I thought all of you would find this interesting I was listening to a Steve Binder interview on Sirius Satelite Radio about a year ago where he was interviewed by George Klein.
In the interview Steve Binder says the special came about because the Colonel approached NBC about doing a new Elvis t.v. special and the early idea going into it was that it would be a Christmas special because the Colonel wanted to use it as a vehicle to promote a new Christmas album and he new that would make him some money as the first 57 Christmas album sold very well. Steve says when he first met Elvis he found him nice and shy and that the reason the Christmas special didn't come about was because Elvis didn't want to do a special like that and neither did he so it eventually got changed but first they had to talk with the Colonel about changing he said at first Colonel didn't want it changed but later went along with it as long as Steve agreed to put one Christmas song into the special.
Steve says he talked to Elvis about where he thought Elvis career was at that point and Steve told him he wasn't really a fan that he liked the Beach boys and that Elvis expressed to him that he was so famous that he couldn't even go outside without being recognized so Steve had he walk out on Sunset Blvd where no one recognized him and after several minutes people were bumping into him still not recognizing him that finally made Elvis realize the show had to be changed and he told Steve that he thought his career was in the toilet. Steve said Elvis was very nervous about performing again and that Elvis made him promise that if any of the performance was bad that he would throw out the footage and cancel the show. Steve said he got the idea for the unplugged show by watching Elvis in his dressing room at night jamming with his buddies reminiscing about the early days of his career on the road, Steve said he got the idea to film Elvis backstage so he talked to the Colonel and the Colonel said no to film on a stage with fans, Steve said he regrets not filming Elvis backstage because the backstage footage was phenominal and twice as good as the sit down shows.
He says he had several conversations with Colonel Parker and that the Colonel inducted him and Bownes Howe into the snowman's league he said that Colonel Parker was a very intelligent man but he had a big ego.
Steve says that Billy Strange was originally hired to write the music for the special but was fired due to laziness and replaced by Billy Goldberg.
He says one of the ideas he had for the special was to have Elvis talk about his career and the current events of the time like Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement etc. but the Colonel said no to that as he didn't want Elvis making any political statements or anything like that so Mr. Binder said he got around that by getting Earl Brown to write if I can dream but the Colonel didn't want Elvis singing that song and suggested the song I believe instead, Steve said I believe was a beautiful song but a lot of singers had already done it.
Steve said that the 68 Special was a bigger success than he thought it would be and that he didn't think he'd be talking about it 40 years later.
Steve says after the special the Colonel offered him the chance to direct Charro he said he thought about it and then he received a letter a few days later from the Colonel saying would he relinquish all his rights for the special in exchage for a few thousand dollars. he said he sent the letter back unsigned. Steve said jokingly that he should of accepted Parker's offer because til this day he hasn't received any royalties from the show and that he got no royalties from M.TV. He told George Klein that he was going to produce a movie about the Colonel based on Alanna Nash book and then George told him that Alanna Nash has said some bad things about Elvis just read the King's men and that he should check into Alanna Nash, Steve said he would. the interview ended.
I found this interview interesting where Steve Binder gave his perspective and also gave some new info about the special that I haven't heard such as the Colonel contributing ideas for the special, Colonel and Charro and the backstage performances of Elvis.
Does anybody want to comment on this?
What does everybody think about this?