In the end, two men saved Elvis On Tour: 75th Anniversary Celebration. One hero was who you might expect, while the other was quite unlikely.
By the time I arrived at the movie theater this evening, I was finally excited about Elvis On Tour again. I managed to get my favorite seat – top row, middle – and was ready to enjoy some Elvis.
On screen before the presentation were Elvis trivia tidbits. One card noted, for example, that Elvis On Tour recouped its production cost after three days of its 1972 theatrical release.
When the main features started, the fairly large cinema was full. Up first were the expected commercials: Visit Graceland, go to Elvis Week, see the Viva Elvis production in Vegas, take an Elvis cruise, and, oh yeah, listen to the Elvis 75 4-CD set. A commercial for the Viva Elvis album was surprisingly well assembled and featured “Also Sprach Zarathustra.”
Finally, a behind-the-scenes documentary for Elvis On Tour began. It featured contemporary interviews with Priscilla Presley, Jerry Schilling, and others. It was the kind of interesting “making of” documentary I’ve become accustomed to watching on Blu-rays and DVDs that don’t feature Elvis.
Since Elvis On Tour is an Elvis movie, though, this kind of special feature material will of course not be included in Tuesday’s release. It’s a shame, too, because the documentary was actually quite good. Oddly enough, Tuesday’s DVD and Blu-ray release of Elvis On Tour was one of the few products not advertised tonight. How could they overlook that opportunity? Wasn’t that the whole point of tonight? There was, however, one last plug to remind you to visit Graceland.
Elvis On Tour: 75th Anniversary Celebration hit theaters on July 29, 2010
Once the behind-the-scenes documentary and commercials ended – with none of the previously unreleased Elvis footage that has been advertised for weeks – the actual movie began. The lead-off song was, indeed, “Don’t Be Cruel” rather than “Johnny B. Goode.” Bad editing and all. What an amateurish way to start the movie.
The audience here was mostly quiet at first until . . .
. . . the elderly man talking about the freight elevator came on screen!
I’m not kidding! The audience instantly began to roar with laughter as he described in monotone how Elvis would come through one door, then another, and take a freight elevator.
I found myself laughing, too, but I couldn’t believe the reaction at first – then I realized . . . these people have been suffering through this scene for just as long – or longer – than I have. For years, we Elvis fans have been watching this man. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m glad they didn’t cut him out. There’s something comforting about knowing he’s still there to show us how it all works.
From that point on, the atmosphere was charged – there was a lot more applause, singing along, and overall excitement in the crowd. It began to feel almost like I was at a real concert. Almost like Elvis was there.
You see, despite the many mistakes that Warner Home Video and Elvis Presley Enterprises have made over the years, Elvis always wins in the end. These people may not deserve to have Elvis as a “client,” yet he saves them every time.
Would I have gone to the theater tonight if there was no promise of previously unreleased footage? Of course, and I’d be willing to bet everyone else would have, too. My anger comes not from the lack of footage, but from the lack of respect for fans.
I was pretty sure the “never-before-seen Elvis tour scenes” thing would turn out to be false. I was really hoping I was wrong. You didn’t have to mislead us, Warner Home Video, Elvis Presley Enterprises, and Fathom Events. We would’ve been there anyway. Don’t you get it?
There is no excuse.
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Elvis On Tour Countdown: 5 days until Elvis On Tour (2010 Cruel Edit) Blu-ray and DVD releases
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For more information (official sites):
Selected posts about Elvis On Tour from The Mystery Train:
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Original image courtesy of Goodman Media International, Inc. Used with permission.