Elvis not only held a seventh-degree black belt in kenpo, but also founded the Tennessee Karate Institute (TKI) in his hometown of Memphis in 1974. His commitment to MMA actually inspired Hyperfly to recreate the legendary gi gifted to Elvis by Master Kang Rhee during their time training together (1970-1974). Elvis loved it so much that a number of the iconic white jumpsuits he performed in were created in its image.
Even though Elvis’ dark locks made women swoon, the King was actually a natural blonde. When he was about 20, he decided it was time for an edgier look. He used shoe shine, Miss Clairol 51D and Black Velvet and Mink Brown by Paramount to attain his signature color.
In his lifetime, Elvis performed more than 1,000 times in the United States and five times in Canada, but never performed outside of North America.
In 1961, Elvis adopted a chimpanzee named Scatter from a children’s entertainer in Memphis. When Elvis hosted parties at Graceland, Scatter would often make big, loud entrances dressed in a Hawaiian shirt.
Elvis was a big fan of Hamilton watches, specifically the Ventura model. He wore the watch in the movie Blue Hawaii and it eventually became known as the “Elvis watch.” In honor of the King’s 80th birthday, Hamilton released a collection of Ventura watches combining the signature design with modern features, such as a power reserve of 80 hours.
Elvis is believed to have purchased more than 100 Cadillacs over the course of his life, but notoriously gave many of them away to complete strangers. His Pink Cadillac — a 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood — was originally purchased for his mother, though she didn’t drive, and is currently preserved in the Graceland Museum.
When Elvis wasn’t working, he loved to play football — sometimes playing between scenes on movie sets. He’s said to have carried a football with him everywhere he went. Soon after his rise to fame, Elvis purchased 1,400 tickets for every student at his former high school so they could all attend the annual E.H. Crump Memorial Football Game for the Blind, and at one point, even sponsored a football team started by his friends.
“Taking Care of Business” was the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s mantra and the name of his band from 1969 to 1977. The emblem he created for the phrase (the letters T, C, and B arranged vertically in front of a lightning bolt) is engraved on his tombstone at his home in Memphis.
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