Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Dick Clark / Elvis Phone Calls

When Dick Clark died two weeks ago, one fact revealed was that he never had Elvis on American Bandstand.  This actually is not too surprising.  Until August 1957, Bandstand had been just a local show on a Philadelphia TV station.  When ABC picked it up and broadcast it nationally as American Bandstand, Elvis was already in a situation where Col. Parker refused to let Elvis appear on TV.  Parker’s reasoning was that the fans should not get free looks at Elvis on television.  If they wanted to see him, they had to go to his concerts or watch his movies.

However, Elvis was soon drafted into the Army.  Once he got shipped off to Germany, Dick Clark used his well documented business savvy and set up phone calls to Elvis.  The audio from these calls were rebroadcast on American Bandstand, and they were a good PR move for both the show and Elvis.  Here are the transcripts, with a few minor sentences deleted.

Phone Call # 1 — from Dick Clark to Elvis in Germany – February 1959

Clark: Hello, Elvis.
Elvis: Hello, Dick, How are you?

Clark: Fine, thank you.  Where on earth are you at this minute?
Elvis: The town I’m in is Freidberg, Germany; however, I live in a place called Bad Nauheim, just north of Freidberg.

Clark: Tell me a little bit about your activities.  What did you do, say, today?
Elvis: Mostly classroom work.

Clark: What are you studying?
Elvis: Map reading and then how to grease my Jeep.  Just the regular things.

Clark; Do you have time for music anymore?
Elvis: Only at night.  You see, I get off work at five o’clock in the afternoon, and I have a guitar up here in the room… I don’t want to get out of practice, if I can help it.

Clark: I should hope not.  Let me tell you some good news.  In the annual American Bandstand Popularity Poll you walked away with a couple of honors this year.  The Favorite Male Vocalist Award and the Favorite Record of 1958 Award.  The kids voted you top man all around.
Elvis: Well that’s sure tremendous, Dick.  It’s really great, boy.

Clark: Do you have any idea when you’ll be travelling back home?
Elvis: No, I don’t, Dick.  I wish I really did know.

Clark: How about it, do you miss home?
Elvis: Oh, boy, I can’t hardly talk… I mean, I’m glad that I could come in the Army and do my part, but you’ll never know how happy I’ll be, boy, when I can return to the entertainment world, because once you get a taste of show business, there’s nothing like it.

Clark: You know it.  Elvis, thank you ever so much for talking to us.  We look forward to your return.
Elvis: Well thank you very much.  I’d just like to tell all those wonderful kids that they’ll never know how happy they made me, and I’m longing for the time I can come back out and entertain them again, travel around and make movies, records, and things like that.

Phone Call # 2 — from Elvis in Germany to Dick Clark – August 1959 (2nd Anniversary of American Bandstand)

 

One of Dick Clark’s questions below makes it sound like Elvis called him, but that seems improbable.  Surely, Elvis didn’t just happen to call on the 2nd anniversary of American Bandstand, so Clark’s staff probably set it up.  Plus, why would Elvis’ gold record for “A Big Hunk of Love” be in Clark’s hands before Col. Parker’s?

Clark: Hello, Elvis.
Elvis: Hello Dick, how are you.

Clark: I would imagine they’ve got you kind of busy these days, don’t they?
Elvis: Oh yeah, well we’re getting’ ready for a big inspection.  A new inspection, so we’ve been workin’ pretty hard for that.

Clark: Elvis, so many of us here are interested in your activities and I think probably the big question on most people’s minds these days are when and if everything goes right, you’re out in February, what will be your plans?
Elvis: Well, as you know, I have a contract with ABC… for some television.  I don’t know what Colonel Parker has arranged… And then I have the three pictures to make; one for Mr (Hal) Wallis, and then the other two for Twentieth Century-Fox

Clark: Elvis, I’ve got some good news.  I imagine by now they’ve passed the word along to you.  With the latest RCA Victor recording out, “A Big Hunk of Love” and “My Wish Came True,” you got yourself another Gold Record to add to the collection.
Elvis: That’s great, Dick.  That sure is nice.  I was surprised to hear it, really.

Clark: I’ll tell you what.  We’re gonna show it to the folks here on American Bandstand, and then I’ll forward it down to Colonel Parker, and he can save it for you when you come back.
Elvis: Okay, that’ll be fine.

