Jane McDonald overwhelmed at visiting Graceland
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Elvis Presley’s Graceland home has been open for tours since 1982 and while the upstairs is off-limits, there are some downstairs rooms that fans likely haven’t visited. During a live virtual tour of the mansion Express.co.uk previously took, we had a chance to see inside The King’s dog collars closet, discover what it’s used for today and venture into other unseen spaces not on the tour.
Downstairs near the Jungle Room, there’s a small closet and hanging up inside are the original dog collars of Elvis Presley’s pooches. Just like the contents of drawers around the home, what was found by the staff in 1982 largely remains where it was discovered.
Our tour guide, on-site archivist Angie Marchese, commented on the collars: “I love it because it’s so authentic, it’s so real.”
During his lifetime Elvis had a number of dogs. According to Graceland’s official website: “He had a Basset Hound named Sherlock, Great Danes named Brutus and Snoopy, and Edmund, a Pomeranian he gave to his Aunt Delta, because the two bonded so quickly.”
Graceland continued: “Get Lo, a Chow, was another of Elvis’ dogs. He was once flown to Boston on Elvis’ small Jetstar plane to get treatment for a kidney ailment. He stayed in Boston for three months as he was treated, and then was flown home, where treatment continued. Sadly, Get Lo didn’t make it. Elvis also had dogs he named Whoosh, Oswald and Michael Edwards, named after Elvis’ character in It Happened at the World’s Fair.”
Additionally, in 1956 Elvis gave his mother Gladys a tiny dog called Sweet Pea and at Christmas 1962 Priscilla received a poodle puppy named Honey.
Today the dog collars closet is used as a utility room, with spare lightbulbs and breaker boxes kept inside. The small space is also right near the Bird Room where Elvis’ talking myna birds were kept. Today that room is used to store Graceland’s cleaning equipment and stanchion barriers when photoshoots around the mansion are taking place.
During the live virtual tour, we also had a chance to see inside a number of other rarely visited rooms. This included a bedroom just off the kitchen which Elvis’ Aunt Delta would use during the day while tours were taking place. Vernon Presley’s sister moved into Graceland after her husband’s death and lived with Elvis and her extended family well beyond The King’s passing in 1977.
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When her brother and mother died a couple of years later, Delta continued to live at Graceland for the rest of her life. She would sleep in her mother Minnie Mae’s room at night and had a full run of the downstairs of the house. But during tours from 1982 until her own death in 1993, she would use the other bedroom and kitchen in the day until fans went home.
Downstairs in the basement by the TV Room, we also had a chance to see Memphis Mafia member Jerry Schilling’s room. Now used to store Christmas decorations, the space used to flood meaning that Jerry had a walk across a plank to get in and out.
Also nearby was the Laundry room, which on the inside is very much what you’d expect. However, there’s now an entertainment system behind the door from where music is played around the mansion using Elvis’ original speakers.
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