© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.
By now you surely know that blues legend B.B. King died last week at age 89. I did a lot of deep Google searching to find things connecting B.B. and Elvis, and I found a few to use in this post celebrating the blues master’s life and career. Most interesting were the quotes B.B King said about Elvis over the years, interspersed here between a few photos.
An early photo of Elvis and B.B. King – occasion and place unknown.
“He used to come around and be around us a lot. There was a place we used to go and hang out at on Beale Street. People had little pawn shops there and a lot of us used to hang around in certain of these places, and this is where I met him.”
Photo taken of Elvis, Claudia Ivy, and B.B. King at the WDIA Goodwill Review on December 7, 1956. Elvis and George Klein hung out backstage. Elvis made a brief emergence from behind the curtain, and received rousing applause from the audience. Also on the program were Ray Charles, the Moonglows, and Rufus Thomas.
“When I first met Elvis, I didn’t think too much of Elvis Presley. I thought he was a handsome young man, but he wasn’t singing as he started to sing later. So I didn’t think too much about him – his guitar or his singing – at the time. But I thought he was a nice person – it wasn’t that I disliked him.”
Elvis must have like the plaid coat B.B. wore in the above photo. Check out the jacket Elvis wore on the day of his induction into the Army.
“Finally I heard him do some Arthur Big Boy Crudup. I heard him do some of those songs, and then I started to turn my head a little bit. That ain’t the same Elvis Presley that I been hearing. And he went on from there doing some other things that sound black to me. That’s when I started having respect, respect, respect. And he sorta earned it, earned that respect from me at that time.”
This is B.B. King in concert with Bobby Blue Bland, who got his start as B.B.’s limo driver. They were together back in 1999, the only time I ever saw B.B. perform.
It was such a wonderful concert, even though B.B. performed while sitting on a chair for most of the show.
Elvis also had contact with Bobby Blue Bland back in the early days of their careers.
“I remember Elvis as a young man hanging around the Sun Studio. Even then, I knew this kid had a tremendous talent. He was a dynamic young boy. His phraseology, his way of looking at a song, was as unique as Sinatra’s. I was a tremendous fan, and had Elvis lived, there would have been no end to his inventiveness.”
This is B.B. King’s Blues Club in Memphis. During Elvis Week 2002, two fine ladies and I drank and danced there for hours. We closed the place down and then went to the Candlelight Vigil. My knees killed me the next day.
This isn’t the band we had that night, but you get the idea. The girls were from Japan and Canada, which illustrates a fact about Elvis Week. People come from all over, and it’s so easy to make new friends. Elvis fans are just good people.
Here is an Elvis/B.B. connection you may not be aware of. The white sign says “B.B. King and Elvis Presley Welcome Center.” The huge mosaic egg says, “MEMPHIS – Home of the Blues, Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll.”
If you’ve got enough time during your next visit to Memphis, you can check it out. While you are down on the banks of the Mississippi, be sure to take in Mud Island Park, too.
“Finally I had a chance to meet him and I found out that he really was something else. He started to be more and more and more. And he was still like that to me, Elvis was, until he died. As far as I was concerned, he was growing all the time.”
“He was unique. And he loved the blues, it’s a pity he didn’t do more.”
Good bye, B.B. We’ll miss you. Say hi to Elvis for us.
Girl Happy opened nationally on April 14, 1965.
When I started posting these Elvis movie pictorials, I would always watch each one again on the TV and make notes about things that interest me. Now I watch on the laptop, and I make heavy use of pause, single frame advance (or reverse), and screen grab. You can discover a lot of fun shots this way.
Here we have Mary Ann Mobley showing off her acting talent.
I must admit, she’s the reason I can watch Girl Happy over and over. Too bad they couldn’t find a way for Elvis to wind up with her at the end. The scenes with Elvis pursuing Mary Ann just sizzle. These two beautiful people are hot for each other.
On the other hand, the Elvis and Shelly Fabares scenes are sweet and tender.
He sings to her.
He takes her dancing.
So far, we have seen Elvis in five pictures, and he is wearing a different long-sleeve shirt in each one. In fact, he wears nothing but long sleeve shirts the whole film.
Even when he is sunbathing around the motel pool.
Even when sail boating. Doesn’t Shelly look dreamy? No, thanks. I’ll take Mary Ann.
Even when water skiing. Did Elvis have some mysterious rash on his arms during filming?
