Available in both English language and Finnish language editions.
It is always a pleasant surprise to find releases from countries not usually associated with publishing Elvis books.
The Elvis Map A Travel Guide is a neat, slimline release published by the Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of Finland. The book(let) allows the reader to “walk a mile” in Elvis’ shoes in both his birth town Tupelo, and his long-time home city, Memphis.
The booklet has been published in both English language and Finnish language editions.
The Contents page is novel, using sign posts to indicate each section. This is clever reflecting the book’s objective as a travel guide. The sign post device is also used to highlight the street address for each place listed.
All of the key places of relevance in the Elvis story in Tupelo and Memphis are covered. Each place is also identified by a number on macro maps showing major arterial road routes.
The key places to visit in Memphis are split into the South Memphis (Whitehaven), Midtown Memphis, East Memphis and Downtown Memphis areas. They are a mix of the well-known and places you may have forgotten, from Graceland and Vernon’s house to Sun Studio, Overton Park Shell, Libertyland and the Kang Rhee Institute of Self Defence. The detail provided is appropriate – a paragraph or two for minor locations, a full page for major locations, and not surprisingly Graceland is covered over several pages.
Whether you want to enjoy classic Blues on Beale Street, visit where Elvis attended school, spruce up your wardrobe by shopping at Lansky Bros., Clothier to the King, eat at one of Elvis' favorite restaurants, or see the world famous Peabody ducks at the luxurious Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis, The Elvis Map points you in the right direction.
Sections on Elvis locations throughout Mississippi and other interesting places in Memphis offer details of lesser known spots of interest. They include the Verona Town Hall where Vernon and Gladys married, the Lewis Ranch (home of “the Killer”, Jerry Lee Lewis), Mississippi Riverboats, The Cotton Museum, and the National Civil Rights Museum at the Loraine Motel in Memphis.
Jani Turunen and his team have included several 'value adds' throughout the book's 70 pages. For example, there is an interesting series of Travel Tips including:
[in relation to Elvis' former residence on Audubon Drive in Memphis] It is easy to park in front of the house to take pictures
Elvis Presley Plaza and the young 50's Elvis statue is located on 115 Beale Street and across the street from the former location of the King's clothier Lansky's at 126 Beale Street.
As you continue your journey from the Uptown Square to North Lauderdale Courts, go to Poplar Avenue 306-308, to reach the Poplar Tunes Retail Store. Elvis often visited this store and his first single was also sold here.
The narrative also includes stories by people who are well known to Elvis fans. Bodyguard, Dick Grob, recounts what it was like going to the movies with Elvis; Terry Blackwood talks about Elvis and his relationship with The Blackwood Brothers Quartet; nurse Tish Henley shares some of her memories of Elvis; while the Holladay sisters, Mary, Jeanie, Donna and Ginger, talk about the time they backed Elvis at American Sound Studio on his classic recording, Suspicious Minds.
The Elvis Map is also dotted with little known facts such as that Bernard Lansky founded Lansky Bros. in 1946 with a $125 investment from his father.
There are many excellent images which blend nicely with the text. I particularly liked a rare photo of the entrance to the Tupelo Fairground (Fairpark), images of the Presley family residences on Wshington ans poplar Avenue, a side on shot of the Hotel Chisca where hyper-active DJ, Dewey Phillips, hosted his Red, Hot and Blue show which broke Elvis regionally, and Elvis with the Holladay sisters.
The Elvis Map includes everything the traveller needs to know and includes a valuable section on general travel advice.
Veera Juutinen is to be commended for her excellent work in respect of the booklet’s graphic design and layout. The pages are crisp and clean with excellent use of white space. The visuals are generally in colour and high quality while the text is clear, and both are printed on quality paper stock.
Verdict: The Elvis Map A Travel Guide is a fun and interesting reference guide which will not take up much room in your travel bags but prove to be a valuable inclusion in helping you plan your travel itinerary when you visit Tupelo and Memphis.
Visit the Official Elvis Fan Club of Finland website to order The Elvis Map A Travel Guide - the booklet costs
15 Euro including postage inside Finland; postage cost to other countries available on request:
Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of Finland website