Elvis’ black leather outfit for the ’68 special (by Jeff Schrembs)

Elvis’ 1968 Singer TV special simply entitled “Elvis” was, in every way imaginable, a hit. The TV audience saw a man unleashed from the confines of making movies (which he had done an average of 3 per year throughout the 1960’s) and performed before a live audience for the first time in almost 8 years.

Elvis was happy in every aspect of his life. He was married. He was a father as Lisa Marie was born 9 months to the day after his wedding to Priscilla which occurred on May 1, 1967. He was in great (physical) shape and all of his pent up desire to be relevant, as the greatest entertainer/performer who ever lived, was within his grasp.

He played some of his hits from the 1950s. He was vulnerable. Just Elvis a microphone a square stage and a few of his dear friends to compliment him via guitar and drums. Not only was his movements spectacular, and his movements unleashed with a fury, but his voice was in great form and he showcased it to the awe of everyone watching him live and those watching him on tv.

From the backdrop of his legendary black leather jacket, and matching pants, the red guitar (which he borrowed as the director/producer realized it was visual magic) was a symbol that the king of rock had regained his throne. His sweat, his passion, his love for performing was evident and continues to this day to be a concert/performance that resonates.

Many people have mimicked the (I believe false) premise that the black leather jacket/outfit Elvis wore was simply a “blue jean jacket/outfit”, which was popular at the time, and reproduced with black leather. He also wore a black wristband. I believe that this “look”, of the black leather jacket and wristband, was not an accident. it was not following a fashion trend.

It was, I believe and I post this hoping that others will digest and debate, an outfit that adorned Elvis’ movie (originally written for James Dean and considered, by me and others, as Elvis’ finest performance as an actor) poster for King Creole. At a minimum I believe that this was the genesis for Elvis’ infamous black leather jacket worn in the ’68 special. My evidence is the following poster.KING CREOLE.


Not only is Elvis wearing the black leather jacket but, and it is hard to make out, there appears to be a black leather wristband.

Interestingly Elvis’ fully extended hand in this poster is consistent with Elvis’ fully extended hand in the ’68 special when Elvis sings (a song that is filled with hope and powerful personified – and never received the acknowledgement/record sales that were warranted) the closing number entitled “If I if can dream”.

Well, as always I welcome any legitimate comments.

Take care and may God bless you.


Jeff Schrembs




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