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It’s Still Happening in Vegas

HarperCollins published my first book, Las Vegas Weddings: A Brief History, Celebrity Gossip, Everything Elvis, and the Complete Chapel Guide, several years ago.  But this book review by Betty Jo Tucker from Author’s Den and Movie Addict Headquarters on blogtalkradio is new!

Thank you, Betty Jo.

bigbooksmlLas Vegas Weddings: Book Review

By Betty Jo Tucker

Author Susan Marg deserves kudos for her impressive research in connection with “Las Vegas Weddings: A Brief History, Celebrity Gossip, Everything Elvis, and the Complete Chapel Guide.” It’s an entertaining read packed with fascinating information about how Vegas weddings intertwine with the history of the town itself.

It’s also fun reading for movie addicts like me, mostly because Marg highlights the nuptials of so many film stars who got hitched in Las Vegas. What a treat to find out the revealing facts behind weddings of such glamorous actors and actresses as Angelina Jolie, Michael Caine, Judy Garland, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Janet Leigh, Tony Curtis, Nelson Eddy, Bette Midler, Joan Crawford, Richard Gere, Cary Grant, Clint Eastwood and Elvis Presley!

And speaking of Elvis, Marg includes an entire chapter titled “What’s a Wedding without Elvis”? She writes, “While there is an impersonator for any celebrity…it is the King that couples clamor for.” There are hundreds of Elvis impersonators in Vegas, of course, and it’s no problem to hire a fake Elvis to escort the bride down the aisle and to serenade the newlyweds after the ceremony. The book also features a chapel guide that helps prospective brides and grooms plan their own wedding festivities in Vegas.

It’s no wonder Vegas and Hollywood seem like a perfect match, so I’m pleased that Marg mentions various films about Las Vegas — including Honeymoon in Vegas, Vegas Vacation, Viva Las Vegas, Fools Rush In, and Ocean’s Eleven. She points out that movies like these have played an important role in making Vegas weddings so popular

Despite the massive amount of information in Las Vegas Weddings, it flows seamlessly. Marg has a breezy, appealing style that draws us in and keeps us interested. Her book also presents some rare photographs of celebrities. I especially love the one of Michael Caine and his beautiful bride as well as the photo of Elvis and Ann-Margret dancing together while filming Viva Las Vegas!

I think this book would make a wonderful holiday gift for movie fans.

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Get old, you can’t even cuss someone and have it bother ’em. Everything you do is either worthless or sadly amusing.

– Bruce Campbell as Elvis in Bubba Ho-Tep, 2002

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Trading Places

Memphis the week of August 10 is sure to be a rockin’ good time.  It’s the memorial of Elvis’ death thirty-five years ago and a celebration of his life and music.

Starring Bruce Campbell as Elvis!

Elvis impersonators will abound. In my humble opinion, however, none will best Bruce Campbell, now of cable network USA’s Burn Notice, in the 2002 comedy cum horror movie Bubba Ho-Tep.

Barely hanging on at Shady Rest, a convalescence home in Mud Creek, Texas, where the bugs are “the size of a peanut butter and banana sandwich,” Campbell’s Elvis uses a walker, prefers a bedpan to getting up to go to the john, and sports a blister on the tip of his pecker.  He hasn’t had a hard-on in years.

How could Elvis have become such a bubba, a term defined in the opening credits as a cracker, a red neck, or a trailer park resident?

The sad story begins in the seventies when Elvis trades places with impersonator Sebastian Haff, hoping for a better life.  He has a way back, but the contract by which he can reestablish his true identity goes up in a whoosh of flames when a propane fire breaks out in his trailer.

His situation worsens when Haff dies. “Problem is, he had a bad heart,” Elvis explains. “He liked drugs, too. Liked them more than I did.”

Elvis has no recourse but to take his act on the road, continuing to impersonate Haff impersonating himself. He’s enjoying himself until he has an accident.  “I was gyrating’, see, taking’ care of business,” and then he falls off the stage and breaks his hip.  What’s an Elvis impersonator with a broken hip?  It’s downhill from there.

Not until his fellow inmate, played by Ossie Davis, who believes he’s JFK, calls upon Elvis for assistance does he get his mojo back and becomes the hero he always wanted to be.  Together they vanquish an evil, cowboy hat-wearing Egyptian mummy who is sucking the souls from their fellow residents. They both die at the end, but they’re at peace.

There’s no sound track in Bubba Ho-Tep.  No Elvis songs.  Not even a few chords of “Heartbreak Hotel.”  For that you have to go to Memphis.

It’s now or next year.  Elvis Week is an annual event.

© 2012 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved