Elvis Presley: The Hidden Secret Within an Iconic Graceland Portrait of the King of Rock and Roll

Elvis Presley‘s residence, Graceland, is a family home with a treasure trove of secrets. Fans enjoy learning new information about the everyday items within the home and realizing that some things are not as they seem. One such bit of information includes an iconic portrait of the King of Rock and Roll that hangs in the entryway. A hidden secret is in plain sight of all who enter the residence.

Elvis Presley poses outside of Graceland in Memphis, TN.
Elvis Presley | Ullstein Bild via Getty Images

When did Elvis Presley purchase Graceland?

Elvis Presley’s Graceland was purchased in March 1957. The entertainer bought the home and adjacent grounds for $102,500 per the home’s official website. When he made the purchase, Presley was busy working on his second motion picture, Loving You, placing a $1,000 deposit down as collateral.

Graceland was the second home Presley purchased for his parents, Vernon and Gladys. The first was a home located on Audubon Avenue in East Memphis. However, as Presley’s star grew, that home, unprotected from onlookers, became a mecca for the superstar’s fans.

Presley wanted something more private. With Graceland, the entertainer retreated from the public eye. The famous music gates were not on the property when Presley purchased Graceland. They were set in place in April 1957 to keep Presley’s fans at bay.

On May 16, 1957, his parents and grandmother moved into the home while Elvis filmed “Jailhouse Rock.” Presley did not officially move into the property until June of that same year.

The hidden secret in plain sight within Elvis Presley’s Graceland

Angie Marchese, Vice President of Archives and Exhibits at Graceland, showed off a hidden secret within the plain sight of fans in the Graceland Foyer. In a YouTube video titled “Gates of Graceland: Hidden Graceland, Part 1; Graceland Secrets,” Marchese revealed the iconic portrait of Presley held one hidden item.

“What’s hidden is that Elvis is holding the rim of a bicycle here,” Marchese said at the video’s 20:59 mark.

Most fans believe Presley is holding a chair in the photo that hangs in the stairwell that leads to an upstairs area. However, that is not the case.

“This portrait is actually a photograph done in Texas when Elvis was in the army,” Marchese explained. “A DJ in Tulsa, OK, came up with a stunt that he would ride a bike from Tulsa to Ft. Hood to interview Elvis. Of course, the Colonel (Tom Parker) and Elvis got wind of this, so as soon as the DJ arrived, he took the rim off the bike and gave it to Elvis.”

Marchese continued, “There’s a promotional shot where Elvis is shaking the hand of the DJ. Someone took that photograph, cropped it, blew it up, and did it in oil paint. It has been here since the 1960s. There’s even home movie footage of Priscilla [Presley] walking down the stairs and posing next to it.”

She also revealed that that photograph revealed a second secret, Presley’s natural hair color. The entertainer dyed his hair black. However, he didn’t dye his hair when he was in the army. In the photograph, you can see Presley’s natural hair color: a light, sandy blonde.

Graceland holds another hidden treasure

Graceland Mansion photographed in 1982.
Graceland Mansion photographed in 1982 | Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

After passing Gladys Presley’s bedroom and on the way downstairs toward the TV Room, an ordinary door is located on the right in the small hallway. Although most fans correctly assume it is a closet, behind the door holds yet another Graceland secret.

“When Elvis first purchases Graceland, he redecorates the whole house. All the drapes in the front of the house are white, and the walls are painted an electric blue color. This closet has the only remnants of that original blue paint on the door,” she explained.

Upon opening the door, behind a mirror, is the original paint color of Graceland.

“If you visited Elvis in ’57 and walked into Graceland, this is the color that would have greeted you in the living room and dining room,” she shared.

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