Category Archives: MOVIES

Elvis Fabulous Wardrobe – Part 7

Elvis Presley's Sleeveless Jumpsuit and Jacket -- Back

The recent Auction at Graceland listed 315 items of Elvis memorabilia. The number of offerings keeps increasing, and this time there were enough items of Elvis’ clothing to fill an ElvisBlog article.

Blue Armadillo Sleeveless Jumpsuit and Jacket:

Elvis' Sleeveless Jumpsuit and Jacket

You may not know it, but Elvis wore several two-piece jumpsuits like this one. Bill Belew and Gene Douchette at I.C. Costume Co. in Hollywood created them with various shoulder designs on the jacket including flames, multi-colored arrows, snakes, and a variation of this one called the red armadillo. The armadillo name came from the shoulder patterns looking similar to the scales or scutes of an armadillo.

Elvis wore the blue armadillo two-piece jumpsuit at eight concert appearances in 1975. There are many photographs of Elvis wearing the suit, which add to its value.

Elvis' Sleeveless Jumpsuit and Jacket - Wearing

 

There were nearly 100 jumpsuits created for Elvis over the years, but most reside in the Graceland Archives. Because this auction presented a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire one, the minimum bid of $100,000 was ridiculously low. Collectors placed seven bids running the final price up to $250,000, including the buyer’s premium added by the auction.

 

Motorcycle Cap Gifted to Elvis’ Uncle Vester Presley:

Elvis Presley's Motorcycle Cap Gifted to Uncle Vester

Elvis owned many Harley-Davidson motorcycles (Graceland currently has four of his Harleys on display), and he also owned a number of black cloth motorcycle hats. This one he gave to his Uncle Vester (Vernon’s brother). In 1983, along with the cap, Vester sold other Elvis gifts like a 1975 blue and white Pontiac Grand Prix and two pistols. The cap resurfaced at the recent Auction at Graceland, and it was very popular. A total of 9 bids ran the price up to $6,000

 

Three Pair of Pants from Elvis Movies:

Three pair of Elvis Presley's Movie Pants

It is interesting to identify the scenes where Elvis wore these pants. He wore the Viva Las Vegas pants (with a grey jacket) in the scenes where he went from hotel to hotel looking for Rusty, played by Ann-Margret. When he finally finds her poolside at the hotel, he serenades her and then she pushes him into the pool.

Elvis wore the Easy Come, Easy Go pants in all of the club scenes, the yoga scene, the scene with Captain Jack and Gil, and the Zoltan car scenes.

Elvis wore the Flaming Star pants throughout the entire film.

All three pairs came with multiple photos of Elvis wearing them.

Elvis Presley's Flaming Star Beige Western Jeans

 

There were labels and tags that verified them as part of Elvis’ wardrobe for the films.

Label on Elvis Presley's Viva Las Vegas Pants

 

And all three had Letters of Authenticity.

Elvis' Easy Come, Easy Go Pants Certificate of Authenticity

So, you would expect them all to go for the approximately the same price. It didn’t work out that way.

The Flaming Star pants went for $7,500, and the Viva Las Vegas pants nearly equaled that at $6,785. But the Easy Come, Easy Go pants did not sell. I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because that was a pretty weak movie and the other two were much more significant.

 

Brown Leather Jacket:

Elvis Presley's Brown Leather Jacket

Elvis wore this dark brown leather jacket in the 70’s until his increased weight made it too small for him. Believe it or not, this coat came from Sears.

Elvis Presley's Brown Leather Jacket Sears Label

Considering all the custom made clothing Elvis bought, who knew a Sears jacket was part of his wardrobe.

There is a little story about this jacket told by Dave Hebler, Elvis Bodyguard from 1972 to 1976:

“One day Elvis invited me upstairs to his bedroom at Graceland and offered me all of his old jumpsuits. He complained that they no longer fit him and that he wanted them out of his closet. I told him I had no use for 50 jumpsuits nor did I have the ability to store them at my apartment. In retrospect, I wish I had. Instead I moved a majority of the jumpsuits to the shed at the back of Graceland. I did take a couple of Elvis’ jackets for the colder winters in Memphis.”

