|RE: ALOHA VIEWING FIGURES
By Ida Ritter
I would like to comment on an article from "Mr Alan Hanson" on the subject of "how many people in the world
viewed the concert "Aloha from Hawaii" on the EIN website (See below this article).
First off, I am so happy that we have Marty Lacker (my respects to him) who always comes to the rescue when
people who he says were not even there or even born when these events happened to be able to comment
and feel so assertive when affirming something of such a magnitude as this particular event in the life of Elvis
Mr. Hanson affirms that, NO, it was not true what has always been said as to how many people in the world saw
this concert, or tuned their TVs in to see it? How does he know this? And how he come to this conclusion?
Something that was so important for his career, his life and the meaning it had on him as an Entertainer not to
mention the Entertainment world at the time. How lucky you were Marty Lacker to be right there with Elvis during
this important moment of his life.
I was still in California when this concert took place (January 14th 1973) and was there when it was aired in the
United States, we were planning to go to Hawaii in fact to see Elvis in person but for personal reasons that was
not possible, something that I regret very much to this day.
I could tell you that I read the newspapers and listened to the radio presenters across the world on this concert
and the impact that it had not only in Elvis' career, but in the music and entertainment world because of its
As an entertainer Elvis accomplished many things that were never done by any other entertainer before him,
and when you take into consideration the time when this happened the merit rises even more.
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Yes he was the first entertainer to do a concert of this magnitude, and remember that at this concert people were paying what they could and afford
because it was also a concert done for a cancer charity with all the proceeds going there, he even mentioned that during the concert, another plus for him.
The only thing that was said by "Mr Alan Hanson" in his comment that was totally right follows here: "The problem with such an approach is that it distracts
from Elvis’ real legacy—his unparallelled ability as an entertainer. His performance in the early morning of January 14, 1973, speaks for itself. Many say
Elvis never looked nor sounded better in his entire career. And all that other stuff—the satellite, the dozens of countries, the millions of viewers—neither
added nor detracted from his performance. It should be remembered for what it was —a final remarkable performance in the career of America’s greatest
entertainer. (Source: Alan Hanson) "
Now, is he making this final statement because he feels bad after his previous comments? We hard die Elvis fans and the real entertainment world that
really knows what this man means for the music and entertainment world do not need to be reminded of how great he was, or how great at entertainer he
was and still is, how great his voice was until the end and still is, because his music continues to be listened around the world, we all know he was and still is
the greatest entertainer in the history of this country and that to this date no one has equalled him in any respect because as I said, many other times he
continues to be to this day, "unparalled".
My final comment: Wouldn't it be nice if people would refrain from making comments like these ones so many years after they happened but in the other
hand, this is what keeps making Elvis unparallelled, the attention he stills gets to this date that keeps him more alive and give the opportunity for people like
Marty Lacker to clarify things not only for us fans but for the all world.
Below is the article which first appeared on the Elvis Information Network
Demystifying an Elvis myth - Aloha viewing audience figure in question!!:
Was Elvis' historic Aloha From Hawaii satellite show witnessed by more than 1 billion people as is often claimed?
Elvis author, Alan Hanson, says NO!! (See Marty Lacker follow-up below)
“In January 1973, Elvis gave a benefit performance at the Honolulu International Center Arena in Hawaii … Titled Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, the program was
the first worldwide television broadcast, and more than a billion people eventually watched this one performance—roughly a third of the world’s population
at the time.” — Elvis for Dummies © by Susan Doll, PhD, film and pop culture historian
I hate to single out Ms. Doll, since she is only the latest in a long line of writers and internet bloggers who have perpetuated the above myth surrounding
Elvis’s 1973 television special. And it hasn’t been just star-struck Presley admirers who have peddled these ridiculous assertions. Even TV Guide, a
respected publication that should have known better, bought into this Presley fairy tale. In its issue for the first week of January 2000, the magazine
asserted, “Number of people who tuned into Presley’s 1973 special, Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii, via satellite: 1.5 billion.”
