Tickle Me premiered nationally on May 28, 1965.
As I said last month in the Girl Happy article, I now rewatch each movie on my laptop to get inspiration for these 50th anniversary posts. I make heavy use of pause, single frame advance (or reverse), and screen grab. You can discover a lot of fun shots this way.
First, let me give a word of praise for the DVD four-pack above. You can get a used copy for under $5 on Amazon, and I consider it the best deal on Elvis movies out there. I love all four of these movies and can watch them over and over again. Yes, I know Live A Little, Love A Little is stupid and far-out, but to me, it’s so bad that it’s cool. And they’re all fun.
Here is an example of one thing that makes Tickle Me work for me. This shot happened when Elvis first arrived at the Circle Z Ranch. I could have selected another fifteen or twenty similar pictures of beautiful girls ogling Elvis from other scenes in this movie.
Oops, this one is from Clambake. How’d that get in here?
Okay, back to Tickle Me. This is Elvis’ love interest, played by Jocelyn Lane, one of my favorite Elvis costars. This is how she first sees Elvis as he starts work at the Circle Z health ranch.
And this is a few seconds after he first sees her. Don’t the students usually face the instructor when doing exercises? Oh, well, that wouldn’t be as much fun.
The view gets Elvis so shook up he tumbles over a patio table. It’s one of the best physical humor bits Elvis did in his movies. There wasn’t a stunt double. He did it.
In addition to Jocelyn Lane and a bevy of beautiful women, Tickle Me also has pretty good music. Elvis is backed up by three different bands, including this one in a bar the night before he reports to the ranch.
Then there is this band at a luau at the ranch. Elvis must have liked that jacket. He wears it in a lot of scenes.
And finally, Elvis is backed by these guys in a dream sequence. Actually, it should be called a joint-daydream sequence, because both Elvis and Jocelyn are wide awake and see the same flashback to a saloon a hundred years earlier. This is not the only wonderfully ludicrous element of the film.
Like this scene where Elvis sings and an invisible band provides the musical accompaniment.
Same deal here. Lots of sound coming from that invisible band again.
Here’s an interesting tid-bit about the music in Tickle Me. Elvis did not record any new songs for it. Instead, the movie featured songs culled from these old Elvis albums: Pot Luck, Something for Everybody, and Elvis is Back. Probably some kind of cost saving idea of Col. Parker’s.
So, in addition to girls and music, what else does Tickle Me have to offer? How about bad guys in creepy-looking masks:
Actually, this is a real donkey. He apparently lives in the ghost town where Jocelyn (alone, and later with Elvis) looks for her grandfather’s hidden gold coins.
See the donkey? Once Elvis and Jocelyn get to the ghost town, the sort-of plot kicks in, but so does a bunch of silliness.
Like the hotel supposedly restored by the State Historical Society. The doors are not locked, no one is there to welcome visitors, and it has hot running water and wooden chests full of clothes to change into.
Which worked out well for Jocelyn after she got caught in a thunderstorm. She does an excellent job of being wet and mad at Elvis in this scene.
But Elvis calms her down once he gets her inside.
Elvis also had to calm down the beautiful ranch manager. When she asked him something like, “You’re not afraid of a little kissing with your boss, are you?” Elvis looks directly at the camera and winks. A nice touch. I don’t remember Elvis doing it in other films.
There’s one thing I always look for in Elvis movies. It’s the fight scene with Red West. Someday I’ll tabulate how many of them there are and do a blog post on them.
Here’s Red pulling his date away after she threw herself at Elvis. Gee, we’ve never seen that before, have we?
As usual, we will end this pictorial essay with Elvis kissing his leading lady.
Elvis and Jocelyn Lane kissed four times in Tickle Me. That might be a record. I don’t know.
Strangely, they did not kiss when they found the gold, or when they got married, or when they took off on their honeymoon. Too bad. That certainly would have set the movie record for Elvis kissing his love interest.
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