Tag Archives: Memories

Elvis on Tour

Elvis on Tour is a Golden Globe Award-winning American musical-documentary motion picture released by MGM in 1972. It was the thirty-third and final motion picture to star Elvis Presley before Presley’s death in 1977.

A follow-up to the 1970 release Elvis: That’s the Way it Is, another musical-documentary, this film followed Presley as he embarked on a 15-city tour of the United States in April 1972. The working title of the film was Standing Room Only and a soundtrack album was planned with this title, but never released. (Elvis on Tour was the only Elvis Presley film not accompanied by some form of official soundtrack release, either in the form of a full album or a single). Elvis on Tour also contains vintage footage of Elvis’ famous 1956 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show

According to the book Elvis: His Life from A to Z by Fred L. Worth and Steve Tamerius, among those working on this film were Martin Scorsese, who supervised montage sequences, and David Draper a former Mr. Universe. The film was directed by Pierre Adidge and Robert Abel.

Elvis on Tour won the 1972 Golden Globe Award for Best Documentary, making it the only Elvis film to win an award of any kind. Reportedly, Elvis was watching TV at Graceland the night of the awards show. When he found out he won, he ran around the house shouting “Son of a bitch, we won the Golden Globe!”[citation needed].

The 1997 VHS reissue was negatively criticized because of the lack of the multi-screen images that were present on all previously released VHS copies of the film. As of 2009 it is also the only Presley film that has not been released on DVD, but it is available for download on iTunes.

Although Presley would be offered numerous films over the next few years, including, famously, the 1976 remake of A Star Is Born, he would make no more films in his lifetime. Footage from Elvis on Tour would later be reused in the theatrical documentary This is Elvis in the early 1980s.

Elvis – The ’68 Comeback Special

Elvis, starring Elvis Presley, was the title of a 1968 United States television special. Sponsored by The Singer Sewing Machine Company, it aired on December 3, 1968 on the NBC television network. The special is commonly referred to as the ’68 Comeback Special, because of subsequent developments in Presley’s career, but the soundtrack album was released simply as NBC-TV Special. It was directed by Steve Binder and produced by Binder and Bones Howe.

Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, wanted the show, which was scheduled as a Christmas season broadcast, to be little more than Presley singing Christmas carols. He believed the special could simply be a TV-version of the Christmas radio show Presley had contributed to the year before. Binder argued that the special was an opportunity to re-establish the singer’s reputation after years of formulaic movies and recordings of variable quality. He and Howe hired writers to script a show with specific themes: they envisaged large set designs, dance sequences and big productions of Presley’s hits. However, Binder was open to any variations on this that would showcase the singer’s talent, and Presley was apparently very happy to go along with this flexible approach. Binder has also said that as the special production progressed, and there was no sign of any Christmas material, Parker constantly moaned to Binder: “Where’s my Christmas music?”

The special eventually included an extravagant musical sequence featuring Gospel-style numbers, a semi-autobiographical “mini-movie” centered around the song “Guitar Man” and other re-recordings given lavish set designs. Network censors wanted to remove one segment set in a bordello which featured the song “Let Yourself Go,” but it was aired. The special ends with Presley appealing for world peace with the song “If I Can Dream.”

Studio recordings for these segments were made at Western Recorders in Hollywood, California between June 20 and 23 and featured an orchestra and the The Blossoms as background vocalists: Fanita James, Jean King and Darlene Love. Other musicians included drummer Hal Blaine, pianist Don Randi, guitarist Tommy Tedesco and harmonica player Tommy Morgan.