IN PERSON

The known and strict Vegas policy of ‘no photography allowed’ when it came to their performers on stage is why we have very little documentation of some of Elvis’ Vegas engagements, including this one. Much of the photos we have come from the very first show as that’s when the media was there and were allowed to take photos, although later in the engagement many fans went through a lot of trouble to get their cameras inside the showroom – then they also had to watch out for the security guards as well as know what they were doing as the setting was quite dark.

Now, over four decades after the fact we have a fair amount of photos from the August 1969 engagement floating around. Some are better than the others but they’re all very much worth seeing as they capture a milestone in Elvis’ career – however, majority are without any kind of date/show/photographer information and as with anything Vegas, if the information is not there to begin with it’s very hard to find it elsewhere either. I guess the saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is quite apt in this case as well.

Nevertheless, this page is a ‘research’ of some sort – since we can’t get the correct dates for the photos, the least we can do is get all the photos from different shows separated from each other (they’re often mixed even in books) through little details; by looking at what Elvis and his backup groups are wearing we can pretty well tell which photos are from different shows and to date, out of the 57 shows we should have photos from at least 25 different ones – even few with possible date/show information, and if that’s the case, this information will also be mentioned. It’s an on-going project so if you can help us in any way, especially with photographer names, feel free to contact.

The details we are concentrating on the photos are obviously what Elvis is wearing, but also the band and The Sweet Inspirations’ outfits – they’re all often prominent on the photos and if Elvis happened to wear the same suit more than once (which he did), they were usually wearing different outfits than on the last show. The different shows are listed suit-by-suit, the ‘show titles’ are for reference only.

 


 

SHOW “1.1a” (July 31 Opening Show)
– Elvis in black ‘karate GI’ (dark blue scarf with white & light blue lines); Charlie Hodge in proper suit, rest of the band in full black (red scarfs); The Sweet Inspirations in white, sleeveless dresses.
–> This is one of the most important and ‘sought after’ (information-wise) shows of Elvis’ career, so below is an attempt to give proper credits to the photographers whose photos are often seen in various different places.

        
© Peter Borsari

        
© Hank De Lespinasse(?)

        
© Terry O’Neill 

      
© Andrew Kent (first photo confirmed – others from the same camera?)

 

SHOW “1.1b” (August 18 Midnight Show)
– Elvis in black karate GI (light blue scarf); band in full white.
–> Photos taken by Barbie Dobie who attended a few shows during the engagement.

      

 

SHOW “1.1c”
– Elvis in black karate GI (blue scarf, blue “fringes” in belt); band in full black (red scarfs); Sweets in white, sleeveless dresses.

    

 

 

SHOW “1.1d”
– Elvis in black karate GI (light blue scarf); band in black tops/white pants/white scarfs; Sweets in white, sleeveless dresses with ‘swirl design’.

 

SHOW “1.1e” (possibly taken between August 13-14)
– Elvis in black karate GI (green scarf); band in full black (red scarfs).
–> Pictures below are screen captures from the known footage taken by Jean-Marc Gargiulo

    

 

SHOW “1.1f”
– Elvis in black karate GI (red scarf); band in full black (red scarfs?); Sweets in white, long-sleeved dresses.
–> The first photo is not necessarily from the same show as the other two although much of the details do match – but it is there (for now) to give a clearer look of Elvis’ suit. That particular photo is sometimes dates as being from August 21 Dinner Show.

    

 

SHOW “1.2a” (possibly August 4 Midnight Show)
– Elvis in black karate GI (blue scarf, blue pleats in pants); band in full white; Sweets in black, sleeveless dresses.
–> Photographs taken by DS.

  

 

SHOW “1.2b”
– Elvis in black karate GI (blue scarf, blue pleats); band in full black (red scarfs); Sweets in white(?), long-sleeved dresses.

  

 

SHOW “1.2c”
– Elvis in black karate GI (blue scarf, blue pleats); band in full white; Sweets in red, long-sleeved dresses.

    

 

SHOW “1.3a”
– Elvis in black karate GI (red scarf, red pleats); band in black jackets/white pants/white scarfs; Sweets in red, long-sleeved dresses.

