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Gumbo's Pic of the Day, September 25, 2014: Statue of Elvis Presley, Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada



This bronze statue of Elvis, sculpted by Carl Romanelli and unveiled in 1978, now proudly stands in a prominent spot in the lobby of the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino , formerly known as the "Las Vegas Hotel and Casino" (2012-2014), The "Las Vegas Hilton" (1971-2012), and originally the "International Hotel" (1969-1971).





It is the showroom of this hotel that Elvis was the headliner from July 1969 to December 1976.  Elvis performed regular engagements here for those seven years, cementing the hotel's iconic status with a total of 837 consecutive sold-out shows, rocking more than 2.5 million people.





The sheer numbers from these performances are mind-boggling. In one 29-day period Elvis entertained 101,509 guests, bringing in $1.5 million in ticket sales. In the course of his 837 performances in Vegas, Elvis sold $43.7 million in show tickets, about $277 million in 2013 dollars. In the months when Elvis was performing, 1-in-2 visitors to Las Vegas saw his show.  "He was the show in town -- the one everyone wanted to go to because he was just really hot and was coming back with new music," said singer Terry Blackwood, a member of the Imperials who sang backup for Elvis. "Everyone wanted to see Elvis." Below are some examples of the memorabilia/souvenirs that were found at some of Elvis' shows.





The king of rock 'n' roll still reigns supreme in the "Entertainment Capital of the World."  Elvis' enduring popularity in Vegas is a tribute to the bonds forged between the singer and the city in his seven-year run between 1969 and 1976, a period fondly remembered as the "Vegas Years." It's a legacy that continues to this day.  Thus, it is fitting that this captivating statue now stands in the hotel lobby where Elvis not only performed, but where he gained his iconic status in Rock and Roll and Las Vegas history.





If you would like to see Elvis in his prime performing at the International Hotel in 1970 (you also get to see Elvis rehearsing for these performances), I strongly recommend you check out the documentary film "Elvis:  That's the Way It Is" and the soundtrack thereof.  You can view a  clip from this film which features Elvis on stage singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water".  Enjoy.










Images (6)
  • Statue of Elvis Presley: Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • The Las Vegas Hotel and Casino (now known as the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino), Las Vegas, Nevada: Formerly known as the Las Vegas Hilton (1971 - 2012) and the Internationl Hotel (1969 - 1971)
  • Plaque displayed on the Statue of Elvis Presley: Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Elvis souvenir menu from the Las Vegas Hilton / International Hotel, 1972
  • Elvis souvenir menu from the Las Vegas Hilton, 1975
  • Statue of Elvis Presley: Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

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I'm old enough to remember the Vegas Years, although was too young at the time to go see Elvis in Vegas.  Fans always commented that Elvis was at his best in Vegas -- relaxed, chatty (talking to the crowd a lot), and despite it's large size, it was a fairly intimate performance venue with lots of direct audience contact.  (Watch the video all the way to the end to see the audience)


The statue was unveiled by Barron Hilton just outside the showroom where Elvis performed, and it stood there for a long time before being moved outside.



It's a great videoclip, Ottoman.  I never tire of listening to that beautiful voice.  I recall Paul Simon, who wrote "Bridge", being interviewed and sharing that one of the proudest moments in his life was when he saw Elvis sing "Bridge over Troubled Water" at Madison Square Garden in 1972.  


Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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