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Thread: Elvis LASER jumpsuit,last jumpsuits and more unanswered questions???

  1. #1

    Elvis LASER jumpsuit,last jumpsuits and more unanswered questions???

    I had an argument with another Elvis expert about the last jumpsuits made
    for Elvis that he wore on stage. My friend was sure it was the "King of
    Spades" suit and the "Sundial" suit that Elvis wore for most of 1977
    until I informed him that these suits were made and first worn in 1974.
    Does anyone have any thoughts on which were the last jumpsuits made
    that Elvis wore on stage?

    I think they were the blue "Bicentennial Prehistoric bird" suit (the
    white one was made and first worn in 1975) and the flame suit. But I
    could be wrong. It is possible that these suits were also made in 1975
    and that no new suits were made after 1975.
    I've heard that there was an
    unfinished suit that was supposed to have been used for the CBS Special
    but Elvis never did a fitting.
    There was also a finished new suit that
    Elvis was supposed to wear on the upcoming tour of Aug. 17th. "The Unworn Blue Jumpsuit)
    Another observation, I don't think Elvis had any new street clothes
    made in 1977 and I don't think he wore hardly any street clothes in 1977
    except for that funeral he went to with Ginger. Other than the jumpsuits
    the only thing Elvis was seen wearing were jogging suits
    My theory is that because of his weight gain, he no longer could fit
    in his street clothes and he was to embarrassed or waiting to lose
    weight to be fitted for new jumpsuits and street clothes.

    any comments??...
    Does anyone know about the proposed "CBS Jumpsuit"..?

    also..
    Does anyone have more info on the laser jumpsuit?
    - the one that never got to be made - was to be the
    most spectacular. Bill Belew described as covered in mirrors, with little buttons
    that Elvis could push while performing that would send out laser beams all
    over the audience!
    I've read that there were plans for Elvis to do a show in Vegas in Late
    1977 and he was going to debut a new jumpsuit that actually had lasers.I've also heard that it was to be ready for a European tour that Elvis was supposedly
    preparing to do in 1978.
    Anyone else hear about this?
    I read also,that he had asked Charlie Hodge to find the music
    for 6 or 7 new songs he wanted to add to the set list during the tour. I have
    always wondered if that was true and, if so, what the songs were.
    Are there any sketches of the LASER or CBS jumpsuits???
    TCB
    Wade

  2. #2
    Heartbreak Hotel, Room 11 Albert's Avatar
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    I think it was Joe Esposito who has said that Elvis was very uncomfortable with his growing weight and didn't want to be reminded to it by fitting new jumpsuits. Contrary to all other years he didn't want to try on new jumpsuits.

    So with his changing weight the old jumpsuits were sent to the tailor who made them a bit bigger every once in a while. But after a while you can't make an existing suit bigger, so the amount of existing jumpsuits that fit Elvis were limited in 1977.

    The tailor did receive an order for a new jumpsuit, but Elvis never came to fit it, so finishing it was a difficult task.
    ‎"A year from now, you'll wish you had started today"

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    From Elvis Presley Blvd Lonniebealestreet's Avatar
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    "I have one simple request: sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads, and it can't be done? Remind me again why I pay you people..."

    Some people have said that the unworn blue suit was in fact the laser suit, which may be the case, but it wasn't fully functional--at least not as described.

    You know, thinking about it, I want to say I have seen a sketch. I could be mistaken, but I am picturing a sketch that was not big on costume detail, but illustrated the laser effects of the suit.
    ...you won't forget me when I go.

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    the laser suit was to be worn in las Vegas in january 1978, bill belew confirmed this in the book "elvis in the words of those who knew him best"...But only drawings were made at the time of elvis death .The blue suit is a completely different suit ( it was shown briefly in Graceland ) which elvis did not intend to wear on his august 77 tour since he had still too much weight. He certainly would have wear it on his september / october tour ( 6 dates were already planned for thi tour including a show in terre haute and another in bloomington if I remember )

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    With Elvis On Tour!!! Jungleroom76's Avatar
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    I had heard that the Laser jumpsuit was going to be debuted in a show at the Kingdome in Seattle on New Year's Eve 12/31/77.

