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Elvis Presley’s 1968 ‘bordello’ scene originally cut for being too risqué: director

Years after Elvis Presley first turned his pelvis on television, television sponsors were outraged when they saw him bump and grind.

It’s 1968 and the former teen idol is eager to reclaim his throne as the king of rock and roll. His one-hour broadcast of his history is the subject of a new documentary, Reinventing Elvis: The ’68 Comeback Special.

A music icon, he died on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42.

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Watch: Elvis Presley’s 1968 ‘Bordello’ Scene Was Cut Because It Was Too Racist: The Doctor

“The ‘whore’ scene… was named by NBC executives,” Steve Binder, who directed Presley’s comeback special, told Fox News Digital. “When this show first aired, it was only 60 minutes for him, so maybe he was 40 minutes of entertainment.

“The rest was commercials, public service announcements, etc. …I created my own 90-minute version. The first version included few [the bordello scene] Initialization. I used it as an introduction to the large production numbers.

Susan Henning has been cast in the role of “Blonde Girl”. (Frank Carroll/Gary Null/NBCU Photobank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

“When Elvis died, NBC decided to do a three-hour special,” Binder said. “They sent a gopher into the library to summon the master of Elvis. He probably didn’t know anything about his past. He walked over there and saw a 90-minute edited version of me.” I didn’t even realize NBC kept it, but pulled it out, instead of the original 60 Minute Master, 60 Minutes Gone From That Day. All in his 90 minutes. And everything that was removed from the 60 minute version was put back together, including the “whore” scene. into the show.

“Nobody said anything.”

A side-by-side photo of Elvis Presley in a denim suit dancing with women dressed in pink

Elvis Presley’s move was cumbersome for TV sponsors. (Getty Images)

Binder was used to facing strict guidelines when bringing his work to life.

“I did a lot of shows where the censors didn’t allow certain scenes to air,” he laughs. “I remember one special, they weren’t allowed to show the two of them in bed. It had to be twin beds.”

For the comeback special, Binder wanted to explain how Presley rose to stardom and made audiences grab pearls while spinning their hips. In one scene, the 33-year-old wanted to show that he was still imposing and had a hard and hard time with a 20-year-old blonde. Dancer Susan Henning said in the documentary:

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Elvis Presley in a denim suit hugging Susan Henning in a little white dress

Everyone on set noticed the chemistry between Elvis Presley and Susan Hennig. (Frank Carroll/Gary Null/NBCU Photobank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

“I was a virgin whore, and I’m proud of it,” Hennig smiles during the documentary about her role. After seeing Presley in jeans, she said that the scene with Presley in her “Guitar Man” scene was “too glamorous”.

“It wasn’t work,” she laughed. “I think it was clear to everyone that we really enjoyed what we were doing. We had fun dancing, practicing, and being silly… [Binder] It gave us the freedom to express ourselves. It was very natural, and I think it brought out more in us that Elvis and I allowed ourselves to be natural.

“He was very sensual, very masculine, and that brought out in me femininity, flirtation, shyness, teasing. And I think we were playing tricks on each other. “

Susan Henning in a little white dress held by Elvis Presley in a denim suit

The Susan Henning and Elvis Presley scenes were originally cut from the special. (Frank Carroll/Gary Null/NBCU Photobank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Binder said he called everyone on stage to the set, including sponsor representatives and NBC executives, especially while filming the prostitute scene.

“I said, ‘People, if you want to change something, now is the time to speak up,'” Binder recalls. “They all voiced their opinions on the objections about it. The girls felt that the cleavage was showing too much. So we took the black net and brought the costume department up on stage.” And in front of all of them, to their objections, we did such a thing…and I said, “Can this… be aired?” They all said yes. ”

Steve Binder in all black and Elvis Presley in all denim look up and smile

Steve Binder and Elvis Presley became instant friends on set. (Frank Carroll/Gary Null/NBCU Photobank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

“So I thought he was behind me,” Binder continued. “And the next thing I know is that they’re preparing for the first broadcast, and I hear they’re going to bring in executives. They sent people in.” [from sponsor Singer Sewing Machines] … came out of New York to Los Angeles to make the final decision.