Here are some odds and ends pictures that caught my fancy.
Elvis and the boys in the band playing peeping-toms.
No everything went well between Elvis and Mary Ann. She let her feelings be known when Elvis disappeared to rescue Shelly for the third time.
A lot of the action took place at the Seadrift Motel. Lots of eye-candy for the male viewers.
Somehow Elvis miraculously came up with a pick-up truck and boat trailer to pull this boat into the motel pool.
He also commandeered a spotlight to search for Shelly on the beach.
But his biggest coup was getting a backhoe to help break into jail where Shelly was being held.
Here’s Elvis trying to break into jail. How convenient that the Ft. Lauderdale jail had a wooden floor he could saw through.
And after he got in, Elvis had to dress in drag to get out. Not exactly the high point of Elvis’ acting career.
Shelly Fabares’ character changed quite a bit from what Elvis thought she looked like to what she actually did.
She looked great in this musical number.
And she’s a riot when she gets drunk and wants to try her hand at stripping.
I had a friendly dispute with another fan about whether Teri Garr appeared in five or six Elvis movies. The film in question was Girl Happy. He said the shots I provided of her dancing on the beach during “Do the Clam” were inconclusive, because it was dark and she moved too fast. Now, I’ve got some new screen grabs proving Teri Garr did appear in Girl Happy.
Here she is in the jail scene.
Here’s Teri Garr doing the Clam. Not as clear, but she is wearing the same top as in jail.
The guy on the right playing guitar is Joby Baker, but look back one picture and see him playing sax. The sax solos on several songs including “I’ve Got to Find My Baby” and “Do the Clam” are excellent. No wonder — they were actually performed by Boots Randolph.
Here’s a brief diversion from the screen grabs to look at a Girl Happy poster from Turkey. The title translates to “Guardian of My Daughter,” which does fit with the theme of the movie. Those Turks knew who to pair with Elvis in the picture – Mary Ann Mobley.
I always end these pictorials with a shot or two of Elvis kissing his leading lady. Mary Ann beat Shelly 3 to 2 in this department.
But in the end, Elvis wound up with Shelly Fabares.
The movie closes with this kiss.
Oh, well. Elvis will have another chance with Mary Ann Mobley in Harum Scarum.
On April 26, Graceland.com posted a surprisingly brief news item.
“Graceland is pleased that an agreement has been reached for Elvis’ two airplanes, the Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II to remain at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis permanently. The planes have been available for tours in the Graceland visitors’ center since 1984.”
Pretty short on detail, and there has been no elaboration since. Lisa Marie had a little Twitter message the same day.
I guess the plan is to move forward with no mention of the battle that has been going on since last July between Elvis Presley Enterprises and OKC Partnership, the company that actually owns the planes. In case you don’t know the history here, Graceland has displayed the planes under an agreement that gives OKC an a specific percentage of the ticket revenue.
Things seem to have worked fine for all the years that Graceland charged separate prices for each attraction. Then, package tickets came into the picture, but you could still buy the individual tickets. Well, those days are over. You must now choose between two package plans, or simply see the mansion and nothing else..
These are two options on the cheaper package. The only difference is that the top one includes the airplanes for an extra $5.00. The more expensive Elvis VIP Entourage package works the same way. When this set-up started, it effectively established a considerably lower ticket income for the planes exhibit, and thus, a big drop in revenue for OKC. Which, of course, they weren’t happy about. So, OKC called EPE’s bluff by threatening to remove their planes.
From here on it was like a boxing slug fest, with each side making moves to get the advantage.
First EPE countered their bluff by saying okay, get the planes out of here. Might have been a smart move. Realistically, where could OKC set up the planes and attract as many customers as they get at Graceland?
Soon, OKC announced a deal with Julian’s, the Beverly Hills, California, auction house to offer both planes, and they were expected to fetch between $10 million and $15 million.
Uh, oh. The auction closed on February 2, and nobody bid on the planes. Same results when they tried to sell them on an aviation website and eBay.
Earlier this month (April 2015), Shelby County’s land use board approved a proposal by OKC Partnership to move the planes to a 5.3-acre lot at 3850 Elvis Presley Blvd, not far from Graceland. The plan was approved Tuesday, April 21 by the Memphis City Council.
The approved plan called for the planes to be installed as an outdoor display and museum for tourists to visit. And the news release said it would be up and running in time for Elvis Week 2015.
