Mattel Unveils Elvis & Cilla “Barbie Dolls”

14 Aug

The post-mortem merchandising of Elvis Presley has taken another strange twist. Now I am a big fan of Big E, but don’t people realize that this wedding took place some four decades ago? Shoot, their daugther (Lisa Marie) now has full grown children. It might not have been a bad idea in the late ’60s or early ’70s, but that ship has sailed long ago. And who is buying this stuff anyway? At $65 a pop? I guess there is still a market for it, although I have to believe most of these dolls will be purchased by Elvis Completists or women ages 55 and up. Best of luck, Mattel — but the timing strikes me as being a little bizarre. And the serving of wedding cake at the unveiling is just over-the-top strange.   

MEMPHIS, TENN. — The marriage didn’t last all that long, but for the Elvis Presley faithful, the wedding day is still special. Now, Elvis fans have the official, Graceland-approved Elvis and Priscilla wedding dolls to remind them of that magical time.

“This is just another way he’s making history, and we want to be part of it,” says Angel Durham, who waited all night outside a Graceland souvenir shop to be the first to hand over $65 for a boxed set of the dolls, the newest additions to Mattel’s Barbie series.

Miss Durham, 38, of Whitney, Texas, was at the front of about 150 Elvis fans lined up to witness the official unveiling of the dolls, staged as part of Graceland’s annual weeklong fan pilgrimage to mark the anniversary of Mr. Presley’s death on Aug. 16, 1977. Fans gathered for the unveiling were treated to slices of wedding cake and orange juice served in champagne glasses.

Brenda Moore of Bentonville, Ark., invested less time in getting her dolls but paid out a lot more money for a one-and-only set of dolls signed by Priscilla Presley.

Miss Moore, 59, offered the high bid of $6,800 when the autographed boxed set was auctioned to the fans as a fundraiser for Presley Place, an apartment building in Memphis for homeless families.

“I was so nervous, I don’t know if I saw it really well, but I think it’s a good likeness,” said Miss Moore, a claims manager at Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s corporate headquarters.

The dolls, with faces painted to look like Mr. Presley and his bride, were designed from photographs of the wedding. The couple married in Las Vegas on May 1, 1967, but had split up by early 1972. They formally separated in July 1972 and were divorced in October 1973.

Mattel also issued an Elvis and Barbie doll set in the late 1990s.

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