That 1,400-pound bust of Elvis Presley--used on Mississippi’s float in the Rose Parade a year ago and later sent to the scrap heap--has been resurrected for a bid equivalent to 5.4 cents per pound.
Los Angeles sculptor Ralph Eaton and his partner, Brett Waller, are willing to pay $75 for the battered and crumbling bust and removing it from a Jackson scrap yard where it has been moldering for about eight months.
But the singer’s Graceland estate also wants the bust, as does a Los Angeles radio station that trucked it to his Memphis, Tenn., mansion as a publicity stunt in January.
Mississippi’s Tournament of Roses float included busts of three other Mississippi musicians: blues guitarist B. B. King, country star Tammy Wynette and opera singer Leontyne Price.
Those three busts were dismantled in Pasadena after the parade. But two Los Angeles morning disc jockeys, “Mark and Brian,” salvaged the Presley bust for a cross-country trip to Graceland.
Graceland Executive Director Jack Soden said the radio jokesters exploited the Presley estate.
Soden wasn’t any happier to learn Wednesday that the bust will be resurrected.
Soden said he hopes to make an offer on the bust as well, starting at a bid of $76, a dollar higher than Eaton and Waller. “That’s one way to make the problem go away,” Soden said.
But Soden will have to get in line with Los Angeles radio station KLOS-FM, which wants it back in Los Angeles for Presley’s birthday Jan. 8.
The scrap yard, Cash for Cans, bought the bust for $13.80 from the Mississippi Tournament of Roses Assn., which raised $100,000 to build it.
Eaton, who builds floats for the Rose Parade as a sideline, plans to restore the 10-foot-tall bust to its regal glory.
“We’re great admirers of The King,” Eaton said. “After discovering he’d been sitting in a junkyard, we decided to give him a good home.”