To show you how feasible this plan could have been, look at the location of the lot in question.
The lot is across the street from the Days Inn that is just down the street from the car museum. I stayed there on my first visit, and it’s no walk at all to Graceland.
This aerial view shows the property just to the right of the marker. Look above it and you can see the Graceland drive and the mansion behind the cluster of trees. A little higher and to the left you can see where the planes are now. So, OKC had a viable plan to move the planes, start their own attraction, and attract all the folks in town to see Graceland.
EPE had to cut a deal, or they would lose the planes. You can bet some hot and heavy negation went on, and now they own the plans.
Yes, Graceland seems to have won, but the price had to be a lot higher than they originally expected.
Look at the aerial map again. Above the planes is the U-shaped Heartbreak Hotel. Behind it is the Graceland Trailer Park and a primitive tent camping area. In an ElvisBlog article last July, I speculated that if EPE wanted to move the planes to allow room for a huge entertainment complex, they might eliminate the tent area and put them there.
One other interesting fact came to light while I researched this story. There is another possible location where EPE might move the planes. Directly behind Graceland Plaza Visitors’ Center is a sixteen-acre property that used to be the Craft Manor Apartments. It has been razed and EPE has owned it since 2007. So the planes could be moved there as part of some new development. Like Lisa cryptically said, “We own them and have fun plans 4 them.”
Or the planes might stay right where they are. Either way, the fans win.
It’s been a year-and-a-half since we last looked at Elvis autographs. For some reason, not too many came on the market during that time, at least not at the five auctions I’ve followed – three Heritage rock memorabilia auctions and two Auctions at Graceland. What was for sale tended to be more expensive, partially because of the items Elvis put his autograph on. Here’s a look at them in ascending price order.
Autographed Fan Photograph (1965):
In 1965, Elvis signed the back of this 5” x 4” b&w photo taken by a fan club president at Elvis’ Bel Air, California home. For some reason, the back with the autograph was not shown on the auction website. The signed photo went for $650 including the 25% auction house service charge. One reason for the low price has been noted here before. Photos, postcards, etc. signed on the front make a much better display in a proper frame, with matting, and non-glare glass, and they bring a higher price. With this one, you would just see the autograph on a blank piece of paper.
Signed Promotional Photograph:
The group of items above were part of a promotional package for Elvis’ 1961 movie Wild in the Country, when it had its national premier at the Malco Theater in Memphis. The b&w photo at the bottom left is 7.5” x 9.5” and is signed on the back. Elvis must have turned it sideways when he signed it.
This one went for $1,375, but certainly part of that value is from the accompanying eight-page premier program and the bumper sticker. How do you like that message? “Official Teenage Press Agent – Ask Me”
Example of How Presentation Affects Value:
See that little piece of white paper under the color photo of Elvis? It measures just 2.5″ x 2.5”, and may well be the smallest thing Elvis ever autographed. So, how do you turn this tiny item into something that brings $1,500 at auction? Easy, put it in a nice matted frame with a good Elvis photograph.
Over the years, I have seen so many scraps of paper with Elvis’ autograph up for auction that had no attempt at proper presentation. Why don’t these sellers spend some money and make displays of their autographs. They’d come out hundreds of dollars ahead, like this seller did.
Autographed German Postcard:
There is certainly some intrinsic value to German Elvis postcards from 1959. Although Elvis’ autograph is on the backside, this went for $1,500. The auction website said another not-autographed German postcard was part of the lot, so that probably added to the total value.
The German text on the back is promotion for Pulverdampf Und Heibe Lieder (Love Me Tender). One thing I don’t understand is that the postcard front is rectangular and the back is square. How can that be? The auction website offers no explanation.
Signed 1956 Promotional Photo:
Well, this one is big (8” x 10”) and it goes back to the early days of Elvis’ career. Is that enough to make it bring $1,625 at auction? It was for one bidder. The auction description states that all four corners display Scotch Tape residue. We can assume the young fan thought it was more important to display Elvis’ face than his autograph. I wonder what the new owner will decide.
Autographed Envelope, 1955
You need to know the history behind this autograph to appreciate why it sold for $1.625.
The front of this envelope is postmarked “Mar 20 1955 / Greenville Tex.,” and addressed to “Carol Eldred.” The original letter to Carol is still enclosed inside. It is from Bobby Belew of the teenage singing act, The Belew Twins — two young brothers who performed around the South in the early 1950s, and who crossed Elvis’ path a few times at various gigs. Carol obtained this autograph in May of 1955 when she went to see her friends The Belew Twins perform at “The Big D Jamboree” at the Sportatorium in Dallas, Texas. Elvis was also on the bill that night.
