Elvis Presley’s iconic 1968 television special, famously known as his “Comeback” special, holds a special place in the hearts of fans worldwide. Whether you experienced it firsthand during the Christmas season of 1968 or discovered it years later on VHS or DVD, this landmark event marked a turning point in Elvis’s career. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and relive the magic of this unforgettable performance.
A Night to Remember
Officially titled “Singer Presents Elvis,” the special aired on the NBC-TV network on Tuesday, December 3, 1968. With full-page ads in publications like The New York Times and Variety, the program garnered significant attention. Its 60-minute runtime earned it the highest ratings for that week, surpassing popular shows like “Laugh-In” and “Charlie Brown’s Xmas.”
A Spiritual Experience
For devoted Elvis fans, the TV special was nothing short of a spiritual experience. After years of disappointment with his movie roles, the special showcased Elvis’s incredible talent and reaffirmed his status as a music legend. It even won over skeptics, like fraternity brothers who previously teased their Elvis-loving friends.
The Broad Impact
Ernst Jorgensen, in his book “Elvis: A Life In Music,” summarized the special’s impact as more than just record sales. It reestablished Elvis as a dominant force in American music and culture, cementing its “Comeback” label. However, it’s important to note that the intention of the special was not to lead a new movement in rock but to bring Elvis back to his original style of music.
Indefinitely Prolonged Adolescence
In an article in The New York Times, Albert Goldman described the allure of the special as grounded in “Indefinitely Prolonged Adolescence” (IPA). He likened it to unearthing a stack of long-ignored records in the basement—the desire to revisit the cultural time of our youth. Watching Elvis’s special became a symbol of nostalgia and a reminder of simpler, carefree days.
A Throwback to the Past
Rather than a “Comeback” special, Elvis’s 1968 TV program could be better referred to as a “Throwback” special. Both the advertising and content aimed to portray Elvis as he used to be, not as he would be. The majority of the songs performed dated back to his early days, harkening back to classics like “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock.” Only the closing number, “If I Can Dream,” showcased a more forward-looking Elvis.
His Career Shift
Elvis’s TV special signified a pivotal career shift for the legendary performer—from actor to concert performer. It gave fans an unprecedented opportunity to witness Elvis Presley live on stage, something many thought would never happen. In the grand scope of Elvis Presley’s illustrious career, his 1968 TV special stands as one of the most significant events.
Relive the magic of the “Comeback” special and experience the power of Elvis Presley’s incredible talent. Don’t miss the chance to embark on a journey through the unforgettable music and captivating charisma of the King himself. For more captivating Elvis content, visit All about Elvis and immerse yourself in the world of this music legend.