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Book Review : World's Best Kept Secret: Elvis Live At Del Webb's Sahara Tahoe

By Elvis Australia
Source: www.elvis.com.au
November 30, 2012 - 4:00:51 PM

Like newly discovered Egyptian treasures Elvis fans have found their own pot of gold - The Worlds Best Kept Secret: Elvis Live At Del Webb's Sahara Tahoe is a book about Presley's Lake Tahoe engagements. Little is known about Elvis Presley's engagements at the resort but photos and info have been elusive to say the least. The 'King' fulfilled five concert engagements between, 1971 & 1976 at Del Webb's, Sahara Tahoe Hotel in Nevada. The book features all the concert pictures, stories and the memorabilia from Presley's famed engagements - a visual treat for fans of Presley's amazing 1970s jumpsuit years.

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Sue McCasland, an Elvis fan who witnessed the 'King' in action at Lake Tahoe, submitted her personal treasure trove of photographs - some never before seen. Joe Krein, an Elvis fan and memorabilia collector also contributed to the book with rare Elvis items from his own collection; he also conducted various interviews for the book. The new book was over one year in the making and is akin to finding a long lost, treasure of gold for Elvis fans. The resort had a strict no photographs rule so it's amazing that so many photos have been found and restored. The book is in a hardback format with wonderful glossy pages and a cover picture of Elvis wearing his Mexican Sundial jumpsuit from 1974, an engagement known as the October Encore - a series of concerts held to fulfil his contract after the cancellation of his May 1973 engagement, let's explore this fascinating book further. The book is dedicated to Sue McCasland's Spouse, Bob Olmetti - a Foreword by Ed Bonja and Introduction by Sue McCasland, start the book off in fine style.

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Among the fascinating photos there are stories by fans
Among the fascinating photos there are stories by fans who share their memories of the moments with Elvis.

Lake Tahoe'S history is fascinating. The Washoe Indians gathered at Lake Tahoe for centuries believing it to be a very spiritual place - from the pictures in the book you can see the beauty of the area. Lake Tahoe eventual got its name in 1945. There are many pictures of the lake (postcards) and even a picture of Lake Tahoe taken from space by satellite. The owner Delbert E. Webb's story is also covered and gives the reader a real insight into the book. Dell Webb had connections to Howard Hughes; played golf with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby; bought the New York Yankees for $2.8 million in 1945; and built the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas - Dell Webb was a big player in the Hotel world and certainly had plenty of financial muscle. There's also newspaper clippings about DW - all adding to the compelling theme of the book.

Page 25 features the stage & seating plans, at the bottom of the page is a note about the differences between the SAHARA Tahoe - Lake Tahoe & The Sahara - Las Vegas - a distinct difference, which could catch out many fans. From pages 26 to the rest of the book, the book is crammed full with drop-dead, gorgeous memorabilia: suite keys owned by Sonny West; Restaurant Menu's; do not disturb door hangers; Sonny West's Tahoe security badge; ticket stubs; Casino chips; matches, dice, posters and Elvis banner's.

The Barton Memorial Hospital Auxilary story is featured on page 35 - the concession stand profits from the sale of Elvis goods - all went to fund the Intensive Care Unit at the Barton Memorial Hospital - many newspaper clippings plus memorabilia help explain this story. Sonny West (Elvis Presley's bodyguard) tells a great story about Clint Eastwood on page 45 & an additional story about Elvis's great friend, Sammy Davis Jr. Is on page 47. There's also a story about Elvis wearing an ape mask thrilling the crowd from his 1971 engagements.

Crystal clear and full of fresh colours – rare shots of Elvis wearing the Sundial Suit 1974
Crystal clear and full of fresh colours – rare shots of Elvis wearing the Sundial Suit 1974.

Every page has amazing memorabilia & there's Tahoe signs from slot machine covers and even a Lake Tahoe sewing kit. The memorabilia is just mind-blowing. There's poster's, postcards,letters,ashtrays and what looks like a menu cover advertising forthcoming attractions: Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Liberace, Ann-Margret, Diana Ross, The Carpenters plus many more - The Lake Tahoe resort was very popular with many varied artist performing there. After a long introduction the rest of the book is dedicated to Elvis.

