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October 1, 2014

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Big Elvis preps for ‘GMA’ as Las Vegas celebrates No. 78 for the King

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Courtesy Scott Roeben

Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee celebrates 10 years of performing on the Strip with more than 7,000 performances at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012.

Mr. and Mrs. Big Elvis

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ELVIS PRESLEY - ... the "Pelvis" on stage 1973.

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Elvis tribute artist Jesse Garon prays as Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman and his wife of 47 years Carolyn Goodman renewed their wedding vows Wednesday at the Fremont Street Experience in celebration of 9/9/09.

If there is a sequined jumpsuit hanging in your closet, or perhaps being stored at Tiffany Couture Cleaners (the Couture Cleaners to the Stars), Tuesday is the day to slip back into that sucker.

It’s the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birthday. He was born Jan. 8, 78 years ago in Tupelo, Miss. Because this is Vegas, where Elvis performed 837 consecutive sold-out shows at the International/Las Vegas Hilton, we must mark this moment in time with an update of the Elvis landscape.

The biggest Elvis in Vegas is, naturally, Big Elvis. And this is a big week for Pete Vallee, who is celebrating with his usual set of shows at Harrah’s Piano Bar at 2, 3:30 and 5 p.m. I understand there is an expectation of some special guests from the “Elvis world” (which would be a good name for a casino), and there will be prize giveaways and flowers handed out to the ladies.

But as we build to a crescendo in the manner of Elvis, the really big event is Friday morning, when Big Elvis is to be featured during “Good Morning America” on ABC. The show’s weatherman, Sam Champion, is a judge for the 2013 Miss America Pageant and will be broadcasting live from Planet Hollywood. Vallee will sing “Blue Suede Shoes” and another song to be determined, likely on Thursday, for the show.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the city’s “official” Elvis, Jesse Garon (who makes appearances as Elvis for city of Las Vegas events), will join the Opportunity Village dance troupe OV Elvi for a special performance at the foundation’s Engelstad Campus on South Buffalo Drive. The show opens with the Roaring Thunder percussion team and features Opportunity Village clients dressed as Elvis, and the finale is Garon and the crew belting out “Blue Suede Shoes.”

The day also is a benchmark — the first benchmark — for The Geary Company of Las Vegas. Company founder Dick Geary was working for United Outdoor Advertising when, in 1969, he was approached by Col. Tom Parker and asked if he’d be interested in handling the advertising for Presley’s upcoming U.S. tour. This was just as Presley was about to start his famed comeback run at the International. Geary (naturally) said yes, and Presley was signed as the company’s first client.

And, on the topic of Parker, a friend of the column (and in real life) is Col. Tom’s widow, Loanne Parker. She’s a Las Vegas resident and something of a scenester, frequently at Frankie Moreno’s show at the Stratosphere. Seventy-eight years after his birth, all we’re missing is Elvis himself … but we can feel him, still, all over town.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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