Elvis Presley’s Jewish heritage

WM CHILDHOOD RARE Elvis standing with Gladys Vernon

Elvis Presley’s mother, Gladys Love Smith, was born April 25, 1912, the fourth daughter of Bob and Doll Smith.

Bob was the son of Obe Smith and Ann Mansell, both of whom were part Native American.

Octavia Smith, called Doll because she was so small and cute, was born 1876 the second daughter of White Mansell.

White Mansell was the son of William Mansell and Morning White Dove, a Cherokee daughter. As White’s sister was the mother of Doll, she and her husband were first cousins.

Their father and uncle, William, was a rich planter, an immigrant of Scotch Irish descent. Actually, the Mansells were Normans, who wound up in Scotland, but when they arrived in America, the largest group of ethnics was Scotch Irish, so they were too.

White was the son of a rich man. He grew up in a large house, but by 1900, he was living in a tiny shack, in Tupelo, working shares. From the beginning of Southern culture, owning land was a sacred aspect of identity.

Farming somebody else’s land for a percentage of the crop when they kept the books was the dreaded fate for victims of slavery or other dire luck, but the South was still in ruins and it was a life.

In 1870, White Mansell married Martha Tackett. She was the daughter of a Jewish couple, Abner and Nancy Tackett, who were devoted to her. There were two boys, Sidney and Jerome, both devout and observant Jews, but their sister was not religious. Martha converted for White. They had four daughters, then two sons.

All six children grew up knowing their Jewish heritage and doing some of the rituals. Doll Smith was Elvis’ maternal grandmother. She knew she was Jewish and so did her children.

In the Diaspora of remote rural America, so far from the centers of rabbinic learning, knowing the story and telling it was a near equivalent of devotion. Gladys knew enough of her mother’s origin to pass along to Elvis a sense of Judaism as something precious and sacred, and part of what made him special. We know from his autopsy that she did not have him circumcised, but she told her little boy about Martha and Nancy and their Jewishness. Read the rest of this entry

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Elvis Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce up for auction

Bonham’s auction house has listed the 1963 Rolls-Royce Phantom V Touring once owned by Elvis Presley for sale, offering die-hard fans an opportunity to get their hands on one of his classic rides. The auction date is scheduled for August 14 – 16.

Presley ordered the high-end limousine when he lived in Bel Air, Calif. Custom coach work was done by James Young and customized with the latest tech of the times, including electric windows on all doors, a Blaupunkt Koln radio, air conditioning, an in-car bar and even a microphone.

While the car originally sported a midnight blue paintjob, Elvis reportedly had to have the car repainted after his mother’s chickens wrecked the paintjob while pecking at their reflections. The limo was refinished in a light silver blue, thought to hide the paint chips.

Ride in style: Elvis Presley owned the limo for about five years, gifting it in 1968 to the SHARE charity which auctioned it for $35,000.
Ride in style: Elvis Presley owned the limo for about five years, gifting it in 1968 to the SHARE charity which auctioned it for $35,000.
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  • Ride in style: Elvis Presley owned the limo for about five years, gifting it in 1968 to the SHARE charity which auctioned it for $35,000.
  • Talk like Elvis! The king's telephone is part of the package deal.
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Under the hood, the Rolls housed a 6.2-liter V-8 engine making 200-horsepower and capable of a maximum speed of about 100 mph.

Presley only owned the limo for about five years, gifting it in 1968 to the SHARE charity which auctioned it for $35,000.

In the nearly 40 years since, it has undergone a restoration, spent about 20 years in a private museum, and has had a full engine rebuild, including the installation of a new cylinder block.

Elvis’ hair sold at auction for $115,000

EP Hair sold

Item: Tresses from Elvis Presley
Winning Bid: $115,000
Sold: 2002

Apart from his soulful voice and swinging hips, Elvis Presley was known for his hair. So it’s perhaps no surprise that a strand from the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s pompadour — surreptitiously hoarded by his personal barber — would bring in more dough than hair from John Lennon ($48,000), John F. Kennedy ($3,000) and Beethoven ($7,300) combined. MastroNet Inc, the Oak Brook, Ill., company behind the Internet auction of such macabre memorabilia, has made a small fortune selling the tresses of celebrities, dead (Mickey Mantle, $6,900) or alive (Neil Armstrong, $3,000). Even former government officials are cashing in. In 2007, an ex-CIA employee sold a tuft of Che Guevara’s hair, along with fingerprints and death photographs, for $119,500.

