Published July 27, 2007
HONOLULU – Elvis lives, and he hasn't aged a bit since his legendary 1973 "Aloha from Hawaii" concert.
A life-sized statue of Elvis Presley was unveiled Thursday at the site of the concert, looking much as he did 34 years ago. His hair is slicked back, vest plastered on, microphone tilted toward his lips and flared pants draped to the floor.
The bronze statue of the King, commissioned by TV Land, is meant as a tribute to the classic show at the Neal Blaisdell Center. It was the first concert to be broadcast via satellite, reaching more than a billion viewers.
"It's about time. Elvis gave so much to Hawaii," said impersonator Jonathon Vonbrana, who had carefully sculpted black hair and wore dark sunglasses. "It's excellent. A lot of the statues don't even look like him."
The sculpture shows Presley at his prime, slim and big-buckled with his collar turned up. As it was unveiled, "See See Rider" and "American Trilogy" played over the loudspeakers.
"It's how I would like to remember him. It's really nice," said Kathy Antonio, who traveled from the Big Island with eight members of the Rock-A-Hula Fan Club, which holds tributes for Presley.
Presley filmed three movies in Hawaii, "Blue Hawaii," "Girls! Girls! Girls!" and "Paradise, Hawaiian Style." He also visited the islands three times for concerts.
The statue was a gift from TV Land, a division of MTV Networks, as part of a tribute to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Presley's death at Graceland on Aug. 16, 1977.
"He was not a native son of our land, but we adopted him as our own," said Mufi Hannemann of Honolulu. "Now we can always say Elvis is part of the building."
TV Land has dedicated five other statues, all of characters from TV shows: Ralph Kramden of "The Honeymooners" in New York; Mary Tyler Moore in Minneapolis; Andy Griffith in Raleigh, N.C.; Bob Newhart in Chicago, and Samantha Stevens of "Bewitched" in Salem, Mass.