|THE STATE OF EPE PRODUCTS
By Steven B. Roberts
NOTE TO READERS:
The following article contains material you may find offensive. This article was written in this manor to express my disgust of
how Elvis Presley Enterprises promotes their “Product”. The E.P.E. catalog is the true item of offense, my sarcastic
commentary is meant to point out the ridiculous nature of the catalog. I am of course, a dedicated fan of Elvis Presley, and
have no interest whatsoever in smearing him as an artist, or being disrespectful. Anything here is meant to prove a point
about the way he is being handled.
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The Official Catalog Of Elvis Presley Enterprises
A couple of weeks ago I went to get the mail. To my surprise, “The Official Catalog Of Elvis Presley Enterprises” was sitting in
my mailbox. I find this particularly interesting because I’ve never ordered anything from E.P.E and have not ever contacted
the company or given them my information.
For many years their website has served my friends and family who know Steve is an Elvis fan. Therefore, where else would
they go than to the official website or catalog to buy me gifts for Christmas, Birthday, or my anniversary. Of course I don’t
care about vintage Elvis items, or a gift certificate to eBay. Nope. Let’s get Steve some crap off the E.P.E site. He’s an Elvis
fan, so he’s obviously crazy and loves things in bad taste.
Now you can see why I am suspicious about the sudden arrival of their catalog.....
The reason I have never contacted them, is because I have no reason too. Most of the merchandise they sell is cheap crap
with a 99% mark up price. Therefore, I prefer to support independent retailers who manufacture quality Elvis product, or
support memorabilia dealers who sell vintage items.
All too many people can easily fall for the alluring E.P.E. catalog which beckons you to waste your hard earned money on
total complete garbage. In doing this, it prevents E.P.E. from taking any interest in their subject and giving fans product that
focus on what Elvis is actually about. Music for example.
Music? Yes, believe it or not, Elvis is actually about music. But E.P.E. seems to forget this. And now we’re going to take a
look at how they forget this.
Page 1 - Cover
The E.P.E. catalog is printed on the cheapest paper that is possible. It is just a step below a supermarket sales flyer in it’s
appearance, and also it’s contents. On the cover we see an okay picture of Elvis, with a discount offering and tag that reads
“Shop The Newest Elvis and Elvis75 Merchandise”. This is interesting considering how badly they have been promoting
The first item offered is a hideous “Elvis 75th Birthday Commemorative Plaque for $50. We see all the pictures we have seen
a thousand times before with their hue altered. At the bottom is a box that gives a script that it is the 2010 Birthday. Since E.
P.E. assumes all Elvis fans are stupid, it is necessary to explain what a birthday is to us and why we are supposed to
purchase this item for $50. There is no craftsmanship and likely had a manufacture/import cost totaling 65 cents.
Next we are offered “Elvis 75 Birthday Mints” for $5.00. It comes in a tacky tin like Atltoids and contains 86 sugar free mints. I
am extremely curious what mints have to do with Elvis in anyway. It is also interesting that we are only given the sugar free
“NEW Elvis 75th Bike Poster” with an image by Alfred Wertheimer. Though I am a fan of the Wertheimer photos, I think $10
for a poster than is just over a 12 inches in size, is a bit steep. It also contains an image we have seen thousands of times
before. But it’s time to stamp the “Elvis 75” logo on it and bingo!
“Elvis 75 CD Box Set” is offered for $60, though it can be purchased most places for $40. This is a great opportunity to buy a
4 disc collection of songs you already have with no new or interesting unreleased tracks. Once again you can re-purchase
the same old songs you’ve bought before in their ‘digitized to death’ sound quality. The discs are housed in a cheap flimsy
digi-box made out of crappy recycled paper which will fall apart after a couple of looks at the booklet.
“Elvis 75th Birthday Popcorn Tin”. The popcorn tin comes with banana flavored popcorn and peanuts and is hideous in
appearance. Not only is this downright insulting to Elvis, the sheer idea that people are going to be eating popcorn out of this
thing while watching his movies dressed head to toe in images of Elvis, is just insulting. I can not even fathom a more
disgusting flavor of popcorn than banana?
“New Elvis Born To Rock T-Shirt”. This is the ugliest stupidest T-shirt I have ever seen. A baby Elvis who in real life was born
into a life of poverty and despair, is shown wearing some cool shades like Joe Cool. Any consideration that this picture is
from a family portrait of the Presley’s suffering the oppression the Great Depression goes totally un-noticed.
