EIN E-Alert #230...Friday 8 September 2006

Hi everyone

A relatively quiet week "Elviswise". Tomorrow we start our latest Elvis competition with 6 copies of the recent Sony-BMG "genre" Elvis CD releases to giveaway. We will also announce the winners in our Elvis book competition.

Nigel & Piers

Now on www.elvisinfonet.com:

  • DJ Fontana & Myrna Smith online interview
  • New unofficial CD "It Is No Secret"
  • BMG Music sold to French company
  • New line of Elvis clothing licensed by EPE
  • Discs show how Elvis rocked the world 50 years ago
  • Lisa Presley one of the new faces for Viva Glam lipstick range
  • New Elvis documentary film receives standing ovation in Glasgow
  • DVD competition winners announced
  • Complete set of Elvis Sun singles for auction
  • Meet the woman who turned down Elvis
  • Elvis 2007 calendar "sold out"
  • Latest JAT book "sold out"
  • New Elvis books announced for publication in 2007
  • Chart updates
  • Australian DVD sales update
  • Interview: Pamela Clarke Keogh talks to EIN
  • Book Review: Elvis Presley The Man The Life The Legend (Pamela Clarke Keogh)
  • Book Review: Me and a Guy named Elvis
  • Book Review: Fortunate Son
  • Almost Elvis updated (more than 12 news items and photos added)

A kiss is just a kiss, except when it’s Elvis

(Source: LaCrosse Tribune)

Cynthia Pepper remembers the day she kissed Elvis Presley as if it were yesterday.

It was 42 years ago. You may forget an anniversary. You may forget what age your kids are. You may forget the name of your sister’s youngest son. But you don’t forget a kiss from The King.

Pepper, who was a TV star, was working on the TV show “Margie,” playing the part of the title character. Elvis was about to make the movie “Kissin’ Cousins.” and he was looking to cast the part of Cpl. Midge Riley, the lucky lady he would end up kissing.

“I had done a lot of episodic television, and Elvis had seen me,” Pepper said. “My agent called me on a Friday and said, ‘Get over to MGM. If you can wear the (WAC) uniform, you’re co-starring with Elvis Presley on Monday.’ It’s not the kind of thing you forget.”

First day on set, Pepper was greeted with roses in the dressing room. "It said, 'To Cynthia, love Elvis'."

“He’s in love with me,” thought Pepper, but then found out he treated all his leading ladies to roses. Still, upon first meeting, she held out her hand to shake his and he said, “No hand, honey, give me a hug.”

It’s enough to make a grown woman come down with a relapse of Elvis fever. Yes, Pepper remembered the ’50s as a teen screamer swooning over Elvis. And now she was his kissin’ cousin. When it came time to shoot the kissing scene, Pepper said, “I liked the scene so much I kept messing it up,” she said with a laugh. Helping her keep all her memories clear is her job working at Elvis-a-rama in Las Vegas. She works there two or three days a week and immerses herself in Presleyana while there.

“It’s been 42 years since I worked with him,” she said, but the memories are still clear.

Even as a young actress, she was aware that Elvis was having something of a career crisis at the time.

“It was in the middle of his movie career,” she said, and he didn’t like making one similar movie after another. “I know he was frustrated doing those movies. They were all alike, but they did makes tons of money.”

And he was tons of fun, too.

“He loved to have fun on the set,” Pepper said. “He knew your lines and his lines and everyone else’s lines. He did run a fun set. He was like a country boy. He was a regular guy. He was a man’s man,” she said, but every woman wanted him. It took three weeks to make a movie, and it gave Pepper a lifetime of memories.

“Because there’s not many of us left who know him,” she said, she is always asked what he was like and what it was like to be with him and to know him. I would probably ask the same thing.”

Her answer to those questions, she said, is always the same.

“I have nothing but good things to say about him. I think everyone who worked with him would say the same thing. As a human being, he was one of the best.”

The Pepper file

Think Cynthia Pepper looks familiar? That may be because you’ve seen her in movies and on TV.

Movie credits: “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous,” “Tourist Woman 2005,” “Kissin’ Cousins,” “Take Her, She’s Mine”

TV credits: “Crisis in Mid-air” (TV movie), “The Jimmy Stewart Show,” “The Flying Nun,” “Julia,” “The Addams Family,” “My Three Sons,” “Many Happy Returns,” “Perry Mason,” “Wagon Train,” “The United States Steel Hour,” “Margie,” “Thriller,” “77 Sunset Strip.”

For more about Pepper, check her out online at www.myspace.com/ cynthiapepper.


What: Elvis Explosion, hosted by Ronny Craig and featuring more than 30 Elvis impersonators from around the world

Where: La Crosse Center

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 8 and 9, with finals at 1 p.m. on Sept. 10

Admission: Advance tickets are $23, $29 and $39, with an additional $2 charged at the door

Ticket outlets: Quillin’s IGAs, WLFN Radio Group, Mirage Sports Bar, Salon Medusa, Lenny’s Boot & Shoe Repair, Glory Days Sports Pub, Visual Changes-La Crosse and West Salem, Tee Pee Supper Club- Tomah and at the door.

Advance tickets: Call (608) 386-7809......Information about show: Call (608) 785-7464....Online: www.eenonline.com

Book Review:

The Blue Moon Boys: The Story of Elvis Presley's Band

Ken Burke and Dan Griffin

Foreword by Brian Setzer

Chicago Review Press, USA, 2006, Illustrated, ISBN: 1556526148.

Until this book, The Blue Moon Boys story has never before been told in such vivid, riveting detail.

Treating its main characters as sublimely talented individuals with human flaws, Ken Burke & Ken Griffin paint a complex portrait of an innovative threesome/foursome, the template for the rock 'n' roll band, who produced a surging new musical force which laid the early foundations of a bourgeoning youth culture and would eventually transform our society.

While most author's focus essentially on Elvis in this process, Burke & Griffin strip away layers of journalistic bias to reveal the often anionic nature of what occurred in the mid to late 1950s. It is a journey through the organic, and one which is richly rewarding in its detail, color and feeling.

A strength of "The Blue Moon Boys" is the way the author's draw out the individual and collective roles of its chief protagonists, presenting them fairly and parallel, allowing the reader to judge the relative intrinsic merits of each player and The Blue Moon Boys as a the "original" rock 'n' roll band.

Another strength is the author's penetration of the psyche of each character, bringing to the surface the emotional elements and tensions which affected each of The Blue Moon Boys during and after their direct association with Elvis.

There are many candid revelations on the character and emotional responses of Scotty, Bill and D.J. For example:

Presley's death forced a rare crack in Moore's stoic manner, causing his voice to break as he spoke about it to his fourth wife, Emily. There were too many things left unsaid between them, too many hurts and slights that should have been forgiven. In the years to come, he would bury his conflicting feelings in compulsive hard work and a lot of scotch while avoiding everything that had to do with his days as a musician. When people would ask for interviews, he would refuse by simply shaking his head and saying, "Elvis is dead".

While the professional split between Elvis and the band has been well covered in earlier books and magazine articles, Burke and Griffin give it added potency as they explain in detail, using firsthand accounts, the circumstances which led to the split, the reconciliation, and beyond.

Taking the reader behind the scenes of the recording process, Burke & Griffin offer us tantalising insights into the dramas and successes often bubbling below and above the surface. On the positive side:

The result was sensational. The transformation of Bill Monroe's bluegrass standard [Blue Moon of Kentucky] into an R&B-fed rocker is one of the undisputed highlights of Elvis Presley's recording career. Oozing low-register sex appeal on the tension-building hooks ("Blue moon! Blue moon! Keep a-shin' bright") and yelping in joyous release on the verses, Monroe's mournful waltz-tempo ditty was reinvented into an R&B-tinged country rocker

On another incident:

Still struggling with his new electric bass (which was easier to hear during concerts) Bill Black reportedly couldn't master the song's intro. Frustrated, he thre the instrument down and walked out of the studio. without saying a word, Presley picked up the bass and, with Leiber recording a guide vocal, recorded the part himself - and he did a pretty good job of it, too.

The inability of RCA studio technicians to replicate the Sun Studio sound, sex crazed girls, concert riots, DJ Fontana's early days playing in strip joints, all these and a lot more are deftly woven into the luminous fabric of The Blue Moon Boys. It is eye opening stuff blending the ups, downs and stimulating adventures of a band which, at the time, could not have known that it was creating musical history.

The mention of drugs in 1956 and one incident where Elvis was apparently hospitalised to have his stomach pumped, may surprise many readers as it lends credence to the story, most recently promoted by the Denson brothers, that Elvis was a pill popper before he entered the Army. However, this is hardly a material issue in a narrative which reveres its flawed protagonists and eloquently stamps their place at the forefront of rock 'n' roll history.

The author's are blunt in their assessment of Elvis sans The Blue Moon Boys in the late 60s-early 70's, observing:

In the world of late 1960s-early 1970s pop, Presley was actually better off without his old gang. It's hard to imagine Moore, Fontana, and the Jordanaires executing some of the material he would hit the charts with over the next few years: "In The Ghetto", "Suspicious Minds", "Kentucky Rain," and others...

They are also blunt in their observation of the public's reaction to relative Elvis recordings:

Despite the confidence Presley displayed in performing the newer material in concert, the much-hyped studio LP these songs were drawn from, Elvis Is Back, was a relative failure. One of Presley's finest blues-drenched achievements, its initial run sold around two hundred thousand copies. In contrast, the mediocre soundtrack to Blue Hawaii (whicj features the romantic ballad "Can't Help Falling In Love") became his biggest selling-album of all-time.

What "The Blue Moon Boys" lacks is a recurring injection of humor. That was an important element which helped make last year's release, Dewey & Elvis, the best of 2005.

As it stands, Burke & Griffin's book is scholarly and well researched, shedding important light on the usually overlooked role of Scotty, Bill and D.J. in the Elvis Presley story and the crystallisation of a new form of popular music.

Verdict: "The Blue Moon Boys" is an overdue entry in the Elvis book world. Well written and illuminating many little known or previously unknown facts in the rise of Elvis, it is an important release which adds to our understanding of both the emotional responses of its characters and their pivotal role(s) in the story of Elvis Aaron Presley and the growth of rock 'n' roll.


Dan Blocker ("Hoss" in Bonanza) with Elvis

Elvis and the Evil Dead!

(Source: The Daily Free Press)

Imagine driving cross- country on a national book tour sporting a chin that weighs in at nearly 40 pounds. Imagine writing two best-selling books about the limited fame that comes with starring in a slew of B-movies. Imagine you are entertainer and B-movie king Bruce Campbell. Tomorrow at the Brattle Theatre, you won't have to imagine.

"I'm taking my own car." Campbell says from the road. "It'll be about 6,000 miles when I'm done."

All of this in promotion of the paperback release of his book, Make Love! *The Bruce Campbell Way.

The man himself rolls into Boston tomorrow for a screening of his 2002 masterpiece, Bubba Ho-Tep, in which he plays a very alive and very old Elvis Presley confined to a retirement home.

The King's only friend is John F. Kennedy, played by Ozzie Davis. (For those of you following along at home, Davis is black.) Their old folks' home gets terrorized by a cowboy mummy that only they can defeat. But despite the ridiculous setup, the movie makes sense and, more importantly, makes love to your funny bone.

"There are some [movies] that come out of nowhere, like 'Bubba Ho-Tep' that are very rewarding, and there are others, like the 'Evil Dead' series, that take a dozen years to make, which are rewarding in the long run," Campbell says of his body of work. "But then there are some that I think are going to be a slam dunk and you wind up falling flat on your face."

Campbell is not short of amusing 'falling flat on your face' stories in his second book, the hilarious follow-up to If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor.

If nothing else, Campbell certainly has a talent for evocative titles. But the semi-true autobiography is much more than a snappy title. In Make Love, Campbell fictionalizes his own life and describes his role of a lifetime: playing a sagely doorman opposite Richard Gere.

Much like the "Evil Dead" series, the follow up book is as good as if not better than the original. Look forward to the next book, Bruce Campbell vs. The Army of Darkness. (If you don't get the reference, go out and buy the "Evil Dead" series. Don't rent. Buy.)

At the Brattle, Campbell will be answering questions about his new book and upcoming movie projects, which include the soon-to-be-released My Name is Bruce, in which a zombie-plagued town kidnaps the real -- or hyper real -- Bruce Campbell to help them clean up their streets. He also has a pivotal role in next summer's sure-to-be blockbuster Spider-Man 3.

"As with the other two [Spider-Man films], I am the linchpin of the drama in the movie," he cracks.

As for his television work, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. and Jack of All Trades were released on DVD on the same day in July. Can we hope for a national holiday?

The Campbell-fest starts at 6:00 at the Brattle, with the movie beginning at 9:30. Buy the book. See the movies. Meet the man.

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