Elvis’ Graceland before Linda redecorated: Ice cream bar, movie theatre and ‘hidden room’

Elvis Presley: Upstairs of Graceland ‘like he just left’ says expert

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There is only one person alive today who was with Elvis from childhood and who saw every part of life at Graceland from the very beginning all the way to the end. Billie Smith is The King’s younger cousin, eight years his junior. He is the son of Gladys Presley’s brother Travis and grew up with Elvis in Tupelo Mississippi before they all moved to Memphis. In a new video, Billy has described his memories of the basement at Graceland, the areas that Lisa Marie Presley would later refer to as her father’s “mayhem rooms.” Not many realise that the famous golden yellow TV room was only redecorated a few years before the star died.

Nowadays, when fans tour Graceland, to reach the basement’s famous party and play rooms they go down the mirrored staircase, with their images reflected back at them from both sides and the ceiling.

But Billy has given a fascinating insight into Elvis’ home in the earlier days on his son Danny’s Memphis Mafia Kid channel.

He said: “It changed two or three times over the years. When he first bought Graceland, as you come down the stairs into the TV room and pool room, there was no mirrors, that was later. You came down the stairs and you went to the left that was the TV room and you went to the right to the pool room.”

READ MORE: Elvis Presley: The Lisa Marie Graceland upstairs items now on display

Billy added: “The TV room back then was a cream colour. He had three TVs put in, there were only three channels.

“Above those TVs he had his gold records hanging. That’s where they were kept in the beginning long before the Trophy Room.

“Above that there was a movie screen. You pulled it down.”

The colours and decor may have changed over the years, but Graceland still has one of the TV sets that Elvis famously shot.

Everyone from Priscilla Presley to the Memphis Mafia members have described how the King woud fire his guns at the screen if he didn’t like someone on a show.

The TV would be immediately replaced but Graceland’s Vice President of Archives and Exhibits Angie Marchese has revealed that Elvis’ father Vernon never threw anything away, from paperwork to discarded furnishings.

SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH BILLY SMITH TALKING ABOUT ELVIS AND GRACELAND

Billy described how there was a little door to the side of the TV room which lead to a tiny room the size of a closet.

He said: “You raised a little opening and there was a movie projector. You brought it around and raised an opening and it projected right on the screen. Naturally it had his movies and a couple of others and we would watch them down there…

“As you come down the stairs and went to your left and went into the TV room there was an ice cream bar there. It was pink and white. The counter top and the bar stool seats were pink and the rest of it was white. It had Pepsi mostly because he didn’t drink Coke and of course a blender for making ice cream milk shakes.” 

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Bill added: “Later it all changed. I believe it was a green colour they changed the bar to and the seats. It changed a couple or three times. 

“When Linda Thompson decorated, that’s when it became that yellow that you see now. She decorated that and the pool room and some of the rest of the house and it stayed that way from there on.”

Lisa Marie has also described some of the craziness that went on in the infamous basement rooms where she said her father “would get mischievous.”

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-5JHYyBhyIo

Lisa Marie said: “Down here particularly this was just the mayhem room. Pool balls would fly. I just instinctively got into trouble down here, play hide and seek and up to no good.

“He, I found out later, threw a tear gas bomb or laughing gas when everyone was down here. There were exits so people could get out…

“It was just this mischievous odd place where if you destroyed it it would somehow recover quickly.”

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