    Would be interested to hear what the actual story on this suit is!!

    And yes, I have also heard that Elvis had asked Charlie to work up music arrangements for several new songs for his upcoming August '77 tour, although I do not know which songs they were. I have heard that WAY DOWN was supposedly going to be introduced into his concert lineup starting on the August tour. Again...fact or fiction, I am not sure!!

    TCB!
    Mike


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    My Theory

    He just didn't care anymore. That was obvious, I think he tried to care, but he didn't. If he cared, he wouldn't have shown up for the last CBS special the way he did. I certainly wasn't Aloha from Hawaii. In fact, I beleive the CBS special was his first failure and he was gone within 2 months.

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    I think the CBS special displayed his courage. Elvis was very into his public appearence. For him to that special as Joe Esposito has said, took a lot of guts and also showed how he had grown to accept his appearence.
    The Sun Never Sets On A Legend...

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    With Elvis On Tour!!! Jungleroom76's Avatar
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    I have to politely disagree that Elvis didn't care....I truly think Elvis cared TOO MUCH which is why he chose to continue with the CBS Special despite his obvious health problems. When watching the special, once you get past the sadness of Elvis' obvious physical problems, I think Elvis' love for the fans truly shines through in some of the performances he gave during the special. Yes, he is not the Elvis of 1969/1970...but I truly believe he cared enough to perform as well as he could, given all of the problems he was burdened with at the time.

    If ANYONE is to blame for the CBS Special, it should be The Colonel for not cancelling the show when it was obvious that Elvis was not feeling well. Honestly, The Colonel should have simply cancelled Elvis' touring schedule for the rest of 1977 (or maybe even ALL of 1977, if The Colonel had truly been concerned for Elvis' health and well being....but I think most fans now realize that, especially in the last years of Elvis' life, The Colonel was simply out for The Colonel and the money and NOT for what was best for Elvis....but I digress...) to allow Elvis to get the help and rest he needed!!!

    TCB!
    Mike


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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonniebealestreet
    Some people have said that the unworn blue suit was in fact the laser suit, which may be the case, but it wasn't fully functional--at least not as described.
    "Barrick" is correct & "Lonnie's" hunches are right on the mark as well.

    Am familiar with the source of the above (bold) statement(s); suffice to say ----> I personally wouldn't pay it much mind.

    -------------------------

    Taken from "Elvis World Japan" (Interview with Belew himself):

    "Q : You worked on future costumes.

    A : Well the last thing I was working on and we had actually done a prototype of it. And, it was called a laser suit. And I had met an electrician who was into lasers. And lasers at that point were still relatively new. And laser shows were becoming very big. And so, I designed what I thought was going to be ultimately the jewel suit. It was called the diamond suit. And, what we did, there were certain points, and it had very large stones that would tell him where he could puncture himself. And that's where the laser would shoot. And we had these strategically placed on the suit. And as I say, you know, whenever he would touch himself then the laser beams. And, we had it almost to the point where it was ready to be shown to him. And I was in fact, the morning I heard of his death, I was on my way to the studio because we were gonna put it on the figure. And the electrician and I were going to test it. And, that's it.

    Q : If Elvis had gone to Europe what were your ideas?

    A : The laser suit was it. Yeah, that was the one, you know. but it just didn't--- yeah.
    "

    -------------------------

    Tis always wisest to go directly to the primary source (in this case, Belew) to answer those questions one may be burning to know - for whatever the reasons.

    Generally speaking: Fellow collectors / fans can sometimes come up with some bizarre stuff / explanations; filling in the blanks with their imagination & convincing themselves.

    ------------------------

    Anyhow, .... just came across the Belew interview & thought it important to clear this up.



    - Capt. "EL."

