Glass talks to EIN
Glass is one of the world's best known collectors of Elvis
memorabilia. He also happens to be friends with a great number
of Elvis personal acquaintances like Sonny West, Kathy Westmoreland & Sandi Miller. His 'Behind The Image' DVDs & book are essential
for any true Elvis fan and now he has also created a special
Elvis memorabilia exhibition, "The King's Ransom", which was
a real hit at Elvis week in Memphis last year.
- Thanks for agreeing to talk with us. I know that you spent
sometime with one of EIN's major contributors, Sanja Meegin,
last August in Memphis.
Bud Glass - It is my pleasure. Sanja is a great fan and a wonderful
person. She came by THE KING'S RANSOM exhibit in Memphis last
August and we had a wonderful time.
- Do you go to Memphis every year for Elvis week and tell
us a bit about The King's Ransom exhibition?
- The King's Ransom is an exhibit of personal treasures once
owned by Elvis, from the private collections of Russ Howe,
Tom Salva and myself. We have separately been collecting authentic
personal items for years, and decided that the rest of the
world may enjoy a museum type exhibit of these rare items.
We have some very interesting items including stage and screen
costumes, clothing from Elvis' personal wardrobe from the
1950's to the 1970's, rings, bracelets, watches and other
jewelry. We also have a large collection of Elvis' personal
guns and badges, including the actual badge Elvis received
from President Richard Nixon at the White House on December
like also mention some of Elvis' personal items including
his prescription sunglasses, his Precision Tool photo I.D.
badge from the 50's, original Army Induction papers, red velvet
bedspread from Graceland, his pajamas, and even his personal
Bible that was on his night stand the day he passed away!
There is much more in the collection than I can possibly tell
you and everything is displayed with photos of Elvis with
the items. It is a very impressive display, if I do say so
- How many of you are involved in the exhibition - Russ Howe
and Tom Salva were both with you in Memphis, are they also
- Russ Howe and Tom Salva and I are best friends and partners.
We thought that since these things have been in our private
collection for years, we would share it with other fans who
would enjoy seeing it all. Most everything in our collection
is on public display for the very first time.
King's Ransom in Memphis, 2004. Russ Howe, Sonny West,
Bud Glass and Tom Salva
- You seem pretty young to have such an Elvis collection.
What started your interest in Elvis?
- I am actually 40 years old, but thanks for calling me young!
My interest in Elvis started when I was a boy living in Illinois.
I heard an Elvis recording of Jailhouse Rock and I was hooked.
For many years I searched for anything other than the material
that was available in any store. I found someone with some
audio tapes of unreleased Elvis concerts and that sparked
a desire to obtain every concert possible.
did a tremendous amount of research to locate people who attended
Elvis concerts. I looked for photos, recordings, 8mm film
footage shot at any performance or candid footage. Years of
work and searching for any rare material I could find has
been the main reason for the bulk of my collection. I currently
have over 900 performances on tape, as well as a large collection
of photos and film footage. I eventually started collecting
Elvis personal items as well and am fortunate enough to have
made some great friends in the Elvis world. Many of the items
in my collection are from those who personally received the
items from Elvis.
- Tell me more about your connection with J D Sumner & your
interest in gospel music? I believe your father was a Baptist
- My parents are from the south. Although I was born and raised
near Chicago, Illinois, my southern roots run deep. As the
oldest son of a Baptist preacher, I was raised on southern
gospel quartet music. I was a fan of J.D. and The Stamps long
before I even knew who Elvis was. My father is still a Baptist
preacher in Florida. I was fortunate enough to know J.D. and
The Stamps on a personal level over the years. My wife, kids
and I would spend many weekends with them and on many occasions,
I would also meet up with them in Nashville or Memphis. My
kids were raised around them, and looked at J.D. as a grandfather,
and still call Ed Enoch and Ed Hill "Uncle Ed".
- How is Uncle Ed Hill now? Have you seen him? We all heard that
he was in hospital & were concerned.
