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Documentary explores the first years of Elvis Presley's early career through the eyes of his personal secretary, Trude Forsher. Read more

Seattle, WA Documentary
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Funding Unsuccessful

This project's funding goal was not reached on April 16, 2013.

Documentary explores the first years of Elvis Presley's early career through the eyes of his personal secretary, Trude Forsher.

Seattle, WA Documentary
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About this project

In August, 1956, Elvis Presley started shooting his first feature film, Love Me Tender. At his side was his manager, Colonel Tom Parker and his just-hired secretary, Trude Forsher.

Give Elvis for Christmas is Trude's account of how Elvis' career went from a Southern United States singing sensation to a global legend.  Over the five years that Trude worked with Elvis and the Colonel, she observed first hand the legendary moment's in the King's life.

Trude Forsher with Elvis. 1956
Trude Forsher with Elvis. 1956

Give Elvis for Christmas is also told through the eyes of Byron Raphael, personal assistant to both Trude, Elvis and the Colonel. The film includes music and images that have rarely -if ever-been seen. It is not only the story of Elvis' rise to fame, but of one of his most personal confidants, who escaped the ravages of WW2 to get the job a million girls dreamed of - Elvis' private secretary.

During the 1980's and 1990's, I interviewed my mom on several occasions. Each time she shared different stories about Elvis, the Colonel, the songs and the films during her years with the Presley organization.  A few years back, I began to assemble the material into a documentary.

The title comes from the stamp that Colonel Parker used on all mailings leaving the office during Christmas time. It also reflects a special period in our family life in December 1958, when Elvis and the Colonel personally helped our family during a time of crisis.

The producer with his mother and Colonel Tom Parker, 1958
The producer with his mother and Colonel Tom Parker, 1958

I have added a number of special premiums to help raise the finishing funds for the film. For fuller descriptions of the items, please visit www.giveelvis.com.

Risks and challenges

"Give Elvis for Christmas" is a documentary 30 years in the making. I began interviewing my mom about her Elvis years back in the early 1980's. I began to acquire footage and develop the storyline back in the early 2000's. It has been a slow process but we are finally at the finish line.

What is needed to finish the project are funds for licensing footage, shooting some contemporary material appropriate to the story and spending a lot of time in the edit bay. The goal is to create a film that is both entertaining and tells a story never before heard about the early years of the Elvis legend.

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Rewards

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    Pledge $10 or more
    About $10 USD

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    Give Elvis for Christmas Tote Bag. Be environmentally conscious and show your love of Elvis too!

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    Pledge $15 or more
    About $15 USD

    2 backers

    Give Elvis for Christmas Coffee Mug. Wake up each morning with this handsome ceramic mug with title of the show emblazened on its side.

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    Pledge $25 or more
    About $25 USD

    8 backers

    Limited edition DVD of the documentary.

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    About $25 USD

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    ALL THE KINGS FANS: Fan letters to Elvis 1956-1958.
    Pre publication edition of book. A nostalgic look back at Elvis early career, featuring dozens of authentic letters written to Elvis during his first two years from the US and abroad as well as the personal observances of Trude Forsher as she visited fan clubs with her tape recorder.

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    About $25 USD

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    Set of dozen greeting cards featuring the cover artwork for " Give Elvis for Xmas." Blank inside. Usable all year round.

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    Pledge $25 or more
    About $25 USD

    1 backer

    24" x 36" poster for the documentary "Give Elvis for Christmas." Personally signed by the director.

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    Pledge $100 or more
    About $100 USD

    1 backer Limited (24 left of 25)

    Authentic 1958 Elvis Presley Christmas Card. Printed the first year Elvis was in the Army. From the collection of Trude Forsher, Elvis Presley's secretary 1956-1961. To see an example, please visit www.giveelvis.com

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    Pledge $1,200 or more
    About $1,200 USD

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    Authentic Christmas Card from Elvis and family, from Graceland. Sent to his secretary, Trude Forsher.

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    Pledge $1,250 or more
    About $1,250 USD

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    AN ELVIS TOUR OF HOLLYWOOD
    In addition to the book, DVD, poster and Christmas card, I will personally take you on a full day tour of the various Hollywood locations that Elvis, Colonel and Trude worked and played at during their first two years in Hollywood. Tour includes lunch at a movie studio.

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    Pledge $4,500 or more
    About $4,500 USD

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    HONORARY CHIEF POTENTATE
    In addition to the book, DVD, poster and Christmas card, an authentic written note from Elvis to Colonel Parker, referring to him as ‘admiral’ – Elvis nickname for the Colonel.
    You will also be given ‘producer’ credit in the film.
    (Chief Potentate is the title Colonel Parker bestowed upon himself in the Presley office during the late 1950’s.). From the collection of Trude Forsher, personal secretary to Elvis.

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    Pledge $6,000 or more
    About $6,000 USD

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
    In addition to the book, DVD , poster and Christmas card, a signed Love Me Tender single album. Signed by Elvis and cousin Gene Smith to my mother in 1956.

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    Pledge $6,500 or more
    About $6,500 USD

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER. In addition to the book, DVD , poster and Christmas card, a personally typed note from Elvis to Colonel, written the last day of shooting in March 1958 in the Paramount Studios King Creole production office, telling Colonel what he was thinking about while he was getting ready to go into the Army. Authenticated by Byron Raphael, Assistant to Trude and Elvis and present during the writing of the letter. You will also receive credit as an Executive Producer on the film.

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    Pledge $7,000 or more
    About $7,000 USD

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    Executive Producer. In addition to the book, DVD, poster and Christmas card, become the only person on your block with a 1956 Christmas card sent to Trude Forsher and signed by both Elvis and the Colonel. Truly one of a kind and the ultimate premium for 'Give Elvis for Christmas.' You will also receive credit as an Executive Producer on the film

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Funding period

- (21 days)