Elvis's Cultural Heritage: The TTWII Debate

05 Feb 2011

Diary of a frustrated Elvis fan aged 46 and a half

I consider myself reasonably level headed. I hold down a decent job. I've been blessed with the love of a beautiful wife and three simply perfect daughters. In recent times I've began to commercialise my interest in Elvis and the wider sphere of investment grade autographs and memorabilia. So whats the problem ? Glad you asked. Consider the new Elvis: Thats The Way It Is (TTWII) Complete Masters set. I guess I'm privileged to have at least seen the "complete" ? MGM shot footage existing of Elvis's 3rd engagement at the International Hotel,Las Vegas, in August 1970. Not to mention the incredible studio and hotel rehearsal footage filmed during July and August.Simply stunning and indeed exhilarating. Problem is - why after 40 years are we still waiting for a true professional quality rendering of Elvis's masterpiece in perfect digitally preserved form ?

Don't get me wrong. The creators of the "TTWII Complete Masters" set have done a brilliant job in assembling and editing the footage to create what is a truly remarkable viewing experience. So they (whoever "they" are) should be congratulated and for one I salute and thankyou for your efforts in bringing this material out in this form.

I have a dream, that one day I'll walk into Turner Entertainment's office write a check out to own the license to produce the material myself. Its value must be depreciating fast - if the economics are so bad Turner can't afford to do a creditable job in assembling a "box set" of 1970 befitting the quality of the performances captured and its historical significance.

So I'm expecting the purchase price will be low ? The reason stipiluted as fact is that the "2001 TTWII Special Edition" was a commercial disaster, so it simply is not economic to produce a more comprehensive archival quality set. Not in my lifetime it would seem ...

How extraodinary. Have you seen Michael Jackson's This Is It ? Now compare that with the footage assembled in Elvis: That's The Way It Is (2-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1970] .

Has anyone in the global Elvis fan community ever tried to buy the footage legally or ever enquired as to the price ?

If not then let me be the first. I know some people who could talk to Turner's people. Anyone interested in supporting a consortium to go out and preserve the material for future generations ?

Now remind me how its possible for Youtube to host clips of the material for all to see without impunity ? There is a a book, and TV documentary at least (if not a series) in exploring this point alone.

Bottom line is TTWII should be preserved for all time at the Smithsonian; EPE should be investing themselves directly. It should be on the balance sheet as a "fixed long term asset" rather than an "intangible" left to surface thru less direct channels.

I had an epiphany on this topic over the Christmas period. My wife took ownership of a Chinese TV series which came beautifully packaged as 15 DVD9 dual-layer disks. If this can happen for just one TV series in China, what has happened to the equity of Elvis Presley recorded works in the last 40years ?

Does America care about its popular cultural heritage ?

X-factor and American idol weekly performances ad-nauseam clearly trump Elvis in performance at his peak in 1970 for commercial viability. Go figure...

The entertainment world has clearly gone mad !

Maybe Simon Cowell has a chunk of change he might be willing to invest with me :-)


Follow Us on Twitter
Find us on Facebook