The Big El Show - Starring Larry Seth

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Some information about Larry Seth and The Big El Show...

The Big El Show started in 1975, and has been performed in the United States and Canada. For example, performances have been given in cities and towns in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Nevada. The producer of the show was Rob Russen, and he's also (copyright) owner of the name "The Big El Show". The show was promoted with descriptions like: "Reflections on a Legend ... A Tribute to Elvis Presley", "Looks and sounds like The King", "12 piece Las Vegas show band". One show usually runned for aprox. 90 minutes. It opened with the theme from the movie "2001 A Space Odyssey", which Elvis Presley also used to open his stage shows. The show production centered on Larry Seth, "Big El," doing his Elvis Presley impersonation and features musicians called the TCB Band. The TCB Band was also the name of Elvis Presley's band, however The Big El Show TCB Band did not consist of musicians from Presley's band.

The Big El Show - Silverbird Las Vegas

The star of the show, Larry Seth, has appeared on television talk shows in Philadelphia and Las Vegas, and on the David Suskind Show.

Here's a few more factoids about the Big El Show, written by Rob Russen:
(Thanks Rob!)

1. The original backup band was already a performing and recording band when they added Larry Seth to the lineup in 1973. The band was called Snow and was made up of Rob Russen, bass; Vito Vacirca, lead guitar; Howdy Riddell, rhythm guitar and Jim Creach on drums. Several months later Janet Parker was added as our first female vocalist. The band recorded on Castle Records.


Original TCB Band - Rob, Howdy, Jim, Vito

Rob Russen,     Howdy Riddell,     Jim Creach,     Vito Vacirca

2. The very first performance of the Big El Show was at the Lakeview Inn, a country & western night club in Almonesson, New Jersey. Despite drawing a capacity audience it was the one and only time the act ever performed at this club.

3. Based on the word of mouth from the sold out performance at the Lakeview Inn the Big El Show was offered the chance to be the "house band" at the Dragon Inn, Delran, New Jersey shortly thereafter. The Dragon Inn was another local country & Western club but had a large elevated stage more befitting a "show" type performance as opposed to just a setup for bands playing dance music. The Dragon Inn became the "home base" for the Big El Show for more than a year as we performed there almost every weekend in-between taking other gigs offered throughout the tri-state area.

4. The Big El Show was booked by the Jolly Joyce Agency from Phila., Pa. This legendary agency also booked such classic rock acts from the 50s and 60s and Bill Hailey's Comets, Danny & the Juniors, The Dovells, Chubby Checker and many, many more. One night The Big El Show was performing at the Holiday Inn near the Philadelphia airport when our agent, Norman Joyce, walked in and took his place at his table in the front row. He had with him as his guest none other than world famous TV personality and promoter Dick Clark who loved the show and booked us in many concerts for his Dick Clark Presents promotion company. We went from making $350 for our first performance at the Lakeview Inn to $500 per night at the Dragon Inn to $20,000 per concert for Dick Clark. Of course, along the way we changed personnel in the band and increased the size of our touring entourage to more than 25 people.

5. The single biggest break out event for The Big El Show happen one week after Elvis' passing. Months before we had been booked to appear at an outdoor concert on the river front in Philadelphia at a place called Penn's Landing. Due to the passing of Elvis fan emotions were extremely high and raw. More than 50,000 fans turned out in a driving rain storm to see the Big El Show that night.

Larry Seth - The Big El Show at Penns Landing

The Big El Show in concert at Penns Landing, Phila., Pa. exactly one week after the death of Elvis Presley. 50,000 fans showed up in a driving rain storm to see the show and show their love for Elvis.

6. The Big El Show was playing at a summer theater up in the Pocono Mountains where Muhammad Ali was in training for his rematch against Leon Spinks who had defeated him and took the heavyweight title. Ali called and invited us to his training camp and them came to see the Big El Show perform. Prior to the performance Larry gave Ali several silk scarves.

Ali told us at his training camp "Elvis and I are the two most famous people in the world. We are both known around the world by just one name. The difference is that Col Parker developed an image for Elvis that made it impossible for him to go out and enjoy his fans. On the other hand, I can go anywhere and walk down the streets and the fans will follow me like a pied piper. If Elvis had tried that they would have ripped him to shreds trying to get a piece of their idol."

Larry Seth with Muhammad Ali

Larry Seth with Muhammad Ali

Disclaimer: some of the information here is taken from the following source: "ESTATE of Elvis PRESLEY, Plaintiff, v. Rob RUSSEN, d/b/a The Big El Show, Defendant" court case documentation, April 16, 1981.
The court case documentation is believed to be public domain, and a copy (Acrobat Reader file) can be downloaded here.