Tag Archives: Isaac Florentine

The New Gladiators

The New Gladiators is a documentary movie by Elvis Presley and Ed Parker centered on the fights of the United States Karate team in London, England and Brussels, Belgium. Narrated by Chuck Sullivan, it was filmed between 1973 and 1974 but finally remastered and later released in 2002. The movie was financed by American singer and actor Elvis Presley, who began to practice karate during his duty years in the United States Army.

In 1974, George Waite presented the idea of the film to Ed Parker, Presley’s karate instructor. In the film, Presley was playing the main role, introducing Karate arts divided in narration and demonstrations. Parker presented the idea to Presley, who subsequently liked the idea. There was a meeting organized at Graceland, but no major details were arranged due that Presley had to leave for travel to Las Vegas to perform on a show. The next Morning to the meeting, Presley called Waite and sent his private plane to take his wife and him to Vegas. During the show, Presley extended a $50,000 check for beginning the production of the film.

In 1977 after Presley’s death, the movie was stored in a garage in West Hollywood, in the bed of a truck along with other memorabilia objects. In 2001 the footage was found, restored and later released on August 17, 2002. On August 16, 2009 Elvis Presley Enterprises released a new version of the film with extra footage of Presley in Karate training sessions.