Interview with Annett Wolf, co-producer of Elvis In Concert 1977
August 27, 2017
Elvis Interviews, Elvis Articles, Elvis News
Interview with Annett Wolf, co-producer of Elvis In Concert 1977 (11:51)
Some great quotes:
'Not before I got to the gospel, did I fall in love with Elvis'.
'My name is Annett Wolf, and I am a lady'. (said to Colonel Tom Parker).
'He was very, very lovely, and a kind man'.
Elvis In Concert DVD
While there has been no official DVD release there have been several bootleg releases ranging in quality from poor to excellent with the last release being extremely good and unfortunately probably the definitive word on the subject. Below you can read about CBS TV special as well as why EPE do not plan on releasing the Special.
Elvis In Concert 1977
On June 1, 1977, it was announced that Elvis Presley had signed a deal with CBS for a new television special. It was agreed that CBS would videotape concerts during the summer of 1977. The final special was culled from footage from two performances on June 19, 1977, in Omaha, and June 21, 1977, in Rapid City, although much of the footage from Omaha was considered unusable due to sound and performance problems. This concert has been heavily edited and bootlegs have appeared on auction web sites over the years. The show was shot on NTSC videotape although many film conversions have appeared over the years. The crew also filmed footage of Elvis at the airport in Indianapolis, receiving a gold record from RCA Records on June 26. This is the last known footage of Elvis ever filmed, and he can be seen wearing his favorite DEA jacket.
During the special, Elvis performs a number of songs spanning his career. During one song, 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?', just before Elvis goes into the recitation part of the song, the music is faded down and a devoted female fan is shown talking about her determination to see Elvis live in concert, then it switches back to Elvis after the recitation was finished. This may have been done so that viewers would not have to see Elvis fumbling through the recitation, although this footage was included in the later documentary 'This Is Elvis' to illustrate his poor condition at the time, and the recitation was left intact on the soundtrack album as well. However, a strong case is made in Darrin Memmer's book 'Elvis Presley - The 1977 CBS Television Special', published in 2001 by Morris Publishing, that Elvis regularly played around with the words during the recitation of the song when performing it onstage, rather than it being a case of poor memory. Indeed, a concert recording of Elvis similarly joking around during the recitation of 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?' dating from 1969 has been issued by RCA on numerous occasions. Dubbed the 'Laughing Version' (due to Elvis breaking into fits of laughter during the recitation), it even made the UK charts after Elvis' death; and he also poked fun at the song during his 1968 Comeback Special, pretending to mumble the recitation instead of speaking it.
Elvis also sings his much-performed 'My Way', although he has to use a lyric sheet on this occasion, despite having performed the song several years through the 1970s without having to refer to a lyric sheet. Elvis also removed both of his then-current singles, 'Moody Blue' and 'Way Down', from the setlist; Elvis had forgotten the lyrics to 'Moody Blue' when attempting to perform it earlier in the tour and never performed it live again.
According to Roy Carr and Mick Farren in Elvis: The Illustrated Record, CBS officials considered postponing broadcast of the special in hopes of obtaining better performance footage of Elvis, but his death in August 1977 cancelled this plan. Its broadcast received mixed reaction; Carr and Farren condemned it as a 'travesty', adding, 'Had it been shown during his lifetime, it would have caused more irrevocable damage to what was left of his career than almost a decade of starring in third-rate movies'.
A misconception regarding Elvis in Concert stems from a statement broadcast by Elvis' father, Vernon Presley at the program's conclusion (and also included on the soundtrack album) in which he told viewers that they had just witnessed Elvis' final performance. In fact, Elvis made five more concert appearances before giving what would be his final show in Indianapolis, Indiana, on June 26. However, the CBS special was Elvis' last professionally recorded concert. The special actually contains two messages by Elvis' father: one taped in a hotel room during the tour in June when Elvis was still alive, and the other taped in the back office of Graceland shortly after his death, where Vernon thanks the many people who sent letters and cards after Elvis' death.
Why No Office Release?
The 1977 television special Elvis in Concert, which was shot during Elvis' last concert tour in June of 1977 (not the last concert itself as Vernon Presley stated at the end of the special) aired a couple of times on network television and parts of it, and additional footage shot during the production of it, have been used in various television and video documentary projects over the years. However, much to the disappointment of a number of fans, we have no plans for releasing a home video of the Elvis in Concert material at this time. Because of the severity of Elvis' health problems at the time the special was shot, Elvis was far from his best in the way he looked and the way he performed, though there are some truly brilliant moments in the footage. The true fans look at this through the eyes of love, respect, and understanding, and see the great historical value - as do all the members of our staff. But, this not so with much of the general public and the media. It's not that we don't want the fans to have this footage or that we don't know how much it would mean to them. We do. There just simply is no way to get it only to the real fans (and we've exhausted all kinds of ideas) without also having Elvis served up to the general public and press for ridicule. They already emphasize and exaggerate the tragedy and sadness of the last years of his life too much.
Right now, the emphasis for us is to remind them of all that came before.
We receive many calls, letters, and E-mails from fans pushing for us to release this footage on home video. There is not a single argument in favor of our releasing it that has come from fans that haven't come up amongst our management team. We talk about it at length periodically. Up to now, some members of the management team who decide these things have not become comfortable with releasing it. Perhaps that could change someday. For now, our position remains as explained herein. 'Not now' does not necessarily mean 'not ever'. We'll see. In the meantime, we truly understand, respect and appreciate and share on so many levels the feelings of those fans who want the 1977 material released.
In the meantime, we continue to use clips from the 1977 special as appropriate for historical context and completeness in documentary projects and exhibits.
No part of any article on this site may be re-printed for public display without permission.
Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD + 16 page booklet.
Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.