A few comments (my opinions only) first about the screening event (as well as some photos for the Elvis fans below). The Comeback was shown (digitally, I expect) using the original aspect ratio, resulting in a blurred projection on screen, a disappointing lack in technology for 2018.
The big production numbers featuring Elvis do not hold up in 2018; both are campy at best and disrupt the flow and intimacy of the improvisational acoustic segment--that remains classic ELVIS GOLD.
The comeback of the Comeback Special began with a recent, taped interview / informal chat between Priscilla Presley and Steve Binder, the Comeback's producer/director, and was held backstage at the same NBC studio where the original show was filmed.
Priscilla feels that the Comeback Special still holds up these days musically and performance-wise including the stage outfits worn by Elvis; in particular, she mentioned the black leather suit still looks "cool".
She also explained something I had never liked about the Special: why Elvis "goofed off" (my words) during performing. He stops singing to make comical comments or he changes a word in a straight lyric to something comical, laughs with the audience, then picks up with the song again.
Priscilla appreciates that the director kept these informalities (not goofs, my word) in the show because "this was Elvis", his making fun of himself, having fun in general when jamming was the real Elvis. In fact, she shares, the main premise of the special--Elvis singing and playing with his band--was exactly what Elvis used to do when not working. Priscilla even recalls Elvis sitting around and jamming with a group of guys in his free time as far back as when Priscilla was in Germany with Elvis (serving in the U.S. Army, between 1958 and 1960). .
I can better appreciate these comical moments now. In fact, when watching the Comeback after not seeing it for many years, I heard Elvis partially sing, partially say--after flubbing a line: "I don't think that I can take it...." When I heard this line, I thought, oh wow!, was Elvis actually singing a lyric from "MacArthur Park"? If so, had he been aware of what he said/sang and where that line came from?
When the ending credits rolled with the music credits, I read confirmed recognition of the line I had heard:
An ASCAP-compliant credit for an 8-word lyric! Very, very cool.
After the Comeback Special ended, Bonus Bloopers from the making of the Comeback were shown. In three of the bloopers, Elvis paraphrased, "I don't think that I can take it / 'Cause it took so long to bake it / And I'll never have that recipe again."
Obviously, Elvis was very aware of the song. Of course. Everyone was aware of this song in 1968.
Related to Elvis and "MacArthur Park", Jimmy Webb recently posted on his facebook page about owning an unreleased recording of Elvis singing "MacArthur Park." (Could JW have been referring to the blooper edits? or the full-fledged song?) Due to contractual reasons, Elvis's recording of "MP" could not be released, Jimmy shared, and added, his copy is one of his treasures. (Note: Off of facebook, Jimmy has often identified the "contractual" stoplight to be Colonel Parker who wanted to own the publishing rights to all the songs recorded by Elvis.)
For Jimmy Webb fans, Elvis fans and MacArthur Park fans, I found the Bloopers Bonus on YouTube, and you can listen to all three "MP" mentions by The King of Rock and Roll here:
The lyric appears approximately at:
The photos below are for Elvis fans who were not able to attend a screening of the return of the Comeback Special. No Comeback posters were on display at the theater. No cardboard, stand-up Elvis Presleys were on display. Taking photos of this signage, located outside of Auditorium 7 at the theater, was the only "photo opp" for us Elvis fans: proof that "Elvis had been in the house".
c. 2018 D. Zink All Rights Reserved