Elvis on Tour: Trailer for 1972 documentary
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Having shot to fame the year before, Elvis Presley bought the Graceland property in 1957 and moved his extended family into the Memphis mansion. Early on his parents Vernon and Gladys requested some farm animals to roam the grounds. So Elvis and Memphis Mafia member Lamar Fike headed down over the Tennessee state line to Mississippi in his yellow Cadillac limousine.
That day Elvis bought a load of chickens, ducks and his famous turkey who became known as Bow Tie. Since there was no way of transporting them back to Graceland The King shoved the ducks in the trunk and rest in the backseat. According to his cousin Billy Smith on the Memphis Mafia Kid YouTube channel, upon arriving back at the Memphis mansion, both were covered in animal poo and Vernon explained: ‘Lord God son! What’s happened?!” Elvis replied: “Oh nothing, it’s all these damn chickens right here. We forgot to tie them up and then they [went] wild!”
As a result, the limo had been fumigated several times and it wasn’t long after this instance that the car was sold. Elvis’s family also had donkeys brought in, however, the stalls and fences hadn’t been built at the back of the property yet and so he needed to improvise where to keep his asses.
At one point during the move, Elvis had gone to Los Angeles to shoot a new movie, so Billy’s father Travis Smith, the brother of The King’s mother Gladys, oversaw shifting belongings and some of the incoming animals. The King’s uncle, who became Head of Security, was wondering where to put the donkeys and realised that Graceland’s swimming pool had already been dug. So the asses were lowered into what was an empty space at the time that they couldn’t wander off from.
Memphis Mafia member Billy remembered: “They put them in the pool and kept them in there for a while!” He also dispelled the myth that Elvis’ swimming pool is guitar-shaped when actually it’s more like a kidney.
Elvis’ swimming pool is well-preserved today and right next to the Meditation Garden where The King is buried. On one side of the fountain in the middle are his grave, his parents and grandmother Minnie Mae Presley. The star’s only grandson, Benjamin Keough, is buried on the other side right by the pool following his tragic death at just 27-years-old in 2020.
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