So, if you think about it, because Hebler did not take the jumpsuits that day, the collection stayed at Graceland, and they can now be enjoyed by us fans in one place. Otherwise, they would have been sold to collectors over the years and we’d never see any of them.

The leather jacket did not come with a photo of Elvis wearing it, and thus came in under the estimate at just $4,250.

Electric Purple Button-Down Shirt:

Elvis Presley's Electric Purple Button-Down Shirt

This is another item that Elvis gave away to his Uncle Vester. The auction website says:

“Elvis’ personal fashion in the ’70s mimicked his concert costumes with a style and flair that was the embodiment of men’s fashions in that decade. With its puffy sleeve construction and bright purple hue, the offered example is in keeping with the bold patterns, colors and stylized designs of men’s fashion at the time.”

This cotton shirt with a big collar, puffy sleeves, and two pleats on the back was a favorite with the bidders. It started with a minimum of $2,000, and 16 bids later it sold for $5,500 (without benefit of a photo of Elvis wearing it). Do you think it would have gone higher if the seller had bothered to get it ironed?

 

Rabbit Fur Coat:

Elvis Presley's Rabbit Fur Coat

Elvis gave this fur coat to Patti Parry. I have seen her name before, but was not sure of her connection with Elvis, so I was thankful for the history the auction website provided:

“In 1960, at the tender age of 17, she met Elvis for the first time. Patti, who ran into Elvis while on Santa Monica Boulevard, was in beauty school at the time with Larry Geller. When she met Elvis, the two immediately hit it off and she became one of the few women to spend time with the entourage in LA. Elvis treated her like a little sister and would often introduce her as part of the family. She would style Elvis’ and sometime Priscilla’s hair. Patti was there the time The Beatles met Elvis, she was in the audience for the “’68 Comeback Special,” she was on his movie sets and at his Vegas performances, and she did his hair for the Aloha from Hawaii satellite broadcast concert. Theirs was a special brother-and-sister relationship and as with close friends and family, Elvis lavished Patti with gifts, including the offered rabbit fur coat.”

The rabbit fur coat that Elvis gave to Patti has six front buttons and a pleat on the back. The fur has a size label “40” in the collar above the maker’s label, which reads “Finest French Rabbit” and has “EP” embroidered on the inside. It brought in a price just slightly below the estimate at $7,500. Is French rabbit fur superior to American?

 

Red “Elephant Corduroy” Suit:

Elvis Presley's Red “Elephant Corduroy” Suit

This marvelous suit went from Elvis to super fan Paul Lichter to Chris Davidson for display at his Elvis-A-Rama Museum in Las Vegas. The museum has been closed since 2006, and supposedly Davidson sold its entire inventory to CKX, the company that owned Elvis Presley Enterprises at the time. However, it would appear Davidson held on to this suit.

I must say the folks writing the text for this auction’s item descriptions have risen to new heights in descriptive prose:

“Elvis was not only a musical superstar, but he also served as an icon of style, helped in part by Bill Belew, who designed outlandish stage costumes that became street fashion for the trend-setting king of rock ‘n’ roll. In the 1970s that he took his fashion to new heights and embraced the fun bohemian concept of using oneself as an art palette for fashion, mixing bold, bright colors, textures and patterns. The decade of the 1970s was about chic comfort and a lazy, luxurious feel, with diversity in individual style reflecting one’s own self-expression. No one could have carried those exaggerated elements of flared pants, oversized collars and accessories worn from head to toe better than Elvis Presley.”

Elvis Presley's Red “Elephant Corduroy” Suit - Back

“Bill Belew, Elvis’ jumpsuit designer at the I.C. Costume Company, created iconic jewel-covered jumpsuit synonymous with Elvis, but he also pushed the envelope with Elvis’ everyday wear, using the bold styles and popular fabrics of the day which included suedes, polyesters and corduroys. Corduroy, a woven fiber that lies in parallel lines forming a distinct “cord” pattern with the larger, thicker-striped version known as “elephant” corduroy, was often utilized for both men and women’s fashion.”

