I'd learned about the existence of a 8 MM home movie made in Hawaii, 1961, when Ray Walker of Jordanaires fame, headlined together with Scotty and DJ at the millennium party, friends and I had put together in Amsterdam, nearly 10 years ago. Ray made mention of the home movie, during one of our conversations in his dressing room. Unlimited bought the rights to have the footage released on the DVD as part of the Inside Blue Hawaii box, released last week. Was it worth waiting for, all these years?
It would have, had the original 8mm film been used for DVD transfer... What we get now looks like a transfer made to video, some 30-40 years ago by Ray. Resulting in a washed out picture, missing a lot of detail that surely was on the 8mm original. A lot of holiday home movies had gone that way when video became the fashion... The same has happened to my 1977 concert footage. But that's a different story.
What has happened to the original 8mm footage? I guess we have to settle for what's on the DVD now... It's about 15 minutes Running-time in total. Lots of beach scenery, The Jords fooling around, a bit of hula girls dancing and pig roasting at a party, breakfast with Tom Diskin on the hotel balcony... The usual holiday stuff... Nice but forgettable.
Where does Elvis come in, I hear you ask? Yes, he's in the movie... about 2 minutes long, in a white dinner jacket rehearsing a scene, while people walk on and off the film location, including (of course!) the mighty Colonel. The best piece is where Elvis, surrounded by policemen, leaves the location. Even in watered down picture quality, he still looks damn kool.
The musical Lu-Wow Of The Year!
The DVD starts off with a lengthy movie trailer for the movie. Lovely kitsch slogans such as "His Greatest Sunshine Hits" and "The Musical Lu- Wow Of The Year". They don't write poetry like that anymore. The trailer (excellent quality) is followed by Elvis' arrival at the airport, beefed up with nice photographs. And audio plus photos of the award presentation and some other bits and pieces... Nicely done, but not spectacular.
There's a vinyl 45 included with the radio interview that's been out before, and a newly found and previously unreleased message for his Aussie fans... Message, not an interview.
The 3rd bonus in the box is a genuine plastic 'thingy' you can hang around your neck while browsing through the goodies... It's tacky. My cat loves to drag it around the house. Tacky, but Colonel like fun.
(Prelimenary cover art)
The real meat, of course is the photo book itself. With informative text by Megan Murphy and introduction by Sid Tepper, of Tepper and Bennet fame. One hundred and twelve glossy pages with some 300 mostly color photos. Many new to my eyes. Great many recording session shots, recording logs, original stereo tape box, all courtesy of Mr. Blondie.
And one can actual read the printed and hand written info featured on the paperwork. There's also the handwritten list of songs for the concert, lots of rare worldwide Blue Hawaii memorabilia, studio photo sessions used for the album cover, and other promotional activities. There's a lot to drool over. Printing is excellent and the design by Kenneth Dokkeberg top notch.
And last: The gift box is fully illustrated, front, back and sides. Like it was made back in 1961.
Ger Rijff is author and publisher of the original Inside series with titles as Inside Jailhouse Rock, Inside Loving You and Inside King Creole (among others).