Elvis Presley movie contracts

ELVIS CONTRACT FACTS (by Jeff Schrembs 2013 All Rights Reserved): Contract # 1 – Paramount on April 25, 1956 Elvis’ first move contract was for a “1 picture deal” with the option for “6 more”. Elvis received $15,000 for the first movie, $20,000 for the second, $25,000 for the third, and increasing to a maximum of $100,000 for the seventh. The Colonel negotiated a provision that allowed Elvis to star, with another studio, for “1 picture per year”. The movies were entitled “Loving You (1957) and King Creole (1958)”. In January 1957 the Colonel renegotiated a $ 50,000.00 bonus, due to the box office success, for Loving You. Nine months later, in November, the Colonel renegotiated successfully for Elvis to receive $30,000 in expenses as well as another $50,000 bonus for King Creole. Contract # 2 – 20th Century Fox August 1956 The Colonel negotiated a contract which Elvis received $100,000. Elvis would also be “billed” as “co-starring”, in the movie promos and on the movie theatres marquees, otherwise known as “second billing”. Additionally it gave Fox an option for a “2 picture deal” with Elvis to receive the sums of $150,000 and $200,000 respectfully. The Colonel renegotiated in October 1958 for Elvis to receive an increased fee, for the option on the “2 picture deal”, of $200,000 and $250,000. The movies were entitled “Flaming Star (1960) and Wild in the Country (1961)”. Contract # 3 – Metro Goldwyn Mayer February 1957 The Colonel exerted his right, under the terms of the Paramount contract, to reach an agreement with MGM on a “1 picture deal”. Elvis received $ 250,000.00. The movie was entitled “Jailhouse Rock (1957)”. Worth noting is that the Colonel negotiated a provision, which was previously unheard of in Hollywood, for Elvis to receive 50% of the movie profits. Contract # 4 – Paramount October 1958 The Colonel renegotiated the 1956 contract so that Elvis received $175,000 along with an option for a “3 picture deal” where Elvis would be paid; $125,000, $150,000, and $175,000. The movie was entitled “G.I. Blues (1960)”. Contract # 5 – United Artists November 1960 Colonel Parker negotiated a “2 picture deal” and Elvis received $500,000 and 50% of the profits. The movies were entitled “Follow That Dream (1961) and Kid Galahad (1962)”. Contract # 6 – Paramount January 1961 The Colonel renegotiated the 1958 contract so that Elvis received $175,000 for the first “3 pictures” and $200,000 each for the “last 2 pictures”. This “5 picture deal” included the movies entitled “Blue Hawaii (1960) which would be Elvis most successful motion picture, Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), Fun in Acapulco (1963), Roustabout (1964), and Paradise Hawaiian Style (1966)”. The Colonel renegotiated for Elvis to receive a bonus of $90,000, which the Colonel would receive $45,000.00, for “Paradise Hawaiian Style”. Contract # 7 – MGM January 1961 The Colonel further enhanced his negotiation skills, after finishing the “5 picture deal” with Paramount, for a “4 picture deal” with MGM. Elvis would receive $400,000 per picture plus $75,000 for expenses and $25,000 for musical expenses. The Colonel included a provision that once MGM recouped $500,000 then Elvis would receive 50% of the profits. The movies were entitled “It Happened At the World’s Fair (1963), Viva Las Vegas (1963), Kissin’ Cousins (1964), and Girl Happy (1965)”. Contract # 8 – Allied Artists November 1963 Colonel Parker negotiated a “1 picture deal” and Elvis received $600,000 plus $150,000 for expenses and 50% of the profits. The movie was entitled “Tickle Me”. Contract # 9 – United Artists December 1964 Colonel Parker negotiated a “2 picture deal” with Elvis being paid $650,000 each. The movies were entitled “Frankie and Johnny (1966) and Clambake (1967)”. Contract # 10 – MGM December 1964 Parker negotiated another “3 picture deal” with MGM. Elvis was to receive a total compensation of one million dollars for the first movie paid out (a) with a lump sum of $ 750,000.00 and (b) the remaining balance of $ 250,000.00 paid out over the course of (5) five years at $ 1,000.00 per week. Additionally, Elvis received 40% of the profits. The movies were entitled “Harum Scarum (1965), Spinout (1966), and Double Trouble (1967)”. Contract # 11 – MGM January 1966 MGM and the Colonel agreed to extend the 1964 contract for a “4 picture deal”. Elvis received $850,000 per picture and 50% of the profits. The 4 movies were entitled “Speedway (1967), Stay Away, Joe (1968), Live a Little, Love a Little (1968), and The Trouble With Girls (1968)”. Contract # 12 – Paramount April 1966 The Colonel entered into negotiations with Hal Wallis about a new contract for Elvis. Elvis received $500,000 per picture and with 20% of the profits. They negotiated for over 6 months before coming to terms which included the provision for a “1 picture deal” with no options for another. The movie was entitled “Easy Come, Easy Go (1967)”. Contract # 13 – National General November 1967 The Colonel worked out an agreement with National General for a “1 picture deal”. Elvis would receive $850,000 and 50% of the profits. In response to Elvis’ demand this movie, “Charro!” (1969) would not include any singing, by Elvis, other than the title song. Contract # 14 – NBC/Universal January 12, 1968 NBC Vice President Tom Sarnoff announced a deal with Colonel Parker for Elvis to have a “Christmas Television Special” sponsored by the Singer Sewing Company. Fortunately this infamous TV Special of 1968 would be Elvis performing before a live audience and reclaiming his throne as the “King of Rock and Roll” and the “King of Entertainment”. The deal included provisions for Elvis to make a movie with NBC’s subsidiary company Universal Studios. Elvis received $850,000 for the movie entitled “Change of Habit (1969)” and another $25,000 for the music in the film. Contract # 15 – MGM April 1970 Colonel Parker worked out a deal with MGM for Elvis’ first “live onstage documentary” . The setting would be of Elvis Las Vegas Concerts. Elvis was paid $500,000. The movie was entitled “Elvis That’s the Way It Is” and was released in November 1970. Contract #16 – MGM March 1972 Just a month prior to Elvis’s 15 city tour in April 1972 the Colonel put together a deal with MGM for another documentary. Elvis reportedly received $1 million for his thirty-third and final motion picture entitled “Elvis on Tour”.