Carol remembers not caring much for Elvis, but when she saw him backstage while she was waiting for Bobby Belew, Elvis asked her if she wanted his autograph. She didn’t, but she also didn’t want to be rude, so she fished this letter out of her purse and the future King signed the back of the envelope for her.
You know it had to be real early in Elvis’ career if he had to ask a girl if she wanted his autograph. That soon changed drastically.
Early Elvis Autograph:
This has to be the crappiest-looking Elvis autograph ever offered, but removing the piece of white notepaper to crop and display it would lose another cute story about how the fan obtained her cherished treasure.
The handwriting says, “Elvis Presley’s autograph. One Sat, Helen, Miriam Whipple & I were driving by his house & he was out on his motorcycle & we ran up and got his autograph. I touched him & his motorcycle too!!”
Don’t you love it? – I touched his motorcycle, too!! Also note that she misspelled Elvis on her first attempt.
The auctions website warns, “The note shows evidence of being well loved and admired by an adoring fan. The note has stains and folds and signs of tape and residue. Slightly torn and creased.” In spite of that (or maybe because of it), this autograph went for $2,000.
Signed “Suspicious Minds” Picture Sleeve:
This went for more than I expected, topping out at $2,250. The 45 RPM picture sleeve is in excellent condition, which certainly helped, but the auction site doesn’t mention whether the actual record is in there.
I can see top value in an Elvis autographed picture sleeve for one of his 1956 hits, but “Suspicious Minds” was released in 1969. The auction site noted that the song was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as #91 on its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Elvis-Signed Note to a Fan:
The supporting documents say Elvis signed this piece of lined notebook paper backstage at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium on October 26, 1957. I have no idea why nine people wanted it so much that they ran the top bid up $3,250.
However, it was sold at the second Auction at Graceland in January 2015. The idea of an Elvis-only auction held in Memphis on his birthday was brilliant, as almost every item sold for more (sometimes much more) than comparable items had at general Rock & Roll memorabilia auctions previously.
Signed Letter to MGM (July 24, 1964):
This letter looks like it was typed by MGM Studios and included in the mailing package for the reels of Viva Las Vegas film sent to Elvis. Elvis returned it signed, and it and confirmed, “I agree that said print will be used by me only for my personal library purposes,” plus some other legalese. I don’t find it a particularly compelling collectible, but somebody did and paid $3,750 for it.
Elvis and Priscilla Autographed Print:
Back in 1967, a devoted fan, Marilyn Tittle from Ohio came to Memphis determined to see (and maybe meet) Elvis. She hung out at the gates of Graceland, ultimately impressing the guard with her perseverance. First, he gave her this 16” x 20” color portrait of Elvis. Then he told her Elvis and Priscilla were honeymooning at the Circle G Ranch, and he facilitated her getting on the grounds.
It worked, and Ms. Tittle got both Elvis and Priscilla to sign the portrait. A month later, she returned to Memphis with the portrait and got Vernon to sign it. I don’t know if there are any other collectibles signed by Elvis, Priscilla, and Vernon, but this one sold for $3,875 a few weeks ago.
Signed Checks to Red West and Jerry Schilling:
These two checks were offered at the first Auction at Graceland on August 16, 2014. They were both issued to members of Elvis’ Memphis Mafia. The interesting thing is that the check to Red West went for $5,125, while the one to Jerry schilling brought in $6,250.
Why the difference? My opinion is that many fans feel the same way I do about these two men. Schilling was a true buddy until the end and waited thirty years before he wrote a book about Elvis, a very positive book. Red West wrote that hatchet job in 1977 that hurt Elvis deeply. I would be happy to display an Elvis collectible with Jerry Schilling’s name on it. Red West, not so much.
Did you observe National High Five Day last Thursday? This strange celebration started in 2002 at the University of Virginia and has spread to a national event every third Thursday in April. We can imagine if Elvis was still around, he would happily join this celebration and give high fives to everyone he encountered on the special day.
Apparently there are no photos in the Graceland archives of Elvis actually giving a high five, but they still saluted the day with this post on Graceland.com.
