|LOOKING BACK AT..."FINGERPRINTS OF ELVIS"
Looking back at the Liverpool Elvis exhibit from David Stanley
By Tony Stutchbury
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Back in 2003, a new Elvis exhibition opened at the Albert Dock in Liverpool. ‘Fingerprints Of Elvis’ promised to take visitors on a "comprehensive, dramatic,
and at times moving journey through the life of The King, offering a unique opportunity to discover the real Elvis through a combination of unheard anecdotes
and unseen artifacts".
Some of the Elvis owned items said to be on display were instruments; his favourite Golden Mercedes and his last Harley Davidson; his actual fingerprints from
his gun application form; and the prototype gravestone mould that lay on the Graceland grave when Elvis was put to rest at his beloved home?
Narrated and organised with David Stanley, I soon received reports that not all was what it seemed to be! The only thing I really remember after all these years
was part of the exhibition had Elvis SUN singles adorn a wall, however, on closer inspection these were any old 45 discs with a yellow SUN label printed out
and glued over the actual record labels. Some were said to have been printed when they started to run out of ink?
I am always sceptical when an Elvis museum demands "NO PHOTOGRAPHY", why? I always think "do they want to stop any comparisons of things on display?"
Why is there not just a sign saying "No FLASH Photography"? Hell, even EPE allow photographs without a flash!
Sadly I was never able to visit, but Tony Stutchbury did pay a visit and here he has taken a stroll back down Liverpool way to recall what the museum was all
The answer was returned:
"without flash, sure, OK".
So out came my camera but on three different occasions so did three different
members of staff who approached me saying I couldn't take them.
You can guess what my answer was...... "well David said it was OK without flash."
I was waiting for them to doubt me because unknown to them I was recording on my
MP3 Dictaphone taking notes at the time I asked him, I got the whole thing if they
needed to listen to it.
It's called covering your back. I still have that audio file to this day !
I made some snaps but the lighting was very difficult, more so than Graceland believe
it or not.
Most of them looked better grey scaled to black and white.
"FINGERPRINTS OF ELVIS"
The numbers on some of the exhibits were not there yet and the one's that were needed to be a little bigger and in a more prominent position, I was not the
only one to miss a couple of them.
The audio guides were the same make and type as the ones Graceland were using at the time.
With a little fine tuning it would have worked well, the staff were friendly but there were signs on the doors saying 'NO PHOTOGRAPHY' but you knew that
already didn't you ?
Not that it stopped a couple of visitors that I saw using there small pocket type cameras...... there's no way I could get away with it with mine though....... until
that was a certain Mr David Stanley happened to pass along side of me so I stumped up the question,
"David, do you mind if I take a couple of photos without flash for a fan club I'm in?"
Dubious items? More than a couple I think, especially (I hate to say this) "Elvis Presleys personal
TCB necklace, taken from his neck and given to Rick Stanley at Graceland".
I was fortunate enough a few years ago to see and hold a real solid gold TCB necklace and chain
given to the last security guard Elvis ever employed himself at Graceland before he passed away.
This guy was called Ossie Nicholson and was husband to Ms Pauline who worked in the kitchen at
His TCB was deeper in depth, more solid and was Gold, the one I viewed at Fingerprints of Elvis
looked a little thin, just like those old reproductions you could buy at Graceland at the time.
Overall it was a nice exhibition that promoted Elvis well.
One thing that did make me chuckle on the audio guide was David mentioning that the girls he got
as leftovers from Elvis were way better than any you would ever get yourself.
Not sure how that reflects on him, but I don't doubt it's the truth !
The final item in the exhibition was the mould that was used for the temporary cover over Elvis grave before the bronze one was finalised.
(Not sure how true that story is, anyone?)
It was laid on the floor as per the Meditation Garden, interesting but not so at the same time.
Can't make my mind up about seeing / photographing it.
Here is a room full of what I think are very suspect indeed. For a start (left) the TCB tour jacket is a fake, this is a replica made in the late 70s & early 80s. The
real jackets had black leather sleeves, not white. The middle we have a jumpsuit which is up for question as we get a comparison between this one and the
one actually at Graceland, so which one is real then? Right we have a cape that looks all wrong, it seems to do up weird and almost has its own collar? The
belt under the cape looks very dodgy. The last jumpsuit again looks suspicious and the belt is very similar to those tacky "replica" ones you used to be able to
buy in those independent stores across from Graceland.
Now them, on this row of pictures below (taken by Tony Stutchbury) we see 3 pieces of clothing. I'm not sure if I'm being too suspicious but isn't the grey shirt
on the right rather new and produced for sale through the EPE stores across from Graceland?