Have you ever been to Graceland? I must admit, it was never on my bucket list of things I had to see, but how can you be in Memphis and not stop by for a peek? After all, no matter if you are a fan of Elvis Presley or not, you cannot dispute the talent of the man, or incredible body of work he was responsible for creating.
Our Southern tour included giving a workshop on Home Movie Archiving in New Orleans to rescue some water damaged film, a visit to the amazing archives at The Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, with a stop at Gus’s Fried Chicken, a visit to Birmingham to the Civil Rights Museum and the church where the tragic 1964 shooting of 3 little girls shot and The Watson’s Go To Birmingham was Filmed (my company Pro8mm worked on the recreated Super 8 Film scenes for the Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie,) and of course, a stop at where Martin Luther King was shot outside the Lorraine Hotel and Sun Studios in Memphis to see and feel the intimacy of this legendary studio where Elvis recorded, and scenes of the John Mellencamp film “It’s About You” were shot – done exclusive with our Pro8mm film, processing and scanning , shot by filmmaker Kurt Markus. Graceland was not on the itinerary.
As we arrived, very early in the morning to have a jumpstart on the heat and the crowds and caught that first glimpse through the gates at this larger than life tribute to the work of one person, I realized that gift shops and tourist junk aside, that what Graceland was really about was giving total access to a families archival and legacy material. On par with Presidential Libraries, this was an archive built in and around his home, where the family and the Elvis Presley Foundation gets to decide and create how the “Kings’ Legacy will be kept alive. By creating an experience through dozens of displays, showcasing everything from Gold Records, Movie Posters, Jumpsuits, photos, and home movies as well as cars, jewelry and other memorabilia, that by the time we leave we feel an intimate connection to someone we already thought we knew well.
Many years ago we had transferred some home movies for the Presley family, and have seen many private home movie collections with Elvis footage that they captured during his personal appearances. What an enormous thrill for me it was to see this footage playing at different places throughout the estate.
So what can we learn from this? The lesson is really quite simple. We want to create a microcosm of Graceland to honor our own family. We want to find other people who might have footage about our loved ones. We want to have an “open archive” so that our families, descendants and even the public know about the contributions our loved ones made to the community, family, church, military or business. This is the living legacy we leave , and the benefit is that it puts an end to Suspicious Minds.
For more radio shows and information , go to www.homemovielegacy.com