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Channeling Elvis

July 17, 2014 | Book

Channeling Elvis: How Television Saved the King of Rock 'n' Roll" is the first in-depth look at all of the television shows Elvis did. It is based on more than 35 fresh interviews with people who were there, many hours of reviewing all of the TV footage and more hours of concert footage. It will be published by Beats & Measures Press LLC around late September, in plenty of time for Christmas and the King's big 80th birthday bash on January 8, 2015

Natha wrote on July 17, 2014
All popular stars depend(ed) on television, so what's new here?
AllenW wrote on July 18, 2014
Hi Natha, Thanks for your question. I think you will find much that is new in "Channeling Elvis." For example, I found that his appearance on "The Steve Allen Show," long considered a public humiliation, has never been related accurately. Several interviews with Steve Allen, his writers, director, and producer, and members of Elvis' entourage, including Gordon Stoker of the Jordanaires, Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana and others reveals a very different account from what has widely been reported. Similarly, the convoluted, botched history of "Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii" has never been told before, but it is here, in two chapters, based on new interviews with producer/director Marty Pasetta, his staff and members of Elvis' band. I have not seen any detailed examination of "Elvis In Concert," his final TV appearance, anywhere in print, but it occupies three chapters in my book, again based on first hand interviews with those who were there. This is the first time the full story behind that special, how and why it came about, and how it was finally taped and edited is told. There are four chapters that take an entirely fresh look at the legendary 1968 "comeback" special, "Elvis," taken from my interviews with Steve Binder, Bones Howe, Bob Finkel and, again, Scotty, D.J and others who were there. There are new stories from behind the scenes at all of his shows, including accounts of how much the Dorsey Brothers despised Elvis' performances. The repeatedly begged Jackie Gleason to kick Elvis off the show, but Gleason rejected them and told them that Elvis was the only thing boosting their ratings. There were also some interesting events during the production of the Frank Sinatra show that Elvis appeared on when he returned from army service, including an amusing confrontation between Sinatra and the Colonel. The book takes an equally fresh look at all of the TV shows, includes connecting chapters to account for other events and developments in Elvis' life and career between the shows, presents a new view them through the unique lens of television, and provides new perspectives on Elvis from those who were close to him and those who only worked with him during the TV shows. Naturally, I have supplemented my interviews with careful viewing of all footage from every show Elvis appeared on, including all available outtakes, many hours of concert footage, both concert documentary films, including outtake footage, and existing literature and original documents. I hope you'll find the book a new, rewarding experience for Elvis fans and anyone interested in him, his career, or the histories of TV and rock music. Best regards, Allen