Presented with a media blast is the 3 DVD Elvis themed Ed Sullivan box set. Is it worth all the attention?
The five panel digipack comes in a very shiny slipcase with a 3D look. Inside the look is very modern, with a very metal like print. The box contains the track listing for easy browsing to the Elvis parts while the booklet contains the detailed background information.
For the first time we can experience these historical performances as our 70 million (grand) parents did when these were images first shown, as part of an entertaining family show. We all know this material pretty much by heart, but experiencing the remastered audio and especially video makes it pretty much a new experience.
The video quality is very good regarding the source and already available kinescope material already available. Why have we been watching all those old and grainy images for all those years? The audio, both in stereo and 5.1 sound good, although I preferred the more natural old fashioned stereo over the surround sound.
We get three complete Ed Sullivan episodes – uncut and including all of the performers that appeared on the nights Elvis was on the show. This is what vintage TV lovers but especially Elvis fans like me have been waiting for; footage of Elvis in his young Rock And Roll years performing “live”. You may say the shows themselves are a bit “cheesy” when viewed through our modern eyes, but everything fits in the historic perspective.
The extras appear to contain all the possible snippets of the show and early announcements regarding Elvis’ performances or little pieces of Elvis regarding Ed Sullivan, like material from 1966 in which Elvis and Colonel Parker congratulate Ed Sullivan. Someone dug deep into the archives of the show and Graceland showing us some memorabilia with a link to the show and New York. Fun to have for the collectors among us. The other extras are interviews with people from the show and Elvis’ entourage (like home movies from Jerry Schilling). But for me the best item is the button which plays just Elvis’ performances :-).
We had a complete Sinatra “Welcome Home Elvis” show, now we have the second big show complete. All we have to do now is to wait for the release of the Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey's Stage Shows. Looking at the “Aloha” and “’68 Comeback” packages we can perhaps expect a single disc release in the future so stores that don’t store box sets can present this material too. But for us fans, this is the box to have; if we want Elvis we just press the “play Elvis” button.
Not often history is rewritten, but this box does just that. Watch Elvis make history as your (grand) parents did 50 years ago, almost in “today’s” quality.