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Elvis: Behind the Image – Volumes 1 & 2 (A Music Video Review)

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

Elvis: Behind the Image (Volume 1)

Elvis: Behind the Image (Volume 1)


Starring Elvis Presley, Bud Glass, Sandi Miller, John Wilkinson, Kathy Westmoreland, Cynthia Pepper and Ed Enoch.

Directed by Bud Glass.

Distributed by Bud Glass Productions/Praytome Publishing.  150 minutes.  Not Rated.

Over 25 years since his untimely passing on August 16, 1977, interest in “The King,” Elvis Presley, continues to grow, attracting new generations of fans around the globe. His late sixties platter, “A Little Less Conversation,” has also further helped revitalize Presley’s iconic status; in the past few years, a dramatic remix of the song became a worldwide hit and it’s currently being used as the theme for the popular TV show, Las Vegas. Two new DVDs, Elvis: Behind The Image Volume 1 and Elvis: Behind The Image Volume 2 (Bud Glass Productions/Praytome Publishing) provide an up-close and personal look at Elvis, the man, not the myth.

Many books and DVDs released on Elvis seemingly perpetuate the artist’s almost mythic status, with many mired in a sea of sensationalism. The essence of who Elvis truly was is lost.

Lovingly created and overseen by renowned Elvis collector Bud Glass, these two DVDs succeed in presenting a fresh look behind the curtain and offer unvarnished insight into the King. A keen archivist of unreleased Elvis home movies, Glass has assembled a wealth of fascinating footage of the artist at work and at play.

Each DVD sports a ton of previously unseen Super 8 home movie footage of Elvis interacting with fans at his homes in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, and ripping it up onstage from 1970 through 1974 in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, San Bernardino, and other locales. There’s also a fine collection of candid photographs featured. Intimate friends and colleagues share their perspective on life with the King including fan-turned-friend Sandi Miller, who also provides a treasure trove of unseen photographs, John Wilkinson (Elvis’ rhythm guitarist in his touring band for nine and a half years), backing vocalist and girlfriend, Kathy Westmoreland, Kissin’ Cousins co-star Cynthia Pepper, Ed Enoch, a member of J.D. Sumner & The Stamps Quartet (a gospel outfit that appeared on tour with Elvis until the time of his death) and more.

One of Wilkinson’s yarns still resonates. He met Elvis at age nine. Already an accomplished guitarist, the precocious pre-teen boasted to an amused Presley that he was a better guitar player than him and proceeded to demonstrate his six-string agility. Through the years he would continue to run into Presley. Once after his band opened a gig for the fledgling Jefferson Airplane at L.A.’s Whisky A-Go-Go in the late Sixties, Elvis whisked him back to his home and spent three days jamming with him and sharing his company. Ultimately, this led to Presley asking Wilkinson to join his new touring band as rhythm guitarist.

Not a candy-coated assemblage of rosy remembrances, the frank commentary, while admittedly espousing a decidedly positive spin, is not a whitewash and instead in a few stories (particularly one told by Kathy Westmoreland) sheds light on the deep seated vulnerability, and insecurity that haunted “The King Of Rock & Roll.”  (1/06)

Ken Sharp

Copyright ©2006  All rights reserved. Posted: January 5, 2006.

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