Ed Enoch backstage in Memphis Aug. 16, 1996
- He's recovering from a stroke but I haven't been able to
get up to Nashville to see him. I have spoken to Ed Enoch
who says he is doing ok - Ed Hill has had a stroke before. I'm
hoping to hear from him soon - he's a good man.
- Isn't it sad for all of us that Elvis' friends and acquittances
are getting old (as we all are!) I think it is important that
people like you do produce DVDs including interviews about
Elvis' life with his colleagues before it all gets too late.
The interview with Ed Hill on Behind The Image 2 is a treat.
- I feel that these are stories that need to be told and I
want to explore further than the generic answers that they
might have given at fan conventions or whatever. You just
have to ask the right questions. One of the last things I
did in Elvis Week last year was talk to Al Dvorin about his
introduction to our 'Born To Rock' book. I had been encouraging
Al to write a book of all his memories. He had started to
put his notes down on tape but I don't know how much he finished.
He had some incredible stories.
- You must have been very upset when J.D. Sumner passed away.
BG - It was very upsetting as I had spent a lot of time with
J.D. and got to know the real man behind the legend. Most
Elvis fans are interested in J.D, The Stamps, and others in
the Elvis group because of their connection with Elvis. Although
I am an extreme Elvis fan, my love and respect for J.D., Ed
Enoch and Ed Hill had nothing to do with Elvis.
we naturally talk quite a bit about Elvis, I wish Elvis fans
would realize what a legend J.D. was, outside of his seven
years with Elvis. He is responsible for so many great things.
He was the lowest bass singer in the world according to the
Guinness book of world records. He was a Grammy winner who
wrote literally hundreds of songs. He was founder of The Gospel
Music Association and The National Quartet Convention. He
was the first to have all four vocalist using separate microphones
and first to convert a bus for travelling! He was truly a
great man. I was honored to have known him personally and
I miss him dearly.
- You are probably best known for your "Behind The Image"
DVDs & books, what started you on that project?
Glass with J.D. Sumner just months before he passed
away in 1998
- Several years ago, I obtained what has to be the most incredible
home movie footage in existence. I literally tried for 15
years to talk the owner into selling it to me. I realized
that there were many other fans like me out there who love
rare Elvis footage as I do, so I decided to share it with
fans around the world. I was only interested in producing
a top notch, quality production that was 100% positive. So
much has been told about the Legend of Elvis Presley, so I
decided to explore more of the man behind the image.
interviewing friends of mine in the Elvis world who knew Elvis
personally, like Kathy Westmoreland, John Wilkinson, Sandi
Miller and others, I wanted to show the more personal side
of Elvis. After years of talking to people who knew Elvis,
I came to the realization that no one person really knew the
real Elvis. This is mainly because Elvis only exposed a certain
portion of himself and his soul to different people based
on how he connected with that person. Each person who knew
Elvis personally holds a piece of the puzzle.
I believe that only through the collective efforts of taking
those individual pieces and putting them together, do we start
to see a glimpse of the true man behind the image.
- What do you think separates your 'Behind The Image' series
from others of a similar nature?
- I really wanted and to present a different perspective into
the real Elvis Presley & I set out to use all my rare footage,
photos and interviews to kinda' put together the pieces of
the puzzle. Although the bulk of my footage is concert footage,
it was never before released and ultra rare. I mixed it with
the limited amount of candid "home movie" type footage I had,
to go along with the stories that were told by those who knew
him best. The goal for me was never to make a buck - the money
that is made covers production costs and helps to finance
the next production.
all of my dvd and book productions, my goal has always been
to leave a small dent in the Elvis world with something I
can be proud to have my name on. And to contribute back to
the wonderful world of Elvis that has brought me so much joy
over the years.
- I was particularly impressed with the book 'Behind The Image'
- While there are a plethora of photo books out there, something
about the candid photos as well as Sandi Miller's notes made
it very special - a kind of reference book. How did the book
- Soon after I started on the first BEHIND THE IMAGE dvd,
I knew right away that I wanted to do a follow-up book that
also dealt specifically with the private side of Elvis.
