DJ Legend Bill Randle Dead At 81

Bill Randle, one of the most influential, star-making disc jockeys of the 1950s and 1960s died Friday. He was 81. Bill was pivotal in bringing Elvis Presley to the ears of America and was the host for Elvis' first TV appearance on the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show on Jan 28th, 1956. Introducing Elvis, Bill said; "We'd like at this time to introduce to you a young fellow, who like many performers, Johnnie Ray among them, come up out of nowhere to be overnight very big stars. This young fellow we met for the first time while making a movie short. We think tonight that he's going to make television history for you. We'd like you to meet him now - Elvis Presley. And here he is!". After a concert in 1955, referring to Elvis, Bill said : "This guy is going to be the biggest star in America". The concert, one of two arranged by Randle in Cleveland in 1955 was filmed for the short film about Randle, "The Pied Piper Of Cleveland - A Day In The Life Of A Famous Disc Jockey". Appearing with Elvis were, Bill Haley & The Comets, The Four Lads and Pat Boone. Randle reportedly sold the film rights in 1992 for $1 million (an amount he later called "a lot of baloney.") Randle said there weren't any great projects left undone. Except one. "One book I'd like to see finished is 'The Selling of Elvis.' That deal's in place. My daughter's a writer, and she can finish that one. If she wants to." Randle had cancer and died at the Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland.
Source: Elvis Australia / Updated: Jul 11, 2004 
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Reactions

JC´ (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 15, 2004report abuse
Is bad news...Rest in peace Mr.Bill
I am Buffalo-Horn! (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 11, 2004report abuse
From what I can make out, the film was made, for economy, on "Reversal" film – that is Ektachrome, as used for used on the news. There is no negative, only the master that has gone thru the camera. I believe Bill edited it roughly together, showing a short portion on"Making a movie short" He considered the Elvis portion vulgar & kept all his shots as much as possible in wide-angle long shot. He may have worked with Elvis, but, listening to interviews with him, he held him in low esteem. As the film was made on the cheap with a news cameraman & no proper crew there were all sorts of union problems with releasing the film. Does the film still exist? Off camera, he told a BBC researcher interviewing him in the early 80's that it was in a bank! Don't ask me if he was telling the truth, but Gordon the reseacher felt he was being truthful. Maybe Bill's daughter is the person to chase up on this.
Rhythm55 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 11, 2004report abuse
Many years ago (early 70's) I asked Joan Deary to try to find "The Pied Piper Of Cleveland". She checked with Universal Studios in Hollywood but after searching they seemed to think it was destroyed by accident. I also contacted Bill Randle and he maintained he didn't have a copy. So far it has never surfaced.
Steve Grayson (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 11, 2004report abuse
Its sad to know that Bill Randle has passed away. he introduced Elvis on Tommy Dorsey shows. I send my comminserations and heart felt sympathy to his family at this sad period. Well hopefully - The Pied Piper of Cleveland will be released in the future that Bill had . I hope we will not have to wait too long to see this footage . Some one must own this footage somewhere .
Tony Clapson (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 11, 2004report abuse
We can only hope that one day we will get to see this film. In theory, it should exist somewhere. Unlike film, tape can be reused, which is explains the loss of so many fifties studio out-takes. This cannot be said for the Cleveland film, the only way to get rid of it would have been to destroy it, but I cannot see why anyone would do this. The mystery goes on!
SendToTodd (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 11, 2004report abuse
Fan clubs across Europe, ours included, have spent years trying to get Bill to part with his "Pied Piper" movie, but the excuses varied from "I've Sold It", and "I've lost it". I think for some reason Dr. Bill was ashamed of it. If anyone knows what happened to the movie short I would love to know.

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