Clark: Elvis, do you have any idea of how many Gold Records you have now in your collection?
Elvis: To my knowledge, Dick…this one will make thirty-one, I think.

Clark; Boy, that is a fantastic record.  There’s no getting away from it.
Elvis: I’ll ask my daddy to go down and (laughs) and count them.

Clark: Elvis, one more quick question that might interest the gals in this country.  I know probably you don’t have much time to yourself but when you go out amongst the German people, what is the thing that strikes you as most interesting?  Are they very different than the people back home?
Elvis: The main difference is naturally the language barrier.  It’s kinda hard to talk to most of ‘em, especially older ones because a lot of ‘em don’t speak English at all and I don’t speak any German.

Clark: How do you find the reaction of young people toward you, mainly the girls,,, [Do] they go crazy for you?  Do you get along well with them?
Elvis: Yeah, I get along real well. Every day when I finish work and come in, well there’s always a crowd at the gate from all over Germany… And they bring their families.  Especially on weekends, I have a lot of visitors here from all over Germany, all over Europe in fact.  They come here and bring pictures and take pictures and everything.

Clark: You’re kind of a man torn between two careers, both of which are very, very important.  Elvis, I did want to thank you very much for calling this day.  As you probably know, this is our special anniversary day.
Elvis: Oh, well, congratulations.

Clark: And many, many thanks and we all look forward to your return.
Elvis: Thank you very much… Bye-bye, Dick

Call # 3 – From Dick Clark to Elvis in Germany, January 8, 1960 (Elvis’ 25th birthday)

As the year 1960 began, there was much speculation in the press that Elvis would soon return to the United States.  Dick Clark certainly realized that if he wanted one more phone conversation with Elvis, he’d better hurry up.  What better time than on Elvis’ birthday?

Clark: Hello, Elvis.
Elvis: Hello.

Clark: Hi.  We had no idea we could catch a-hold of you today.
Elvis: Oh, yeah, well I just came in the door, Dick.

Clark: What were you doing?
Elvis: Well, I just came in from the day’s work.  It’s about five-thirty here.

Clark: You know, Elvis, I called Colonel Tom and had words with his assistant and say, gee, do you suppose there’s any chance we could talk to Elvis on his birthday, and they seemed to think you ought to be off on maneuvers.  Have you been pretty busy?
Elvis: Yeah, we’ve been pretty busy.  I don’t go on maneuvers until the twenty-second.

Clark: Oh, I see.  What is the situation regarding your release from the army?  Do you have any word on it?
Elvis: The only thing definite, Dick, as far as the way it stands now, I leave Germany somewhere between the twentieth of February and the second of March.

Clark: When you come back, I understand you’ve got a television show with Frank Sinatra and a few movies to make.  How are you gonna squeeze ‘em all in?
Elvis: Well (laughs), I’m told Colonel Parker will have everything arranged.  I know the first picture is for Mr. Wallis.  It’s called G.I. Blues, I think.  The other two’s at Twentieth Century-Fox, and I don’t know exactly when the television show will be.  In fact, I don’t even know what’s gonna happen, really.

Clark: Elvis, what is your general feeling about doing your first television show upon your return with Frank Sinatra?  You two fellows have sort of different musical stylings.  Do you have any thoughts on that?
Elvis: Well, I really do.  I consider it an honor, really, Dick, because this man…he’s really proven himself.

Clark: He’s somewhat of a legend, I guess.
Elvis: He is, and I admire him very much, and I really am honored.

Clark: Let me ask you about your Christmas and New Year’s.  How did you celebrate the holidays?
Elvis: We had a Christmas party here.  I had a lot guys from all over the post.  I had as many of the boys here as possible at my house…try to make ‘em feel at home around Christmastime.  Then on New year’s night we had another little party.  This one was pretty nice, but it was better last year.

Clark: Elvis, I want to thank you very, very much for taking the time out from your busy schedule, to reassure you once again that we’re all awaiting your arrival back home, and on this day to wish you a happy birthday.
Elvis: Thank you very much, Dick, and I’m kinda lookin’ forward to it.  Yeah, there’s still a lot of stuff in print about my getting out early and all that stuff.

Clark: It’s not true, as far as you know, uh?
Elvis: Well it’s been in print and I had a lot of people ask me about it.  The only time I heard about it is when I read it.

