Look at this picture for a moment and try to guess who it is. Maybe a young Leonard Nimoy? Maybe a bad guy in a movie you saw recently?
The answer may surprise you. It’s Elvis. Or, at least it’s supposed to be, but it doesn’t look much like him, does it? Here’s what’s confusing:
This an original ticket for “ELVIS - Aloha From Hawaii,” the concert broadcast around the world on January 14, 1973 The ticket was the latest addition to the Image Gallery on the official Elvis Insiders’ website, so it we assum it’s the real deal. The guy on the left is definitely Elvis. But, the guy on the right sure doesn’t look like him.
It may be difficult to see, but under the pink ELVIS, it does say “Aloha from Hawaii – Via Satellite.” At the bottom left, it says the concert was a benefit for the KUI LEE Cancer Fund. Above that, it says the concert was at the Honolulu International Convention Center.
There’s one other interesting thing about the ticket. Look at the time of the concert – 1:00 A.M. At first, I assumed that was so the show would be seen during primetime for folks back in the mainland. But then I did some research. The sixty-minute live concert, broadcast by satellite on December 14, went only to countries in the Pacific: Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, South Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and a few other small nations in the Far East. The next day, the concert was rebroadcast to twenty-eight countries in Europe.
However, Americans did not see the show until almost two months later on April 4, 1973 on NBC. The telecast was expanded to ninety minutes with additional footage of Elvis’ arrival in Honolulu added for the opening sequence. Also, Elvis had recorded four extra songs after the audience had left the Convention Center. These were edited into the program in a format that would later be called a music video.
This is the schedule for the production of “Aloha from Hawaii.” There are some technical terms and abbreviations on it, but you can pretty much figure out what’s going on. Elvis had dinner at 8:30 and went to make-up and wardrobe at 11:30. There was a warm-up act and audience shots until 12:30 A.M. when Elvis came on stage and performed for an hour.
And this is what he performed. The website where I found it doesn’t say if it written by Elvis, but he usually worked out concert playlists himself.
So, “ELVIS – Aloha from Hawaii” was a really big event in Elvis’ history. It was watched by more than one billion people. It represented a big break-through in satellite broadcast technology. It was produced on a budget of $2.5 million.
Editor’s note: Thanks to alert reader David, the ticket mystery has been solved. He states in the comment below:
“I believe the other photo on the Aloha From Hawaii ticket is Kui Lee, the songwriter who died of cancer and who wrote, I’ll Remember You, and who the concert is dedicated to and the proceeds were to go to the cancer fund in his memory.”
And this is from Wikipedia:
Kuiokalani Lee (July 31, 1932 – December 3, 1966) was a singer-songwriter, and the 1960s golden boy artist of Hawaii. Lee achieved international fame when Don Ho began performing and recording Lee’s compositions, with Ho promoting Lee as the songwriter for a new generation of Hawaiian music.