Elvis' Groundbreaking '68 Comeback Special Celebrates 40th Anniversary
History Behind Television Event Chronicled in Exhibit at Graceland in Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec 02, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- --Original Special with Bonus Footage Available on DVD and 4-CD Set Featuring 20 Never-before-Released Songs
December 3, 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of the original airing of Elvis Presley's 1968 career-changing "Comeback" television special on the NBC television network. The iconic special features Elvis at his best with some of the richest moments in music history ever filmed for television. This ground-breaking special still has a contemporary feel and Elvis' informal jam sessions in front of a small audience are regarded as a forerunner of the "unplugged" concept.
"It was a performance that fans and critics could not ignore, filled with passion and that aura of rock and roll that only Elvis had," said Kevin Kern, Director of Public Relations for Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. "It's one of the many anticipated celebrations here at Graceland and from fans all over the world."
The anniversary celebration for the '68 Special began in March of 2008 with a new exhibit at Graceland titled, "Elvis '68 Special." Included in the exhibit are some of Elvis' wardrobe items worn in the special, such as his black leather wristband, a jacket seen in the night club scene and later worn by Elvis during a rare meeting with President Nixon. There are also other items related to the show, such as tickets to the show taped on NBC's Burbank studio and Elvis' personal scripts for the special containing his handwritten notes. One of the highlights of the exhibit is the white suit seen in the closing number, when Elvis performs "If I Can Dream." The suit was also seen in the stunning video duet between Elvis and Celine Dion as part of the 2007 Idol Gives Back special.
The exhibit area, located at the Graceland Crossing shopping plaza across from Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion in Memphis, also includes a new '68 Special-themed retail store stocked with officially licensed merchandise related to the special. Fans can also celebrate the anniversary anywhere in the world on December 3rd with special '68 Special content on Elvis.com. Fans can also celebrate the iconic special with the Elvis: 68 Comeback Special - Deluxe Edition DVD Set, Elvis: 68 Comeback Special - Single Disc DVD and Elvis: The Complete '68 Comeback Special CD Set.
'68 Special fun facts:
-- It was directed by Steve Binder and produced by Binder and Bones Howe.
-- At 6:00 pm, on June 27, Elvis took to the stage for four one-hour live shows being taped at NBC's Burbank studios.
-- Sponsored by The Singer Company, the special aired on the NBC television network.
-- The broadcast aired on December 3, 1968, and was rebroadcast the following summer.
-- The show was the highest-rated television special of the year and was seen by 42% of the viewing audience.
-- It was the first one-man TV special to appear on commercial American television.
-- "If I Can Dream," released a month before the special, sold over 800,000 units in its initial release.
-- The album from the special sold more than 500,000 in its original chart run.
To learn more about the anniversary of the '68 Special, visit www.elvis.com or to order the anniversary DVDs and CDs please visit wwws.shopelvis.com.
About Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.
Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) is based in Memphis, with additional offices in Los Angeles. In addition to Graceland and its related attractions in Memphis, including the Heartbreak Hotel, EPE is aggressively involved in a worldwide licensing program, merchandising, music publishing, and television, film, video and Internet projects. For more information on EPE and Graceland, visit www.elvis.com. EPE is a subsidiary of CKX, Inc. ( www.ckx.com), a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ Global Market(R) under the ticker symbol CKXE.
SOURCE: Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.
Elvis Presley Enterprises
David Beckwith/Carlos Munguia