Also offered is “Elvis Youth Sunglasses” for $13. This way you can embarrass your child for a small fee and gleefully indulge
in the stereotype that all Elvis fans are obsessive loonies. Just what we need.
Three Elvis watches are then offered. Of course, the logical thing to do would be manufacture a high quality replica of a
watch Elvis actually wore. Nope. We’re treated to three watches with images of Elvis splattered all over them as tacky as
possible. Though the same watches without Elvis’ image can be purchased at a Wal-Mart for approximately $7, the small
logos and pictures warrant a price tag of $75.
Pages 4-5 : Hawaii Blue (not Blue Hawaii)
For $23 you are basically offered a ‘one size fits all’ tent that is supposed to be a ‘Beach Cover Up” with a tacky “Elvis Blue
Hawaii” logo and picture on the front. It’s 100% pre-shrunk cotton too.The idea of this of course, is to wear it while staring at
the “Mega Album Cover Canvas” of “Blue Hawaii”. This grade school art project is available for a mere $90.
Finally we see something that is music related and of actual interest and value. The FTD Vinyl edition of “Blue Hawaii”.
However, they have announced the album is almost sold out and will be deleted once this is done. So chances are, if you try
and order it they will be out. But have no fear, you can order the overly re-mastered CD version for $30, or the DVD for $15 ,
even though most places you can buy it for $6.
On the bottom of the page we are treated to such E.P.E. classic items like the “Blue Hawaii” snow globe for $20. The hideous
Flip flops can be yours for $15. Next time you get stoned , you can show your friends the Elvis lava lamp which does not
have a “Blue Hawaii theme.
I am merely curious why E.P.E. has not made a “Blue Hawaii” Tiki Torch for $80 or a “Blue Hawaii” surf board for $2000 ? It
seems that items like these would be right up their alley.
The T-shirts are of interesting design. I particularly like that the two tasteful t-shirts ( the movie poster and blue on blue
surfboard shirts) are available in sizes XS-XL. However, the loud obnoxious tie dye t-shirt is available up to size 3XL?
Of course , it is naturally assumed that bigger people are going to want the loudest ugliest shirt they can possibly make.
We are then treated to the opportunity to own an Elvis life size stand up! The “Talking” edition is $45 and the one that doesn’
t talk is $35. These of course do nothing to discourage the image of the crazy Elvis fan who make their entire homes an alter
to Elvis. Until “Real Dolls” licenses and Elvis model, this is the closest thing you can have to take Elvis to bed with you.
The final item on this page is a collection of “Elvis Presley Album Cover Shooters”. Nothing screams Elvis like shot glasses.
Though a Memphis Mafia themed set would be more pertinent to this item, ( seeing that Elvis did not drink) it’s Elvis’ album
covers that are chosen.
But, since alcohol is classified as a drug, I suppose in a way they’re on the right track. It seems like Elvis themed prescription
bottles would be a better choice? I’ve thought about contacting E.P.E. and asking them why they don’t do those instead. I’m
assuming they would respond that it would be in bad taste. And of course, NOTHING IN THIS CATALOG is in bad taste is it?
E.P.E also has this posted in regards to ideas....
"If you send us creative suggestions, ideas, notes, drawings, concepts, or other information (collectively, the
“Submissions”), the Submissions shall be deemed, and shall remain, the property of EPE. None of the
Submissions shall be subject to any obligation of confidence on the part of EPE, and EPE shall not be liable for
any use or disclosure of any Submissions.
EPE shall exclusively own all now known or hereafter existing rights to the Submissions of every kind
throughout the universe and shall be entitled to unrestricted use of the Submissions for any purpose
whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, without compensation to the provider of the Submissions.
By submitting materials to EPE or submitting any materials to us, you automatically grant (or warrant that the
owner of such rights has expressly granted) us a perpetual, royalty-free, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and
license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from and distribute such
materials or incorporate such materials into any form, medium, or technology now known or later developed
throughout the universe. In addition, you warrant that all so-called “moral rights” in those materials have been
waived." The most interesting thing about the above statement is the term “Universe”...So E.P.E will even have control of
Elvis on Mars or Titan?
A nice selection of hideous female apparel is next on the sales pitch. The long sleeve black Elvis shirt is okay, but as for the
$180 wrap around jacket and psychedelic shirt I have to seriously ask if any of you would actually wear this?
From there we are offered more mints. But this time it’s in a “Love Me Tender” heart shaped tin again for $5. Do Elvis fans
have bad breath or is this obsession with Elvis mints so your breath will be fresh and clean when kissing the life size
cardboard cut outs? I’m very confused.
