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Sinatra's March 26, 1960 Timex special "Welcome Home Elvis"
was designed to welcome "The Boy" home from Germany. This
short TV appearance confirmed to all that he never missed a beat
while in the army. After the show, Presley set off to Hollywood to
star in GI Blues(1960) with Sinatra's then-girlfriend, Juliet
The show aired on May 12th, and featured an all-too-brief live 6-min appearance, for which Elvis received the then-record sum of $125,000. He wore the one thing he swore he never would after Steve Allen's straitjacketing ploy: a tuxedo. However, while the Allen Show made a mockery of Elvis' youthful innocence 4yrs before, this fitted tux was sensually stylish. It accentuated his hips and shoulders, which became his major form of self-expression here--the clothes he wore often transformed his performances. This wonderful TV interlude constitutes Elvis' first reinvention of himself. The tailored-tux look may prove his most timeless, since it not only captures his "thoroughly connected" charm, but looks like early 1990s funk! Nerves or not, it's instantly clear that in the weeks since his release from the army, Elvis polished all kinks from his performance. Mixing a touch of Dean Martin with high pompadour hair, he sings two songs with highly contrasted styles. Fame and Fortune is a ballad, during which he humbly joins the Jordanaires in a soft "waoo-waoo"/"bawdle-dedum"; but during the cut-loose bop of Stuck On You he becomes a powerful, brand-new Elvis. It's his smouldering yet ice-skater-perfect choreography, finger- and thigh-snapping to his beat, that supplied a level of confident and POLISHED energy he never achieved before. A watered-down version of this style can be seen on Return to Sender, in Girls! Girls! Girls!(1962). Elvis' last number was the (gratis) medley/duet with Sinatra, singing Witchcraft/Love Me Tender. They take turns swapping a few bars of each other's hit, ending in a well-blended harmony of LMT.
Unfortunately Sinatra never matched Elvis' feel for an unfamiliar style. Whether this was intentional on Sinatra's part to flatter his guest, we may never know; but Frank certainly comes off looking second-best. We can well-imagine Elvis' now famous Wall of Charisma hitting even Sinatra reasonably hard, as a sartorially elegant 25-yr-old Presley towers over him. During the intro to their duet, Elvis' demurring handshake rather disarmed Sinatra; the best Frank could do was to make light of Elvis' magnetism: "We work the same way, only in different areas" he shrugs, as they get into some mutual shoulder-action. My personal favourite is Elvis' headswing back to Sinatra to indicate he'd finished his bit from Witchcraft - it makes Frank giggle, too. Elvis' initial hopes for a music career involved singing in a male quartet. His favourite part was base baritone; and he himself had an almost 3-octave vocal range. Yet to posterity's surprise, such a superlative and magnetic natural talent of the 20thCentury always remained humble--perhaps too humble to keep performing forever.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Elvis Presley may have been the star attraction of this 1960 ABC
special, and he was paid $125,000 for six minutes of performance.
However, I found myself riveted to Rat Pack members who appeared on
this show, as well as Nancy Sinatra.
And justifiably so.
Yes, Elvis was in prime shape, and he had the presence. But Frank Sinatra was, too, and 1960 was an unforgettable year for him and his friends. This was the year of "The Summit," and of "Ocean's Eleven," which are so much a part of the Rat Pack legend. This special is more than just a special featuring Elvis; it also offers a heaping helping of Rat Pack humour and songs.
One also has to remember that these shows had to appeal to different generations. America had only three television networks 48 years ago. As a result, the show had to appeal to older audiences as well as the younger ones.
Finally, despite Elvis' status as "The King," Frank Sinatra was Chairman of the Board, and had the clout to pull off this special. The show deserves 10/10, just for being a fascinating time capsule of a legendary time period alone. It is a very fun show!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Rat Pack meets Elvis. It's always amazing to see the knives come
out when fans of one icon-Elvis or Sinatra or the Beatles. I know, I do
it too. But seriously...
Looking at a couple of these reviews. Some clown here cited Albert Goldman to slag Elvis in his duet w/ Sinatra. Really?? Should we go and break out the Kitty Kelly quotes here about Mr. Gambino-wannabe Frankie? He looks like a skinny over-aged has-been in comparison to Elvis like it or not if you want to know the truth. Nice ears there Frankie. And say are you wearing those 3 inch lifts again-? And all you need to know about Goldman-he died of a cardiac on a plane enroute from Miami to London while preparing a never-to be completed assault on Jim Morrison. Could not have happened to a nicer guy.
Sinatra and Elvis' duet is good. It's a bit awkward but it's fine. I like the Rat Pack and admire Sinatra's career, impact and all that. But let's not get carried away. There's a reason he was called the King.
