|THE ELVIS FILES VOLUME 4 (1965 - 1968)
A review of the latest edition in the "Elvis Files" series of books
By Lee Dawson
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As you open the front cover, Elvis from the 68 special greets you along with text with the headline,
“THE MOMENT OF TRUTH” and a glimpse at what that show meant covers both the inside front and rear
covers of the book. Some great images from the special, a full page colour photo from ‘Frankie & Johnny’
and other images as we are taken through the credits & acknowledgements.
We get an introduction from author Erik Loretnzen, entitled “From Harem Holiday To Guitar Man”.
The book starts properly with some cool publicity photo’s and a part adapted from Fortas’ book
“From Memphis To Hollywood” with the headline, “Elvis 65: While The Beatles Rocked, The King
Then we get on with February 24 to April 19, 1965 with a look at “Harum Scarum” and along with
informative text we get plenty of great photos which include shots on the set, stills from the movie and
of course some beautiful publicity shots and the ever present and always welcome candid snaps.
In the middle of the “Harum Scarum” section we get to see more candid snaps including some taken of
Elvis and singer Johnny Rivers are riding motorbikes around LA, plus publicity photos taken of Elvis at
Graceland on March 1st ’65 by Charles Nicholas of the Commercial Appeal, where we learn from Nicholas
how Elvis told of the long photo sessions with Hollywood cameramen in the creation of publicity stills, “I try
to cut the time down to three or four hours,” said Elvis, “but sometimes you have to pose for 6 or 8 hours.
A man only has so many different smiles and I don’t have many.”
I call this series of books “The King of Books! Fit For The King!” and with the latest edition which was released on August 16th, is Volume 4 keeping up
Volume 4 (it’s actually the 3rd release in the series) focuses on all things Elvis in the years 1965 to 1968 inside the 570 pages. Just like the previous 2
releases (Volumes 2 & 3) we are treated to some gloriously rare and unseen pictures. It’s simply amazing how many unseen pictures Erik Lorentzen brings
to us in these books.
We then get some more candids and then back to “Harum Scarum” with photos and articles from the period. Next stop on the journey is “Frankie &
Johnny” and “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” with tons of cool images and an article by EIN’s Piers Beagly with the long header reading “The Beatles were
recording Rubber Soul, Bob Dylan was writing Like a Rolling Stone, and Elvis was singing Queenie Wahine’s Papaya, which really sums up just how
far removed Elvis was from the music scene. We are also given an example from articles at the time which show he was becoming joke within the business.
There is also a transcript of the moment UK Pop star Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits) met Elvis on the set of “P,HS”. I’ve always liked the “Doofers” part
where Elvis seemed to be in good humour.
August 27th 1965 and we’re at 525 Perugia Way, Bel Air, California for the moment Elvis Presley met the Beatles. It should have been a meeting that
would make the million dollar quartet look like loose change, but tragically there were no recordings made of the 10pm till 2am meeting of these two goliaths
of 20th Century music. We do get the usual 4 snaps of the courtyard as the Beatles were leaving which are accompanied by the article by New Musical
Express reporter, Chris Hutchins, first published in the NME on September 3, 1965 on how he got to set up the meeting between the King and the Four lads
Onto 1966 and we get some candid photos taken at Graceland during the snow fall but its
soon back to Hollywood as we see before continuing the movie-years with Spinout, which
has photo after photo plus some great candid’s.
We also get some photos from the Elvis Gold Limo Tour. Of course we see the usual
photo of Elvis, Larry Geller & Parker by the car, but we also get a full page photo of Elvis
and 3 lovelies from the “Spinout” movie standing by the car which I can’t recall seeing
before? But then, by the time you get to that page (95) you will have already seen 232
pictures of Elvis (many being rare & unseen) and yet there is still more than 400 pages to
And so we say farewell to “Spinout” with a few more unusual photos and then get a
couple of pages of Elvis visiting his Mother’s grave at Forest Hill Cemetery and some
images of Elvis with a blonde haired Priscilla standing in the Meditation Garden at
Graceland. “Double Trouble” follows and again we get to see some great on set photos
during the making of the movie and an article from Middlesboro Daily News (September 8,
1966) reporting on how English teenager, Annette Day was working on her father’s stall
in London’s famous market on Portobello Road.
A couple of original press reviews from the time give alternate headlines, “Double
Trouble: Best Of Elvis’ Recent Outings” to “Double Trouble Typical Presley”. A
few photos then take us to “Easy Come, Easy Go” which again we are taken on a
pictorial journey through the movie and behind the scenes.
