Manny P. here…
“`About 200 people streamed into Elvis Presley’s Memphis after the late singer’s wife cut a ribbon and allowed fans to see the $45 million complex for the first time. An outdoor mall, the 200,000-square-foot campus sits across the street from Graceland, Presley’s longtime home-turned-museum. The complex features a comprehensive Presley exhibit with clothing he wore on stage and guitars he played; a showcase of the cars he owned and used; a soundstage; a theater; two restaurants, and retail stores. The opening comes before the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death on August 16th, 1977, at age 42.
PRISCILLA PRESLEY at GRACELAND
“`It’s part of a $140 million expansion, which also includes a $90 million, 450-room hotel that opened last year. This complex replaces the aging buildings that have housed Presley-related exhibits for years. A strip-mall style visitor center is expected to be torn down to landscape a garden along Elvis Presley Boulevard, the street that runs in front of the house.
“`Graceland has been updating its tourist experience. Visitors use iPads for self-guided tours of the museum. The new Guest House at Graceland with modern amenities has replaced the crumbling Heartbreak Hotel, which is scheduled for demolition.
“`Gladys’ Diner — named after the singer’s mother — has the feel of a 1950s eatery, complete with photos of Elvis and aqua-colored chairs. Folks can order hot dogs, burgers and ice cream. Across a wide walkway lies the automobile museum, filled with some of Presley’s favorite toys. Several retail stores line the complex. A barbecue joint called Vernon’s Smokehouse — named after Presley’s father — will also open. So will an exhibit about Sam Phillips, the Sun Records producer and rock ‘n’ roll pioneer who recorded Presley for the first time.
“`The complex is still being finished. Priscilla Presley says there is a warehouse full of artifacts, ready for display. This weekend, the area should draw thousands of fans.
Until next time> “never forget”