Reading Of The Diary, Jackie Kahane

By: Nigel Patterson - July 24, 2003

At the end of a tour, Elvis would throw a party for his musicians and singers. One such party occurred during America’s Bicentennial year in (July) 1976, at which Elvis’s warm-up comedian, Jackie Kahane and Elvis’s studio producer, Felton Jarvis, entertained the group with the Kahane inspired Reading Of The [Bicentennial] Diary.

For whatever reason the 19 minute skit, Reading Of The Diary, was recorded and has now been released on CD. And thank goodness it has been released, for it is a very funny send-up of the Elvis inner circle.

Felton Jarvis is a revelation as Elvis. His uncanny vocal resemblance, complete with stammer, is wonderful. As Elvis he sends up his backing musicians, Memphis Mafia members and family. It is classic two person comedy with Kahane playing the straight man and Jarvis hilarious as The King.

There is prolific use of the ‘F’ word so if you don’t like profanity, be warned. In fact the ‘F’ word is central to much of the humor. Its very effective utterance is reminiscent of Eddie Murphy’s use of it in the movie, Beverly Hills Cop. To say more about Reading Of The Diary would give away too much of the humor.

The sound quality on the CD is very good, particularly given it was recorded at an after show party 27 years ago. There are three tracks on the CD, the title track, an interview with Jackie Kahane and almost 37 minutes of spoken word outtakes from Elvis On Tour.

The CD’s total running time exceeds 75 minutes. The digipack packaging resembles an FTD release and there are short liner notes from Lars Gjeding (Elvis Unlimited) and Jackie Kahane.

Jackie Kahane is renowned as one of America’s top comedians. Along with Bill Cosby he was voted as one of Time magazine’s outstanding young comedians in 1961 and his television appearances included The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and The Mike Douglas Show. Elvis engaged Jackie after Colonel Parker saw his opening act for Wayne Newton.

After Elvis’s death Jackie would warm up audiences for the likes of Tina Turner, Tony Bennett, Dionne Warwick and Sophie Tucker. Jackie Kahane passed away at the age of 79 in March 2001 after a long illness.

Verdict: Very funny and something very different for your collection. Reading Of The Diary is a fitting tribute to the talent of Jackie Kahane….and that damn racquetball court deal has an awful lot to answer for!

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