Status of Elvis' TV Specials - Elvis (1968), Aloha from Hawaii (1973)
Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. owns the 1968 TV special Elvis and the 1973 television special Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, via Satellite, along with any existing additional footage shot for these shows. The '68 and Aloha shows have been out on video/DVD. Also out on video/DVD have been the Aloha rehearsal show, entitled The Alternate Aloha Concert, and outtake footage from the '68 TV special, entitled Elvis, One Night with You.
In 2002, EPE's contract with Lightyear Entertainment, the North American distributor for the '68 and Aloha material, ended. These programs are no longer in distribution but for leftover stock in some retail outlets and in the continuous stock maintained by Graceland/EPE for its own merchandising operations. EPE was without an overseas distributor for these programs for some time and opted to cease pursuing one for the time being. Why are these programs off the market? The reason is very exciting. We are presently working on our dream "ultimate" video/DVD editions of the '68 and Aloha material. The plan is to release these new editions worldwide in all formats sometime in 2003.
The '68 material was distributed in the home video packages '68 Comeback Special and One Night With You for a long time. These programs were released on DVD in 2000. Presently, these programs are no longer in distribution as we prepare for a projected 2003 release, a comprehensive collection of this material. As most fans know, Elvis shot two "sit-down" shows and two "stand-up" shows from which the scenes of live performance in black leather were chosen for the TV special and the video/DVD releases. Our plan is to give you both stand-up shows and both sit-down shows in their entirety and, for historical context, the show as edited for television and home video, along with some special features. (For instance, for the DVD we have already completed a commentary interview with Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana you can choose to listen to while you watch the two sit-down shows they were in with Elvis. We brought them into a recording studio to watch the shows in their entirety and recorded a conversation with them about it as they watched.) We will reveal and explain all this in full detail as the project reaches completion.
In 1999/2000 came some frustrating news with regard to the '68 releases that were available. The song Are You Lonesome Tonight had to be deleted. Clearance from the song's publisher was up for renewal and an agreement for its continued use could not be reached. It is our fond hope that the music publishing problem can be worked out so that this song can be included in the comprehensive release of the 1968 material planned for 2003.
Aloha from Hawaii (1973)
Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, via Satellite, his 1973 TV special performed on January 14, and The Alternate Aloha Concert, his full dress rehearsal show performed on January 12, were distributed on home video for a long time. A DVD release came in 2000. Presently, these programs are no longer in distribution as we prepare for a projected 2003 release, a comprehensive collection of this material.
The plan for how the Aloha material is to be presented in the new edition will be revealed and explained in detail as the project reaches completion. Unlike the '68 TV special material, which includes an exciting amount of previously unreleased footage, there's not much Aloha material fans have not had access to in the packages that have been in release. But, we have plans to present all this in a very special way for the new edition.
In 1999/2000 came some frustrating news for the Aloha programs that were available. The songs Johnny B. Goode, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry and I Can't Stop Loving You had to be deleted from the Aloha release. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry had to be deleted from the Alernate Aloha release. (Elvis did not perform the other two songs in the rehearsal show.) Clearance from the songs' publishers was up for renewal and an agreement for their continued use on home video/DVD could not be reached. It is our fond hope that the music publishing problems can be worked out so that these songs can be included in the comprehensive release of the Aloha material planned for 2003. At the moment, all looks good for two of the songs, with the remaining difficulties being with the publisher for Johnny B. Goode. (The music publishing issue is explained in further detail in its own section below.)
About the Music Publishing Problems for 68 & Aloha
Contracts we have with the various owners/publishers of the songs in the TV specials expire over time and come up for renewal. The longstanding arrangement with all of the publishers is that each is paid equally - a "favored nations" agreement it's called in the biz. Upon expiration time, most renewals are routine, but sometimes one publisher will insist on a big increase in what they're paid. Our agreeing to do so with one publisher would automatically give all the other songs' publishers a raise because of the favored nations agreement. This would cripple the budget for distributing the particular video/DVD involved and drive up the retail price to compensate, particularly if the publisher in question were demanding an exhorbitant figure. It would also set the bar higher for publisher payment expectations for new projects with this material. A publisher can choose to be disagreeable for other reasons, too.
Sadly, we were at a total impasse with a few publishers when Lightyear, our contracted distributor, was ready to put out a new run of 68 and Aloha videos (new packaging, ehanced sound) in 2000 and put them out on DVD for the first time. For the most part, we would have preferred to halt distribution of the videos and delay the introduction of the programs on DVD until the publishing problems could be resolved, but Lightyear's contract with us gave them the right to have video and DVD in the marketplace and we had to honor that contract. Also, there was a continuous demand for the material from the public to be met. We did the best we could. We had the song deletions noted on the new packaging, we put information here in this FAQ section and made other efforts to communicate with the fans.
We've made a lot of headway with some music publishing problems during the many months of work and planning for the new "ultimate" editions for 2003. If any problems remain as these editions near completion, we will let you know. We might even call upon you for help after we've exhausted all the traditional means of working something like this out.
The music publishing obstacles for video and DVD (also for television) do not affect RCA's soundtrack releases. Clearances for record releases are more standardized and not subject to the treacherous waters of negotiation can be for video/DVD/TV releases.