Clark: Elvis, all the best.  We’ll see you on your return.
Elvis: Okay, thanks a lot, Dick, and tell everybody hello from me.

 

 

Elvis’ service in Germany officially ended on March 2, 1960.  He resumed his recording and movie careers, and never did appear on American Bandstand.  The photos above are stock images, not the actual shots taken during the Elvis/Dick Clark phone interviews for American Bandstand.

 

©  2012    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.

 

My American Bandstand Story

Elvis Presley never appeared on American Bandstand.  In fact, Dick Clark has said that anybody who was significant in the first two decades of Rock and Roll appeared on American Bandstand, except Elvis, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.  So this story is not about Elvis.

Dick Clark died of a heart attack Wednesday at age 82.  There have been wall-to-wall retrospectives of his career, and it certainly was a significant one.  Younger readers will remember him best for his Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.  Perhaps you remember his bloopers shows or the $25,000 Pyramid game show.  Old timers like me remember Dick Clark best for American Bandstand.

 

Dick Clark on American Bandstand 1961

 

You may know that the show started out as Bandstand, a local afternoon dance show in Philadelphia.  Each weekday afternoon, teenagers from Philly would race from school to the studio to make sure they got there early enough to get in

Philadelphia Kids Waiting to Get In and Dance on Bandstand

 

Bandstand was all about dancing.  I lived in a Philly suburb and watched most afternoons.  It was how we learned the latest dance steps.

 

Teenagers Dancing on Bandstand

 

Dick Clark replaced the original host of Bandstand in July 1956.  The format didn’t change, but Dick Clark’s personality added a new appeal to the show.  In less than a year, he attracted the attention of network TV executives, and in August 1957, ABC picked up the show and renamed it American Bandstand.

 

Kids Dancing a Few Years Later on American Bandstand

 

In 1960, when I headed off to college, American Bandstand was a huge national hit.  I spent my freshman year at one of Penn State’s commonwealth campuses in the little town of Mont Alto.  By chance, I ended up with a roommate also named Phil.  He was from Philadelphia, right down in the city, not out in the burbs like me. 

Within walking distance of our campus was a state park with a picnic area featuring a large wooden pavilion.  Every Saturday night, they held dances there, and lots of local girls showed up.  Phil and I both loved to dance, so we never missed a Saturday night dance at the pavilion.

Large Pavilion Used for Dancing

 

I remember the first night overhearing Phil talking to a pretty girl.  He told her his name and said he was from Philadelphia.  Immediately, the girl’s eyes widened and she said, “Oh, have you been on American Bandstand?”  Phil replied, “Oh, yeah.  Lots of times.”  That did it.  Phil had hooked his girl for the night.

When I got the chance, I asked him if he had really been on Bandstand.  He winked and said, “Nah, but it worked, didn’t it?”

Later, I tried to get something going with a cute little blond.  When I told her I was from Philadelphia, she reacted just like the other girl, “Have you been on American Bandstand?”

You can guess what my answer was.

 
So, thank you, Dick Clark, for your part in making my first social experience in college a success.

 

©  2012    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.

 

Elvis and Southern Maid Donuts

Most serious Elvis fans know he did only one advertisement during his career.  It was for one of his favorite food items – donuts.  Elvis recorded a radio jingle for Southern Maid Donuts.

Elvis’ association with Southern Maid Donuts started when he began regular appearances on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, LA, in October 1954.

Elvis performing at the Louisiana Hayride

Elvis frequented The Southern Maid Donut store in town, getting an early foundation for his well-publicized lifetime affinity for donuts.

Southern Maid Donuts began in Dallas, Texas in 1937, and the total of company-owned or licensed stores now exceeds 100.  The Southern Maid name came about because the founders wanted a name that encompassed humble southern traditions, memories, and feelings.

 

 

The Louisiana Hayride was a perfect venue for marketing their product, and Southern Maid Donuts provided large sponsorship on the show’s radio broadcasts for several years.  The radio spots featured a strange little jingle that deserves some explanation.

One of Southern Maid Donuts claims to fame is the sign above their stores with giant red neon letters lighting up the night sky  — HOT, HOT, HOT.  The stores sell donuts, éclairs, bear claws, apple fritters and other goodies all day long, starting at 6AM.  But after 4PM, you can order a box of twelve glazed donuts made especially for you and served to you piping hot.  Southern Maid Donuts have no preservatives.  They are made to be eaten HOT, not saved for later.  If you want hot, light-textured donuts that literally melt in your mouth, these are hard to beat.

