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Lot #760
Elvis Presley

KING-SIZED KING: ELVIS signs a superb oversized photo for his Kissin’ Cousins and Harum Scarum producer, SAM KATZMAN

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KING-SIZED KING: ELVIS signs a superb oversized photo for his Kissin’ Cousins and Harum Scarum producer, SAM KATZMAN

Stupendous vintage matte-finish 15.25 x 19 waist-length photo, depicting a handsome, grinning, immaculately coiffed Elvis in a shirt unzipped to mid-chest, signed and inscribed in early felt tip, “Mr. Katzman, My sincere thanks to you for ‘cousins’ and especially for your understanding and friendship. It was a real pleasure. My best to Mrs. Katzman also, Elvis Presley.” Sam Katzman (1901–1973) got his start in the movie business as a teenager, as an office boy at Fox. By the 1930s, he joined Monogram Pictures, whose low-budget and independent (but often very profitable) movies helped set Katzman’s course as a highly prolific and successful producer over the next several decades. Among other projects at Monogram, Katzman supervised the popular East Side Kids series, several thrillers starring Béla Lugosi, and the serial that marked the screen debut of the Caped Crusader, Batman. After moving to Columbia Pictures in 1945, Katzman produced the successful Superman and Jungle Jim serials and a large and varied body of low-budget features, from the self-explanatory Teenage Crime Wave to the schlock classic Earth vs. Flying Saucers. With a keen eye for popular trends that would translate into popular films, Katzman produced the pioneering 1956 rock-and-roll musical Rock around the Clock, foreshadowing his collaboration with Elvis in the final decade of the King’s screen career. In addition to producing Presley’s Kissin’ Cousins (1964) and Harum Scarum (1965), Katzman oversaw such music-themed fare as the Hank Williams biopic Your Cheatin’ Heart (1964) and The Fastest Guitar Alive (1968), Roy Orbison’s only starring vehicle. The photo is accompanied by a handsome award plaque presented to Katzman by the City of Los Angeles in 1969. The resolution cites Katzman’s films for “[delivering] messages of great value, based on humanitarian needs, to millions of persons of all races and colors” and for “[starting] on their way to fame and fortune John Wayne, Elvis Presley, Ava Gardner, and others....” The photo is handsomely matted and framed to an overall size of 25 x 29. Both the photo and plaque are in fine, clean, apparently spotless condition. The extraordinary size—the largest signed Elvis photo we have ever encountered—characteristic image, highly significant association, and superb state of preservation clearly place this photo into the most elite handful of Elvis images in existence. A remarkable opportunity not likely to be matched in a lifetime of collecting! COA Roger Epperson/REAL and R&R COA. Oversized.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #337 - Ended September 17, 2008