I am posting this article on August 16, a very important day for all Elvis fans. It is the 41st anniversary of Elvis’ passing.
So, why start the article with a picture celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ’68 Comeback Special? I got the idea from EPE. They’re doing that today, too.
This picture is one of several Graceland has produced as part of a big promotional push they’ve got going on for the ’68 Comeback Special right now. For years, they have been trying to drop the word Comeback, and just call it the ’68 Special, so seeing Comeback in the text was a bit of a surprise. I like it.
However, you probably know this TV special was simply called ELVIS when it aired back in 1968.
There’s an interesting piece of information on this ad for the show. The date was December 3rd. So why is Graceland celebrating its 50th anniversary now? Perhaps you remember that it was filmed several months before it was broadcast. Maybe they are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the filming.
No. It was filmed on June 27 and 29. So, what is the reason Graceland chose to celebrate it in mid-August? Elvis Week, of course. It goes on for ten days, and they need lots of events to keep the fans busy. So, why not schedule two ’68 Comeback Special happenings on the big day — August 16. That’s a smart plan
Here’s what they said on Graceland.com/news about these events:
Conversations on Elvis: ’68 Special
10:00 AM. Graceland Soundstage, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. $25
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Elvis’ groundbreaking television special “Elvis” – or known to many fans as the “’68 Comeback Special.” Hosted by Tom Brown, the event features Steve Binder, who conceived, directed and produced the ’68 Special, called by TV Guide “the second greatest musical moment in television history next to the Beatles debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.” Binder will share his memories of working with the king, and he’ll discuss what’s in his upcoming book, “Comeback ’68 Elvis: The Story of the Elvis Special.”
More special guests will include: musical director Billy Goldenberg, writer Allan Blye, guitarist Mike Deasy; and Tanya Lemani George, the belly dancer who performed during “Little Egypt.”
She’s the one I’d be most interested in seeing (I’ll bet she can still do a mean belly dance).
’68 Special 50th Anniversary Celebration
7:00 PM. Graceland Soundstage, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. $55
Join us as we celebrate Elvis Presley’s groundbreaking NBC television special that aired in December 1968, “Elvis.” The show will feature an enhanced screening of what has become known as Elvis’ “’68 Comeback Special” with live music, special guest appearances and performers, and much more.
Special guests include Steve Binder, Allan Blye, and Billy Goldenberg introducing segments of the program and sharing behind-the-scenes stories.
If you went to the “Conversation of Elvis – ’68 Special” show earlier, you might be hearing some stuff for a second time. That’d be OK.
Another concurrent event is the recently expanded selection of ’68 Special items on sale at store.graceland.com. A month ago, there were 37 choices; now there are 72. Here are a few that caught my eye for one reason or another.
I like this one because of its name, which is, “Elvis Black Leather Multi-Dangle Carabiner Key Ring.” You just can’t have too many Elvis Multi-Dangles. The carabiner is the thing at the top. The little gold record is a mini version of the magnet I sold on here last week. You can get one of these key rings for $8.99.
This is a limited edition coin for $12.99. The front looks good to me, but the back seemed off somehow. To look closer, I blew it up.
This is the worst depiction of Elvis I have ever seen. His hair looks like it turned into an eel with its head over Elvis’ eye. There are worms crawling over his face and leeches on his body. The rest of it defies description. Here’s the photo they were trying to replicate.
Wow. Think I’ll skip the coins.
They did a much better job reproducing that image on this comforter set. If you want one, it will set you back $140.
Here’s an 8 inch tall Elvis Bobblehead dressed in his famous black leather outfit. The price is $29.95. I had to show this item because I have one in my Fuzzy Room that I’ll be selling one of these days – for half that price.
Here’s another image that ended up on a lot of the 50th anniversary merchandise. This is a 2-1/2 inch diameter refrigerator magnet prices at $4.99. Take a look at the thing on Elvis right wrist. You can get one of them, too.
They call this a bracelet, and it actually is real leather. The website says it is inspired by the bracelet that Elvis wore while filming the ’68 Comeback Special, so it might be a different design. I’m not sure if many folks, even Elvis fans, would make the connection if they saw it on someone. The price is $29.99.
This T-shirt features a third Elvis image associated with the ’68 Special – the white suit he wore when singing “If I Can Dream.” Although it does not have the words ’68 Special on it, the famous red ELVIS marquee sign and the white suit easily identify it. Cost is $24.99.
Same thing with this baseball cap. $17.99.
There is one other ’68 Comeback Special event scheduled for today, August 16, but it is for all of us who didn’t make it to Elvis Week.
This was the announcement in Graceland.com/news. When you clicked to open it, there was very little information, except a link to this:
Tickets in my area are $15.75, but they may be different around the country. Here’s what they had to say about the movie:
This anniversary event includes the legendary television special, plus an exclusive look at the making of the special, featuring a walkthrough of the NBC soundstage with insights from director/producer Steve Binder and others influenced by Presley, his music and this iconic event.
Sounds pretty good, but a little pricey.
Let’s end with a picture that reflects the real meaning of August 16 for Elvis fans. The Candlelight Vigil has more significance to them than anything else going on during Elvis Week.
We miss you, Elvis.
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