Story Behind the Magazine







The Story Behind the Magazine


Keeping the

Memory Alive!


by Phil Arnold


Darwin is the publisher of the Elvis International magazine now called Elvis…The Magazine.  The first question always asked of Darwin is how Elvis International Forum magazine got started. “It probably goes back,” says Darwin, “to when I first started listening to the music of Elvis, Buddy Holly, and other great rock ‘n’ roll artists of the ’50’s.  It was then that I knew that I too, wanted to be involved in the music business.”


In the early ’70’s, Darwin formed a radio syndication company with Dick Clark Enterprises for radio and television ventures.  Several years later, Darwin formed his own company, Creative Radio Network and began producing radio specials featuring artists such as the Beach Boys, the Beatles and Buddy Holly.  In August of 1977, after Elvis died, Darwin produced, in the King’s memory, a three-hour special entitled “Elvis Remembered.”  Over the past twenty years, he has produced hundreds of hours of Elvis Radio Specials.  “It made me realize” reflects Darwin, “the impact Elvis has had on so many people and in so many different ways.”




Phil:  You’re celebrating 20 years of publishing the Elvis Magazine so I would like to go back to the beginning and find out how it all started.


Darwin:  It was 1987 and I had just completed producing a six hour Radio Special called “Elvis, the 10th Anniversary.”  It was broadcast on 480 radio stations and the response was unbelievable.  Really I didn’t expect the letters to pour in as they did.  I found something really interesting about   all the letters.  It was their love for his music, the man himself and how he affected their lives.  It really made me realize it was time to come out with a weekly radio show on Elvis.  We already had a weekly country radio show that was doing very well-so I started production on the Elvis Hour.


Phil: Today there is Sirius Radio and many weekly Elvis Radio programs out there, but I have to say your original Elvis Hour was incredibly entertaining and informative with the trivia interviews and the research on Elvis.  It really was way ahead of its time.


Darwin:  Well, I always felt the success of the show was the Elvis music so we planned each show with 85% music.  But you’re right the 15% talk was from many country artists who were influenced by Elvis, along with Elvis friends. In fact, Joe Esposito was heard throughout the year of programs as well as hundreds of other Elvis Friends.


Phil:  So, now we’re into 1988 and The Elvis Hour is now broadcast on radio stations in the US, Canada and Australia so this has to be about the time you started the magazine.  But I think it’s important to point out that your expertise was in Radio Production, not in magazine publishing, so how did you ever come up with the idea and knowledge to do the magazine?


Darwin:  It basically started out like a newsletter, doing research to try to answer the questions from the fans, using excerpts from the radio shows and most important using stories from performers and close friends.  Then I thought I need pictures, so I contacted Graceland and they sent several photos.  One was in color and an awesome photo, which turned out to be the first cover.


         Click on Photo to enlarge


Phil:  Now this was before computers so from a production stand point, how was it put together?


Darwin:  Well, I literally had to glue on the text, pictures and even the headings for the pages.  Then after it was printed I would collate the 3 printed sections, then wrap the cover over them and place it all over a big stapler and hand staple each one.  Then I would take five magazines at a time and cut the 3 sides.  I guess you can call that hand’s on – right?


Phil:  Photos of Elvis have always been one of the outstanding features of your magazine.  I checked the very first issue and counted thirty Elvis pictures; all except the front and back covers were in black and white.  Nowadays they are almost all color.  Has it been difficult to come up with so many outstanding photos for twenty years?  How many do you have in your library?  Are there any good stories about how you accumulated some of them?


Darwin:  Coming up with Elvis photos has never been a problem.  I’ve heard he was the most photographed celebrity and I believe that to be true.  In the beginning the fans would help with personal photos from concerts they attended and Joe Esposito, Eddie Fadel, DJ Fontana and other Elvis close friends contributed.  But through the years it was Al Werthiemer, Bob Heiss, Keith Alverson, Jimmy Velvet, Ed Bonja, EPE and others that really helped out.  But probably the most incredible find of Elvis photos was the professional photographer who photographed Tupelo, the Wedding, Las Vegas opening, the Press Conference and many candid photos.  So many beautiful photos that we were able to put most of the collection in the photo book called Elvis Incredible.


Phil:  That first issue had a Letter from The Editor in which you stated the reasons why you started the magazine.  You said, “There was a great need for a medium that would: Help answer countless questions concerning Elvis. Convey the many stories about him from both the Elvis friends and fans. Display the overwhelming interest and great love that still lives for him.” It would seem you accomplished these objectives in 1988, and you are still doing so in 2008.  Have you added any other goals as Elvis…The Magazine starts its third decade?


Darwin:  All through the years, I was always looking to make improvements, but probably the main goal was to always keep it positive and most important beautiful and classy — Elvis deserves that.


Phil:  Another thing that continues to this day is the coverage you give to the charitable efforts of Elvis fans and Fan Clubs.  Why did you decide this was something you wanted to include in the magazine?


Darwin:  Well, it’s always amazed me how hard the fan clubs work on events and projects so they can donate to their favorite charity in Elvis’s name.  Over the years, well over a million dollars has been raised and given to charity. That’s incredible and I feel they should receive more appreciation and credit from EPE and the media.


Phil:  Elvis International Forum (now Elvis…The Magazine) was a logical progression from your very successful radio programs The Elvis Hour.  In fact, you were able to take small snippets from these shows and feature them in the magazine in little sidebars titled Reflection With…The first two issues had short quotes about Elvis from Steve Allen, Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash, Lieber & Stoller, Conway Twitty, Joe Cocker, and Bobby Vinton.  I learned from the Elvis Hour radio show and the magazine that so many entertainers were influenced by Elvis. Your memories from entertainers and close friends from the Elvis Hour, and now the magazine, have enlightened us to the real man and his music. Most important, it’s always been positive and I want to thank you for all you’ve given to the Elvis fans.





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