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(Elvis Unlimited Productions) (Released 2001)


1. Review by Crister Berge
Ed Bonja Stories / Videos

This DVD (and VHS-PAL) contains some never before seen footage from different epokes. Divided into 19 sections:

 1) Introducing Ed Bonja (Including very RARE Colonel footage)
 2) Ed Bonja Introduced By Elvis (Hear Elvis making fun of Ed)
 3) Impersonating J.D. Sumner
 4) Playing Poker (Pictures of the guys playing poker with concessions money)
 5) Scarves (Colonel selling scarves to Elvis??)
 6) Stolen Capen (Ed Bonja and Tom Hulett playing Elvis)
 7) Graceland On Album Cover (See other photos taken by Ed of Graceland)
 8) Song Lyrics (Footage and memorabilia)
 9) Aloha Poster (Including the press conf. from Sept. 5 1972 w/ orig. sound)
10) Bodyguard
11) Closest Ever To Meeting Elvis
12) Weight
13) The Almost Break Up
14) Funny Story
15) Photo Credit
16) Favourite Photo
17) Bonus: Elvis On Stage: 1971 - 1972
18) Bonus: Elvis On Stage: 1976 - 1977
19) Bonus: Slide Show (DVD ONLY)

The price is 349 DKK or $ 40 (DVD).

"My memories of Elvis - Ed Bonja remembers"
(Review by Crister Berge)

My good friend Mr Arne Metzner of Flaming Star was kind enough to send me a copy of this video (I don't have a DVD player) and I thought I might write a few words about it. First of all: do you expect to see lots of fantastic color pictures and film of Elvis? Forget it! A more appropriate title of the video would have been: "My memories of Elvis - Ed Bonja remembers" or: "Ed Bonja sits in a chair and tells stories" 'cause it's basically Ed sitting in a living room talking, and only one camera angle is used throughout. A talking-CD would have been better. The video is divided in two sections: first 47 minutes of Ed talking and then 20 minutes of silent (8 mm) concert footage from 1971 to 1977. Nothing sensational. Sure, Ed is a great story-teller but it's a little disappointing that so little footage is used to "illustrate" Ed's monologues. Charlie Hodge's video had a little more to offer in this respect.

Bonja was Elvis' "official" photographer during the seventies, and his pictures were used for the album covers of that time period. Ed has the face of a cartoon character with a boxer's nose attached to it. He swallows hard regularly and at one point he disguises a belch. Eddie starts out by explaining how he came to work for Elvis: Tom Diskin (Colonel Parker's assistant) was his uncle, and Parker would visit the Diskins all through Bonja's childhood. When Eddie was in college, Parker asked him to go to work for Elvis as a roadie, setting up the Elvis show, both in Vegas and on concert tours.

Most of Bonja's anecdotes are interesting, and it's great fun to hear the reason why Graceland was on the cover of the 1974 LP RECORDED LIVE ON STAGE IN MEMPHIS. But the tale of the "photo credit" is not funny, it only offers more proof to what an asshole The Colonel was. An episode that had me rolling over on the floor laughing was the story of J.D. Sumner drinking whisky - that story alone was worth the cost of the video! Some footage from the press conference announcing the Aloha Special in Las Vegas 1972 is actually a bit depressing to watch: Elvis is in terrible condition, he seems totally out of it. He's distressed and slurs the words. "It's hard to comprehend..." We've seen clips in better quality from this occasion before (in the movie THIS IS ELVIS). This project is the work of Danish Elvis kingpin Henrik Knudsen and well worth supporting.

On a scale from 1 to 5, I give Bonja's video 2.5.

And to avoid any misunderstanding: Here's a list, so you will know what grade the numbers represents. Not all of my readers have grasped that.

5 = brilliant
4 = very good
3 = good
2 = so-so
1 = ouch!

© Crister Berge, Sweden 2002

  Other reviews of Crister Berge

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