To see how this Elvis fable got started, let’s first go back to 1973. Shortly after midnight on Sunday, January 14, 1973, Elvis took the stage in Honolulu. His
performance was broadcast live by satellite to countries in the Far East and Oceania. Later that day a delayed broadcast of the show was beamed via
satellite across Europe. Almost three months later, on April 4, 1973, an expanded version of Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii was broadcast in the U.S. on NBC-TV.
Reviews of the show were mostly positive, and the concert soundtrack became Elvis’s first #1 LP in eight years.
To track the source of the show’s over-hyping, however, we must go back four months before Elvis’s performance in Hawaii. On September 4, 1972,
Colonel Parker called a press conference in Las Vegas to announce Presley’s upcoming satellite special. Elvis was in attendance, as was Rocco
Laginestra, president of RCA, which would produce the show using its communications satellite.
Parker issued a laundry list of Elvis “firsts”: In an announcement released prior to the news conference, Parker outlined several what he called historic
“firsts” for the broadcast: (1) first entertainment special to be broadcast worldwide via satellite, (2) largest audience to ever see a television show, “in excess
of one billion people,” (3) “the first time in the history of the record industry” than an LP would be released worldwide simultaneously.
Parker’s final “historic” claim is legitimate, I suppose, but there seems nothing significant about it. RCA could have used its foreign licensing system to do
the same thing years earlier. It didn’t because there was no apparent commercial advantage in issuing an album on the same day around the globe.
Whether releasing the Aloha From Hawaii LP everywhere simultaneously was a good marketing move or just publicity hype is a debatable question, but one
of little import.
The other two supposed “firsts” for Elvis’s Hawaii show, however, were clearly misleading and phony claims churned out by the “Colonel Parker Propaganda
Machine.” It’s surprising that the reporters at the 1972 press conference didn’t see through the sham immediately, and it’s absolutely amazing that Parker’s
bogus claims have been reported as fact over and over again ever since.
Let’s start with the notion that the Presley show would be broadcast “worldwide.” According to Peter Guralnick in his Elvis biography, “six rows of Elvis
Summer Festival hats festooned with the names of each country in which it was hoped the spectacular would be broadcast” were displayed at the press
conference. An article in the Honolulu Advertiser reported that Laginestra “indicated that at least 34 nations will tune in to the Presley show.” Even the most
gullible of journalists present should have realized that 34 nations don't qualify as a “worldwide” broadcast. (A quick look at the World Almanac reveals that
in 1973 there were 140 countries in the world with more than a million in population.)
Mao and Uncle Joe were no Elvis fans: Keep in mind that the satellite feed was available only to those nations who had signed a licensing agreement with
RCA to broadcast the show in their countries. At the news conference, Laginestra said RCA was “talking to the Russians and (we’ve) started negotiations
with China” for possible hookups (Billboard, 12/16/72). There has never been any evidence, however, that Aloha From Hawaii was ever broadcast in China,
Russia, or any other communist nation. (That didn’t stop Susan Doll from speculating that, “Even parts of Communist China supposedly tuned in.”)
Various reports indicate Aloha From Hawaii was eventually broadcast in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, South Vietnam, Thailand,
Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, the United States, and 28 countries in Europe. That’s 38 nations plus the British protectorate of Hong Kong. The
special was not broadcast in any country in Africa, South America, the Middle East, or South Asia. In fact, among the world’s five most populated countries
in 1973, only the U.S. saw Aloha From Hawaii. So at long last, can we please dispense with the assertion that it was a “worldwide” broadcast?
Now, what about the claim that over a billion people actually saw the Elvis special? Remember that Colonel Parker’s printed announcement proclaimed that
“in excess of one billion people” would actually “see” the Aloha broadcast. How could he determine the actual number of viewers four months before the
broadcast? The obvious answer is that he couldn’t. Still, Presley pundits through the years have continued to insist that between 1 and 1.5 billion people
worldwide saw Aloha From Hawaii back in 1973. (The amount 1.3 billion is the most commonly stated number.)
