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68 At 40 Retrospective

By ElvisNews.com/ Kees, September 02, 2008 | Book

Joe Tunzi teamed up with the only person that could write a book on the legendary 1968 Comeback Special; Steve Binder. Besides directing great television shows, can he also write a book?


The hard cover holds 120 full color pages. Divided over eight chapters we get a lot of shots from the show, memorabilia and memories from the show’s producer Steven Binder. The lay-out and presentation are done very well; the look is easy on the eye and Binder has a nice way of writing. The quality of the pictures leaves to be desired though. A lot of pictures look very grainy, especially those from the “Bordello”, “Guitar Man” and stand-up show sections. Luckily for us the book also contains good quality images; fortunately images from the “If I Can Dream” section.

As a bonus a signed picture of Steven Binder is added, but this one is a little bit bigger than the book, so it wrinkles easily.


With of the 40th Anniversary of the 1968 special approaching, Steve Binder felt it was time to pen his own book, having read so much on the special that didn't feel right to him. He writes in his opening that many books have been written about this television special, but checking my collection I did not find one book dedicated in its entirely to this show. So I’m glad he teamed up with Joe Tunzi to put his memories down on paper.

In between the hard covers we get a full color glossy book packed with great shots of the 1968 “Christmas Special”. It features around 100 never before seen photos (according to the press release) from the private collection of Timothy Mulrenan and Robert Brower along with rare documents and artifacts from Binder's personal collection. We see Elvis on stage - quite a lot – and off stage, unfortunately not too many. I can't say I really saw any new pictures, but that could also be due to the fact that I've seen the special so many times. All the memorabelia and artifects are new. The one thing missing are advertisements and other promotional artifacts from the show. I've seen quite a lot of them over the years, so they are around.

What makes reading this book interesting are the memories from Steve Binder and the memorabilia he pulled from his personal archive. Which Elvis fan would not like to have a “Snowman’s League Of America” membership card. These artifacts really illustrate the well-known images most Elvis fans have so vividly in mind. Steve shares a lot of stories on how the show came about, how he had to deal with The Colonel and a lot of others to produce the show that became the classic we love in stead of the probably carny Christmas Special. Just imagine, what if Steve had given in to The Colonel ... pure horror. We would only have the fifties television appearances, the "Aloha Special" and a hand full of good movies to see our man in action.

This book is a nice read with "The Complete 1968 Comeback Special" four CD box which was released by BMG. If only these packages would have been combined in the definitive definitive package.


Not all of Joe Tunzi’s books are essential reads and releases, but this one is. The people best qualified to write a book are the persons who were there and who actually contributed to Elvis’ career. Steve Binder is one of those people. He has a nice way of writing and vividly shares his memories and memorabilia.

You Dont Know Me wrote on September 03, 2008
This book is simply a MUST HAVE...that is unless you are NOT a fan of Elvis at his best?
JLpResLey wrote on September 03, 2008
I know that this event had a great importance for Elvis´ future career. You don´t know me - it´s like you say, Elvis Presley at his best. But, now it´s enough, it has to be. It´s not like it´s a forgotten chapter in the Elvis Presley story. It has been done before. I think that people will lose their interest in this TV special. Because of all the budget CDs, I have lost my interest for the period 1954-1956. Will 1968 and Aloha go the same way? I think that it is possible. Of course, both this and aloha was magnificent events, but Elvis was magnificent, almost all the time
JerryNodak wrote on September 03, 2008
Tunzi books are NOT must haves. Not at the prices he charges.
Harvey Alexander wrote on September 05, 2008
This book is worth every penny. The photos are stunning and Steve Binder shows what a great writer he is.
Ruthie wrote on September 10, 2008
I certainly don't think people are going to lose interest, especially in the 54-56 era. It's how we introduce younger people to rock & roll. Believe it or not, most of them are eager to learn how it all began & place Elvis in that history. One might get tired of one era over another due to overkill but the total overall interest will remain for ages to come. That's our goal.
Steve V wrote on September 11, 2008
I dont think people will forget but I bet they wont remember this image of Elvis as much as the heavy jumpsuited image which unfort many folks think of first when Elvis' name is mentioned. This show did so much to reinstate Elvis into respectability after so many bad movies so, I dont mind the overkill on the 68 Special. I wish this was the way people remember Elvis, before he was seen as not being taken seriously from say, Aloha onward. The outfits got out of hand and the shows became too erratic & subpar, like a rock & roller Liberace. As for the book, expensive but worth it.
Greg Nolan wrote on September 14, 2008
There's some truth to what you say, Steve, but as usual you perpetuate and accept the negative view of '70s Elvis "after Aloha" as you always put it. But in reality, it's all a big distortion perpetuated by impersonators, to the degree that folks will look at Elvis at arguably his peak in 1970 - and yes, in a white jumpsuit and then say.." oh, I guess this is when he was 'fat' , right? As for the Tunzi books, I agree with Jerry that they are pricey, but in fairness they are limited editions, and by definition must make some kind of profit for the producers. Time was when almost any Elvis book thrown together (particularly in the late '70s after his death) would fly off the shelf but those days are gone.
theoldscudder wrote on November 15, 2008
A really nice product. Quality all the way. However this comes with a rather hefty price .The good thing is you can always get your money back in the secondary market.