 

 

So, it follows that their radio jingle was:

You can get them piping hot after 4PM,
you can get them piping hot,
Southern Maid Donuts hit the spot,
you can get them piping hot after 4PM.

A number of Louisiana Hayride performers sang the jingle, including Minnie Pearl, Johnny Cash, and Johnny Horton.  Elvis’ version aired on November 6, 1954.

To my knowledge, there is no remaining copy of Elvis singing the Southern Maid Donut jingle.  I wonder what that would be worth if it ever did surface.  A caller on George Klein’s radio show said that he had obtained the commercial in 2009.  If so, why hasn’t it been aired by now?

For some reason, the Johnny Cash version of the jingle was preserved, and it can be heard on the CDs, The Best of the Louisiana Hayride, Volume 4, and Johnny Cash: Hayride Anthology.

 

©  2012    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.

Elvis Movie 50th Anniversary Pictorials: Follow That Dream – 1962

Follow That Dream was released fifty years ago in April 1962.  It was Elvis’ ninth film and is considered by some historians to be his best comedy performance.  My friend Alan Hanson over at the Elvis-History-Blog flatly states “Follow That Dream is the best film Elvis Presley ever appeared in.  I’ve always felt that way, and every time I see the movie I become more convinced of it.”  Well, I did another viewing before doing this article, and I’m starting to see Alan’s point.I like the underplayed love story that develops as the movie unfolds.  While Holly (Anne Helm) obviously pines for him, Elvis sees her as a sister (adopted), not a love interest.  For most of the movie she appears in blue jeans and sneakers, but at the end, when she dresses up and does her hair and make-up, she turns into a beautiful woman.  Elvis takes her in his arms and kisses her as the movie ends.

Movie Posters:

French Poster Adds a Third Girl that Wasn’t in the Movie

Strange Shot from the Movie:

Elvis Lifting Family Truck Over a Log

 

Historical Marker:  

This Sign is Located in Inglis, Florida

Singing to Costars While Lying on His Back: 

Elvis sings just five songs in Follow That Dream, but does two of them lying on the beach.

Singing “I’m Not the Marrying Kind” to Anne Helm (Holly)

 

Singing “Follow That Dream” to Joanna Moore

Lobby Cards:

 

 

Down Time on the Set:

Elvis and Joanna Moore

Elvis Practicing Karate Moves

 

Kissing the Costars:

Joanna Moore Went After Elvis, But Holly Rescued Him

Holly Gets Her Man at the End

 

There are differing opinions on which was Elvis’ best dramatic role, with the most frequent mentions going to Jailhouse Rock or King Creole.  However, if you want to see what could be Elvis’ best single dramatic scene, check out his poignant defense in the courtroom scene in Follow That Dream.  And right after that, watch Anne Helm’s touching performance as Holly finally melts Elvis’ defenses and ends in his arms and his heart.

 

©  2012    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.

ElvisBlog News — 4/2/12

The Move to WordPress is Complete:

You probably noticed that ElvisBlog looks a little different.  Over the weekend it completed migration to a different blogware platform.  Hope you readers will like it.  So far, I do.

The big improvement is changing from two-columns to three-columns.  I have lots of interesting content planned for the new right column, and that will be installed over time.  I also like the way captions under photos are done.

Comments are now so much easier for readers to make.  The old set-up was cumbersome and confusing, so there weren’t a lot of comments made.  I also started with a negative feeling about comments, because I’d seen them devolve into nasty back and forth epithets by commenters on other sites.  Fortunately, that never happened on ElvisBlog.  So, now comments are encouraged, and I will reply to any that warrant it.  Let’s have more comments.

I’m still working on some things.  The banner on the Home Page is justified left, not center, so I have to decipher the CSS style code and figure out how to fix that.  Same with the width of the center column, which I want to increase.  I’m also deluged by something called Pingbacks.  I’m studying about them, and it’s pretty murky, so now I am deleting all of them.  I hope I don’t find out that they are something good.

The last report from the old blog platform showed that the total hits (page views) for ElvisBlog had passed over 3 million since the start in 2005.  Thanks for your support.

Enjoy the new and improved ElvisBlog.

Phil Arnold
Original Elvis Blogmeister