Miller is a fan who became a friend to Elvis, and who spent
time at his homes in California, at rehearsals in the studio
and in Vegas. She was also with Elvis on the set of his movies
and she took a great deal of photos, and also kept journals.
I was fascinated with the fact that she had kept journals,
since everyone's memories fail us sometimes. Her diary entries
ensured that the details of the stories were as fresh as the
day they happened. I think it is a great insight into a side
of Elvis that was not seen by typical fans.
one other person has ever used her photos so, for the most
part, everything I used was unreleased. If you do recognize
a particular photo, I was able to put six or eight more along
with it that had never been seen since they were taken over
30 years ago. I love showing complete sets of photos whenever
- I thought the use of Sandi's journals combined with her
photos was a great idea.
- Sandi had never allowed anyone access to her private journals,
so this was a great opportunity to put together a candid book
that would be like no other before. My friend Russ Howe has
what is most likely the largest collection of Elvis photos
in existence. The added use of his images made a good book
even better in my opinion.
am a stickler for details and I do loads of research in everything
I produce. Instead of a crazy caption, I prefer to put the
date, location, and what was happening in each photo. It kills
me when I have photos with no date or information, because
I like to add all the relevant information I can with every
photo. To me, it makes a beautiful photo book into a reference
book of sorts as well. I am glad you feel the same way about
my books being a reference type book since I seem to have
accomplished my goal.
- Ok, but to be honest however in my review of your 'Behind
The Image' Vol.1 DVD on this site I actually complained that,
although the Elvis footage was superb, I felt that we didn't
really get 'Behind The Image'?
- I can only release what I have available to me. I agree
that more candid footage would be better. Unfortunately, I
have MUCH MORE concert footage than candid footage available
to use. Although this is unfortunate, it still does not prohibit
me from showing the man behind the image in other ways.
is rare candid footage in my documentaries, and there are
also rare candid photos, and stories told first hand from
the people who were there with Elvis. The candid footage is
short, but you must remember the footage is a visual aid to
the story being told. You will never learn about the man behind
the image from just watching home movies. It is the entire
package combined that shows the private side of Elvis I am
trying to expose.
you hear the stories of the personal side of Elvis as they
are told by the people who were there, then see him on stage
in front of all those people, it makes you look at Elvis a
bit differently, as you start to see into his soul. You realize
this legend is after all, a mortal just like you and me. And
even this seemingly confident KING, has weaknesses, vulnerability
and insecurities like the rest of us. The concert footage
serves it purpose in my documentaries.
- One thing I do like is the fact that Elvis is more relaxed
in your concert footage since he is often not aware that he
was being filmed.
- I agree and do feel that Elvis did cut loose & be more un-inhibited
in my footage. Without the TTWII cameras he did not feel the
nervousness and pressure. I also find it interesting how Elvis
really moved on stage in the 1970-71 footage I have shown
so far. Elvis off-camera is a different person than Elvis
on-camera. So to have such close and clear footage of an un-inhibited
Elvis, shows more of the real man behind the image to me.
you want to watch Elvis recite from a script, watch his movies.
If you want to see a slightly nervous Elvis perform, watch
Aloha From Hawaii, but always bear in mind that as long as
there was a professional film crew there, Elvis was aware
of this and it was always in the back of his mind throughout
the entire performance.
you want to see the REAL Elvis…watch an amateur film shot
when Elvis was not aware of the cameras. The private side
of Elvis is also explored in my dvds. What made him laugh,
cry and what he discussed in private about several things,
including how "he could buy everything as far as your eyes
could see, but he could not buy the one thing he truly wanted
…peace in his heart".
don't think it is a fair statement to say you learned nothing
new about the man behind the image from the documentaries.
I learned things I had never known before. I guarantee you
heard stories from the people interviewed that you have never
heard before. I guarantee you saw rare footage that you have
never seen before. If you want sensationalism, you purchased
the wrong dvd. I don't do that.