The Colonel must have thought infants watched Elvis: First of all, the world’s total population in 1973 was 3.973 billion. Does it sound reasonable that fully
one-third of the planet’s people were glued to the tube when Elvis’s special aired in 1973? Hardly. Consider how many Americans tuned in to Aloha From
Hawaii when it was broadcast in the U.S. on April 4, 1973. Overnight Nielsen ratings indicated that 33.8 percent of all American televisions were tuned in to
Elvis’s concert. But that also indicates that two-thirds of U.S. televisions were either turned off or tuned to other programs in that time slot. Now, if every
family member in those 33.8 percent of households was sitting around the TV watching Elvis that evening, then the most that could be claimed is that about
one-third of Americans watched Aloha From Hawaii. If barely a third of the U.S. population tuned in, does it seem reasonable that an equal amount would
have done so in places like South Vietnam, where TV broadcasting only began in 1965?
So how was the exaggerated number of 1.3 billion viewers of the Elvis special reached? If you add together the 1973 populations of the 38 countries the
actually did broadcast the Aloha show, the total comes to—you guessed it—about 1.3 billion. In what was perhaps the greatest snow job of his career,
Colonel Parker convinced four decades of Elvis experts and fans that every single living person in 38 countries tuned in to Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii in
1973. Just in the U.S. alone, the Nielsen ratings make it clear that, at the very least, 140 million Americans were doing something other than watching Elvis
that April evening.
Even the idea that Aloha From Hawaii was the first broadcast of its kind is flimsy. “The claim that this was the first worldwide satellite broadcast of an
entertainment special was somewhat debatable,” noted Peter Guralnick, “in that the broadcast was not actually worldwide and Andy Williams had already
done something of similar nature for the European market.”
Aloha concert should be allowed to stand on its own: In the end, much of the “historic” framework built around the 1973 Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii broadcast
turns out to be nothing more than another example of Elvis enthusiasts trying to artificially embellish Presley’s legacy with bogus big numbers and dubious
claims of being "first."
The problem with such an approach is that it distracts from Elvis’s real legacy—his unparalleled ability as an entertainer. His performance in the early
morning of January 14, 1973, speaks for itself. Many say Elvis never looked nor sounded better in his entire career. And all that other stuff—the satellite,
the dozens of countries, the millions of viewers—neither added nor detracted from his performance. It should be remembered for what it was —a final
remarkable performance in the career of America’s greatest entertainer. (Source: Alan Hanson)
From Marty Lacker.
Here I am once again commenting on an EIN story (above), as written about an important moment in Elvis' great legacy by someone who wasn't present at
Let me start off by saying this guy is nitpicking and who's to say he is factual.
The day after the show we were sitting in the suite in the Hilton Hawaiian Village when the Colonel arrived with a Japanese newspaper that stated that 98%
of the Japanese households that had TV watched the show.
When Lagenestra and the Colonel said,"Worldwide" they used that term to denote that it would be viewed in countries in the world other than the U.S.,
certainly there were places it wasn't seen, nothing has ever been shown in every single part of the world. As for the "First" in regards to an entertainment
show via Satellite,it was in many ways and it was also the first show done on RCA/NBC's satellite.
To try to minimize Elvis' historic outstanding performance 33 years later by someone who might not have even been born then or if he was might have not
been aware enough to witness the true worldwide impact, is like some uninformed Elvis fans who spout off about the kind of people Elvis and the Memphis
Mafia were/are, yet they never spent one minute with any of us.
Suffice it to say, it was the largest audience in history by any artist especially for its time. I'm proud of what he did and that I had the pleasure of being there
with him to see it first hand. I'm also glad that it was something that made him happy and proud. - Marty Lacker
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