The life and career of Elvis Presley are chronicled in home movies, concert footage, and dramatizations. Subjects include early performances, army service, Ed Sullivan Show appearance, marriage, 1968 comeback, health decline and death.
Paul Boensch III
Though now known as the "68 Comeback Special", Elvis Presley's first television special was officially titled "Elvis" when originally broadcast on U.S. network NBC on 3 December 1968. Sponsored by the Singer sewing machine company, it was the top rated program of its week and the highest rated television special of the 1968-69 TV season.It was rerun in the Summer of 1969. Following his death, the special was expanded to 90 minutes and rebroadcast in tandem with Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii (1973) as "Memories of Elvis" hosted by Ann-Margret in November 1977, for a total broadcast time of 3 hours. This was a "TV First" for a solo performer at that time. See more »
[joking while reading a script]
It says here "Elvis, we're to film you from the waist up. You are not to touch hands with body... uh, I mean body with hands."
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Many different edits of this special have been released to TV and video over the years. Some of these versions have their own IMDb entries under different titles. Among the more notable versions:
The original broadcast did not include the bordello musical number "Let Yourself Go" which was edited out at the last minute. It was subsequently restored in later video and TV versions, including the 2004 DVD release.
When NBC rebroadcast the special in 1969, it replaced the performance of "Blue Christmas" with "Tiger Man." Some versions of the special released later include both songs. The 2004 DVD version only has Blue Christmas.
Two full-hour "sit-down" concerts and two shorter "stand-up" concerts were videotaped for use in the special. The full version of the first sit-down concert was released separately to video and TV in the 1980s as _Elvis: One Night with You (1984) (TV)_. The other 3 concerts were released to video for the first time as bonus material on the 2004 DVD release.
Many alternate takes, false starts, bloopers, practical jokes, and run-throughs taped during shooting of the various production numbers have been included in their unedited entirely on the 2004 DVD release. The DVD also includes an alternate version of the special's closing credits without text, unedited footage of a promotional spot shot on the set, and a newly-edited music video of "If I Can Dream" created from some of the previously unseen footage.
After years of being miscast in run-of-the-mill romantic comedies, Elvis stroke back with an unexpected return, presenting himself as raw and energetic as ever. Still today this extraordinary TV Special fascinates the viewer, containing such classic sequences as the "brothel-scene" which was deleted first but has been added to the VHS version of the special. Another highlight are the now famous sit-down and stand-up sessions with his old bandmates Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana, of which the Special shows a few excerpts. The year after, Elvis' comeback was finally complete with his return to live performances at the Las Vegas International Hotel. But that's another story...
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