Graceland is pleased that an agreement has been reached for Elvis’ two airplanes, the Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II to remain at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis permanently. The planes have been available for tours in the Graceland visitors’ center since 1984.
Both Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley tweeted that the two planes once owned by Elvis Presley will stay forever at Graceland.
Graceland released a statement Sunday saying the Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II, two custom-designed airplanes once owned by Presley, will remain permanently at the Memphis tourist attraction centered on the life and career of the late singer.
The announcement ends confusion about the future of the planes, once used by the King for travel to performances after he bought them in the 1970s.
The larger plane, a Convair 880 named after Presley's daughter Lisa Marie, is like a customized flying limousine, complete with a large bed, a stereo system, conference room and gold-plated bathroom fixtures. It was renovated after Presley bought it from Delta Air Lines. Presley took his first flight on it in November 1975.
When Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, Presley's pilot flew the Lisa Marie to California to pick up Presley's ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, to bring her back to Memphis.
The smaller jet, a JetStar named the Hound Dog II, was also used by Presley. The planes were sold after Presley's death, and they were eventually purchased by a company called OKC Partnership.
OKC Partnership and Graceland agreed to park the planes at Graceland in the mid-1980s, and tours of their opulent interiors became popular with visitors. Their agreement called for OKC Partnership to receive a cut of ticket sales in return for keeping the planes at Graceland. But the fate of the planes became cloudy last year. In an April 7, 2014, letter to OKC Partnership, Elvis Presley Enterprises said it was exercising its option to end the agreement and asked OKC "to make arrangements for the removal of the airplanes and the restoration of the site on or shortly after April 26, 2015."
Fans responded with critical postings on Priscilla Presley's Facebook page. She answered fans by asking them to "please calm down."
Earlier this month, Shelby County's land use board approved a proposal by OKC Partnership to move the planes to a lot not far from Graceland. The plan called for the planes to be installed as an outdoor display and museum for tourists to visit. The plan was approved Tuesday by the Memphis City Council.
It seemed like the planes were destined to move after the council vote. But Graceland's statement on Sunday appeared to end such plans.
"Graceland is pleased that an agreement has been reached for Elvis' two airplanes, the Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II to remain at Elvis Presley's Graceland in Memphis permanently," the statement said.
Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, said on Twitter that Graceland now owns the planes and they will remain at Graceland "4 ever."
"We own them and have fun plans 4 them as well," she said on Twitter. She did not elaborate further.
OKC Partnership declined immediate comment Sunday.
(Source: Lisa Marie Presley / Priscilla Presley / Associated Press)