User Login    
 + Register
News : Graceland May Remove Elvis Presley's Old Airplanes
Posted by Randy on 2014/7/2 4:25:47 (199 reads) News by the same author

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- For 30 years, tourists from around the world have paid money to get a look at two airplanes once owned by Elvis Presley at Graceland in Memphis.
Click to see original Image in a new window

Fans enjoy touring the planes for their direct connection to Presley and his jet-setting lifestyle, a sort of touchstone to the life of the King of Rock and Roll and his family.

By April of next year, the planes named Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II could be gone.

Elvis Presley Enterprises, which operates the Graceland tourist attraction, has written to the planes' owners saying they should prepare to remove the jets from Graceland by next spring.

The planes have been a tourist attraction since the mid-1980s. They had been sold after Presley's death, and were eventually purchased by OKC Partnership in Memphis.

OKC Partnership and Graceland agreed to bring the two jets to Graceland. The agreement called for OKC Partnership to receive a cut of ticket sales in return for keeping the planes there.

In an April 7 letter to OKC Partnership's K.G. Coker, Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden says the company is exercising its option to end the agreement and asks Coker "to make arrangements for the removal of the airplanes and the restoration of the site on or shortly after April 26, 2015."

Their removal could cause an uproar among fans, especially those who visit Graceland every year as part of an annual pilgrimage to events such as Elvis Week and the candlelight vigil commemorating Presley's death.

Dedicated Elvis fan Paul Fivelson of Algonquin, Illinois, says he expects many fans will be upset to hear the planes may be leaving.

"The people who come to Memphis for Elvis Week like seeing those planes there because it's just part of the whole aura of what Elvis was about," Fivelson said Tuesday. "It would be kind of blasphemous to take them away, and I think there are probably a lot of fans who will feel the same way."

The disclosure also raises questions about the future use of the site where the airplanes now sit, across the street from Presley's longtime home.

Elvis Presley Enterprises declined immediate comment.

In November, New York-based Authentic Brands Group bought Elvis Presley Enterprises and the licensing and merchandising rights for Presley's music and image from CORE Media Group. As part of the deal, Joel Weinshanker, founder of the National Entertainment Collectibles Association, acquired the operating rights to Graceland, which attracts about 500,000 visitors each year.

After the sale, Authentic Brands said upgrades to the tourist attraction were planned. Earlier this year, Elvis Presley Enterprises announced plans to build a 450-room hotel, theater and restaurant, with a projected opening date of August 2015. Their plan was approved Tuesday by the Memphis City Council.

Today, Graceland visitors can buy a ticket that includes a tour of Presley's home-turned-museum and the two airplanes. Fans climb into the airplanes for an up-close look at their interiors.

The larger plane, a Convair 880 named after Presley's daughter Lisa Marie, is like a customized flying limousine, complete with a large bed, a stereo system, conference room and gold-plated bathroom fixtures. It was renovated after Presley bought it from Delta Air Lines. Presley took his first flight on it in November 1975.

When Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, Presley's pilot flew the Lisa Marie to California to pick up Presley's ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, to bring her back to Memphis.

The smaller jet, a JetStar named the Hound Dog II, was also used by Presley.

At one point, after the planes were sold following the singer's death, the Lisa Marie was owned by Raymond Zimmerman, owner of the Service Merchandise chain, according to Coker. The Hound Dog II was in the hands of Hustler head Larry Flynt for a time, Coker said.

OKC Partnership eventually bought the planes and the Lisa Marie was installed at Graceland in 1984. The Hound Dog II came later.

Coker, 76, says OKC may sell the planes if they're removed from Graceland, but he still hopes to negotiate a deal that would keep the planes there. Coker acknowledges that he and his partners would lose money from ticket sales if the planes were removed.

"I would love to see the airplanes stay where they are forever," Coker said. "Millions of fans have toured those airplanes and there's a real connection between fans and those airplanes. Those airplanes are part of the Elvis experience."

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2014/7/31 9:47:23 - Trenton Teen Injured In Accident Northeast Of Trenton
2014/7/31 9:44:23 - Water Treatment Process To Change In Trenton
2014/7/31 9:41:48 - Albany Woman Killed In Accident On Highway 136
2014/7/31 9:38:53 - Pilot Makes Emergency Landing At Trenton
2014/7/31 4:37:39 - Missouri Man Arrested For Photographs Of Babies, Toddlers Being Molested
2014/7/31 4:22:38 - Employees Turn Away Special Needs Children From Some Carnival Rides
2014/7/31 4:18:02 - Jail Escapee Caught Asleep On Sedalia Couch
2014/7/31 4:13:29 - Missouri Woman Who Poisoned Family Could Face Two Juries
2014/7/31 4:09:05 - Bicyclist Says Sunset Hills Mayor Swerved Car Into Him; Mayor Has Different Story
2014/7/31 4:04:20 - Kansas Girl Nearly Strangled By Utility Line
2014/7/30 8:51:06 - Today Is The Deadline For Absentee Ballot Requests
2014/7/30 8:49:03 - Trenton Residents To Receive Higher Electric Bills
2014/7/30 8:41:52 - Trenton Resident Charged With Possession Of Meth
2014/7/30 8:39:49 - Chillicothe Police Department Announces The Hiring Of New Officer
2014/7/30 8:36:56 - Smoke Testing To Resume In Trenton Today
2014/7/30 5:55:53 - Shelby Lowrey Of Laredo Crowned NCM Fair Queen
2014/7/30 4:48:50 - Work Crews Recover Nearly 700 Pound Drug Stash In Ravine Near St. Joseph
2014/7/30 4:21:30 - Computer Issues Prompt Different Phone Number For Veteran Rides In Trenton
2014/7/30 4:17:01 - North Central Missouri Fair Parade Winners
2014/7/30 4:10:49 - Mom Says Son Got Concussion On Worlds Of Fun Rollercoaster
2014/7/30 4:06:34 - Mom Arrested For Letting 7-Year-Old Son Walk To Park Alone
2014/7/30 4:00:00 - 2 Women Narrowly Escape Death On Indiana Railroad Bridge
2014/7/30 3:59:09 - Searchers Find Bodies Of Arkansas Man, Infant Son
2014/7/30 3:50:00 - Ticket Me Elmo? New York City Mulls Law For Impersonators
2014/7/29 10:34:19 - 21 Arrested In Southeast Missouri Drug Roundup
2014/7/29 9:13:53 - Trenton City Council Passes Alcohol Ordinance, Reduces Highway 65 Speed Limit
2014/7/29 7:36:39 - Chillicothe Arts Council Season Tickets On Sale
2014/7/29 7:30:24 - Eleven Vie For Title Of Calamity Jane Queen At Princeton
2014/7/29 7:26:18 - Princeton School Instructor Nominated For NCMC Board
2014/7/29 7:22:54 - Assistance For Veterans Set For August



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM