New Documentary Focuses On Hawaii Benefit Show By The ‘King Of Rock And Roll’ Himself

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – In the early 1960s, Elvis Presley completed his two-year enlistment in the military and was ready to return to his place as King of Rock and Roll.

The first big show of his comeback was in Oahu at a benefit concert for the Arizona Memorial.

“Elvis is kind of a piece of the USS Arizona memorial coming to fruition,” said filmmaker Tim Gray.

Gray has just produced a new documentary on Elvis through his WWII Foundation titled “Elvis and the USS Arizona”.

“If you are looking for a face, a very public face to end this memorial, Elvis is that face. A lot of people don’t know this part of Elvis Presley’s legacy because it was still early in his career, ”he said.

Much of the hour-long film focuses on the sold-out show at Bloch Arena in Pearl Harbor on March 25, 1961.

“We’ve done a lot of different aspects of Arizona, but this one was one that we thought would bring some generations together and make you wonder, ‘Elvis? USS Arizona Memorial? How do these two go together? ‘ Said Gray.

The film is filled with photographs of a lei-draped Elvis arriving at Honolulu airport, the media swarm at his pre-concert press conference, and the crowd of screaming fans who have gone mad. when he performed on stage.

Gray interviewed some of them.

“It was so great to find out the perspectives of the people who were at the concert, where they sat in the Bloch Arena, what they saw, what they heard,” he said. . “One of the women who attended the concert had also witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor when she was 5 years old.”

Gray searched unsuccessfully for filmed footage of the concert, but found an audio recording of the show. You can hear Elvis singing and being drowned by the screams of the young girls in the audience.

His performance at the Bloch Arena raised $ 60,000 and was the catalyst in securing the rest of the money to build the memorial.

“Everyone who was at this concert understood why he was there, what he was doing and the impact he was having on the legacy of Pearl Harbor,” said Gray.

CBS sports presenter Jim Nance narrates the film. “Elvis and the USS Arizona” will air on PBS stations on Veterans Day.

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.


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