Yukon News

Elvis emerges from Dragon’s Den unscathed

John Thompson Friday November 19, 2010

CBC Dragons Den/Yukon News

ARTSelvis

Yukon's Elvis Presley faces the panel on CBC telvision's business-contest show, The Dragon's Den. The episode airs on Wednesday, November 24.

Yukon’s own Elvis Presley appears on Dragon’s Den on November 24.

“He did awesome,” said Molly Duignan, a producer with the popular CBC television program, in which entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to cranky corporate titans.

A full segment of the show features Elvis - not just a snippit, said Duignan.

Most Yukoners will need no introduction to Presley, born Gilbert Nelles, who claims that ever since a UFO struck him with a beam of light in 1986 he has possessed the soul of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

He legally changed his name to Elvis Aaron Presley after the incident. He has released two albums, performed with Chubby Checker in Las Vegas and has been the subject of a documentary film, The Elvis Project.

Soon, he will have an appearance on national television added to his list of accomplishments.

The segment was filmed in May, when Presley, with bandmates Jesse Peter and Ray Ladue, flew to Toronto.

None of his stories are complete without a mystical vision. This one is no exception.

Presley, 54, hadn’t visited Toronto in at least 25 years. He was overwhelmed by the crowds, the traffic and the noise.

“It was a zoo,” he said. He checked into the Royal York Hotel and tried to get some rest.

“At 5 a.m., my soul was doing flip-flops. I don’t know whether it was nerves or what. My body went into convulsions.”

So Presley did what he always does to calm down. He took a bath.

“Water seems to dissipate and mellow out the energy,” he said.

In the tub, Presley closed his eyes. A vision of the room in which Dragon’s Den is filmed emerged. “It was huge,” he said.

From the darkness loomed the face of one of the show’s snarky characters: Jim Treliving, chairman and owner of Boston Pizza International.

Calmed by this, Presley prepared for his big day. He nearly choked on a carrot muffin that gummed up his new dentures. “It was so dry,” he said, “I almost died.”

Upon entering the CBC building, he was given a tour. When he saw the Dragon’s Den stage, “it was exactly as I had seen,” said Presley.

Before filming, Peter noted to Presley that, on a monitor, they could see the dragons rehearsing put-downs aimed at Presley. All the lines were variations on, “You’re a nutbar.”

Presley was undeterred. “This is my one chance to speak to the world,” he said.

He fired up the backup music on his Apple laptop and hit the stage in his full regalia. In a white jumpsuit with rhinestones twinkling, black cape atwirl, and sang one of his originals, Country Child.

It was a hit, he said.

“The whole world is going to be lit up. It’s history being made. I spoke to the whole world.”

After the singing stopped, the grilling began. The dragons mocked the existence of aliens and UFOs. Presley stared them down, he said, offering a description of aliens (small with big eyes) before asking if they wanted to see “the chunk they took out of my leg.”

They did.

At some point, Presley got around to his business pitch: for $58,000, an investor can buy “everything that’s connected to me,” including his artwork, merchandise and music.

Presley won’t disclose whether any dragons took the bait. To find out, you’ll have to watch the show tonight.

However, he will volunteer that several dragons were impressed by paintings Presley had brought along. One dragon later bought one.

And when the inevitable “nutbar” insult came, Presley took it in stride, suggesting that the dragons invest in a nougat chocolate bar bearing his name.

As he backed off stage, singing another original, he looked at Treliving. Sure enough, “his face was looking at me exactly like in the bath tub.”

Contact John Thompson at

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4 Comments

northerneratheart wrote:
12:05am Saturday November 27, 2010

I remember Elvis used o hang out in Watson Lake..Way to Go ELVIS:)

glenndarling wrote:
1:17am Saturday November 20, 2010

While watching the promo segment for Dragon’s Den last Wednesday night, a bearded Elvis impersonator flashed on the screen for a few seconds. I immediately turned to my dear wife Nancy and exclaimed…“holy spit, that’s Gilbert Nelles.” We left Yukon in 1994, after 14 years in the territory. One of the colourful characters I had crossed paths with was Gilbert. In fact I funded a business venture with him, selling his Yukon made brand of souvenirs. It was a couple of years before we left that he took on the Tagish Elvis role. I guess the name change came after we left Whitehorse. In the past 16 years we have not seen or heard from him, that is until the Dragon’s Den promo the other night. Good on you Gilbert! Nice to see you still have an imagination as big as all outdoors. Next time you see my dear mother, Ida Calmegan, when you are back in Tagish, please sing “That’s Alright Momma” to her from her adoring son. You can email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and let me know you were successful.

kathlojo wrote:
12:12am Saturday November 20, 2010

Hilarious comment “YukonTJ”!

YukonTJ wrote:
11:34pm Friday November 19, 2010

That “Colorful 5%” of the Yukon: This guy accounts for 4 1/2 of those percentage points!

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