  10. #10
    TCB Mafia Joe Car's Avatar
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    When EP needed the Colonel the most, the Colonel didn't care. When Elvis needed the Colonel to take care of "his boy" the Colonel was busy going off in Vegas on roulette. Really what chance did our guy have, it's bad enough he was physically ill and fighting an addiction, his manager, the guy who was supposed have his back and his clients best interests at heart was fighting his own addiction and thus needed Elvis on stage, sick or not, knowing that no matter how sick Elvis was, he would get up there and perform because that was his true love. What a piece of work the Colonel was.

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    Critical thinking ....

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Car
    When EP needed the Colonel the most, the Colonel didn't care. When Elvis needed the Colonel to take care of "his boy" the Colonel was busy going off in Vegas on roulette.
    The Col. definitely had an addiction of his own (gambling).

    However, I encourage you to dig a litte deeper before being too harsh on The Ol' Col.. Nash's biography would be the best place to start. ----> The Col. apparently wanted E to cease the "touring" & get his act together. Vernon nixed that idea, because money was needed (on their own end of things) ......... & EP obviously felt the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Car
    Really what chance did our guy have, it's bad enough he was physically ill and fighting an addiction, his manager, the guy who was supposed have his back and his clients best interests at heart was fighting his own addiction and thus needed Elvis on stage, sick or not, knowing that no matter how sick Elvis was, he would get up there and perform because that was his true love.
    EP was not fighting his addiction; he was in denial about it ....... to the very end.

    One of the more infamous accounts of The Col. forcing EP to perform comes from Larry Geller as the primary source. Geller, believe it or not, ....... is not the "best" in terms reliable information (in this case, Geller also has had a longstanding axe to grind with The Col. Such things tend skew & taint perceptions).

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Car
    What a piece of work the Colonel was.
    I'd say that - together - EP & The Col. made history ........... for good & bad.

    Once again, Nash's book shed some additional light on this angle: The Col. always viewed him & Elvis - as a TEAM (co-partners, if you will). Always.

    Don't forget, ..... The Col. also abided by EP's OWN #1 RULE = STAY OUT OF MY PERSONAL LIFE & CONCERN YOURSELF ONLY WITH THE BUSINESS END OF THINGS. EP was more than satisfied with The Col. on multiple levels.

    Two-way street and two-sides to every story.


    - Capt. "EL."

  12. #12
    International Level Cryogenic's Avatar
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    There are lots of grey areas, though.

    Elvis was the artist and The Colonel was the manager - that much is clear. However, the Colonel did do things to suit himself first and Elvis second (in a manner of speaking). Elvis may have had more freedom at another record label but The Colonel signed him to RCA because he had some strong business associates there, I believe. He also nixed the partnership of Leiber and Stoller and Elvis because they were communicating directly with "his boy" and potentially filling his head with all sorts of ideas/cutting the Colonel out of the financial loop. Then there's Elvis' rushed marriage to Priscilla that The Colonel probably had a strong hand in. Yet again, there's the idea that he was dead against Elvis recording certain material at American Sound Studios because he, The Colonel, would have lost out on money. "Let him fall on his ***" is what he supposedly said to Tom Diskin when Chips ordered everyone out of the recording studio and Elvis cut stuff like "In The Ghetto"...

    I dunno.

    Elvis could have done more and probably should have done more even before the 70s kicked in... He could probably have kept Leiber and Stoller had he been more vocal, and since his dictum to The Colonel was basically "manage me, not my life", why on EARTH did he marry Priscilla when it was clear marriage - at that point - wasn't for him?

    I do admire The Colonel's tenacity, I really do... but there is an insidiousness about him. He was a ferocious personality and the same kind of bullyboy tactics and formidable power he used/exerted on people to make deals for himself/Elvis he also used directly on Elvis. He knew how dependent Elvis *BELIEVED* he was on him and how inferior, being a "white trash" boy from the deep South, Elvis continually felt. In effect, he took advantage of him. If Elvis' main faults in their relationship were timidity, lethargy and passivity, then The Colonel's was exploitation. I'm not trying to paint one as the good guy and one as the bad guy - but The Colonel seemed more wordly wise than Elvis and used that AGAINST him. If Elvis was intellectually closeted, then The Colonel knew it and was a manipulative son of a gun.

