Elvis is known to have loved cameras of all kinds, capturing the adventure of his daily life. In early 1955 he bought a single lens Revere super 8mm, model 40. It was simple to use and had the fail-safe sealed 8mm cartridge. This started the rich library of Elvis’ home movies from 1950s and 1960s.

Just after graduating from high school, Elvis Presley walked into Sun Records in August 1953. He paid to record two songs and Sam Phillips made note of him but didn’t think the young man had much of a future. Elvis continued to audition and play music but was rejected through the rest of 1953 and first half of 1954.

Elvis Presley on the street with a Revere Model 40 8mm Movie Camera.

Elvis Presley on Route 67 in Texas in 1955 with a Revere Model 40 8mm Movie Camera.

Elvis continued to check in with Sam about work and recording opportunities. Sam found a song he thought the teenage Elvis might be good to record. In July 1954 Elvis was invited to record with Bill Black and Scotty Moore. The song Sam choose didn’t work but late in the session, Elvis started singing Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right”. He was jumping around and showing off, singing with exaggeration and energy. Sam got excited and knew it was a hit. Sam worked his magic and the song was on the radio three days later.

This started Elvis touring regionally in the fall of 1954 and 1955. Bill Black, Jimmie Snows toured with him in the now famous pink Cadillac. He bought a Revere model 40 8mm movie camera while they were traveling, and this started Elvis’s obsession with capturing his experiences on movie film. There is an extensive collection of these Elvis home movies on Youtube.

Most of the home movies are not shot with the Revere camera since it burned up with most of the undeveloped film in the 1954 Cadillac caught fire on Route 67 and burned on June 5th, 1955. He quickly bought a near identical pink 1955 Cadillac.