During our visit to Memphis we met Elvis-collector Sherif Hanna and arranged to have an email interview with him. We'd like to thank Sherif for his cooperation and are glad we can give some background information on the latest FTD-release, The Way It Was.
Can you tell us in short about your "Elvis history", what made you start collecting?
Growing up in the sixties I can recall listening to Elvis on the radio and of course watching reruns of his movies on television. Elvis was always number one with me. As the years went by and as Elvis began to change his look and style in the late sixties, Elvis became even more intriguing. The high collar wardrobe, the jewelry, the look, and of course his spectacular singing voice... it was something totally new and refreshing. This is what eventually lead to my collecting many of Elvis' costumes and personal wardrobe.
As with all Elvis enthusiasts, Elvis' passing left a huge void in my life. The only way to partially fill that was to continue to be active in the collecting aspect. This has lead to what has become a huge twenty something year effort of acquiring vintage film footage, personal effects, vintage negatives, film outtakes rare original tapes, etc. So if anyone reading has any rare stuff in their closet.... just kidding.
In the new book "That's The Way It Was" your collection of TTWII images was used. Can you tell us something about the background of this co-operation with Ernst Jorgensen & Co?
I had acquired many negatives for “That’s The Way It Is” years back and had always hoped to share them with others somehow. With the remake of the movie it presented a golden opportunity to do just that. And who better to do this project with other than the most knowledgeable Elvis historian around, Ernst Jorgensen. Ernst, as you know, worked on the remake of the movie and thus had tremendous info to offer. It was then suggested to do a book/CD combo and release the package through the FTD label. It took some effort to get the whole concept together, this being our first joint venture. There were several issues to resolve, ranging from music track selection, clearance issues, and finally which shots to use. There were several hundred to choose from. I think that was the most difficult part of the whole project. It's hard to find a "bad" shot of Elvis in 1970.
More specific about the book: does the book meet your expectations, or would you do things differently when you would release a book yourself?
As with any new venture, it becomes a learning process that gets refined with future projects. Input and critique are a welcome thing. That's how we get to know what people expect. But overall I must say that Ernst Jorgensen and Roger Semon did a splendid job on the book/CD package.
Have you any plans ready for future books or other releases? And if so, what would be the theme / subject?
It's a bit too early to tell what is in store for the future. We will wait and see how this project is received by the Elvis world. There is much material ranging from Elvis' childhood through the late 70's that exists on film negative as well as motion picture film element which can be used on projects, IF THE DEMAND IS THERE!!
Perhaps some time in the future, we can go in to further detail on that. Whatever the future may hold, ElvisNews.com will have the first breaking story. (Ed. Thank you!)
Okay, let's go to our default questions, what, in general, is your favorite Elvis stuff?
Favorite Elvis stuff.... I like it all!! I must say I have a bit of a soft spot for Elvis in the early days...anything from that era is always a favorite. I must tell you, sometime back I ran into a squiggly patterned shirt which Elvis wore on the “Love Me Tender”- publicity photo shoot (front cover of British release of “Elvis’Christmas Album”), and that was dynamite. I guess you can say anything different or rare is the cool stuff .
Name your favourite Elvis album.
My favorite Elvis album.... that's a tough one to answer. I would say the American sound studio sessions in 69. In my opinion Elvis' voice was at its peak.
What is your favorite Elvis site?
Where all the Elvis news is at first.. ElvisNews.com where else!!! (Ed. Thank you!)