- Are you working on further volumes of 'Behind The Image'
- what can we expect with the next volume?
The Image Volume 2
As you know, BEHIND THE IMAGE VOLUME 2 was released. We are
currently working on VOLUME 3. If you saw the preview for
volume 3, then as you know, you are in for a real treat. If
you have not seen the preview yet, please visit the official
web site, where you can view previews of all of my productions.
www.behind-the-image.com There is absolutely no question that
the rare, unreleased footage I use in my productions is the
best, closest, clearest home movie footage in existence. I
cannot give you too many details at this point, other than
the footage in this volume is mainly from 1971-1973, and is
guaranteed to blow your mind!
- I believe that you an incredible amount of home footage
of Elvis - Just how much do you own, make me jealous!?
- I have many hours of footage that still has never been released.
I own the original reels and they have never been transferred
from the original super 8 reels since it was shot and developed
over 30 years ago. I love sharing my footage through my documentaries
with fans who appreciate it as much as I do. I despise it
when collectors buy rare footage and put it in their closets,
keeping it to themselves. My goal is free the footage to live
and breathe again, and to be enjoyed by fans around the world
as it should be. I am just a fan myself, releasing the type
of productions that I wish others were releasing.
- So what do you know about the 'Pied Piper of Cleveland'.
I am sure that by now it must be an urban myth, despite what
rumours I have heard. What are your feelings, do you know
anyone who has seen it?
- I have to say that I do know that a portion of it exists,
about 15 minutes of footage. I haven't seen it myself but
this 15 minutes of footage does have Elvis in it - however
it does not include his actual performance, he's just off
to the side. So Elvis is in the footage but the rumour is
of course that Elvis' performance is out there somewhere.
that we it took a long while for the CBS outtakes to actually
appear I just hope that Pied Piper turns up before we're too
old. I can tell you that the complete 1958 Russwood Park performance
was filmed and that exists. We got a glimpse of it on the
Elvis Memories thing, but I hear that it was professionally
filmed and in colour! I guess that is was faith is based on, "belief in things not seen"!
can tell you that, sadly, I lost a good friendship in obtaining
the footage for the Behind The Image DVD just because of other
unscrupulous collectors. I truly want this rare footage to
- Even Ernst Jorgensen admits that paying high amounts for
rare Elvis footage is a problem, so how much are you willing
to pay for rare Elvis footage - and how can you afford to
be such an avid collector?
- It is hard to say how much I would be willing to pay for
footage. The bulk of the footage used in the BEHIND THE IMAGE
series was very expensive, but it is without a doubt the best,
closest, clearest private footage in existence. I am by no
means a wealthy man and to continue to purchase new material,
I must find a way to help finance that purchase.
addition to the price of the footage, you must consider the
additional cost to turn that raw footage into a quality production.
People have no idea how long and hard I work on each book
and dvd release. I have a great team that works hard to help
me release the best possible productions at a reasonable price & I would like to take this opportunity to mention Greg Retkowski
and Andre Mester who helped to make BEHIND THE IMAGE what
it is today. I am proud of the quality that goes into each
production, but with that high quality is high production
the same way I made the same decision with my books to create
the most beautiful, full color, hardback books possible. If
I were more interested in my profit margin, it would obviously
show in my work. I am against throwing photos on a page and
calling it a book. If I were to do that, I could release a
book every 3 months.
work that I put into my books & DVDs takes a tremendous amount
of time, effort and research and hard work. I am only interested
in releasing quality productions and as long as the fans continue
to support my efforts, I will be happy to continue sharing
it with them.
* Coming soon to EIN in Part 2, Bud Glass replies to EIN's
challenge that Elvis was not "Born to Rock" in 1975 (the title
of his recent book), and talks about Madison Square Garden
footage & Marilyn Monroe's white dress!
for part 2 of this interview
Spotlight by Piers Beagley.
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