Graceland? No, Deutschland

Elvis is buried in Memphis, right? So what’s he doing in the German town of Bad Nauheim?

No, he was not sighted by some bleary-eyed office worker on the way home after too many beers. Bad Nauheim is the place where Elvis did his military duty in the late ’50s. The people of this otherwise nondescript town (well, at least the Elvis fans among them) are not so quick to forget their most famous boarder.

A tour around town passes an arch where the photo for one of The King’s album covers was taken. There is also the house where he lived, and, for die-hards, the room that he sometimes rented at a local hotel. There is even a story about a beer hall where Elvis allegedly started a brawl.

The people of Bad Nauheim have made Elvis a kind of folk hero, and they are painfully aware that his army days in Germany are viewed as insignificant by fans from other parts of the world. According to local Elvis lore, the Bad Nauheim years were among the happiest in Presley’s life. Bad Nauheim will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Presley’s arrival in their town later this year.

Elvis Presley: More Than Graceland

I’ve been to the gates of Graceland. I had grand plans to visit a year ago, but since my direct flight out of Columbus was canceled and I was rerouted through Detroit, I arrived in Memphis 15 minutes after closing. I was on my way to Mississippi and had no time for a tour the day of my return flight. A minor disappointment.

I did see the special Elvis exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame years ago. One of the TVs Elvis shot was on display. There was much more than that, but who can forget a TV with a bullet hole?

For folks who seek out anything Elvis, and I’m not saying I’m one of them, there’s a new tourist site in the works. Some people already show up in Palm Springs, California wanting to go inside the house where Elvis once lived. The couple who own it want to return it to Elvis’s glory days splendor and have an idea that it might also attract people who might want to get married there. That’s not so far-fetched. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law got married by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas. Not that the place in Palm Springs would have an Elvis impersonator who performs ceremonies, but that would be an interesting addition, come to think of it. The photo is on AOL’s homepage today. Click on it for a link to an Elvis quiz also on AOL. Just a little something extra.