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Orion: The Man Who Would Be King

Documentary which tells the story of a singer plucked from obscurity and thrust into the spotlight as part of a crazy scheme that had him masquerade as Elvis back from the grave.

Documentary telling the wonderfully weird story of Jimmy Ellis - an unknown singer plucked from obscurity and thrust into the spotlight, as part of a crazy scheme that had him masquerade as Elvis back from the grave.

With an outlandish fictional identity, the backing of the legendary birthplace of rock 'n' roll Sun Records, and a voice that seemed to be the very twin of Presley's, the scheme - concocted in the months after Presley's death - exploded into a cult success and the 'Elvis is alive' myth was launched.

Jimmy - as the masked and rhinestoned Orion - gained the success he'd always craved, the women he'd always desired and the adoration of screaming masses, but it wasn't enough.

The film explores the manipulative schemes of the music industry, the allure of fantasy and the search for identity. It offers a dizzying analysis of the madness of the Orion myth alongside a movingly sympathetic account of Ellis's unsung talent.

1 hour, 25 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
Director Jeanie Finlay
Series Editor Nick Fraser

Broadcasts

Jeanie Finlay Q&A

Jeanie Finlay Q&A

Orion's director talks about her film and how she used social media to crowd source.