“And this guy showed up in a brown suit and brown shoes. He was watching Dean Martin on videotape.” [from a different special] With a beautiful 6 foot tall young woman in a bikini. They’re basically doing dirty jokes with no punch line. Our “whore” sequence isn’t as racy as that segment, so we figured this was a no-brainer.

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A model in a bejeweled bra top and skirt with a white fur coat is talking to Elvis Presley in a denim suit

Steve Binder had to revamp the costume used in Elvis Presley’s comeback special to avoid revealing too much “cleavage.” (Frank Carroll/Gary Null/NBCU Photobank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

“He walked over to our videotape machine,” Binder said. “I had my editor play that part, and he immediately said, ‘No, I can’t show that.'” So they removed it from the show. I was incredibly upset going through all of that. And about the “whore” scene being deleted. [later] I came back, but I think America was moving forward by then. And it was perfectly accepted. So I’ve been in it ever since. ”

During filming, Binder often quarreled with Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who was adamantly opposed to Presley singing Christmas songs.

Steve Binder pointing in front of the camera while Elvis Presley holds his guitar and looks away

Steve Binder (left) said Colonel Tom Parker was adamant about having Elvis Presley sing Christmas songs. (Frank Carroll/Gary Null/NBCU Photobank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

“The Colonel lost all but the last,” said Binder. “He told NBC he would not allow the show to air unless it contained at least one Christmas song….I remember the Colonel staring at me. He would hypnotize me.” I thought I might.

“Then I remembered improvising when Elvis played some Christmas songs, including ‘Blue Christmas.’ I lost control so many times to make it a thing The only thing left for him was to put one Christmas song on the show I gave it to him “Blue Christmas”.

Marlon Brando wearing a leather jacket and sitting on a motorcycle

Steve Binder said Elvis Presley was inspired by Marlon Brando’s character in the 1953 film The Wild One. (Michael Ox Archives/Getty Images)

Presley also commented on dressing in leather.

“Elvis showed me a picture of himself sitting on a Harley,” Binder said. “He had all the motorcycle costumes he bought in the store, and he showed me one of his favorite photos of Marlon Brando when he was the leader of the motorcycle gang in the movie The Wild One. I called Bill Brew, the costume director, and said, ‘Let’s make him a black leather biker costume. It must be custom-made for you.” And Bill delivered.

“That black leather was the marriage of two [Presley] And his presence, his body,” Binder laughs, admitting he didn’t like some of Presley’s jumpsuits late in his career.

“I wasn’t one for jumpsuits. I loved the masculinity of that black leather look. And he was in great shape at the time. There was no mention of drugs or anything like that.” ..he was mentally right.”

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Elvis Presley singing in a leather suit

“That black leather was the marriage of two [Elvis Presley] And his being, his body,” said Steve Binder. (Gary Null/NBCU Photobank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Binder spent five months with Presley and remembers vividly the last time they spoke.

“He wanted to travel the world and meet all the fans,” Binder said. “I said, ‘Elvis, I hear you. I hope you’re strong enough to stand up to Colonel Parker.’ , he didn’t want to leave the U.S. He forced Elvis to stay here, and it was all for the money, he had nothing to do with Elvis’ creativity and the creative human desire to take on new challenges in life.”

Elvis Presley looking away in a suit next to several men on stage

From left: Guitarist Charlie Hodge, Elvis Presley, and director Steve Binder behind the scenes of the ’68 comeback special. (Frank Carroll/Gary Null/NBCU Photobank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

”[Elvis] “He said he never wanted to sing a song he didn’t believe in again,” Binder recalled, “he didn’t want to make a movie he didn’t like. [But] He wasn’t strong enough in the end to stand up to Colonel Parker, who only wanted him to be a money-making machine. ”

Close-up of Steve Binder and Elvis Presley sitting together and smiling

During his final conversation with Elvis Presley (right), director Steve Binder (left) advised Elvis Presley to stay away from Colonel Tom Parker. (NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal, Getty Images)

Binder described her collaboration with Presley as “a special time in my life.”

“Every time I was on that stage, I never realized how lucky we were,” he said. “Something magical happened when we set up the cameras.”

“Elvis Reinvented: The ’68 Comeback Special” will stream on Paramount+ on August 15th.

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