Just released is 'The Elvis Presley Story Pts 1-4'.
From the press release:
This amazing 13 hour documentary is based on 3 years of intense work by author Jerry Hopkins. Mr Hopkins book 'Elvis - A Biography' has been appointed as the ultimate book about Elvis's life.
This radio special was broadcasted in over 250 major U.S. cities and the rest of the world and was first published as vinyl boxset containing 13 discs and one 10-cassette-tape box. Both releases are ultra rare today.
Now for the first time it's released on nothing less than 15 CDs spread over 4 boxes Here you get an absolutely amazing opportunity for an even deeper and intimate insight into Elvis Presley's life.
The first box contains the first 4 chapters: 'The Early Years', 'The Sun Records', 'Presleymania' and 'Presleymania part II'.
The host on this documentary is Wink Martindale. He was initially elected as he is a skilled "storyteller", but it turns out that Wink hosted WHBQ in Memphis when Elvis first recorded in 1954 and has interviewed Elvis on several occasions for both radio and television. Several interviews were included in this series, next to a lot of other rare ones.
The other 3 Volumes in this series will be Issued at 2 monthly intervals.
Minky Winky did this ? Based on the Hopkins book ? 15 cds ? I confess that I never heard about this.
LOL! Minky Winky!!! Wink Martindale had a show in Canada (Vancouver), first time I hear that he had a show in Memphis as well.
Minky is the name of the neighbours cat so I thought it fits to Winky.
Excellent! With all the hoopla going on, might as well throw in the cat in the square dance! lol! For all I know the cat could become a producer as well! Everyone else seems to have a piece of the action!
The other cat is called Muggal.
The article left out some major details:
I am somewhat of an expert on this production since i first listened to all 13 hours myself on a local radio station here in Dallas in 1977 shortly after Elvis' death. Unfortunately, being a 13 yr old kid then- i didn't make sure to save the cassettes i made! More importantly, in 2000, i was fortunate to be able to purchase a complete box set of the 1975 production for $1,000 from a collectible record dealer. I'm not sure but i believe he bought it sometime in the 1980s or 90s from someone who had worked at the radio station that broadcast that particular set.
Anyway, as most are aware- "Elvis: A Biography" by Jerry Hopkins, was originally released in appx 1970. The part that many are not aware of today in 2021 is that a company called Watermark Inc decided to produce a 12 hour radio documentary based on the book. Ron Jacobs was the producer for Watermark & chose Wink Martindale as the narrator & the documentary was nationally syndicated to numerous radio stations around the country.
Five years later in 1975, for whatever reason, Watermark decided to reissue their documentary. My own personal speculation has always been either/or because Elvis was turning 40, or, simply that it had been 5 years since the original & they felt Elvis' career during the early 1970s justified catching up on his latest 5 yrs.
So, what they did was basically alter the 12th hour & add a 13th hour & again nationally syndicate it around the US with, naturally, Wink Martindale continuing the story by narrating the newly produced final hour.
But "The Elvis Presley Story" didn't end with the 1975 reissue either. Two years later in 1977, Elvis' unexpected death caused Watermark Inc to decide they needed a 3rd production. So they went back altered it again. It's now been about 40 years since i've personally heard the 13th hour of the 1977 version- so i cannot say for sure what exactly may have been edited out for timing purposes, of that 13th hour from 1975. But i believe they basically cut out some minor details & songs & substituted stuff they felt was more important from the final 2 yrs of Elvis' life & also stuff that was more relevant in light of his death.
So that's a bit more of full picture of the details surrounding this radio documentary. The part i'm personally proud of is that i'm fortunate enuf to own a box set of all 13 record albums of the 1975 production. My set contains not only the records but also booklets instructing the radio station engineers how to broadcast the program, how to advertise it, & many other details. Also included is a formal typed letter from Watermark addressed to personnel of a small AM radio station which had been located in Plano, Tx. Obviously, that's the station which aired the set that i now own. Interesting added trivia: the letter to that radio station in Plano happens to have been dated "August 16, 1975" (exactly 2 yrs PRIOR to Elvis' death).
I have listened several times to all 13 hours (technically only appx 10-11 hrs since the record albums contain no ads) of the 1975 production on cassettes i made myself & i can say sincerely i believe it's one of the finest & most complete documentaries ever done on Elvis' life! My dream is to be able to one day get Wink Martindale himself to autograph it for me. It obviously has numerous Elvis songs too- both famous ones & lesser-known too.
What's also fascinating to realize is knowing that Elvis could have quite possibly listened for himself to at least the original 12 hour production! I wish we could learn if he ever did & if he liked it or not.
I am personally very excited to own this boxset of CD's. What i'm hoping is that they did this production similar to the 68 Special & 73 Aloha DVD's, meaning to include all 3 different conclusions from 1970, 1975, & 1977, because i'd love to be able to hear the 1970 original as well as the 2 later alterations. It sounds like a truly historic CD release!
This would be a good set except for the fact that on the mono tracks they used that atrocious "stereo effect reprocessed from monophonic." Even the stereo tracks sound dated having been released over the years since this set was produced in far superior sound. If you are looking for good sound avoid this set.
Given that Parts 1-4 are £39.99, the whole set will cost about £180 including shipping. that's £12 per CD. I'll swerve on this.
Everyone must keep in mind: this program is not intended to be of latest & greatest sound quality. As well, the cost is based on the fact this is a historic program from nearly 50 years ago. As for why they used the old "stereo effect" versions of the mono songs: that's what RCA was pushing back in the 1970s when the program was originally produced. Having not yet heard these CD's for myself- i'm guessing they likely cleaned up minor sound imperfections, but my belief is their intent was to take the listener back to the 1970s to hear exactly what listeners heard on the radio back then & that's good for historic context.
Wink Martindale is now 87 years old & i'd love to hear his opinions on this release (which in my opinion is long overdue!) & also if he participated in this project.
Also interesting (when the later releases come out): when they told the story of Elvis in the early 1970s- they presented the divorce & other not-so-favorable parts of his life. So it's fascinating to remember that Elvis was still living when this story was aired!