Thirty years ago, alone and adrift in Graceland, dismissed by some as fat and over 40, Elvis Presley embarked on the ultimate career make-over.

By the time he died on August 16, 1977, Elvis had revolutionized popular music, starred in over 30 Hollywood movies and reinvented himself in Las Vegas as a kind of all-American superhero, the iconic man in the gilded jumpsuit.

But the next phase was arguably just as big and has run longer.

As fans gather next week in Memphis, Tennessee, to mark the 30th anniversary of Presley's death in what backers have dubbed the The Summer of Elvis, it is clear that The King is still taking care of business.

Thousands of Elvis devotees are expected to make the pilgrimage for a packed calendar of events endorsed by Elvis Presley Enterprises, the firm that manages his lucrative estate.

We're gearing up for the best Elvis Week we've ever had, spokesman Todd Morgan said.

For a start, there is the Elvis Expo at the Memphis convention center that features sold-out appearances by members of Presley's TCB Band and former wife, Priscilla Presley.

There are tours of the Presley birthplace just down Highway 78 in Tupelo, Mississippi, including the hardware store where his mother, Gladys, bought Elvis his first guitar.

The main event is an overnight candlelight vigil at Graceland that will be covered live by the all-Elvis-all-the-time Elvis Radio channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. Some 50,000 fans are expected to attend.

Elvis-branded merchandise abounds, including a new banana-creme-flavored Reese's Peanut Butter Cup from The Hershey Co. that encourages buyers to Live Like The King, with a playful nod to Presley's own well-documented penchant for excess.

Other anniversary spin-offs include a limited-edition run of Elvis-themed Harley-Davidson motorcycles and what is billed as a first-of-its kind, robotic singing bust of Elvis, circa 1968.

Former pop-star Marie Osmond, who knew Presley, is selling a limited-edition doll that imagines an infantile Elvis in pompadour, clutching a microphone and sporting his familiar American-eagle-themed jumpsuit.

For farther-flung fans, two-dozen Elvis movies are being re-released on DVD, including deluxe editions of Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas, and cable channel TV Land has dedicated a month to Presley programming.


Colonel Tom Parker, the Dutch-born wheeler-dealer who managed Presley, said that while Elvis, the man, had passed away, the legend -- and the marketing -- would live on.

Elvis didn't die. The body did, Parker was quoted as saying 30 years ago. This changes nothing.

Forbes magazine ranks Presley as the second-highest-earning dead celebrity after Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, with an estimated $42 million from licensing deals in 2005-2006.

That represents a 40-fold increase in revenue since 1979, when Priscilla Presley stepped in as an executor of the estate after the death of Elvis' father, Vernon.

Since opening to the public in 1982, Graceland -- the ornately appointed Memphis mansion Elvis bought for $100,000 in 1957 -- has become a major tourist hub with some 600,000 visitors a year and more growth planned.

Entertainment mogul Robert Sillerman bought 85 percent of Elvis Presley Enterprises in 2005, with the remaining 15 percent of EPE owned by Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie.

Sillerman has described a vision for a new Graceland visitors center, convention hotel and digital museum intended to create the effect that Elvis never left the building.

As part of that transformation, Sillerman, who is chief executive of EPE parent company CKX Inc., is attempting to take the company private in a partnership with American Idol creator Simon Fuller.

In an Idol-style departure from its own tradition, the Presley estate has sponsored a contest for Elvis imitators -- rebranded as tribute artists -- culminating Friday in Memphis.

This is something new, said Joe Moscheo, a member of the gospel quartet the Imperials that played Las Vegas with Elvis and one of the Ultimate Elvis contest judges.

There have been impersonators of all shapes and sizes and nationalities for years, but the estate never recognized them. They didn't want anything to do with the guys with the wigs with the sideburns. They thought it cheapened the image, he said. Now they look at it and say, if they're going to be out there, let's control the thing.