The website stated that photos existed of Elvis wearing the suit although none were offered. There were only five bids, but the price must have leapfrogged up from the minimum of $30,000 in big increments. The red corduroy suit topped out at $62,500.

 

Suede, Leather, and Fur-Trimmed Jacket:

Elvis Presley's Elvis Suede and Fur-Trimmed Jacket

This brown suede jacket has leather on the shoulders, pockets, and belted waist, and fur on the cuffs and collar. Wearing it, Elvis would have been prepared for any cold winter Memphis weather. Once again, Elvis was cleaning out his closet when it got too full, and he gave the coat to his cousin Harold Lloyd.

Custom Made for Elvis Presley Label on Suede and Fur-trimmed Jacket - Copy

No pictures of Elvis wearing it were provided, but the coat does have interior label indicating that the jacket was “Custom Tailored for Elvis Presley. It was certainly an in-demand item, with 16 bids pushing the price up to $8,750.

 

Brown Velvet Jacket, Pants and Cape Ensemble:

Elvis Presley's Brown Velvet Jacket, Pants and Cape Ensemble

We have already seen how an item of Elvis’ wardrobe designed by the jumpsuit master Bill Belew sold for big bucks. The owner of this ensemble and the auctioneers thought it would, too, and set the minimum bid of $35,000.

Belew created Elvis’ Black Leather outfit from the ’68 Comeback Special, the American Eagle Jumpsuit, and the suit Elvis wore during his famous Oval Office meeting with President Nixon. . He loved creating striking masterpieces for Elvis’ personal wardrobe as well. This set is a good example.

It includes chocolate brown pants, jacket and cape. The heavy, long sleeved, brown velvet jacket has a brown and white spotted lining. Tit has velvet-covered buttons, two false front pockets, wide lapels, six buttons on each cuff, and a Velcro strip on the back of the collar by which the cape can attach. The brown velvet pants are heavily bell-bottomed. The matching brown velvet cape is fully lined in brown satin. According to the auction website, “this elaborate ensemble vividly depicts Elvis’ love for dressing extravagantly in not only his professional but his personal life… It has remained in a private collection since 1999, and now presents a rare opportunity for collectors to own a personal outfit from the ultimate showman.”

In spite of all this, the three-piece outfit did not sell. There were two bids above the minimum, but they did not get close enough the estimate of $70-80,000 to please the seller, so it was pulled. I think a photo of Elvis wearing the ensemble would have made a big difference.

 

Cape with Tiger Skin Pattern on the Lining:

Tiger Skin Lining of Elvis' Lava Jumpsuit

You would think that with the item description above, the featured photo on the auction website would be the one I chose to show. However, the exterior of the cape is the one that pops up when you click on the item.

Elvis Presley Lava Jumpsuit Cape with Tiger Skin Pattern on the Interior - Copy

Five variations of it were offered, including two blow-ups of the jewels.

Elvis Presley's Lava Jumpsuit - closeup

All this is fine because the jumpsuit is not called Tiger Skin. It is the Lava Jumpsuit or the Amber Jumpsuit. Strangely, they chose not to offer a photo of Elvis in the suit. It wasn’t hard to find a couple on the internet. Unfortunately, none show Elvis with his arms outstretched holding up the corners of the cape and exposing the faux tiger skin lining.

Elvis Presly in Lava Jumpsuit

This photo was not shown on auction website.

 

The Lava Jumpsuit is already part of the Graceland Archive Collection. Do you think maybe Graceland paid the winning bid of $83,750 for the cape so they could pair it up with suit?

 

 

2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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An Elvis Movie You’ll Want to Skip

Elvis Lives Poster

When the movie Elvis & Nixon was released last year, I grumbled in an ElvisBlog post about how it featured an ugly-looking Elvis.

Michael Shannon as Elvis in Elvis & Nixon

Michael Shannon as Elvis.

