March 1977: Elvis’ Last Vacation, Hawaii

Source: See across

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Goggles aficionado. Retronaut’s founder and curator.

18 Responses

  1. Andrew Odom

    No, he doesn’t unless you’re just half-paying attention . Most impersonators do a really weak impression of him but few actually pull it off. I admit here he looks closer to the stereotypical big black hair, sideburns, sunglasses and heavier weight. But most of them never actually look like his face and always wear sunglasses on stage, as if he did that more than just a few rare shows.

    These photos always get me: there’s some joy and relaxation for him on an island he loved. He should have been given all of 1977 off to recover and detox.. He was only 42 in these shots. We still miss Elvis. There’ll never be another.

    • Kevin Carlson

      Very well stated Andrew. Yes Elvis was showing alot of joy in these photos. That I’m sure was a rare luxury for him in his last few years. I have also thought that if only Elvis would have just taken a 2 to 5 year break . . . sadly it all played out differently. I am 48 years old now and cant imagine that Elvis was only a very young 42 in these photos. Few people really understand what they are seeing in these last vacation photos, its nice that someone else sees what I do as well. There surely will never be another like him.

  2. Topov

    Oh wait – maybe stills taken by Tv at the same time? Only I have seen pics just like these credited to JT in various books etc

    • Avatar of Chris

      We always seek to give credit wherever possible, Topov, so if you can clarify the photographer for us, we will add that in.

  3. Elisha

    At Iain, doesn’t it look a little like Kristen Stewart, mixed some with Jody Foster?

  4. Topov

    I think the girl in the top 4 pics is Shirley Deue – she was the then girlfriend of Memphis Mafia member Joe Esposito .

    Pic 5 is Ginger Alden, pics 6,7,8 are Ginger Alden (in the towelling robe on Elvis’ left) and her sister Rosemary on his right.

    Pic 9, the couple lying on the ground to the left of the pic (waving woman) are the Larry Gellers.

    Pic taken in Kailua.

    The photographer is Joseph A. Tunzi of JAT Publishing (Hawaii) – if you look online you’ll see he did lots of Elvis pics – and has published some books with his photos – including these taken in March 1977. A copy of one of these pics is in Peter Guralnik’s book “Careless Love”.

  5. Cranios

    I was 17 when these were taken. By 1977, Elvis was a laughingstock. It’s only after he died that he once again became venerated as some sort of idol. It’s too bad what too much success did to him, really.

  6. Robert

    We always seem to think of Elvis as a huge fat guy just before he died but he doesn’t look as fat as I remembered. By today’s standards he just looks doughy and a little overweight. I think our fatness gauge has been skewed over the last few decades.

  7. Elizabeth

    I think the jumpsuits made him look heavier than he really was. They are not very flattering even on the fittest of people.

  8. Guy

    This guy looks really like Elvis but frankly it’s not Elvis. It’s the same thing with the shows he did in June (last shows) of the same year. Elvis has a lot of impersonators and this Hawaiien vacation was a set up for what was coming. They were trying to show us the reasons why Elvis suddenly died of a heart attack. Elvis was overweight and most of the time dope…Sure !!! Elvis went to the army learned Karate (8 degree black belt) and becomes a federal agent by the time. Elvis had to disaprear for a while. Certainly hard to believe…right ?

  9. Larry

    Most people gain weight after age 40 but Elvis still had a great voice. Yes, it would have been nice to see him take some time off and return better than ever. We tend to look at the last couple of years and criticize but look at 1973 and just how great he looked then! It would be hard for anyone – with his talent, looks and everything else going for him, probably more than any other human who ever lived – to handle it all with ease. So give him a break….he was Elvis! The trend setter who rocked the world from the USA. If he had toured world-wide…Wow! Think how fantastic that would have been!!!!


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