As 1967 progresses we take a look at Elvis’ “Circle G” and then we go to the movie that
took Elvis to a new low, “Clambake”. My colleague, Piers Beagley from EIN is back with
the article “The Trouble With Elvis (And How He Started To Get Out Of It).” Keeping
with “Clambake”, we are treated to 17 unseen (by me anyway) photos from the
wardrobe department (image right).
The next 16 pages are taken up with the wedding, reception, press call, honeymoon and the 2nd reception held at
Graceland for family, friends and employees. Speedway is covered next and it’s nice to see the photo used by
Tunzi on the back cover of his “Speedway” book being published the correct way round this time.
There are a huge amount of photo’s used for “Speedway” and as with many photos used, these feature many
new to my eyes. The crazy, zany antics of the movie, “Stay Away, Joe” brings 1967 to a close with Elvis looking
pretty damn cool in his cowboy hat and denims.
And so onto 1968 which starts out at page 267 and closing out on page 560...Erik has given us a massive 293
pages all on 1968 and over 100 of those pages are all on the 68 TV Special, Glorious! But before we get to the
special or even the last of the movies, 1968 starts with the birth of Lisa Marie Presley on February 1st and we get
to see 15 pictures of Elvis, Cilla & baby Lisa including a news report from the Memphis Press-Scimitar. Then there’
s pictures of Elvis on his horse riding around the grounds of Graceland and mixing with the fans at the gate,
signing autographs etc.
“Live a Little, Love a Little” is up next with some great photos and a review from Alan Hanson and a newspaper
review from ’68. Moving on next is those photos of Elvis and Priscilla meeting Welsh warbler Tom Jones at the
Flamingo Hotel in Vegas, followed by several pages of fan photos snapping Elvis coming and going in April & May ’
68 including the Hawaiian vacation in May/June.
Ladies & Gentlemen… “Singer Presents Elvis”, we get pictures from the recording sessions, press conference,
rehearsals, promotional photos and not forgetting the historic, legendary special itself… all the pictures you could ever want from the 1968 TV Special are
in this book! Another thrill is after reading so many critical newspaper reports about the films, it’s great to read the positive press reports about the special!
It’s then time for “a different type of Elvis” ... “a different type of role” ... that of course is “Charro” and we get to see Elvis as the bearded one, but looking
every part the rough and tough Cowboy. There’s a lot of focus on “Charro” including the famous nude scene which was cut from the movie. Some more
Candid moments are up next, followed by an article from ’68, “On The Set Of Charro! With Elvis” and then we slide into movie “The Trouble With Girls”,
Which is given another review from Alan Hanson. Amongst the many photos is an interview with Elvis’ Co-star ‘Marlyn Mason’. On page 502 we see a great
photo of Elvis with Arnold Peyser (co-writer of the movie) as they go through the script and we get a really funny story to go with the image.
As the book comes to an end we see more photo’s from “The Trouble With Girls” up
until page 520 when the photos change over to more and more great candid photos
taken by the fans. On page 541 we see a great headline and one Elvis really did need
to do... “Elvis Will Make More Personal Appearances”, a newspaper article from
the ‘Memphis Commercial Appeal’ on December 1st. Candid after candid brings us to
the end of the book which does end on December 31st 1968 with a picture of Elvis in
his car on the way to the Thunderbird Lounge in Memphis, which he hired for
$2.250.00 to hold a New Years Eve party.
THE ELVIS FILES VOLUME 4: The Final Verdict:
Erik Lorentzen has once again provided us with a book that shows all other books how
it should be done. These books provide us with amazing photographs, recording
session information, film credits and more. This and the previous volumes are the best,
Erik Lorentzen has given everything to ensure “The Elvis Files” is the greatest Elvis
pictorial biography series ever and he is succeeding with each and every volume that
he releases. But he does not try to do this on his own, Erik has brought together a real
top team of researchers from the Elvis World including Paul Richardson as General
Editor, who must also receive high praise because the editing and the layout for this,
and the others in the series are simply excellent.
The standard has been set and now it’s down to all other Elvis books to try and
compete with the unrivalled quality of “The Elvis Files” series. I’ve said before and I’ll
say again, these books are expensive (around £60.00 each), however, when you
compare the price of other books which are much thinner in content, lower in quality
and yet sell for around $40 or the latest FTD CD/Book “Fashion For A King” (review
coming soon) which consists of 508 pages with an £80.00 price tag. So, for 570 pages
packed with more than a thousand photos, professionally written, edited and compiled,
£60.00 for “The Elvis Files” really is value for money.
Thank you Erik and the team for bringing us a series of books that really are worthy of
the King himself.
|COMING NEXT FROM THE ELVIS FILES
Volume 5 19691970
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