In the blog article I questioned the why producers would portray an ugly Elvis when he was one of the best-looking men that ever lived. Well, they’ve done it again.

Elvis Lives Actor as Elvis Close-up

If this guy was an Elvis Tribute Artist would you pay money to see him? No, and you don’t want to watch him in a movie either. At 10pm on Wednesday, August 16, that movie, Elvis Lives, will appear on cable channel AXS TV. This network offered two good Elvis documentary movies in the preceding weeks: ELVIS That’s The Way It Is (Aug. 1), and This Is Elvis (Aug. 8), and the following week: Elvis On Tour (August 22).

But on the big day, the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death, they will show a movie the New York Times website review slammed. Elvis is portrayed as “paranoid, delusional and rabidly opposed to illegal drugs, though he shovels in the prescription variety like candy.”

Actor as Elvis Popping Pills in Elvis Lives

This is one scene of Elvis popping pills, and there are many others throughout the movie. In fact, Elvis’ first line of dialog is “I want my pills.”

The film degrades Elvis’ memory even more with scenes of him screwing up song lyrics, and drinking hard liquor (which shows how little the script writers actually know about Elvis).

Actor as Elvis Drinking hard Liquor

 

So who is this guy they chose to be Elvis in the movie? His name is Johnathan Nation, and when I searched for publicity photos of him, they all seemed to be from several years ago.

Jonathan Nation

I never heard of him, so I checked out his film credits on IMDb (a great website you should check out if you want to know more about a movie or TV show). Here are some of the highlights of Johnathan Nation’s career.

Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus

Johnathan Nation had fourth billing in this 2009 movie. Do you think he got better rolls in better movies in later years?

Erotic Vampires of Beverly Hills

In 2015 he had eighth billing in Erotic Vampires of Beverly Hills. Uh, oh. Going the wrong way. So, AXS TV hardly got themselves a hot actor to portray Elvis.

Part of the movie takes place six months after his supposedly faked death. Picking up on one of those fantasies that permeated Elvis world for a few years, Elvis is in the FBI’s Witness Protection Program. And guess what name they give him for his new life — Jesse Garon. Give me a break. Of course nobody would suspect he was Elvis using that name. Well, actually they might not, because the guy looks like this.

Actor as Elvis without Hair Dye

 

Here is why Elvis supposedly needed to disappear and start a new life:

FBI Catches Mobster with Help from Elvis

Now the whole mob, called the Fraternity, is out to get Elvis.

Actor in Elvis Lives Holding Gun

 

So, unless you have a morbid curiosity or are a glutton for punishment, be sure to skip Elvis Lives on August 16. There are so many better ways to honor the memory of Elvis Presley.

 

There are a couple of interesting things associated with this movie.

Billionaire Mark Cuban is the founder and CEO of AXS TV, the cable channel showing it. The press release says, he commissioned the film after working with The Asylum [the production company] on Sharknado 3 (2015), in which he played Marcus Robbins, the President of the United States.

Sharknado 3

The Sharknado movies have been branded as “proudly, shamelessly, and gloriously brainless” by movie website Rotten Tomatoes. In spite of this, a press release from Asylum’s president says, “we intend to do for the life of Elvis Presley what Sharknado did for flying sharks.”

That’s just what Elvis fans want, right?

And there’s more stupid stuff. Before he decided to actually run for president, Donald Trump tried to get the part as the president in Sharknado 3 that eventually went to Mark Cuban.

Donald Trump Wanted to Play the President in Sharknado 3

And last, (and definitely least) Sharknado 3 features a cameo by Anthony Weiner.

 

Here’s one more thing that emphasizes my opinion about the movie that’s the topic of this post. Neil Genzlinger, the NY Times website movie reviewer suggested they make a sequel to Elvis Lives and call it

Elvis vs. Mega Squid in the Bermuda Triangle

 

It might be an improvement.

