Give us this Day October 2 our Daily Elvis
Today we have Elvis’ first public appearance in person and his last appearance in media – an edit of his third and second to last concerts in person.
Elvis entered a talent contest at the annual Mississippi – Alabama Fair and Diary Show, in the middle of the town.
His teacher, Mrs. Oleta Grimes, had arranged this, after she heard Elvis sing that morning at school. Elvis sung “Old Shep”, while standing on a chair and without any accompaniment. He won the 5th prize, probably good for some free rides at the fair. He got spanked by his mother the same day, while he took the more “dangerous” rides.
The Colonel was debating with RCA about a new five year contract. Elvis would receive an advance of $135.000 against 5 % royalty together with a weekly payment of $1.000. However he was required to make at least 10 appearances in person or on radio or television to promote his recordings. The contract was signed on October the 18th.
The CBS special, which was shot in June, was aired. The night of the show Myrna Smith told Jerry Schilling on the phone: ” It really went great, Elvis really looks good. He’s lost a little weight”.
After watching the CBS special on the air, Myrna burst out in tears, crying: ” We were all wearing blinders”.
The broadcast version of the CBC special has been bootlegged, as have the 2 concerts filmed for it.
Elvis the Final Curtain is an astonishing examination of 1977 – there are times Elvis did seem back to himself, what we wanted him to be and he seemed to be trying to pull himself back together – He had dieted down for the Aloha Special and even stopped using pills for a while, but the next day, he was back on them.
Elvis was depressed by his lack of career highlights – being limited to his own image and unable to grow as an artist or really express himself for fear of alienating an audience segment – for a guy who was so controversial, he really was reluctant to be so. He just wanted to sing and make people happy.
Given that this is one of the few properties that the Estate actually owned the copyright for – their reluctance to market this while the core of Elvis’ fans are still alive is disrespectful to those loyal fans who loved Elvis thick and thin.
And for us later fans – well – Elvis hardly seems fat compared to body averages in America today, eh?