Ivor Casey continues his series on the films of Elvis Presley No.8 – ‘Blue Hawaii’
Elvis returned to Memphis from Hollywood on 25 February, 1961, for “Elvis Presley Day” as it was declared by the Memphis mayor and the Tennessee governor, where he was awarded a diamond studded watch by RCA Records for sales of 75 million records.
This was followed by Elvis performing a charity concert to support twenty-six Memphis charities, which would also be his first live performance since 1957.
He followed this with some studio recordings before another concert was due to be performed, this time in Hawaii.
The Hawaiian concert was set to be a fundraising benefit by Elvis to help build the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. The memorial was designed to commemorate the lives of those lost on the warship during the bombing of the Harbor by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941.
The project had been conceived in the 1950s but the plans were running into financial difficulty with only half the needed amount raised by the time Elvis came along.
Presley’s show was set for 25 March 1961 at the Bloch Arena, Pearl Harbor and raised approximately $62,000 for the memorial as well as creating massive publicity for the cause, with money subsequently rolling in from both public and private sectors. The memorial was eventually constructed and unveiled the following year.
Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own