Teenagers’ Hero is a new book by Steve Rino limited to just 1000 copies (each one numbered). Within it’s 413 pages are 444 photos, many of them being previously unseen before.
This is volume 1 and it takes the reader on a journey through the first 6 months of 1956 as Elvis toured and his break onto television and the movies. One of those 444 pictures are of Elvis’ 3rd screen-test [Pg 149], (We are all aware of the photos from the ‘Rainmaker’ and the ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ screen-tests), of a mean and moody looking Elvis opposite Cynthia Baxter.
This is the definitive day by day journey and for the first time we, as fans, get a real sense of those early days as Elvis and Rock ‘N’ Roll as a genre takes hold across America. I love the way the book is laid out, this book really is a labor of love and I have to applaud Steve Rino for the stunning work and the research he has done in order to bring us something that is so unique amongst the plethora of books that are written about Elvis.
One of my favourite parts (and there are many) is on page 26 where we hear from ‘Bill Randle’ and his tale of how he tried to get Elvis onto various TV shows including the ‘Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts’ and how he was turned down due to his acne and Godfrey threw him out. I love it how it’s explained that back in ‘56, Elvis looked the equivalent to the Punks of the late 70’s and when ‘Randle’ tried to get him onto the ‘Perry Como Show’, producer Mickey Glass took one look and announced; “We’ll never put anything like that on the Perry Como Show”. A deal was struck to get Elvis on the ‘Jackie Gleason Stage Show’ hosted by the Dorsey Brothers and we are told that the only person who liked Elvis on this show – besides the public – was Jackie Gleason himself.
This is not one of those expensive books that contain photos, and little else. This is a book that has it all! Rare & unseen photos, together with 90 newspaper & magazine clippings, 50 newspaper concert adverts and several show tickets along with other relevant information all put together in the correct order. This book is something very special and puts a lot of the overpriced picture books to shame.
My only complaint is that some of the text becomes hard to read against the dark backgrounds but apart from that – I LOVE THIS BOOK – And I cannot wait for volume 2. You really cannot miss out on this book!
[You can also read another fans review of Teenager's Hero here