Fly on the Wall 

Neverending Elvis

• Elvis' more ghoulish fans will be disappointed to learn that an unfortunate pair of Presley-themed auctions have ended prematurely after a public dispute regarding the authenticity and ownership of the artifacts. Turns out taste wasn't the only questionable thing about a Leslie Hindman auction, which listed the toe tag, selected documents, and a generous assortment of surgical tools used for Elvis' autopsy. Items for sale included a needle injector, an arterial tube, one comb, two lip brushes, an eyeliner pencil, two aneurysm hooks, a pair of forceps, four four-lock forceps, and one slightly ominous pair of ancient rubber gloves. They were taken off the market after Memphis Funeral Home president E.C. Daves challenged the provenance of the artifacts, asking the seller to return all misappropriated instruments.

In an interview with The Commercial Appeal, Daves suggested that the instruments used in Elvis' autopsy were sterilized and kept for reuse, which opens up a whole new can of wormfood for Elvis fanatics. He also prevented (or at least postponed) the ultimate "Funeral in Vegas" vacation package where your average Joe Nobody can go out like the King of Rock-and-Roll.

• While we're on the subject of dead Elvis, Viva Elvis, a new album inspired by the Cirque du Soleil's recent Elvis-themed production, drops in November. According to Erich van Tourneau, who produced and arranged the album tracks, he wanted to know "what would the songs of Elvis be like if he were doing them for the first time today." A little stiff, we're guessing.

• This latest installment of our Neverending Elvis series concludes with more exciting news on the auction front. In 1957, Presley bought a white Knabe piano, which had been played by the King's favorite touring gospel acts, from Ellis Auditorium. Unlike the autopsy instruments, which were valued between $6,000 to $8,000, this musical instrument is expected to fetch more than $1 million.

By Chris Davis. E-mail him at davis@memphisflyer.com

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