That sure looks more like a wave. Well, I’ve got zillions of Elvis pictures, so I went through them to see if there was an Elvis high five. There wasn’t, but there were some photos of Elvis’ hands doin things at least as interesting as the one above. Here they are, with comments.
You probably recognize this one from Blue Hawaii. I didn’t come up with the cloud comment, but it works pretty well.
I love this one. It looks like Elvis incorporates levitating air piano to his act.
How about this shot of Elvis during his Army physical. Eyes up, ladies. Look at his hands.
This doesn’t inspire any sage comment, so use your imagination to figure what Elvis was doing.
Oh, oh. Elvis writing graffiti on a bathroom wall.
It’s hard to figure out why Elvis would let this woman wrap her yarn around his hands.
Elvis is putting his hands to good use in this one, but the expression on his face is priceless.
Here’s a caption: “Oh. Man. What made me do that last night?”
It looks like Elvis and this guy are trying to put spells on each other.
Whatcha looking at, Elvis?
It looks like Elvis is about to get a second shot, and he didn’t have a good reaction to the first one.
And my favorite: “Watch that hand, mister.”
Okay, the fans have spoken. 52,000 votes were cast in the Elvis Movie Madness championship, and Elvis: That’s The Way It Is edged out King Creole by EIGHT VOTES.
My prediction last week was a bust, but congratulations to TTWII for the victory.
However, as I have said here before, Elvis: That’s The Way It Is a documentary/concert film, not a movie with acting, comedy, and plot. The voting results showed the fans consider these the seven best Elvis acting movies.
#1 – King Creole
#2 (tie) – Jailhouse Rock
Viva Las Vegas
#4 (tie) – Loving You
After the results were announced, I realized I didn’t have enough appreciation tor TTWII. I’ve seen it several times, but it’s not a film I can watch over and over like some of my favorite Elvis acting movies like Tickle Me, Live A Little, Love A Little, Follow That Dream, or Kissin’ Cousins (in addition to that Top 7 above).
So, I did a little research to find out what makes Elvis: That’s The Way It Is so popular.
Well, how about the fact that the extensively remastered original 1970 film debuted in Blu-ray and had its world premiere theatrical showing at Elvis Week 2014 at the Orpheum Theater last August 16.
Do you think those fans who saw the film on the special day commemorating his death might still have a warm fuzzy feeling for it eight months later? Sure, but there couldn’t have been that many folks who squeezed into the Orpheum for a single 8pm show.
Well, how about all the folks who saw it at the 300 theaters across the country that also featured limited engagements after Elvis Week?
Now you’re talking about a lot of serious fans that saw TTWII last August – the kind of fans that probably follow Graceland.com and voted in Elvis Movie Madness.
For those of you who don’t know what the reediting and remixing of TTWII is all about, here is a little history. The original movie was 108 minutes long. It consisted mainly of concert footage from Elvis’ triumphant 1970 shows at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.
It also contained the informal and easy-going practice sessions at MGM Music Sound Stage in Culver City, CA.
Unfortunately, it also wasted a lot of film time on fan interviews and other superficial stuff.
Then in 2000, Elvis: That’s The Way It Is received some drastic editing. The fan sequences were eliminated, and the rehearsal and concert sequences were expanded using recently discovered footage. The resulting film was twelve minutes shorter than the original, but focused entirely on Elvis as a musician, performer and beloved icon.
The newly “reconstructed” film was issued on DVD, and it also had a second run in the movie theaters that year.
Then, in 2014, Warner Home Video released what they call a DigiBook two-disc edition — the original 1970 version on DVD, and the 2000 updated version on Blu-ray. Tied in with this release, EPE scheduled the Elvis Week showing at the Orpheum Theater.
If all that attention in August 2014 wasn’t enough to sway the vote, TTWII had one more big promotional push with the March 2015 opening of a new Graceland exhibition about the movie.
You have to admit that TTWII had a lot of stuff pumping it up the Elvis Movie Madness vote, but it is truly a great film. If you want to find out why, check out any of the 288 Five-Star reviews on Amazon.com. You’ll probably end up buying the Blu-ray.
I couldn’t do this article and resist the temptation to look up how many Five-Star reviews King Creole got on Amazon.com.
There were just 112. I guess the fans voting on Elvis Movie Madness got it right.
You can see the survivors of Round 3 voting above.
King Creole knocked off Loving You 71% to 29%.
Viva Las Vegas topped GI Blues 67% to 33%.
