In the early 1970s, there was 3.5 billion people on the planet and there was not a billion tvs.
At that era, those who had tvs, one the one in the home, 2 in the USA. Elvis Presley had one in every single room and sometimes more than 1.
In any event, the actual broadcast was done live to Japan, on delay for others and re-edited and broadcast later in the USA.
By the mid 1980s, the viewership claim was 1 billion people watched it and Linda Thompson’s Life autobio is the start of the 1.5 billion claim.
The reality is that more people did watch that Elvis concert than watched the USA Moon Landing.
Certainly, when it was broadcast, it was where most tv sets were tuned into and most eyes glued to.
It was the first and last, single person concert broadcast around the world.
In the UK, there was an earlier satellite broadcast, multiple acts, including The Beatles.
But Elvis Presley did the one man show, after 2 weeks of no drugs and a crash diet where he lost 35 pounds and was back to fighting fit.
The dress rehearsal was filmed in case of equipment failure, and RCA had not gotten a network feed, so Joan Deary sat in a small room with a line out and into a recorder. She watched the needles and managed the sound levels.
RCA raced her tape to the factory for pressing, the album cover already printed with a Madison Square Garden photo.
The broadcast started after midnight, so the morning of the 12th in Hawaii, but Prime Time Evening in Japan.
Japan had different angles than the NBC recording, and after the Japan Broadcast, the audience left and Elvis recorded three more songs for insertion into the delayed USA broadcast.
the afternoon after the concert, the Memphis Mafia were excited to celebrate Elvis epoch concert with a tour of the island.
Linda Thompson found Elvis on the balcony deck, back on the pills and re-living his experience.
Instead of real time off, Parker had Presley on a whistle stop tour, showing Elvis hemorrhaging money and needing the cash – the tours competing with the TV show and the recent concert film.
The Long Cape was used at the dress rehearsal and deemed too heavy, Elvis threw the short cape into the crowd.
The guy who caught the cape later loaned it to EPE for display, and Elvis getting gold for the double disc.
Show Sponsor: Chicken of the Sea Tuna got a special pressing for their employees, and the Quadrophonic version of the soundtrack had a different cover.
There was for a long time, the soundtrack double LP.
Also, the extra three songs were first released on the candem/pickwick compliation Maloha from Elvis
Then came VHS and Beta and the TV special was released.
Then, an LP and CD of the dress rehearsal concert, eventually VHS beating Beta, were VHS releases of the concert and rehearsal.
Then in the DVD age: Double Deluxe awaiting a Blu Ray release to include the bits left off of the deluxe and included as easter eggs on a single disc version.