On June 1, 1977, it was announced that Elvis Presley had signed a deal with CBS for a new television special. It was agreed that CBS would videotape concerts during the summer of 1977. The final special was culled from footage from two performances on June 19, 1977, in Omaha, and June 21, 1977, in Rapid City, although much of the footage from Omaha was considered unusable due to sound and performance problems. This concert has been heavily edited and bootlegs (possible stolen tapes) have appeared on auction web sites over the years. The show was shot on NTSC videotape although many film conversions have appeared over the years. The crew also filmed footage of Elvis at the airport in Indianapolis, receiving a golden record by RCA, on June 26. This is the last known footage of Elvis ever filmed, and he can be seen wearing his favourite DEA jacket.
During the special, Presley performs a number of songs spanning his career. A notable moment is his performance of "Are You Lonesome Tonight" in which he appears to forget the words during the song's long monologue portion, improvising mumbled jokes instead; this footage was included in the later documentary This is Elvis to illustrate his poor condition at the time. (Darrin Memmer's book "Elvis Presley - The 1977 CBS Television Special", published in 2001 by Morris Publishing, makes a strong case that Elvis regularly played around with the words during the spoken portion of the song on stage, rather than it being a case of poor memory; indeed, a 1969 performance of Elvis breaking into laughter during the same section of the song has been widely released.) Elvis also sings his much-performed "My Way" although he has to use a lyric sheet on this occasion (despite having played the song several years through the 1970s); this performance is notable for the song's prophetic lyric, "And now the end is near and so I face the final curtain."
According to Roy Carr and Mick Farren in Elvis: The Illustrated Record, CBS officials considered postponing broadcast of the special in hopes of obtaining better performance footage of Elvis, but his death in August 1977 rendered this moot. Its broadcast received mixed reaction; Carr and Farren condemned it as a "travesty", adding, "Had it been shown during his lifetime, it would have caused more irrevocable damage to what was left of his career than almost a decade of starring in third-rate movies."
A misconception regarding Elvis in Concert stems from a statement broadcast by Elvis' father, Vernon Presley at the program's conclusion (and also included on the soundtrack album) in which he said viewers had just witnessed Elvis' final performance. In fact, Elvis made five more concert appearances before giving what would be his final show in Indianapolis, Indiana, on June 26. However the CBS special was Elvis' last professionally recorded concert. The special actually contains two messages by Elvis' father. One taped in a hotel room during the tour in June when Elvis was still alive, and the other taped in the back office of Graceland shortly after Elvis death where he thanks the many who sent letters and cards after Elvis' death.