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
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Artwork on Foreign Posters for Elvis Movies

Hertitage Ultimate Elvis Auction PosterHertitage Ultimate Elvis Auction 2012

This Heritage auction had over 300 Elvis items up for bidding during Elvis Week 2012. They even commissioned their own Elvis drawing to publicize the event. It’s easy to imagine that the folks at EPE checked it out and realized this was popular with the fans and a good way to make money. So, Graceland got into the Elvis auction business, and Heritage hasn’t been back to Memphis since.

The Auction at Graceland March 4, 2017

Yet another Auction at Graceland was held this weekend, purposely scheduled to compliment to opening of Elvis Presley’s Memphis. In the past eight months, there have been three other of these –coupled with Elvis Week, the opening of the Guesthouse at Graceland, and Elvis’ birthday celebration. The proliferation of theses auctions at Graceland have completely sucked the Elvis market away from other companies that present entertainment memorabilia auctions.

 

Elvis Girl Happy Romanian Movie Poster

For some reason, the latest Auction at Graceland has over 40 Elvis movie posters, and most of them are from foreign countries. Like this Romanian poster for Girl Happy. I thought it was interesting that they chose to show Shelly Fabares doing her drunken striptease dance and Elvis and the guys looking through the blinds of the motel room window.  Almost looks like they are in jail.

 

Elvis The Trouble with Girls Belgian Movie Poster

Most of the foreign Elvis movie posters had artwork rather than screen shots from the film. This one above from Belgium for The Trouble with Girls has a terrific drawing. But most of the others were a little off the mark. (Some were off by a lot.)

Elvis Easy Come, Easy Go Australian Movie Poste

Like this Australian poster for Easy Come, Easy Go. Check out the close-up.

Does this look like Elvis to you?

 

Elvis It Happened at the World’s Fair Spanish Movie Poster

This poster from Spain for It Happened at the World’s Fair has both a good Elvis image and a bad one.

Elvis It Happened at the World’s Fair Spanish Movie Poster - Close-up 1

This is pretty good.

Elvis It Happened at the World’s Fair Spanish Movie Poster - Close-up 2

This is definitely not a good reproduction of Elvis.

 

Elvis Kissin’ Cousins Italian Movie Poster

This Italian poster for Kissin’ Cousins also has two drawings of Elvis.

Elvis Kissin’ Cousins Italian Movie Poster - Close-up

Soldier Elvis looks a little better than mountain-man Elvis.

 

Elvis Roustabout Argentinean Movie Poster

This Argentinean poster for Roustabout is the first of two showing Elvis on a motor cycle.

lvis Roustabout Argentinean Movie Poster - Close-up

Doesn’t quite cut it. For me anyway.

 

Elvis Clambake Belgian Movie Poster

And this is a Belgian poster for Clambake.

Elvis Clambake Belgian Movie Poster - Cl

It’s fair, I guess. But what is she wearing? Is that supposed to be a helmet?

 

Elvis Jailhouse Rock Australian Movie Poster

This is a better Elvis on an Australian poster for Jailhouse Rock. At least they did a terrific job on the hair. While the movie was in black and white, most American posters were color. I guess the Aussies thought it was artsy to do the poster in B & W also.

 

Elvis Easy Come, Easy Go German Movie Poster

Here’s another poster for Easy Come, Easy Go, this time from Germany.

Elvis Easy Come, Go German Movie Poster - Close-Up

This guy sort of reminds me Elvis. I don’t like the brown smudge on his cheek and chin.

 

Elvis Speedway Turkish One Sheet Movie Poster

Elvis movies even played in Turkey. The artist for Speedway liked Elvis skinny and Nancy Sinatra buxom.

Elvis Speedway Turkish One Sheet Movie Poster - Close up

Handsome guy. Sort of looks like Elvis.

 

Elvis Fun in Acapulco Australian One Sheet Movie Poster

Another Australian poster. The Elvis image this time isn’t near as good as their one for Jailhouse Rock.

Elvis Fun in Acapulco Australian One Sheet Movie Poster - Close-up

Sorry. Not so much.  Looks like he has a knife wound on his cheek.

