like my assistant - around midnight we went thru the gates at Graceland, I kept my head down…We spent all night in front of the Graves watching the fans go by, until the sun came up. nobody said a word. ;))))))))))))
The day after the Vigil, Graham & I drove out to Holly
Springs, Mississippi to meet Paul MacLeod and his son Elvis
Arron at there house “Graceland Too”.
Since then, Elvis left and Paul was found dead on the front porch in July 2014 - the night before he had shot and killed a burglar, trying to break in the house.
Memphis Magazine published a cover story of my Images in there July/August 2001 Issue.
Murry Keith was the Art Director