Monday, October 23, 2006
Chic-A-Boom and "Elvip"
One of my favorite things to do when visiting Los Angeles is to hang out at Paul and Chris Scharfman's Chic-a-Boom store (6817 Melrose Ave.). They have a fantastic rock & roll memorabilia collection and an even more amazing collection of vintage magazines, advertising art, plastic and metal toys, movie posters, etc. etc.--all for sale.
One day when I was innocently poking around, Paul asked me if I planned to include any vintage toys in ROCKIN'. I told him I wasn't aware of very many that portrayed the relationship between rock & roll and the automobile. Then, I uttered the fateful words, "well, I suppose there must have been one or two that showcased Elvis."
Paul started to laugh. He said, "you're not going to believe what I'm about to show you." He rummaged around in a dusty display case and unearthed. . . the "Elvip" car (which he's holding in this picture).
You can see this on page 36 in ROCKIN'. Some toy manufacturer in India came up with this, probably around 1958. It's not exactly a two-tone Cadillac, not exactly a Buick or an Oldsmobile. But DEFINITELY it's Elvis. No question. And the artist who painted his portrait, looking in from the front and also from the side, absolutely aced it--it's Elvis in Indian garb. And the word "Elvip" seals the deal--someone's beautifully inexact pronunciation of an American idol's name just now reaching that part of the world.
How rare is this vehicle? It may be the only surviving copy. Paul says he'd never seen it before, which is saying something.