A nice cheesy clutch wallet depicting the E.P.E favorite image of Elvis in the gold suit is available for $30. This provides you
some organization when getting out your credit cards or money to buy all this E.P.E. crap.
And the next item certainly qualifies for that. Yet another DVD of film clips we’ve seen a hundred times before.
“Love Me Tender The Love Songs Of Elvis Presley” is yours for $20 though it’s widely available for $10. This DVD is hosted
by Ashley Judd as she recites an official E.P.E. script full of incorrect facts.
Since all Elvis fans are idiots, it’s necessary to pull in a B-list celebrity popular in country circles to explain the meaning of
Elvis’ love songs. This DVD is particularly interesting as they did not even choose the best quality masters for most of the
More “I Love Elvis” crap. Though the artwork for the gold suit handbag had potential, the design of the cheesy travesty ruins
it’s integrity. I have consulted a panel of 10 women and asked them if they would ever consider sporting this handbag
shaped like a woman’s high heel? The unanimous answer was “No”.
The Elvis Jewelry section.
For any of this to look anything close to the original items, they would have to be quadruple in price. Therefore, it is a strong
indicator this section is very misleading. I am going to consult a local jeweler in the future and tackle this section in a
“Elvis For Entertaining” - I know my friends certainly have no interest in listening to Elvis records or watching a DVD, instead
we feel paying tribute to the king is best served playing Elvis themed games and taking shots out of Elvis glasses. Though I
suppose if we put on the “Elvis 75” box set in the background, that would be fine. Since it sounds like digitized shit it may as
well be background music.
First up is nice tacky version of Yahtzee. Obviously making a vintage style edition of this game out of quality materials is out
of the question, I have to admire E.P.E. for making this as ugly and unappealing as they possibly could. From the standard
cookie cutter images on the cheap dice, to the hideous canister that holds the game this is E.P.E. finest hour of quality
“Monopoly” is a game all about money. So it’s more than appropriate that E.P.E. make an Elvis version of the game. I’m also
fairly sure the “Elvis DVD Board Game” has lots of trivia out of the official E.P.E. script which is a treasure trove of cover ups
The dart board set is the culmination of this whole page. Take something that has nothing to do with Elvis, but put his face
on it and “Cha Ching” $$$$$$
The Elvis “Desert Plates” really don’t need much explanation. What I do find interesting is that the one time they actually
have some interesting images of Elvis , they waste them on crap like this. But I know that while I wear my 3XL tie dye Elvis
shirt and am shoving cake down my throat with a shovel, I certainly want to be scraping it off of Elvis’ face.
The “Art Glass Sun Catcher” is so beyond me, I can’t even comment other than to say it’s just plain stupid.
The Elvis “throw rug” is certainly what I want in my living room to prove that I am an obsessed fan who is happy to waste
money on anything but music. Oh wait, Elvis’ music isn’t a waste of money. I keep forgetting he was a musician and not a
deity when I look at this catalog. So please forgive me.
“The Lansky Brothers” book is probably fairly cool, though the $20 mark up is not so cool. And the Elvis bar stools will look
great with your Elvis throw rug while you take shots out of Elvis glasses.
I have no issue with the Pink Caddie die cast model. Despite the 20$ mark up, these are semi-quality, so it’s fairly shocking
to see them in the E.P.E. catalog.
The “New Elvis Memory Globes” are not only tacky, but down right ugly. It is supposedly a “new way to collect your fondest
Elvis memories”. I find it interesting that this pitch is actually aimed at “Elvis’ fondest memories”. The house he died in and
the car he bought for his beloved mother who died.
The Elvis & Priscilla Barbie Wedding set is fascinating. The reason being, the irony is brilliant. The likeness is basically
flattering. And I love the concept of celebrating a marriage that was not successful or harmonious. At least that makes it
However, this was obviously not the intention behind the product. It does a good job of feeding the myth that Priscilla is Elvis’
widow. You can’t be divorced and be a widow. But we all know that part is not important.
The ladies “Loving You T-shirt” is cool, but the “Jailhouse Rock” snow globe reminds us of the catalog we are looking at.
What is it with the globes? What do all these globes have to do with Elvis aside from absolutely nothing? The die cast car is
cool, though $20 overpriced. Again, it’s a surprise to see something cool in this catalog.
A hybrid of an Elvis Roustabout motorcycle figurine and snow globe is next. This is interesting because the figure is actually
Elvis in the ‘68 Comeback” leather suit riding a Harley, and he rode a Honda in Roustabout. Great job E.P.E. ! And attaching
the snow globe on the back seat is just marketing genius.
