The Auction at Graceland•January 8, 2019
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/8/2019

From the Bill Porter Collection

Elvis redefined what it meant to play Las Vegas once he hit the stage at the International Hotel on July 31, 1969. After nearly a decade of focusing on movies, he came back with a vengeance, and between 1969 and 1976 performed more than 600 sold-out shows. During his second season in January 1970, Elvis changed his song repertoire to include Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary,” Tony Joe White’s “Polk Salad Annie,” and Joe South’s “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.” It was during this four-week engagement that started on January 26 that Elvis began wearing his famous one-piece jumpsuits, of which Bill Belew had prepared a wide variety. The opening night performance is greeted with stellar reviews with the Los Angeles Herald Examiner declaring that “The new decade will belong to him.” Elvis closed the engagement as strong as he began with the midnight show running until 3:00 the next morning. Offered is a grouping of important documents for this Vegas engagement, emanating from the collection of sound engineer Bill Porter, that includes:

  • January 9, 1970 Letter to Bill Porter from Tom Disking and signed by “Elvis Presley” that states, “This is to confirm our agreement that you will render your services as sound engineer for the Elvis Presley Show at the International Hotel, Las Vegas for the period of January 26th throu [sic] February 23rd, 1970, a period of twenty-nine days, two shows per night, for the agreed upon compensation of Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) payable in four payments of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) each on the following days: February 1, 1970 / February 8, 1970 / February 15, 1970 / February 23, 1970 / You further affirm that you are a member in good standing of the union organization covering this activity and authorized to work in this capacity. Your signature below is your acknowledgment and agreement of the terms set forth in this letter.” The agreement has been signed in blue ink by both “Bill Porter” and “Elvis Presley” on behalf of the Elvis Presley Show; 
  • January 14, 1970 cover letter from Tom Diskin on MGM letterhead enclosing the “little agreement” pertaining to Bill’s services at the International Hotel on Elvis’ show and requesting a signature on both copies with one to be returned and one to be retained for Bill’s records;
  • Typed Tentative Rehearsal Schedule for Elvis Presley Show that includes location, start times and dates pertaining to The Imperials and Sweet Inspirations, Full Group Rehearsal with Elvis, musicians and singers, and rehearsals in the hotel show room. Several ink notations consisting of Bill’s name and time indications were added; and 
  • Typed Rehearsal Schedule chart with dates, locations, participants and start times. A further note along the bottom indicates that rehearsals are closed to all visitors, no exceptions please.

This significant signed agreement, executed in bold blue ink by both Bill and Elvis, together with the cover letter and rehearsal documentation, provides a glimpse into the planning and preparation that went into each of Elvis’ Las Vegas engagements. All documents measure 11 by 8 1/2 inches (27.94 x 21.59 cm) and the collection of four (4) documents is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

The documents present with few, if any, significant defects and have been meticulously well-preserved. Only original mailing folds and the occasional wrinkle belie their age. Near Mint condition overall, with some lesser.
Elvis Presley Signed Contract for Concert Sound Engineer Bill Porter - January 1970 Shows at the Las Vegas International Hotel with Rehearsal Schedules and Related Correspondence (4 Pieces)*
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $1,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $3,125.00
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Number Bids: 9
Auction closed on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.
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