Sunday 23 October 2016

Presley's planes stay at Graceland

Published 27/04/2015 | 02:01

The Lisa Marie, one of two jets once owned by Elvis Presley, is a tourist attraction at the King's Graceland mansion (AP)
The Lisa Marie, one of two jets once owned by Elvis Presley, is a tourist attraction at the King's Graceland mansion (AP)

Elvis Presley's Graceland attraction has said two of the King's planes will be staying at the Tennessee mansion permanently, apparently ending confusion over their future.

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Graceland released a statement saying the Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II, two custom-designed planes once owned by Presley, will remain at the Memphis tourist attraction centred on the life and career of the late singer.

The planes were once used by Presley for travel to performances after he bought them in the 1970s.

The larger plane, a Convair 880 named after his daughter Lisa Marie, is like a customised flying limousine, complete with a large bed, stereo system, conference room and gold-plated bathroom fixtures. It was renovated after Presley bought it from Delta Air Lines and the singer took his first flight on it in November 1975.

When he died on August 16 1977, his pilot flew the Lisa Marie to California to pick up Presley's ex-wife Priscilla, to bring her back to Memphis.

The Hound Dog II, a smaller JetStar plane, was also used by Presley.

The planes were sold after Presley's death and eventually purchased by a company called OKC Partnership.

OKC and Graceland agreed to park the planes at Graceland in the mid-1980s, and tours of their opulent interiors became popular with visitors. Their agreement called for OKC to receive a cut of ticket sales in return for keeping the planes there.

But the fate of the planes became cloudy last year when, i n an April 7 2014 letter to OKC, Elvis Presley Enterprises said it was exercising its option to end the agreement and asked OKC "to make arrangements for the removal of the airplanes and the restoration of the site on or shortly after April 26 2015".

Fans responded with critical postings on Priscilla Presley's Facebook page and she answered by asking them to "please calm down".

Earlier this month, Shelby County's land use board approved a proposal by OKC to move the planes to a site not far from Graceland. The plan called for the planes to be installed as an outdoor display and museum for tourists to visit and was approved on Tuesday by Memphis City Council.

It seemed like the planes were destined to move after the council vote, but Graceland's statement appears to end such plans.

"Graceland is pleased that an agreement has been reached for Elvis' two airplanes, the Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II to remain at Elvis Presley's Graceland in Memphis permanently," it said.

Lisa Marie Presley said on Twitter that Graceland now owned the planes and they would remain at Graceland "4 ever".

"We own them and have fun plans 4 them as well," she said.

OKC declined to comment immediately.

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