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'68 Comeback: NBC-TV Special [VHS] (1968)

 NR |  VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (253 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

'68 Comeback: NBC-TV Special [VHS] + Elvis on Tour [VHS] + Elvis - That's the Way It Is (Special Edition) [VHS]
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Product Details

  • Format: Color, Original recording reissued, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Lightyear Video
  • VHS Release Date: November 12, 1991
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (253 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303058760
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,903 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Five years before he achieved broadcast history with his legendary 1973 global satellite telecast, Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, Elvis Presley brought a less grandiose but far more urgent mission to this Christmas season network special: isolated from his original audience after a long sojourn on Hollywood soundstages, and threatened by the vibrancy and social gravity of rock, the King sought nothing less than to reclaim his throne.

More than three decades later, what has since become known as Elvis: '68 Comeback Special looms as the Memphis icon's most substantial achievement as a stage performer. If the candy-colored sets and hyperactive choreography of its larger production numbers smack of its network packagers' desperation to be hip, Elvis himself rises to a riveting, assured performance at the peak of his powers. Looking fit and relaxed, and sheathed in black leather, he covers a shrewd song list encompassing early rockabilly hits, gospel (albeit rendered unintentionally hilarious by its florid dance routines), and comparatively restrained ballads.

Standout performances include two intimate stage sets that put him literally within his fans' reach, most strikingly in a brief reunion with four of his earliest bandmates (including guitarist Scotty Moore and drummer D.J. Fontana). The latter segment is only a brief sample of a session posthumously released on video as One Night with You, which is, if anything, even better than this terrific portrait of a towering American artist. --Sam Sutherland

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just the basics of the 1968 Special December 26, 2006
By A Fan
This DVD has just the basics of Elvis' excellent 1968 special. If you want an in-depth presentation, you should get the 2 DVD Deluxe edition. This DVD includes nearly all of the footage of the original show. Elvis' performances are outstanding, especially the "informal" jam session, where Elvis actually plays his guitar instead of just using it as a prop! Elvis' informal jam session was an early precursor of the MTV Unplugged series that would follow more than 20 years later. The bonus material includes some outtakes and photos, but really does not add much to the set. This DVD should be enough for the average fan and it is available at a reasonable price. Hardcore fans will want the deluxe edition.
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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Elvis at his best looking, arguably best sounding, and most creative, plays with his original drummer and guitarist, often in the first "unplugged" format, surrounded by fans on all four sides. Elvis is so close to the audience that it has a surreal quality to it. His voice is impeccable, raw, thick, and tough, at turns sweet and gentle for the ballads, and the skill with which he effortlessly and naturally moves between the two is amazing. This is a one of a kind experience showcasing arguably the best of the best of a brilliant career. Those who don't even think they like Elvis will be converts - incredible.
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71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elvis at his Finest August 2, 2000
By A Customer
I remember back in 1968 anxiously waiting for this special to air on December 3rd. I knew from reading articles about the special that Elvis was going to perform some of his classic songs like "All Shook Up" and "Jailhouse Rock". Judging from his recent movie work, I thought he might not do the classic songs justice. Was I wrong! He did them better! Quoting critic Greil Marcus, "Elvis gave everything he had - more than anyone knew was there."
In my opinion, this is Elvis at his peak. He did some great things after this special, but nothing that captures the raw power of his performance on this special.
The audio and video on this DVD are good; as good as one might expect considering the television recording and video technology of 1968.
In closing, I have been an Elvis fan since 1960. This special is how I want to remember him.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisiting Elvis August 28, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The original Elvis mania was a little before my time - I rarely can say that about anything anymore, but I can say it about this. I was too busy being a kid during his first wave in the 50s to be very aware of popular music. I didn't really start listening until the British invasion of the 60s, which Elvis, following advice, wisely sat out. He kept busy in Hollywood instead. Until I was 15, I knew him mostly from his string of B movies. A few early ones (including Jailhouse Rock and King Creole), rose to the level of camp classics. The ones from the 60s struck me then as watchable but forgettable.

The time came when Elvis Presley wanted to return to live musical performances. In 1968, I watched the TV special "Elvis" and was blown away. I didn't see this show again until earlier this week, nearly 40 years later. My response was the same. This is classic Elvis at the top of his form before he became a caricature of himself. Others have commented with some justice that, in the 70s, the first Elvis impersonator was Elvis, but no such gibe applies here.

The show featured a mix of performances. Elaborately choreographed stage numbers presaged his later Las Vegas shows; they also presaged, to some degree, the acts of many present day pop stars, which seem to be as much about staging as about music, and which feature "electronic enhancement" (often little different from lip synching) of the voices. The bulk of the show, however, and by far the most effective part of it, is Elvis' straight-up un-enhanced music, played and sung almost casually and with humor in the midst of a fairly small audience.

I became a fan in 1968. What is on this DVD is the reason.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent April 25, 2007
After years and years of making movies and largely neglecting his musical career, Elvis did this TV comeback special in 1968. The success of this show rejuvinated Elvis, and within a year he had recorded "The Memphis Album" (also recommended) which included "In The Ghetto" and "Suspicious Minds".

The TV special reunited him with his original 50's band for the intimate small stage set. He is seated and singing some of those classic Sun records "Thats Alright Mama" being perhaps the best known. Then, dressed in black leather he is backed (out of sight) by a bigger band and here Elvis is in rocking form, tearing up the stage with fabulous performances of Jailhouse Rock, Heartbreak Hotel and many others. During the remainder of the show a full band and Orchestra back him, together with additional dancers and large sets. The show ends with a breathtaking version of "If I Can Dream", which remains my favourite Elvis performance of all time.

This 'special edition' has a few humourous outtakes and some stills, but really its the main film your buying it for. If you want a proper special edition buy the 3 disc edition. If you've never really understood what made Elvis so great, buy this DVD and you will.
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Question about the Guitar Man Medley in the deluxe edition.
No, you're not imaging this! Sorry this answer is so late, but I just saw your question. You probably found your answer by now, but here it is in case you haven't. The song is indeed in the box set...but only in pieces, the way it was actually filmed. The makers of this set later claimed it was... Read More
Aug 10, 2008 by Michael Slater |  See all 2 posts
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