Jailhouse Rock slammed Girl Happy 73% to 37%.
ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is got by Blue Hawaii 55% to 45%.
I would like to make my predictions right now. The Final Four losers will be Viva Las Vegas and ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is, meaning they tie for honor of third best Elvis movie. King Creole and Jailhouse Rock battle it out in the finals with King Creole coming out on top.
In list form, the Top 4 Elvis movies will look like this:
#1 – King Creole
#2 – Jailhouse Rock
#3 (tie) – Viva Las Vegas, and ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is
That’s my prediction. I made it primarily on my gut feelings, then decided to do some research on the three websites used for the Worst Elvis Movies post two weeks ago. There was much agreement on the worst, but their rankings for the best four Elvis movies were more disparate. That wasn’t enough to bolster my picks, so, I added one more source and the pattern became very evident. Here’s what they showed.
#1 – Follow That Dream
#2 – Loving You
#3 – Flaming Star
#4 – Blue Hawaii
These folks seem to be taking a contrarian point of view, but all of their picks showed strength in the Elvis Movie Madness voting. Loving You and Blue Hawaii made the Elite Eight, and Follow That Dream had 47% of the vote against Loving You in the first round. It’s a shame they had to be paired up so early. The same could be said about Flaming Star that had the misfortune to go against Love Me Tender in the first round, but still got 43% of the vote
For what it’s worth, here’s where my favorites ranked on IMDb: Jailhouse Rock – 6, King Creole – 7, and Viva Las Vegas – 18. IMDb included only Elvis acting movies in their ranking.
#1 – Viva Las Vegas
#2 – King Creole
#3 – Jailhouse Rock
#4 – Blue Hawaii
#5 – ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is
Not bad. Ranker got all of the Final Four in that list.
#1 – King Creole
#2 – Jailhouse Rock
#3 – Loving You
#4 – Flaming Star
Another good list. Viva was #6. No concert films included on the USA Today list.
King Creole and Jailhouse Rock showed a lot of strength in the listings above. However, when I added one more respected ranking source, things became perfectly clear.
#1 – King Creole
#2 – Jailhouse Rock
#3 – ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is
#4 – Elvis On Tour.
MovieFone placed Viva Las Vegas at #7
So, based on these four listings, I feel confident in my Elvis Movie Madness picks. King Creole will be named Elvis’ best movie.
Voting has now narrowed the field to eight choices in Graceland’s promotion to determine the fans’ favorite Elvis movie. It’s a fairly predictable group, containing two serious dramatic films, four comedies, one concert film, and one semi-autobiographical movie. Here is the Elvis Elite Eight.
Loving You, Elvis’ second film, contains elements that parallel his own career. The selection of songs is great, and if you are fans of Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, and Bill Black, you will enjoy their considerable presence in this film. Loving You had to knock off Follow That Dream and Love Me Tender to make the final eight, probably the toughest challenges any of the finalists had to face.
While King Creole contained many wonderful songs, without question it presented Elvis’ most serious dramatic role. Most fans lament he was not given the chance to really develop his acting talent later in his career, so this movie is very unique and special in their hearts. This could be seen in the voting, where King Creole clobbered Double Trouble 86% to 14% and Kid Galahad 81% to 19%. Two slam dunks.
Elvis’ first movie after he returned from Army service in Germany, G.I. Blues has plenty of songs, not much plot, and a nice love story. It also swamped the competition so far, beating Kissin’ Cousins 83% to 17% and It Happened at the World’s Fair 74% to 26%. The next round is against Viva Las Vegas. Good Luck.
Viva Las Vegas:
There was never any question Viva Las Vegas would make it to the Elite Eight, and we can reasonably expect it to go even higher. It has been the second most dominating winner so far, clobbering both Spinout and Tickle Me by 88% to 12%.
Who doesn’t like Jailhouse Rock? You knew from the beginning that it would go far in the voting. Of course, it didn’t have tough competition so far, beating The Trouble with Girls 87% to 13% and Girls, Girls, Girls 92% to 18%. If Jailhouse Rock survives the next round, it will have the honor of knocking off all three of Elvis’ movies with Girl in the title.
This might be the surprise entry in the final eight, and it survived the closest contest of any winner in the first two rounds. Girl Happy barely nudged past Roustabout 51% to 49%, after having no trouble with Live A Little, Love A Little 70% to 30% in the first round. It was Elvis’ seventeenth film. None of the fourteen films made after Girl Happy in 1965 ranked in the top eight. No surprise there.