Elvis Presley movie contracts (by Jeff Schrembs)

ELVIS CONTRACT FACTS (by Jeff Schrembs 2013 All Rights Reserved): Contract # 1 – Paramount on April 25, 1956 Elvis’ first move contract was for a “1 picture deal” with the option for “6 more”. Elvis received $15,000 for the first movie, $20,000 for the second, $25,000 for the third, and increasing to a maximum of $100,000 for the seventh. The Colonel negotiated a provision that allowed Elvis to star, with another studio, for “1 picture per year”. The movies were entitled “Loving You (1957) and King Creole (1958)”. In January 1957 the Colonel renegotiated a $ 50,000.00 bonus, due to the box office success, for Loving You. Nine months later, in November, the Colonel renegotiated successfully for Elvis to receive $30,000 in expenses as well as another $50,000 bonus for King Creole. Contract # 2 – 20th Century Fox August 1956 The Colonel negotiated a contract which Elvis received $100,000. Elvis would also be “billed” as “co-starring”, in the movie promos and on the movie theatres marquees, otherwise known as “second billing”. Additionally it gave Fox an option for a “2 picture deal” with Elvis to receive the sums of $150,000 and $200,000 respectfully. The Colonel renegotiated in October 1958 for Elvis to receive an increased fee, for the option on the “2 picture deal”, of $200,000 and $250,000. The movies were entitled “Flaming Star (1960) and Wild in the Country (1961)”. Contract # 3 – Metro Goldwyn Mayer February 1957 The Colonel exerted his right, under the terms of the Paramount contract, to reach an agreement with MGM on a “1 picture deal”. Elvis received $ 250,000.00. The movie was entitled “Jailhouse Rock (1957)”. Worth noting is that the Colonel negotiated a provision, which was previously unheard of in Hollywood, for Elvis to receive 50% of the movie profits. Contract # 4 – Paramount October 1958 The Colonel renegotiated the 1956 contract so that Elvis received $175,000 along with an option for a “3 picture deal” where Elvis would be paid; $125,000, $150,000, and $175,000. The movie was entitled “G.I. Blues (1960)”. Contract # 5 – United Artists November 1960 Colonel Parker negotiated a “2 picture deal” and Elvis received $500,000 and 50% of the profits. The movies were entitled “Follow That Dream (1961) and Kid Galahad (1962)”. Contract # 6 – Paramount January 1961 The Colonel renegotiated the 1958 contract so that Elvis received $175,000 for the first “3 pictures” and $200,000 each for the “last 2 pictures”. This “5 picture deal” included the movies entitled “Blue Hawaii (1960) which would be Elvis most successful motion picture, Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), Fun in Acapulco (1963), Roustabout (1964), and Paradise Hawaiian Style (1966)”. The Colonel renegotiated for Elvis to receive a bonus of $90,000, which the Colonel would receive $45,000.00, for “Paradise Hawaiian Style”. Contract # 7 – MGM January 1961 The Colonel further enhanced his negotiation skills, after finishing the “5 picture deal” with Paramount, for a “4 picture deal” with MGM. Elvis would receive $400,000 per picture plus $75,000 for expenses and $25,000 for musical expenses. The Colonel included a provision that once MGM recouped $500,000 then Elvis