    There's also something odd about Elvis being drafted into the army at the peak of his fame - when backlash from many people was immense - and at a time when his service wasn't critical...

    That said, I don't like it when people sell The Colonel short. I've heard people say that it was his own greed that resulted in Elvis selling off his back catalogue to RCA in 1973; conversely, others say Elvis needed money and lots of it to pay off Priscilla's divorce settlement and that The Colonel advised against the idea but went and got the best deal he could. Considering the exact year it took place - a seemingly arbitrary time until you factor in the divorce - guess which version I believe?

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    Some excellent points, Cryo.

    ----------------------

    The Col. wasn't a "Saint", that's for sure. In order to succeed in "show business", ...... you gotta be a bull-dog - I would think.

    Hindsight is always 20 / 20 & mistakes tend to be more glaring as a result (goes for both The Col. & EP).

    EP needed Parker in the beginning, but outgrew him later on. It can be argued that Elvis was never ever able to see it that way, though.

    As for the marriage to Pris., .... well, I tend to view it as The Col. saving Elvis' A** & career - from "Elvis." (Not the first time - before (Army) or after, either).

    -----------------------

    At any rate, .... just to keep this thread ON-TOPIC:

    I'm on the fence about the laser suit & whether or not it was necessarily a good thing or direction for EP. Definitely way over-the-top with an over reliance on gimmicks - when all that was really needed was - THE VOICE / Singing / Music. Kinda "sad", depending on how one views it.

    Then again, I think the fandom would have responded overwhelmingly with approval had it come to pass (Europe or otherwise). EP was always one to take his stage presence to a larger-than-life level - for the fans & their approval.

    Had EP ever wore it, .... as a kid (at the time) I probably would have loved it. As an adult, however, ...... my reaction would probably quite different now. To be honest, I'm kinda glad it never happened.


    - Capt. "EL.

  14. #14
    International Level Leroy's Avatar
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    I would like to take this discussion back to the roots, the matter of the last jumpsuits. I always like to limit myself to the existing ones and not pay too much attention for what was to be made in the "future".

    What I do know is that the "Flame Suit" was the last new suit Elvis wore on stage. I do not count the new versions of the "Blue Rainbow" and the "Indian Feather" that were made twice. In both cases the later versions were so much larger than the earlier versions it can't be simply a matter of letting out. To prove my point: When he wore both suits during the first time they were tight. When he used them later on they were loosely fitting even though Elvis was much heavier.


    There were a lot of rumours that the "Flame Suit" was a 1974 suit but that is simply not true. It has been commissioned and manufactured in the summer of 1976. Elvis didn't particularly like it and only wore it a few times. This suit is also too large because they didn't expected Elvis to lose so many weight but he did. As a result you can see Elvis performing in a suit that needed to be folded behind his belt to make it fit.

    The last (almost) completed suit was a light blue jumpsuit with strange abstract gold or silver figures on it and to tell you the truth; I don't want to be caught dead in it. It looks more like a suit designed for a impersonator. It's a disgusting piece of work that shows that the unique style was coming to an end, the well had run dry and that's not surprising. All kinds of formats and themes had been used over the years (bird designs, Native American styles, Egyptian themes) so what new fields were there to explore?

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    International Level Cryogenic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Elwood David

    Hindsight is always 20 / 20 & mistakes tend to be more glaring as a result (goes for both The Col. & EP).
    This is one reason why I dislike the look of this upcoming mini series - one only has to read the official plot synopsis to see that it's heavily biased against The Colonel. In the synopsis, it's pretty much, "The Colonel this...", "The Colonel that..." They're clearly trying to emphasise the power that The Colonel wielded over Elvis and it sounds distinctly like it's at the detriment of showing more positive aspects of Elvis' life and his and The Col's relationship. It doesn't help matters that they open with the Comeback Special (the one time he defied The Colonel after years of being subservient) and then wind the narrative backwards.

