Updated: Aug 12
✦ Elvis Aaron Presley, one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century, was an American singer and actor, widely referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll".
Even after several decades, Elvis still has a profound impact on popular culture as we know it today. His ascent into superstardom in the 1950s was one that America had never seen before, and one that was only made possible by his fervently devoted fans.
Wauchope local Stephanie Purhouse is a devoted fan to say the least. She has travelled the east coast of Australia to various Elvis events and made the trek to the USA to walk the grounds of Graceland, the home of Elvis.
Stephanie was a co-organiser of our Brilliant Elvis Movie Premiere on 23rd June 2022, encouraging clients to attend and dress the part, something Stephanie herself excelled at on the day.
Stephanie’s thoughts on the movie…
“Baz Lurhman and Austin Butler did a fabulous job of depicting Elvis in his youth and as he grew older and more into his music. The movie showed how talented he always was, and how his religious traits came into his music. Having grown up in a black area, it was only natural, that he learnt at a young age how to relate and move to music in general.”
Stephanie told us the movie filled her with a mix of emotions, “How he was exploited by Colonel Tom Parker, who was an illegal immigrant, was very heart-breaking and each scene with that in it was emotionally charged for both fans and non-fans. The part that really got to me was when his own father did what the Col. wanted and not what would have been healthier and better for Elvis.”
Stephanie loved the part when Steve Binder and Co. managed to get Elvis to do the 68 Comeback special (as a Christmas show). “That showed how much Elvis loved to perform in front of a live audience. I don't want to give too much away about the movie, as I'd like to think people go see it and form their own opinions about Elvis and the Colonel.”
An accurate depiction of Elvis?
“I think so,“ Stephanie said. “The movie was fairly accurate and confirmed a lot of what I have been very vocal about for years, that basically Elvis was exploited. But, it didn't show his humanitarian side of giving without being acknowledged.”
Why are you such an Elvis fan?
“That’s a hard one,” she says with a smile. “I've always loved Elvis from the time I was 2-years-old, so, I guess, it was his music first, then his charisma in movies, and then the combination of the music and charisma once he began performing again on-stage.”
For Stephanie now, it's mixing with like minded Elvis fans. Over the years, she has met and spoken with a lot of people who worked both with and for Elvis. “When they talk to you and discover how you feel about Elvis, they tell you the most profound things about him," she explained. "I am regularly on the internet with a friend in England involved with the Circle G ranch (that's how I met her) and we talk about Elvis a lot.”
Stephanie reads anything she can on Elvis and supports his charities when she can. “His charities are still going 45 years after his death. I will always love Elvis, his singing, music, humanitarian ship, beliefs, tenacity, he himself, but I will never forget how he was used by a lot of people around him and what that eventually led to.”
Elvis was a philanthropist
A little known item about Elvis was how much he loved children and people in general and helped them if he could.
Stephanie gave us some examples: “Hearing of a child that needed an operation and the parents could not afford it, Elvis paid for the operation and rehabilitation. He stipulated to the hospital that no-one was to tell the parents he'd paid for it. There are many stories, one being that he gave a house to one of his staff. He was a loving, giving man. He opened the Circle G ranch to underprivileged children, he once bought a whole lot of push bikes for the children just over the hill from Graceland because they didn't have one. And so it goes on.
"He found out once there was a little blind girl in the audience and before the show he organised with his security detail to bring the little girl into his van to meet him; another time, he learnt there was a little one with cancer and did the same - he sang to that little girl throughout the show that day, knowing he was giving her a bright light in her horizon.”
The video below demonstrates Elvis' generosity.
Many shows have been seen, cruises had, plus a visit to Graceland
“I've been on several cruises with Elvis Tribute Artists giving us the entertainment, been to The Parkes Elvis Festival where I am in the Parade on the Saturday, seen many live shows on-shore in theatres throughout the east coast of Australia, the list goes on,” Stephanie said. “My favourite Elvis song is Pledging My Love and my favourite Elvis movie, I think, would be Viva Las Vegas.”
Yes, she has even been to Graceland! “I really enjoyed it. We stayed in the old Heartbreak Hotel opposite before it burned down,” Stephanie remembers. “On entering through the front door of Graceland, I couldn't get over the beautiful feeling of Elvis welcoming me into his home. To see Elvis' piano at the end of the lounge room - I said , it would be lovely if I could play his piano, just once. Seeing all of his silver, gold, platinum and the one blue record - wow, it really showed how many accolades he received.”
Stephanie explained that there is lots on display at Graceland. “Elvis’s suits were on display both in the racquet ball (squash) room and on the other side of the road in a building, along with his cars, planes, shoes, motorbikes, and all sorts of things. Elvis and Priscilla's wedding clothes, awards from the likes of the Jaycees, and the president of the USA.”
A profoundly memorable experience, she also saw the stables where his horses, rescued ones, still gallop around, and The Remembrance Garden where Elvis now lays to rest. “A very peaceful area meant for meditation and prayer, a very serene space,” she said.
You can’t just walk into Graceland, but must go in via a bus. It takes you around the back of the house to where the garage and original recording studio is. “As I went to Graceland as a VIP, I went into a different part of the house where there were some private memories of Lisa Marie, photos, clothes, toys; Priscilla photos, clothes, diaries and of Elvis himself, everyday clothes. It was a remarkable experience,” Stephanie recalls.
Thank you Stephanie.
Elvis attributed his fans for taking him to the heights he never thought possible. He recognized their loyalty, was thankful for their support and appreciated their devotion.
Amidst the norms of conservative etiquette and manners, Elvis fans threw away their inhibitions to scream and dance freely, buy records en masse and turn up the energy at sold-out shows in a way no one had ever seen before.
Fans of Elvis were arguably one of the first examples of what we see as typical youthful fandom behavior today. But as with anything new and unfamiliar, there was backlash and dark sides. For every unforgettable concert, there was a ruthless review condemning Elvis and his fans for moral corruption and delinquency.
What others say about the Elvis movie
I totally enjoyed the movie and the company of the micro business network of people. I would highly recommend anybody to see the movie for it's entertainments and history. - Kim Staples, Art of Life
I would like to say a huge thank you for the wonderful invitation to be a part of the Elvis experience. Margaret, John and myself (Linda) attended the show. It was magnificent. In John''s words (who is an Elvis buff) said that the movie was extremely authentic and on par apart from a couple of differences. We all agreed that it was a wonderful movie and well worth the effort of attending. We all teared up a little as it was very moving. It was thoroughly enjoyable. - Linda, BlazeAid Wauchope
I admire Tom Hanks a lot but in the Elvis movie I was actually disgusted by Tom Hanks! It just proves he is a brilliant actor. I love the Elvis' moves from Austin Butler and I could feel the family love that Elvis received from Priscilla. The movie did make me tear up at the end. - Veronica Lind
“If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you are indeed missing out. Not at all what I was expecting, the movie opened my eyes to Elvis the child, son, husband, father and of course superstar. To see the portrayal of his upbringing, his influences, his rise to fame, his exploitation by Colonel Tom Parker (played expertly by Tom Hanks), definitely places Elvis The Movie at the top of my list of best movies seen.” Chrissy Jones - Operations Manager, Brilliant-Online.
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