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Elvis Gone For 30 Years? He Lives On In Las Vegas!

By Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway

August 17, 2007 marks the 30 year anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. Hard to believe that Elvis left the building three decades ago!

Must have been soon after that we saw the advent of the "Elvis Wedding" Las Vegas in now famous for.

Elvis truly lives on here in the form of multiple entertainers who have taken on his look, style, hair, hip swiveling, persona and singing voice. They regularly carry on the tradition of the Elvis nuptials with song and merriment at famous chapels such as The Graceland Chapel, Little White Chapel, and Viva Las Vegas Chapel.

Viva Las Vegas.jpg

Although some of the bigger hotels like to think of themselves as the posher, more sophisticated, non-Elvis part of the Las Vegas wedding industry, Elivis Presley is honored is smaller chapels and many hotels and casinos everyday in nuptials up and down the Strip!

The guys who impersonate Elvis here take it very personally. I am sure they will be thinking of the king tomorrow! And like many of us, remembering where they were when they first heard the news that he was gone.

The Elvis’ of Las Vegas reguarly serenade couples with Viva Las Vegas with such vitality and joy that it feels like the movie is being filmed right there on the spot! Often, they use that song to get everyone at your wedding singing and bopping and rejoicing for your big day! (When hubby and I renewed our vows at the Graceland Chapel, Elvis and the era of Ann-Margret’s sexy legs and seductive smirk came alive!)

Speaking of Viva Las Vegas ... in an attempt to try to "ease the sorrow" of fans, Warner Home Video and Paramount Home Entertainment coordinated an anniversary mega re-release of Elvis classics to coincide with the celebrations and remembrances at the real Graceland, in Memphis, during Elvis Week (which began August 11 and run through the 19th).

They re-packaged 24 the trademark Elvis movies. He starred in 31 of those hip-swiveling, lip curling classics. This includes delux editions of "Jailhouse Rock" (1957) and Viva Las Vegas (1964).

Anyone whose been hitched in an Elvis Las Vegas wedding ceremony may find if hard to believe that film was made over 40 years ago. Many of the brides and grooms who come here weren’t even born yet!

Here’s an interesting tidbit from By Michael H. Kleinschrodt, DVD columnist for The Times-Picayune:

Viva Las Vegas, whose catchy title tune too easily becomes lodged in the brain, is from the middle of Presley's movie career. It is one of his slickest productions and is arguably the only one to give him a co-star -- Ann-Margret -- whose talent approached his own. In his commentary track for this title, Pond says Presley's people were so worried that Ann-Margret might overshadow Presley that all but one of their duets was cut from the film."

“This time, Presley plays a guitar-playing auto racer wooing Ann-Margret's character, a swimming instructor at a Las Vegas hotel. Again, there's no Oscar-worthy acting going on, but the movie beautifully showcases the vitality of its stars and illustrates the sense of pure fun that informed most of Presley's films. “

Elvis has become a staple of Las Vegas and the king of the Las Vegas wedding chapel culture. The neat part about this re-release is the DVD includes a 20-minute documentary about the importance of Las Vegas throughout Presley's career.

Will the Elvis impersonators wear their black jumpsuits tomorrow? Will they morn the memory of the lost king, or head toward Memphis to celebrate his life? If you are thinking of tomorrow as a day to get hitched by the King, I am sure you will find one of his "representatives" here to sing your through your I Dos.

Sirus Radio will carry the Elvis Week activities live on their Elvis Radio channel.

You can still come to Las Vegas and get married by Elvis while listening to his other hometown celebration on the radio! Long live the King!

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