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Elvis Presley and Hawaii
Elvis spent a considerable amount of time in America's 50th state, Hawaii. It was the setting for two of his largest concerts, for three of his movies, and his favorite choice for spending his vacation time. In 1960 Elvis had also had a benefit concert to raise funds for the ships sunk at Pearl Harbor.
Elvis Presley used the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii, as a backdrop when he partially filmed his 1966 movie, Paradise Hawaiian Style . We live very close to the Polynesian Cultural Center, and there is a tribute to him there.
Elvis' concert, Aloha from Hawaii, had the record at the time of being the most watched broadcast of an individual entertainer in TV history. This concert was broadcast to over forty countries in Europe and Asia. It cost 2.5 million dollars and was the most expensive TV special during that time. The concert was at the International Convention Center, which is now known as the Blaisdell Arena. There is a statue of Elvis at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu.
The Aloha From Hawaii concert was the vision of Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis' manager. He had been inspired by a recent trip made by President Richard Nixon to China. Instead of taking Elvis to all the various countries, he decided to broadcast it from Hawaii. It is reported that Elvis lost 25 pounds for the show and it catapulted his record sales and Elvis was also nominated for a Golden Globe.
Elvis dressed in his well-known "American Eagle jumpsuit". It was his patriotic message to the world. There was no charge for the concert, but donations were encouraged. $75,000 was raised and donated to the Kui Lee Cancer Fund in Hawaii (Lee was a Hawaiian composer who died in his thirties).
Elvis' concert was reported to have been seen by more US households than man's first walk on the moon.
It was said of Elvis that he was at his peak form vocally and physically during Aloha From Hawaii, and may have been the greatest moment of his career.
I have spoken to a few people who were here when Elvis was filming his movies and gave his concert. I wish I had been here to see him for myself!