But if you haven’t seen “Roustabout”, it’s probably in the $50 box set of Elvis movies you could care less about placed right
next too it. Considering you could get all 6 DVD for $5 each, it seems a bit steep. No bonus features. No book. Nothing
special. Just a tacky Elvis box you seem to be paying $30 for?
A little coffee to go with your Banana popcorn? Sure, why not! The Elvis travel mug is great for keeping your hot beverages
hot. When I am at work I like to advertise to my co-workers that I am an Elvis fan. In doing so, I like it to be well known that I
like gifts like these. Wish me luck on getting that dart board!
Now that you’ve ordered everything from pages 2-16, you should have a full blown alter to Elvis in your home set up! Now it’s
time to outfit the kids!
Most kids like Star Wars, but Elvis wasn’t in Star Wars? So how do we fix this problem? It’s simple!Take the Star Wars logo
style of lettering, announce the slogan synonymous with Elvis’ death, and put it on a t-shirt for your baby!
But if that’s a bit much, don’t worry. You can have a puke green Elvis romper, or even a baby jump suit!
Instead of a tasteful Teddy Bear accompanied by a reproduction to celebrate the milestone gold record, let’s just take cheap
little teddy bears and dress them up like Elvis! Nothing screams Elvis like Red and Blue Teddy Bears in shades with Elvis
stitched across the front. Or better yet, the Jailhouse Rock outfit.
You can also have a Teddy Bear in a jumpsuit that is not actually an Elvis jump suit , but an Evil Keneval costume ! What’s
the difference between Presley and Kenieval? None apparently.
Everyone knows that Golf and Elvis go hand in hand. So hit the links with the “Elvis Gold Guitar Head cover” and Elvis
themed “Golf Balls”?????
There is no point in doing an Elvis style shirt reproduction out of quality material and tailoring. That would be teetering on the
dangerous territory of making something cool. Everybody wants to go bowling at “Elvis Week“, so now you can get an Elvis
bowling shirt with his autograph stitched on one side, and the 68 comeback on the other!
I know while I write about Elvis, I like to have an Elvis light up site desk sign to remind me I like Elvis. After all, listening to the
music is just a ridiculous idea. I suppose I could put this set up behind my roustabout snow globe motorcycle thing? Hmm…
There’s nothing that pays tribute to Elvis better than a bobble head. In fact, only one is shown in the E.P.E. catalog when I
am fairly certain there is an entire line of them? It stifles me people don’t give Elvis the artistic credit deserved when they see
this sitting on fans desks and on display in their homes.
For $15 you can have a floppy book telling you all about the Elvis jumpsuit exhibit at Graceland. I think I just pissed myself
Some overpriced cuff links nobody could ever seriously wear, followed by the ugliest T-shirts I have ever seen. But, the good
news is that the ugly, hideous, tackiest t-shirts go all the way up to 3XL, whereas any t-shirt that is slightly cool merely goes
More watches. I thought we already looked at watches? Well there’s more! And these are even uglier! You can’t seriously tell
me people wear these?
Finally, we are at the very back page of the catalog. The “Elvis Blue Hawaii” Barbie retails here for $20 more than anywhere
else. And now we see the ‘real’ TCB necklace for a more realistic price.
Oh wait, is that music I see? I’ll be damned, I forgot Elvis was a musician ? So what music is there? Yep. Same old dribble
from FTD of a couple boring soundboards of 70s concerts no one cares about......Bummer.
Okay, there’s nothing wrong with collecting Elvis stuff. We all do it. But I am asking you to consider ‘what’ you are buying and
who you are supporting when you do it.
If a dealer is selling authentic, vintage Elvis memorabilia, yes it is more expensive. But you are buying a piece of history.
When you buy this plastic garbage out this catalog you are contributing to re-writing and misrepresenting history.
Also, there are independent manufactures who license the image of Elvis and produce items of quality. Buy these and
support them. Get the message to E.P.E that we are not going to stand for this garbage and the smearing of our favorite
There’s nothing wrong with a Barbie, a model of a car, or a poster. It’s just merchandize and we all want ‘some’ merchandize.
But things like an Elvis sink strainer or toys in bad taste like “Mr. Potato Head” make Elvis subject to ridicule and
If you submit your ideas to E.P.E, I have already outlined what they do. But I encourage people to submit them regardless,
with strongly worded statements damning the cheap tacky product.
Less product of higher quality would benefit the Elvis legacy. The trend outlined above has gone on for far too long.
Steven B. Roberts