56 years after the first broadcast of Sinatra's "Welcome Home Elvis" show and 41 years after ABC is said to have discarded the original master videotape, a high-quality source of the soundtrack for the Frank Sinatra-hosted 1960 Timex special has finally been located.
The special, officially titled "It's Nice to Go Traveling", was Sinatra's last for the network, and was conceived as a vehicle to welcome home Elvis Presley, who was returning from Germany, after his separation from the service. Reviews of the show were generally positive, and the highlight of the program was the once-in-a-lifetime pairing of the The Chairman of the Board and The King, as they performed a duet of each other's hits-- "Love Me Tender" and "Witchcraft."
These important performances by Elvis have been released officially over the years but always in sub-standard audio quality.
Two different kinescopes were made before the master tape was wiped but both had technical faults and the only surviving record of the broadcast are very low-quality copies of those films. While many of the video issues can be solved with a professional transfer of a print of the "good" kinescope, and the application of LiveFeed Video Imaging, the indifferent quality of the surviving audio has been a sticking point. And having now heard one, I can confidently state that this program is vastly helped by having a high-fidelity soundtrack source, which allows everyone to experience the nuances of each singer's vocalizations and Nelson Riddle's marvelous arrangements.
There was no soundtrack recording released at the time the program was broadcast, and indeed, the idea of coordinating a deal that included Col. Tom Parker, Frank Sinatra's Hobart Productions, Capitol Records and RCA Records seems mind-boggling. However, the discovery of over 45 minutes of the program's soundtrack on a double-sided 12" acetate have now made a full restoration of the program possible - These were auctioned on Ebay back in November and sold for US$3,500.
In addition to the video program itself, the soundtrack find also adds two new song masters to both Elvis' discography (his live-in-the-studio performance of "Fame & Fortune" and "Stuck on You") and Frank's holdings (his solo versions of "Witchcraft" and "Gone With the Wind") as well as the historic duet between the two singing legends. Presumably, once all of the details are worked out between the various corporate concerns, a separate CD version of the soundtrack would also be contemplated.