Often overshadowed or blinded by the sheer and incomparable brilliance associated with his own legendary and meteoric explosion on the music scene just years earlier in 1956, Elvis Presley remains the only entertainer in history to this day that experienced successes so big, and so far beyond the TV ratings generated by any other individual recording artist to have ever appeared through the medium, creating an unheard of phenomenon in which those performances which rank the lowest in Presley's appearance history ( though still considered as major successes by anyone's standards )would be, by far, the most gigantic ratings never ever even considered possible in the realm of possibilities and wildest dreams of any other performer. With appearances on The Ed Sullivan show so gigantic in the scales of success and influence that he would from that point forward forever be remembered in the perceptions and memories of those many millions his performances inspired as a performer with talents bordering on the supernatural and possibilities in terms of popularity and success which knew no bounds. It was with such expectations of granduer and air of anticipation that Elvis strode nervously on stage on a warm May evening in 1960 in Miami Beach and once again channelled those waves of nervous energy into his famed charisma like no other that seemed to embody the ferocity of a caged tiger combined with the sleekness of a panther and the masculine beauty of a modern Adonnis wrapped up in a mysteriously dangerous magnetism only he and he alone could gewnerate. With his hair piled luxuriously into a radiant and shimmering pompidore, his physique never trimmer or more masculine and in shape just out of the army and only 25, he looked every bit the most idolized male sex symbol of all time, and in a modernly fashioned tuxedo exquisitely tailored to fit his lanky build and ultra-hip, sexy signals of virility: the man who would be king never looked better. After easing into the show with a simple, yet stylish intro which included the principles: With the lovely daughter of The Chairman of the Board, Nancy, looking genuinely star-struck and heartsick for the mega-star she was escorting arm in arm through the short lines of Rat pack memebers Joey Bishop and Sammy Davis, Sinatra and Presley professionally felt their way through the opening number with ease, welcoming the hero home from his years away in service of Uncle Sam. After commercial, the king burst into his just cut Stuck on You, wiggling and jiggling with no signs of rust, eliciting those same shrieks and screams just the same as before, only now responding with a self effacing smile symbolic of a man now matured beyond those Memphis years filled with charm and sass, a more cultured, yet still supremely confident and assured superstar. Afeter a duet with Sinatra, Presley offered up his tribute especially arranged in honor of his host, the melodically beautiful and perfect ballad Fame and Fortune. Always seemingly at his most charming with this type of song, Presley eased through the surefire hit in one of his finest treatments in the history of his recorded performances. Had it been any other young talent not saturating the top 10 on a regular basis, Fame and Fortune might have been a #1 smash for weeks,...the signature song of some pretender to the throne. All in all, a magnificent return, one often overlooked and forgotten in the wake of more flamboyant TV triumphs to come in 1968 and in '73 from Hawaii.
I have never understood, and probably will never understand, the Elvis
Presley cult. I can't see how anybody could watch this show and not see
that Frank Sinatra had more talent in his toenail than Elvis had in his
entire body. When Elvis stuck to the stripped-down rock 'n' roll
represented on his Sun recordings and his first two years on RCA Victor
(1956-1957), he was good (though other white rockers of the 1950's --
Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly -- were better); when he
tried anything else, he was totally out of his depth. The contrast is
vividly displayed here in the song "Witchcraft," which Sinatra and
Elvis sing on separate parts of the program. Sinatra's is eloquent,
musicianly, sensitively phrased in a way that brings home the dramatic
point (albeit of a rather silly lyric); Elvis's is straight-ahead,
musically insensitive and totally without any sense of phrasing or the
rhythmic looseness needed for a song like this to work. Elvis looks
like an amateur of promise up against a seasoned professional like
Sinatra, and as Elvis biographer Al Goldman pointed out, in their
scenes together (especially when they harmonize on "Love Me Tender")
they look like a Gay couple, with Sinatra the butch one and Elvis the
The rest of the show is a fascinating curio, a real time capsule of what was considered state-of-the-art entertainment in 1960. Four of the Rat Packers appear (Dean Martin is the only one missing), and Sammy Davis, Jr.'s singing of "There's a Boat That's Leaving Soon for New York" is excessively mannered (did he sing it that badly in the "Porgy and Bess" movie? I don't remember and I'm not likely to have a chance to find out, since the film itself has been suppressed by the Gershwin estate), but his musical impressions (especially of Louis Armstrong) are marvelous. Sinatra's solo songs are the high point; the low point is the ridiculous Alvin and the Chipmunks knock-off to which the Tom Hansen dancers perform. It's also nice to have the original Timex commercials on the DVD, though not so nice that the only surviving source for the show is a lousy kinescope and the DVD wasn't digitally remastered to clean up the image quality.
More on Sinatra vs. Elvis: Sinatra lived as long (82 years) as Elvis and John Lennon combined. He remained popular over five decades. He was able to have hit movies in which he didn't sing (Elvis tried twice -- "Flaming Star" and "Charro" -- and both were flops). He won an Academy Award. He was able to adjust his style to changing musical times while retaining his individuality. And he was a strong and assertive enough personality to run his own career instead of letting a super-manager like Col. Tom Parker make all his decisions for him. Sinatra drew on the contributions of African-American singers (notably Billie Holiday) but formed his own unique style; Elvis slavishly imitated African-Americans like Little Richard, Clyde McPhatter and Roy Brown and added nothing but a white face to their music. Sinatra was a great talent; Elvis was a novelty act.
An all around pretty good tv programme hosted by Frank Sinatra for The King as he is known Elvis Presley the show also contains guests and singing of songs I think that this is a good tv-movie and only seeing it once i can still tell you so much
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