        

 

SHOW “1.3b”
– Elvis in black karate GI (navy blue scarf w/ (thick) red and (thin) white lines, red pleats, red striped belt); band in full white; Sweets in red, sleeveless dresses.
–> One of the three known shows that was photographed by an ‘official source’ (possibly RCA – the very first photo was used in one of Elvis’ album covers), and funnily enough ALL known photos of Elvis wearing this suit seems to come from this same show. There were at least two photographers in the audience (note the first photos on first two rows, which look to be taken at the exact same moment), possibly even three although the known two COULD have moved around the showroom.
–> Also known fan-photos has surfaced that seem to be from the same show.

        
Photographer 1 – center(ish) stage

      
Photographer 2 – Elvis’ right

    
(Possible) photographer 3 – Elvis’ left

 


 

 SHOW “2.1a”
– Elvis in white karate GI (blue scarf); band in full black (white scarfs?); Sweets in “square pattern” dresses.
–> One of the three known shows that was photographed by an ‘official source’ (RCA?) – at least two cameras were photographing the show.

        
Photographer 1 – center(ish) stage

      
Photographer 2 – Elvis’ right

    
‘Amateur’ photos from possibly the same show (note the Sweet’s dresses in particular).

 

SHOW “2.1b”
– Elvis in white karate GI (“bolo scarf”); band ???
–> One of the three known shows that was photographed by an ‘official source’ (RCA?) – the first photo below was used in an International menu.

      

SHOW “2.1c”
– Elvis in white karate GI (blue scarf); band in white jackets/black pants/black(?) scarfs (Charlie excluded who’s in black suit).

  

 

SHOW “2.1d”
– Elvis in white karate GI (blue scarf); band in full white (blue scarfs).
–> Notice the mike Elvis is using – so far this is the only known show where he used this kind of mike through (what it seems) the whole show.

      

 

SHOW “2.1e”
– Elvis in white karate GI; band in black tops/white pants/white scarfs.

 


 

SHOW “3.1a” (possibly from August 3rd)
– Elvis in black two-piece (short jacket w/ chest pockets), red kick pleats in pants, metal belt (‘blue&purple’ scarf); band in white tops/black pants/black scarfs.

    

 

SHOW “3.1b”
– Elvis in black two-piece (short jacket w/ chest pockets) with metal belt (“dotted” scarf with “arrows” pointing up); band in white tops/black pants/black scarfs.

  

 

SHOW “3.1c”
– Elvis in black two-piece (short jacket w/ chest pockets) with metal belt (red scarf); band in full black (white scarfs); Sweets in red, sleeveless dresses.

    

 


 

SHOW “4.1a” (August 1 Dinner Show)
– Elvis in white two-piece (short jacket w/ chest pockets) with metal belt; band in full black (red scarfs).
–> These photos are most likely from the very first show for the ‘general public’ – according to Ann Moses who attended the opening show, they were taken by her then-husband during the “second show”.

        

 

SHOW “4.2a”
– Elvis in white two piece (short jacket w/ chest pockets) with “lion head” leather belt; band in white tops/black pants/black scarfs.

 


 

SHOW “5.1a”
– Elvis in black two-piece (long(er) jacket with no pockets) (red scarf with dark blue at the end of it), pants with red lined kickpleats; band in full black (red scarfs).
–> The jacket is the same one Elvis wore during his August 1 press conference.

      

 

SHOW “5.1b”
– Elvis in black two-piece (‘press conference’ jacket) (blue&purple scarf?), red lined pleats(?); band in white tops/black pants(black scarfs.

 

SHOW “5.1c”
– Elvis in black two-piece (‘press conference’ jacket) (largely white (with red on each end?) scarf), red lined kick pleats; band in full white (blue scarfs?).
–> Curiously enough, Charlie seems to be wearing the same proper suit during this show as he did during the Opening Show… a special occasion?

  

 

SHOW “5.2a”
– Elvis in black-two piece (blue&purple scarf), metal belt; band in full black (white scarfs?).
–> This suit combination is basically what he wore in the August 1 press conference – only the scarf is different, and a belt is added.