Photo (cc) by Mark Gstohl
The King is dead. Long live the King.
Elvis will be 35 years past his expiration date on Aug. 16, but his name is still raking in lots of cash through weird licensing opportunities. And fans can participate in some of them in ways that go beyond buying merchandise – although there’s plenty of that.
Memphis-based Elvis Presley Enterprises, talking up Elvis Week, just announced “hundreds of new products being launched by more than 260 official licensees around the globe.” Here are some quirky highlights…
1. Elvis slot machines
There’s “a new casino multi-level progressive jackpot slot machine…featuring a classic jukebox design, players can sing along to Elvis’ hits while they spin and win on a number of king-inspired bonuses,” EPE says.
2. Elvis comics
EPE also mentions Graphic Elvis, a book from Liquid Comics available now that “combines rare quotes, writings, photos and memorabilia with original pieces of artwork by leading international graphic novel artists.” While done in comic style, it’s not a traditional comic book: It’s a $200 hardcover anthology.
Sound pricey? You can enjoy parts of it cheap or free. Check out several pages in a free digital preview, watch an over-the-top animated story about Elvis trying to get into Heaven from comics icon Stan Lee (which appears in the book) or buy the smartphone version of the book as a $10 Android app or iPhone/iPad app.
3. Elvis guitars
There’s an Elvis Kingman acoustic guitar made by Fender, with a vintage-looking wildwood body and rosewood fretboard designed to mimic Elvis’ instrument in the 1967 film Clambake.
It’s selling new for $400. Talent not included.
4. Elvis fan mosaic and CD
Since May, Facebook fans of Elvis have been able to upload their photo as a contribution to an Elvis mosaic released as a $20, 24-by-30-inch color poster on June 15. The mosaic will also be used as the cover art for a new $12 CD of top Elvis picks voted on by fans.
5. Elvis Mr. Potato Head, other toys and clothes
There will also be “Elvis figurines, ornaments and waterballs from Precious Moments,” EPE says.
Then there’s the clothes. Along with T-shirts for Elvis Week, “Tommy Hilfiger will launch a limited-edition American Icon t-shirt collection this summer,” EPE says, with designs for men and women.
6. Elvis in Europe
Although EPE provides few details, its European licensing agents are apparently working on some other interesting items, including “Hello Kitty outfitted in Elvis’ signature sunglasses and classic jumpsuit,” “an Elvis-inspired 4D movie developed for attraction and ride films,” “an Elvis Triumph motorcycle,” and “a line of Elvis-inspired apparel from Benetton.”
If you’re an Elvis collector, you’ve got plenty of new fodder. It’s unlikely that the majority of these new products will increase in value. What is likely, however, is that the King will reign over retail in the afterlife for longer than he was alive.