View Full Version : 1969, why didn't they...

12-18-2004, 07:57 PM
Yesterday i watched the TTWII SE dvd (again) and i always found it very strange that they didn't do this movie in 1969! After the big succes of his '68 comeback they should have made this movie in 1969, if they did that the demand of Elvis in concert and his records would be a lot bigger than they were than. Elvis was at his very best, gave some his finest performances in that year. They even didn't took some decent photgraphs of these fantastic concerts, very strange cause it's Elvis' comeback in live performing. I believe that the old colonel really hadn't a clue how big Elvis was and how important this comeback was for Elvis. Maybe he was afraid of the reactions from the press and the crowd? That his man couldn't do it anymore? Man, why didn't Elvis look for a better manager in mid 60's, he knew that his records weren't selling anymore and that his movies were below standards, yet he was loyal to the man and made even worse movies from 1967 on..
But back to the Vegas show(s) from 1969..if Elvis had a different manager at that time, this man would do anything to get the networks into the showroom and make this THE event of the year! with all the new recorded songs, some of his very best, our man would have scored a few number 1 hits more in that year, it is a big mistery that only Suspicious Minds reached for that number 1 spot, even the critics said that Elvis recorded his best material in that '69 sessions and performed at his peak of his powers. But no...the colonel waited a full year to capture the Elvis Live experience..and at that time the show was slowed down a bit and it never reached that high level of a -kick *** -show as in 1969. And the only right thing the colonel did was the Aloha show, beamed around the world. But at that show Elvis made some crucial mistakes..he choose a very tamed setlist, with some strange choices..it was to much Vegas, altough i love those big Vegas numbers. I really think Elvis had to stick to his 1972 repetoire and showed who was really the king.
So what do you think..did the colonel made the biggest mistake in the career of Elvis? for me the answer is: YES.
Everything the colonel did right in the 50's and early 60's, he did the everything wrong in 1969 and maybe also in 1968, he wanted to do a christmas special with only christmas songs performed by our man..that's even worse than let's say..harem scarum? or double trouble? .. just to name 2 movies that are far below standards (but there are a lot of fans in the world that are very happy with these movies)
Hope to get some reactions on this one...

12-18-2004, 08:24 PM
We now know that his return was a huge triumph, but there was no guarantee that it was going to be. Perhaps the Colonel wanted to make sure Elvis was going to be well received in Las Vegas before capturing the event on film. He probably remembered what happened in 1956 and wanted to exercise caution. Sure, times had changed, but it was likely still seen as a gamble. I wish we had both seasons on film, rather than one or the other. Elvis' performances were more charged in 1969, but far more polished and with greater variety of songs in 1970.

12-19-2004, 10:21 AM
Whilst I would love to see some professional footage of Elvis during August 1969, I think back then the decision not to allow the cameras into the showroom was the correct one.

Elvis was under immense pressure, and the presence of the cameras in the showroom would have only added to this. It is also worth noting that the NBC TV Special from the previous year relied heavily on older material, and to a certain extent this idea was also used for the 1969 shows.

By August 1970 Elvis’ act had progressed and in addition to the new material he had recorded in the last couple of years, there were a number of new covers that were also added to the set list, and this showed Elvis as a progressive, contemporary artist rather than someone who was simply trading on past glories.

U.S. Male
12-19-2004, 06:39 PM
Lonnie you've raised a question that millions of Elvis fans have asked for years.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why any of the performances from 1969 were never filmed professionally, especially the opening show from July 31, 1969.

12-19-2004, 07:39 PM
I agree with many of the points made above by TJ and Rebel, and it was probably the success of the 1969 engagement that was a determining factor in a motion picture deal for the following years August Vegas engagement - a deal prior to that may not have even been considered lucrative by the film studios.

A 1969 equivalent of TTWII would of course have been fascinating to say the least, but would have also added imense additional pressure on Elvis at a time when success was by no means a foregone conclusion.

However, one would hope there is at least some sort of officially sanctioned footage of the 1969 opening engagement in existence, that may one day see the light of day. If there were no such footage, that would be inexcusable.

The audience shot 8mm footage alone evidences a dynamic and exciting Elvis performance by a guy at the top of his game - a game that would be even more polished by the same time the following year.

04-09-2005, 09:17 PM
I like both films as they currently stand, but I think that TTWII from August, 1969 (shot in the engagement's last week to minimize that stress mentioned above and to allow the setlist and performances to meld nicely) and On Tour from the November, 1971 tour woud have been totally mindblowing.

04-10-2005, 01:02 AM
I think this thread has been answered in a complete way still I would like to add some points. Although Elvis was very dynamic during his 1969 Las Vegas engagement it was still in an experimental stage. After being banned from the live scene for so many years you have to take the time to grow back to a certain level. Many viewers of the 1969 shows stated that Elvis was raw and untamed. And off course there are many out there who are longing for material from that specific period. Still it was a wise decision not to film it right away. Elvis needed to find out what his audience wanted from him and he needed to re-invent himself. He had to play, try, getting used to a Las Vegas audience and let them get used to him for he was something completely different there. There was always a chance he had to experience some setbacks. So this would be probably the worst time to set up camera's for they would paralyze him.

I think it's to us, how difficult it might be, to except the fact that not every inch of his life has been filmed no matter how excited it might have been for us.

As for the Colonel. His first mistake was to chain Elvis to long term Hollywood contracts in the fifties. From that moment on the cracks in his management would become visible. But we can say it because now we know how the story
went. We can look back at put a finger on every point that needed to be managed in another direction. It all academic now.

04-10-2005, 03:55 AM
As has been mentioned already on this thread, the success of Elvis' appearance was still dicey - that is one of the reasons why Barbara Sreisand was invited to open the hotel showroom - however badly we want to beleive that the canny Col. wanted the "bugs" to be sorted out before Elvis went on to perform:

There was evidence that Bill Miller the hotels A&R man was questioned on his judgement on signing Elvis to play at the International/ Vegas, even the intial contract for E was much less than he would earn later.Certainly MGM the last studio with connections to Elvis was not about to risk money filming a concert by a single artist for release as a movie -even RCA did not think of recording the concert which is even more amazing!

The only other major film musical project at that time was " Woodstock"- and I would guess that it was " Woodstock" and the amazing reaction to Elvis' shows from people all over the world that got the suit and ties at MGM thinking about TTWII- I seriously doubt it was the Colonel's idea as has been portrayed.

04-10-2005, 08:55 AM
Lonnie you've raised a question that millions of Elvis fans have asked for years.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why any of the performances from 1969 were never filmed professionally, especially the opening show from July 31, 1969.

In answer to your question I think it depends on the circumstances of the filming. If we are talking about a multi camera set up with the goal being to produce a ?TTWII? style performance documentary, then I would say that it made far more sense to wait until August 1970 because this took the pressure of Elvis and enabled him to get back into the swing of things before having to face the prospect of his shows being filmed.

Having said that, it does seem a little strange that, as far as we know, no newsreel footage has emerged or that Elvis and The Colonel didn?t feel it was appropriate to film with a single camera (rather like the 1972 Buffalo show) so that they had a document of the concert for future reference, and Elvis could assess his own performance and make any changes he felt were necessary.

Of course it is possible that this may have happened and that it simply hasn?t been documented in any of the Presley biographies that have appeared to date, but in some respects this does seem like wishful thinking rather than anything based on fact.