would receive 50% of the profits. The movies were entitled “It Happened At the World’s Fair (1963), Viva Las Vegas (1963), Kissin’ Cousins (1964), and Girl Happy (1965)”. Contract # 8 – Allied Artists November 1963 Colonel Parker negotiated a “1 picture deal” and Elvis received $600,000 plus $150,000 for expenses and 50% of the profits. The movie was entitled “Tickle Me”. Contract # 9 – United Artists December 1964 Colonel Parker negotiated a “2 picture deal” with Elvis being paid $650,000 each. The movies were entitled “Frankie and Johnny (1966) and Clambake (1967)”. Contract # 10 – MGM December 1964 Parker negotiated another “3 picture deal” with MGM. Elvis was to receive a total compensation of one million dollars for the first movie paid out (a) with a lump sum of $ 750,000.00 and (b) the remaining balance of $ 250,000.00 paid out over the course of (5) five years at $ 1,000.00 per week. Additionally, Elvis received 40% of the profits. The movies were entitled “Harum Scarum (1965), Spinout (1966), and Double Trouble (1967)”. Contract # 11 – MGM January 1966 MGM and the Colonel agreed to extend the 1964 contract for a “4 picture deal”. Elvis received $850,000 per picture and 50% of the profits. The 4 movies were entitled “Speedway (1967), Stay Away, Joe (1968), Live a Little, Love a Little (1968), and The Trouble With Girls (1968)”. Contract # 12 – Paramount April 1966 The Colonel entered into negotiations with Hal Wallis about a new contract for Elvis. Elvis received $500,000 per picture and with 20% of the profits. They negotiated for over 6 months before coming to terms which included the provision for a “1 picture deal” with no options for another. The movie was entitled “Easy Come, Easy Go (1967)”. Contract # 13 – National General November 1967 The Colonel worked out an agreement with National General for a “1 picture deal”. Elvis would receive $850,000 and 50% of the profits. In response to Elvis’ demand this movie, “Charro!” (1969) would not include any singing, by Elvis, other than the title song. Contract # 14 – NBC/Universal January 12, 1968 NBC Vice President Tom Sarnoff announced a deal with Colonel Parker for Elvis to have a “Christmas Television Special” sponsored by the Singer Sewing Company. Fortunately this infamous TV Special of 1968 would be Elvis performing before a live audience and reclaiming his throne as the “King of Rock and Roll” and the “King of Entertainment”. The deal included provisions for Elvis to make a movie with NBC’s subsidiary company Universal Studios. Elvis received $850,000 for the movie entitled “Change of Habit (1969)” and another $25,000 for the music in the film. Contract # 15 – MGM April 1970 Colonel Parker worked out a deal with MGM for Elvis’ first “live onstage documentary” . The setting would be of Elvis Las Vegas Concerts. Elvis was paid $500,000. The movie was entitled “Elvis That’s the Way It Is” and was released in November 1970. Contract #16 – MGM March 1972 Just a month prior to Elvis’s 15 city tour in April 1972 the Colonel put together a deal with MGM for another documentary. Elvis reportedly received $1 million for his thirty-third and final motion picture entitled “Elvis on Tour”.

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