The Elvis pics featured in the book include many different jumpsuits; 'White Lake Tahoe Fireworks suit', 'The White Sleek Suit', 'The Blue Rainbow', 'The Peacock Suit', 'Inca Gold Leaf', 'Mexican Sundial'; 'The White Bicentennial', 'Dark Blue Aztec' & on page 100, the V-NECK/PONTIAC SUIT-this pic is fantastic and yes, Elvis is carrying a bit of extra weight but he still had the magic in this pic from 1976. If you thought the Polar Ice Cap was cool then check out the stunning pics from October 11, 1974, Elvis Presley, the ultimate performer in the gorgeous 'King Of Spades' jumpsuit- pages 72 to 79 all feature this never-seen-before suit, 26 pics in all with page 76 just awesome - a 'Prince from another planet'. He must have knocked the audience out! Listening to an audience recording from the October engagement the 'King' fired on all cylinders for the eight show Tahoe engagement in 1974' (October Encore At Lake Tahoe CD is a very tasty audience recording).

The 'Mexican Sundial' worn again on the October 1974 concerts is compelling because many fans believed it was only worn in 1977, so that's a secret no more! What a suit it is -page 30 has the original stitch by Gene Doucette, (sketch top right). Amazing! The last 30 to 40 pages feature Elvis from 1976, some pics are blurred but are taken with Instamatic cameras - plus the age of the pics and understandably, there not as sharp.

Included in the book from the May 7, 1976, Dinner Show, Elvis says: 'Well I'd have to say-my greatest fear-it wouldn't be to lose everything I have because I could begin again-might take me a while, but I could get it back. My greatest fear- would have to be, to somehow lose the affection of the fans. To somehow fall out of favour with them, be alienated from them. I'd have to say that would be my greatest fear-one I don't know if I could handle. This just about sums up Elvis and the book. The love Elvis obviously had for the fans and vice versa is evident in this book and although Elvis is not the rock god of the early 1970s, the 1976 pictures help to complete the picture of Elvis in Lake Tahoe. There is also a great story about a water pistol fight between the front row girls (Sue McCasland) and Elvis on page 117.

However, the only minus point is the Praytome advertising on the back pages which could have been used for more Elvis stories, or maybe reviews of the import CDs included in the back of the book. Obviously a great deal of passion and work has gone into the project and overall the book is highly recommended. I did feel it was a little short but photos are very hard to come by; your left definitely wanting more - 9/10.

Finally, the team of Sue McCasland Joe A.Krein, Praytome Publishing & all the extra people who contributed to the book deserve special mention because they have pulled it of - giving the fans a glimpse of Elvis in beautiful Lake Tahoe - where he was, 'King of the mountain' and according to the stories, (there's plenty more I haven't mentioned) was very relaxed and had a riot. No 1970s Elvis fan should be without this book which will become the definitive word on Elvis in Lake Tahoe. Best kept secret – a definitive book – a winner and a must have!

Buy The Worlds Best Kept Secret: Elvis Live At Del Webb's Sahara Tahoe

Articles about Elvis Presley  Photos Preview on Elvis Live at Del Webb's Sahara Tahoe book, including text, photos and Flash presentation.

More Books from Praytome Publishing

Note! Elvis : Born To Rock
Note! Behind The Image Book Volume 2
Note! Elvis On Tour 1975 : Photos from the Heart by Sandi Pichon

DVDs from Praytome Publishing

Note! Behind The Image DVD Vol 1
Note! Behind The Image DVD Vol 2

Note! Elvis Adrenaline '70 : Volume 1 DVD
Note! Elvis Adrenaline '71 : Volume 2 DVD

Elvis Lve at Del Webb's Sahara Tahoe :The World's Best Kept Secret Book - Elvis Presley Book

Elvis Presley > Elvis Shop > Elvis Books


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