Blue Hawaii has been the powerhouse champion of the first two rounds, starting with a 91% to 9% embarrassment over Paradise Hawaiian Style, then drubbing Fun in Acapulco 88% to 12%. From the start, the odds were great that Blue Hawaii would go far. It’s unfortunate that it now has to go against a non-acting movie, because the criteria would seem to very different.
Elvis — That’s The Way It Is:
This is certainly a fine movie, capturing Elvis in top form while rehearsing and performing at the Las Vegas International Hotel in 1970. It had little trouble in overcoming Charro 77% to 23% and Change of Habit 72% to 28%.
A Contrarian Point of View:
I understand why EPE added Elvis — That’s the Way It Is to the ballot. They needed one more film added to Elvis’ thirty-one acting movies to make the brackets work out. However, I would like to consider what movie would replace it if we want a top eight list of just Elvis’ acting movies.
My pick for the top eight would be Follow That Dream. It had the misfortune to be paired against Loving You in the first round, and barely lost 53% to 47%. Follow That Dream is a little weak on good songs, but it’s funny, Elvis’ acting as the family’s lawyer in the courtroom may be his finest acting scene ever, and the sweet love scene at the end with Anne Helm is just perfect. Among Elvis movies, I think Follow That Dream is an underappreciated gem.
Have you been voting in Graceland’s new promotion, Elvis Movie Madness? It is a pretty clever idea inspired by the NCAA Basketball Tournament, commonly known as “March Madness.” They even copied the famous tournament brackets so millions of fans can determine Elvis’ Best Movie.
If you aren’t familiar with how these brackets work, you pick your favorite movie from each pair of choices down the left and right sides. The winners then pair off in the second, third and fourth brackets until there are only two movies left to battle for the crown. The shot of the brackets is too small to read, so here is a bigger version of the first round pairings. The losers in each pairing have been marked with a slash.
Follow That Dream
Easy Come, Easy Go
Wild in the Country
Stay Away Joe
The Trouble With Girls
Live A Little, Love A Little
Frankie and Johnny
Paradise, Hawaiian Style
There are some real stinkers in this list, and it got me thinking about what might be Elvis’ worst movie. Just for kicks, I Googled “Worst Elvis Presley Movie,” and lots of results came up. However, it is interesting to look at that top three sites Google found.
The Internet Movie Database is a treasure trove of information about films, television programs, and video games, including cast, production crew, fictional characters, biographies, plot summaries, trivia and reviews. In 1998, it became a subsidiary of Amazon.com.
I never heard of this site, but Ranker is a lot of fun. They have lists of the best and worst for every subject you can think of.
This national newspaper is certainly a credible source. While Ranker and IMDb ranked all 31 of Elvis’ movies from top to bottom, USA Today picked just the Top 10 and Worst 3.
So, here are their picks for the worst Elvis movie.
Well, we have a consensus here. Harum Scarum is the runaway choice for the worst Elvis movie. The nod for next worse seems to go to Easy Come, Easy Go, followed by Double Trouble.
Although IMDb does not publish official critiques, it does encourage comments from the public. In fairness, it should be said that there are some positive reviews included for the movies ranked as Elvis’ three worst. However, there is a preponderance of negative comments, and some of them for the consensus winner (loser?) you might find interesting.
“Even Elvis haters looking for a cheap laugh will find themselves bored by this exercise.”
“The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson’s book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.”
“This is not the Elvis of folklore, nor is it the Elvis that will return one day and save us from mediocrity. This is the dry Elvis, milked fully, udders raw, yet ever sedated.”
“Colonel Tom Parker, who usually took great care in the movie properties acquired for Elvis, must have cringed with the lemon he got Elvis stuck in here.”
“Reportedly lensed in a mere 18 days, and for the sake of cost-cutting, everything was shot on back-lot MGM soundstages instead of actual locations in the Middle East.”
“There’s one jaw-dropping musical scene that’s borderline soft-kiddie porn when Presley watches as a pre-teen girl with slits in her dress that are WAIST-HIGH gyrates and flounces around faux-seductively. It’s really bizarre, inappropriate, wildly politically-incorrect, and sure to invoke discomfort in some viewers. It’s also just about the only thing in the film that can guarantee that the audience is awake!”
“Should be called Yawnum Snorum”