    I wish I could put a script together for an Elvis film. The secret is to keep to the truth of what a human being is as much as possible - i.e. a mixture of good and bad - and present events as if they are actually unfolding (i.e. with no overblown foreshadowing or knowing spin).

    As for the marriage to Pris., .... well, I tend to view it as The Col. saving Elvis' A** & career - from "Elvis." (Not the first time - before (Army) or after, either).
    That's probably true. But it was such a rush, rush job that Elvis almost comes out a cartoon character (i.e. letting the "big bad Colonel" push him into a life altering event before he's even got all his friends together).

    At any rate, .... just to keep this thread ON-TOPIC
    Oh... was it not you who said it's interesting when threads go off-topic in a thread that *I* made? Typical.

    About the suit/my thoughts on it...

    It sounds excessive - even by Elvis standards. But as you've rightly said, Elvis loved to ham it up and do things that the fans responded to. You can't get much more egotistical than opening your concerts with the main theme to "2001"!

    I think it would have worked for him provided his stage act as a whole was top notch which, throughout most of the 70s, it wasn't. It's no good if the greatest performer in the world is walking out on stage in a (literally) flashy suit but slurring words and rushing through oldies like "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock"; it might well have disillusioned some fans and alienated him from critics (not that he ever cared too much about them) all the more.

    And Leroy...

    While I love most of Elvis' full-on jumpsuits, I have a soft spot for the stripped down Karate-esque ones he wore when making his comeback in 1969. As the 80s loomed large, maybe Elvis should have got Belew to "reverse engineer" his designs so to speak and take them back to basics... then augment the basics with a dash or two of extra "pizazz" (e.g. a few stripes or jewels here or there like those found on his later suits). Of course, he'd needed to have got back into shape first. And cleared up his drug addiction... *sigh*
    Last edited by Cryogenic; 05-01-2005 at 03:00 AM.

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    I agree about avoiding too much conjecture about things that were never to be (Last Blue Paisley Jumpsuit / Laser Mock-up, etc.). Pretty pointless, indeed.

    ----------------------------------

    The accounts as to Elvis "hating" The Red Flame suit, come mainly from Shaver. I believe him on this one. I don't dislike many of the jumpsuits, but The Flame is one I never really cared for (Gypsy is another). EP was definitely more than kind to Belew by wearing just about anything he made - without complaint.

    ---------------------------------

    Leroy -

    To take this jumpsuit discussion back even further: Are you familiar with the 2nd Powder Blue "On-Tour" (slightly different) Jumpsuit (supposedly worn in Vegas) ..... ??

    Just curious.


    - Capt. "EL."

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    International Level Cryogenic's Avatar
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    Slight digression...

    Elvis always looked great in blue.

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    Yep, Cryo, ... the detours are always more interesting.

    On that note: In the same Belew interview (EWJ), ... Belew talks about experimenting with different colors (red, blue) ..... but always coming back to WHITE (because it highlighted Elvis best on-stage).


    - Capt. "EL."

  19. #19
    International Level Leroy's Avatar
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    Captain,

    No. I'm not familiar to that one. But I do know some suits were often mistaken for other ones. In the case of the "Blue Nail" I know that sometimes pictures were posted which seemed to show the "Blue Nail" but after close examination turned out to be the "Light Blue Cluster" (aka "Grass Suit"). Part of the confusion lies in the belt. In this case the belt of the 1971 "White Fireworks" which Elvis used on several suits.
    But I keep my options open. It would not be the first time I got surprised by any "new" suits.
    Especially the Vegas engagements are filled with wardrobe combinations we can only speculate upon. There are rumours Elvis also wore the "Light Blue Edwardian Two-piece" from his Madison Square Garden press conference during some of his August 1972 Vegas performances.....

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    Leroy -

    I will PM you some info..



    - Capt. "EL."

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