MAY 17, 1968
This day proved to be a major turning point in the life and career of Elvis Presley. This was the day Steve Binder was hired as director for Elvis Presley's upcoming NBC television Christmas special.
NBC, Elvis and Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker got far more than they had planned.
Steve Binder was an odd choice as director of the planned NBC Christmas special. His last job had created a storm of controversy when, on camera for the first time on American television, a black man, Harry Belafonte, touched a white woman, Petula Clark. You’d think Binder would have wanted to play it safe for his next job.
After eight years of no live performances and existing only on film, it had been decided that maybe Elvis should embrace television with a Christmas special where Elvis would just sing Christmas songs. Binder had other ideas. He took Elvis into the streets to prove that he had become so reclusive people would walk by without recognizing him. Elvis was shocked and against the Colonel’s wishes went ahead with a television special, which would remind America and the world what a great performer Elvis had been and could be again. That TV special inspired Elvis’ return to performing, particularly in Vegas.