Just saw this posted and thought it was pretty cool, gonna have to get this! Article posted on elvis.com.
For nearly two decades, Elvis Presley practiced the art of karate with skill and enormous dedication. The discipline brought a thrilling new physicality to his film and stage performances, but fans have never before had the chance to see the King in authentic action until now.
A collector’s edition set from Madacy Entertainment available this Fall provides exactly that opportunity, bringing together footage from Elvis’ never-completed martial arts epic The New Gladiators along with insightful commentary by fellow-enthusiast Wayne Carman who was with Elvis when much of the footage was shot.
This exciting NEW collectors set also includes an informative booklet that explores the singer’s relationship with the art of karate, an evocative photo-retrospective and six collectable postcards.
Elvis Presley Gladiators – The 1974 Elvis Karate Legacy Project will be available at Graceland in the fall and fans will soon be able to pre-order this exciting new product on shopelvis.com.
Got my copy yesterday.
It's pretty cool. Only goes for a little less than 50 minutes though, so bear that in mind if you're paying for it.
But the sound? It's atrocious! It's hissy and you can barely hear anything. Subtitles would have been a good option for the DVD, but they're not available.
It's all the footage that was shot, so there's quite a bit without Elvis (ie he's there, but behind camera).
Coolest stuff was featuring Bill "Superfoot" Wallace. Elvis presents him with his next black belt degree in one scene, and I have to laugh ... I wonder if Bill took Elvis seriously as a martial artist? From the look on his face in some scenes as Elvis is talking, I'd have to say no.
As for the Elvis footage itself ... it's very clear. As for Elvis himself ... very cool, although it's painfully obvious sometimes that he's not quite with it.
The DVD includes six collector postards and a nice little booklet. There's a photo gallery of 50 pics. The "raw footage" in the extras is just the doco without martial artist Wayne Carmen's commentary, which plays automatically when you start the DVD. And there's an audio interview with Wayne. The "More Elvis" in the extras is just a screen ad for Wayne's book, Elvis' Karate Legacy.
I'm glad The New Gladiators itself never got made though. Here is what was purportedly supposed to be the final scene, from some written rough scene workouts ...
"Ending of film - on a remote hill, the camera is on a close up of Elvis as he stands in fighting stance. The camera zooms back as he does a middle punch with a kee yah and we see what looks like every karateka in the world doing the moves with him. He then does The Lord's Prayer in Indian Sign Language as a soft wind gently blows around him. The picture ends with The Beginning written across the screen".
Hmmm ... The Lord's Prayer in Indian Sign Language?! Like all martial arts docos of the time, this would have been a pretentious load of bollocks by the sounds of it!
But overall, Gladiators (this is the actual title of the DVD, not The New Gladiators) is an interesting look at Elvis and his karate. I would've liked more info on the pre-1974 karate stuff. ie how he got into it etc.
Getlo - cute'n'cuddly
Getlo , thanks for breaking down the DVD for us. I met someone who used to live near Graceland and he told me his mother would always stand outside the gates of Graceland and used to follow Elvis everywhere. She got all kinds of autographs and he even knew her by name.
He told me that Elvis would practice in a Karate studio in Memphis where his friend was studying it. He said that they weren't allowed to practice with him in fear of Elvis getting hurt and it could ruin his physical looks but this one time Elvis insisted that he'd be treated like everyone else and his friend was called to practice with Elvis, he said that, that one day Elvis took the mat and he was far from being impressed with his Karate skills and knew his belts had to have been a result of instructors being star struck or paid off.
I normally take stories that people tell me like this one as a 50/50% chance that it's true but he had this serious look in his eyes and manyphotos of himself and his mother,ranging from 1973-1975 with Elvis by Graceland, Dinners, Car lots, Jewelry Store and one at a Gun Shop. He said that after 75 it was rare that they saw Elvis go anywhere in Memphis like he used to.
Although it doesn't sound like a must-have, it does sound intriguing and certainly gives us fans a glimpse into Elvis' personal life in 1974 which, as we all know, was plagued by many up's and down's!! And I have to admit that even though it only runs for 50 minutes, Graceland is only charging $14.95 for the DVD, which I don't think is too bad of a price.
Thanks again for the info. Getlo!!
We will miss you dearest friend
I have an issue of Black Belt magazine which had a several page article on Elvis and his interest and ability as a martial artist.
According to John Corcoran who wrote the article for Black Belt-Elvis was a very credible black belt. He also mentions his association with Bill Wallace and Chuck Norris. Wallace spoke of Elvis helping him get over a serious leg injury by having a special acupuncturist flown in to treat Wallaces injured leg-which worked.
Norris has said Elvis was devoted to the art and opened it up to millions who had no interest in it.
Once someone asked Chuck Norris who would have won in a fight between Mike Stone ( Norris recommended Stone as a tutor for Priscilla) and Elvis..... Chuck said Stone-but he added Elvis is the master on stage and Stone could not compete with Elvis ever in that arena.
Elvis is in the Martial Arts Hall of Fame in New York-and it was for his devotion to the art and his work in expanding the art to the world.
I will say this about his ability-I have a friend who is a plain black belt-and it only took one round house kick pass my nose in fun to show me how much that black belt stood for.
Work in Progress!
Another thing the DVD has is one of the '68 Special karate sequences, directly ripped off (in 7/10 picture quality) from the DVD! Relatively relevant I suppose, but a bit pointless.
I wonder if EPE knows about this release? After all, it mentions "Elvis Presley" on the cover and that's now a trademark.
Getlo - cute'n'cuddly
Getlo - cute'n'cuddly
Elvis studied the art from 1959 whilst he was still in the army, you can get a black belt in one to two years if you study hard enough, Elvis rarely fought one to one but he knew all the moves to attack and defend himself, thats what a "KATA" is a series of moves that Elvis did many times on stage a lot of Elvis's stage moves in the 70's are based on karate which means open hand.In aloha when he sings s.minds and he goes down on one knee (i hope this suit does'nt tear up baby)is also a karate excersise.Elvis an 8th dan black belt is questionable but he certainly deserved a black belt status.Elvis was also Inducted along side Bruce Lee and chuck norris in the New York Karate hall of fame in 2005.
I would like to add to my previous comments about the "Gladiators" DVD I saw this film many years ago so I know it's content.what Elvis is doing is giving a demonstration on what to do in certain situations and not one to one combat or Kata's so you cannot judge his ability by this film alone but I can tell you if he connected any of these moves at full force you would be taken to the nearest hospital or even the funeral parlour.
There is also some great film of Elvis doing Karate on stage from unofficial sources which is great to watch in fact the legal DVD Elvis the Beauty Queen and me which is due to be released features a lot of karate stuff from around the time of the Gladiators film,I must say I love this stuff and thought Elvis looked fantastic.If you are interested in Elvis's passion for karate read the Wayne Carmen book Elvis Karate Legacy.
i talked to all of this karate guys personally incl big foot ...and i take this as an expertise....not a fan who is negative all the time in any aspect ...or wanted to see something and making up his mind from that.
being in the martial arts for 25 years i reallly have enough from stupid discussions like that from people who never wore a gii before...
Is there any truth to the story that the New Gladiators if it got released in 1975 was going to feature the songs of Crosby, Stills and Nash.
all the goons I left behind,
memories still linger..