In this episode of Memphis Type History: The Podcast, Rebecca and Caitlin have a treat for all the Elvis fans out there celebrating this week. They talk about Graceland Too, the offbeat museum of Elvis memorabilia you can't visit anymore because of its closing in tragic circumstances. But you can hear all about it from from people who did see it firsthand on Memphis Type History: The Podcast.
Graceland Too is no longer open to the public. However, memories of the eccentric owner of the Elvis memorabilia museum are still spoken of with fondness. Paul MacLeod drove into Holly Springs, Mississippi, in the 1980s dressed like Elvis and in a pink Cadillac. He took up residence in the small town and soon his reputation as an Elvis fan garnered him visitors of his own. He loved Elvis so much his entire home was filled with rare and strange memorabilia. He said to have even named is son Elvis Aaron Presley McLeod. So where did the name come from?
The house itself was just as eccentric as the man who ran it. There was memorabilia covering every wall of the house. It changed colors regularly according to various themes: Blue for Blue Hawaii, Pink for the Cadillac, and Gray for Jailhouse Rock, among others. Unfortunately Paul McLeod was found dead suddenly on his porch in the front of his house from a health issues. Two days earlier he had shot and killed a man at his front door. Although MacLeod was not convicted with anything, people claim the stress of the situation caused his death. The death was sudden and just as suddenly his home and belongings were auctioned off. Rebecca only even experienced any of it at an exhibit at Crosstown Arts which is why she looked for people who could help fill in memories with their firsthand accounts.
The first person interviewed is Darrin Devault. He went to the museum the first time with a friend who was always looking for the opportunity to take good photos. Only box fans cooled the house in the sweltering July heat. Darrin described the house as being at one time a "stately home." At the time of their visit it was painted in the blue.
After that, it was painted "Pepto Bismo Pink. Darrin went to McLeod's funeral. They let everyone at the funeral back to the house for the final tour. Darrin talks about Paul's "photographic memory" and his "wall of fans" for people visited consistently over the years including the Elvis garment you had to wear for your "wall of fans" photo to be displayed in the home. You'll have to listen to the podcast to get the details, though.
Second, we hear from Aimee who was a lifetime member. She took one of those middle-of-the-night visits that were apparently very popular among college students. It was the mid-nineties. Upon arriving she was taken aback by the number of items and its location just off a main city street. She also talks about how it was a much different experience in the middle of the night than during the day. Aimee took the trip when she was relatively new to Memphis and was very curious about the Elvis culture that exists. She describes it as a place you had to see to believe and describes McLeod as every bit of what you hear about when people describe him.
Rebecca also talked to Emily Van Gilder and her boyfriend Evan Daws. Evan was actually a lifetime member and has his picture on that "wall of fans" you read about earlier and is the owner of several Lifetime Member cards. Evan talks about his many adventures at Graceland Too, and shares what he'd have kept if he could have anything from the collection. Emily had her own unique experience there. Listen to the podcast to get all those details.
For full show notes go to memphistypehistory.com/gracelandtoo