Like most folks, I suppose, I keep up with several blogs regularly. A bonus for me is that I am friends with three other serious bloggers. Alan Hanson is a fellow Elvis blogger at www.elvis-history-blog.com. He takes his Elvis writing a lot more seriously than I do, but I love reading his articles. Dave Newell is the brain behind www.thehistorybluff.com, and he and I have been buddies for years. He messes with history, and comes up with some hilarious posts. And, finally, Tygrrius, the chief blogger honcho at www.thefilmfrontier.com. Ty writes about his somewhat strange combination of interests: Star Wars, Star Trek, and Elvis. I enjoy his writing about his various sci-fi passions, but Ty does just as well when he veers off and writes something about Elvis.
During the 28 days my wife was in the hospital after open-heart surgery, Ty posted two guest articles on ElvisBlog. For a while, I just couldn’t get in the frame of mind to write anything, so I really appreciate Ty filling in. Now, after thinking about it for several days, I have come up with something to write that would work on The Film Frontier. Call it a little pay back, although Ty insists he needs none.
My idea was to come up with a connection between Elvis and Star Trek. Believe it or not, there actually is one. Three actresses have appeared in both Elvis movies and Star Trek TV episodes.
Some of you may have met Celeste Yarnall at an Elvis Week, because she has become something of a regular guest there these past few years. She appeared briefly in Live A Little, Love a Little, from 1968, just four films from the end of the Elvis movie string. His movies were starting to get bad, but this one was so stupid it was funny.
Yarnall played Ellen, a model he met at a party. One of the ways Elvis (Gary Nolan) convinced her to come back to his apartment with him was by singing, “A Little Less Conversation.”
When Elvis gets her home, Bernice, another woman with an eye on Elvis, creates a ruckus while vacuuming, totally breaking the mood. Ellen gets mad and insists Elvis take her home.
One year earlier, Celeste Yarnall appeared in a Star Trek episode titled, “The Apple.” Instead of being hit on by Elvis, this time it was Ensign Chekov.
She escaped Checkov’s advances, and later, Captain Kirk consoled her by showing her his giant horn.
Teri Garr appeared in six Elvis movies:
Kissin’ Cousins 1963
Fun in Acapulco 1963
Viva Las Vegas 1964
Girl Happy 1965
However, her screen time was not as an actress. At this early point in her career, she was a dancer trying to break into acting.
Viva Las Vegas
Roustabout Kissin’ Cousins
Teri Garr got one of her first acting jobs in Star Trek episode # 55 titled “Assignment Earth.” Captain Kirk and Spock travelled back in time to 1968 Earth to stop Gary Seven, a villian who was trying to explode an oribal bomb over Asia. Teri Garr played Roberta Lincoln, a ditzy blond in a very short mini-skirt who was hired by a henchman of Gary Seven to supposedly develop a new ecyclopedia. In the end, she became suspicious and helped save Earth.
Most Elvis fans know she was one of the Tatum sisters in Kissin’ Cousins, but she appeared in an earlier Elvis movie in a small part. Yvonne Craig had a small role in It Happened at the World’s Fair, released in 1963. She played Dorothy Johnson, a love interest of Elvis’ character, Mike Edwards. While her scene with Elvis was short, it could be called pretty hot, as you can see by these stills.
Two movies later, Yvonne Craig showed up in a much larger role in Kissin’ Cousins. Do you think Elvis might have really liked her first performance and put in a good word for her? Anyway, she played Azalea Tatum, who had to fight with her sister Selena for Elvis’ attention (Air Force Captain Josh Morgan). Azalea finally ends up the winner in the Elvis sweepstakes.
These roles were tame compared to her character in a Star Trek episode in 1967: “Whom Gods Destroy.” Yvonne Craig played Marta, a green-skinned inmate at the Federation asylum on Elba ll. She was delusional, seductive and skilled in exotic dance. The evil Garth of Izar coerced her to carry out a plot to assassinate Captain Kirk.
She got alone with Kirk, started to seduce him, and then pulled a knife and tried to stab him. He fought her off, and Spock arrived to help subdue her. After the failed assassination attempt, her master, Garth of Izar, ended her life by blowing her to bits with a new explosive.
I love this line from Spock after the assination attempt:
“She seems to have worked out an infallible method for ensuring permanent male fidelity. Interesting.”
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