 

 

Elvis Roustabout Belgian Movie Poster

Let’s end with a good one. This is a Belgian poster for Roustabout.

Elvis Roustabout Belgian Movie Poster - Close-up

Looks like Elvis to me.

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Remembering Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore died yesterday at age 80 after a long battle with diabetes.  The media has been filled with stories and pictures about her roles as Laura Petrie in The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 60s and Mary Richards in The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 70s.

Elvis and Mary Tyler Moore in Change of Habit 5

But Elvis fans also remember her as Sister Michelle Gallagher in a movie she made between the TV show runs.  It was Elvis’ last movie, Change of Habit, that premiered in November 1969.

Elvis and Mary Tyler Moore in Change of Habit 6

She did not wear the nun’s habit for most of the movie as she worked as a nurse with Elvis’ character Dr. John Carpenter.

Elvis and Mary Tyler Moore in Change of Habit 4

It wasn’t all work for the two.

Elvis and Mary Tyler Moore in Change of Habit 2

In fact, things got almost chummy, but this was one Elvis movie romance that did not end with him getting the girl at the end.

Elvis and Mary Tyler Moore in Change of Habit 7

Sister Michelle was firm in not straying from her vows.

Elvis and Mary Tyler Moore in Change of Habit

But the chemistry between Elvis and Mary was strong and and kept things interesting.

Elvis and Mary Tyler Moore in Change of Habit 3

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Good bye, Mary Tyler Moore.  We’ll miss you.  Say hi to Elvis for us.

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Live Long and Prosper

star-trek-50th-anniversary

The original Star Trek TV series premiered on September 8, 1966. Since then, we can certainly say that Star Trek has prospered.

 

elvis-lives

Although Elvis left us in 1977, we can also say he has prospered.

So what does Elvis have to do with Star Trek? There are more connections than you would think. We will celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary here… Elvis style.

 

elvis-kirk

Thanks to those talented Photoshop jockeys, we see what Captain Elvis T. Kirk would look like.

 

elvis-spock

And here we have Spock Elvis. Or is it Elvis Spock?

 

spock-elvis-24-karat-hits

Well, let’s see. If this is Elvis Spock, I guess the other has to be Spock Elvis.

 

elvis-in-star-trek-the-next-generetion

Study this one for a minute. Somebody has morphed Elvis heads onto all the male characters in Star Trek: The Next Generation. How do you like bald Elvis as Captain Picard. He looks better than I would have expected. My other favorite is Elvis as Worf. And it was pretty clever to have Lisa Marie as Counselor Troi and Priscilla as Dr. Crusher.

 

elvis-kirk-standing

Here’s a nice shot of Elvis as Captain Kirk.

 

Nixon with William Shatner as Elvis

And in an opposite switch, William Shatner replaces Elvis in the iconic photo with Nixon. I now have 28 Photoshopped variations of the famous Elvis/Nixon photo. There’s more out there, but I’ll have to explore many Strange New Worlds in the Google Galaxy to find them.

 

The Elvis - Star Trek Connection

Back in 2009, I posted a two-part series on the Elvis / Star Trek Connection. It featured eight actresses who appeared in both Star Trek episodes and Elvis movies. Now is the perfect occasion to post them again (with a few updates).

 

CELESTE YARNALL:

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:

Teri Garr appeared in six Elvis movies:

Kissin’ Cousins  1963
Fun in Acapulco  1963
Viva Las Vegas  1964
Roustabout   1964
Girl Happy   1965
Clambake   1967

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.

Teri Garr in a scene from Viva Las Vegas

Blow up of Teri Garr in that scene

 

Teri Garr in Roustabout

Teri Garr in Kissin’ Cousins

Teri Garr Dancing in Girl Happy

Teri Garr dancing in Girl Happy

There has been some argument among Elvis fans about whether the girl in this and other dancing sceens was really Teri Garr.  The detail just wasn’t sharp enough to be sure.

Teri Garr in jail in Girl Happy

It was your ElvisBlogmeister that finally proved she appeared in Girl Happy. Remember how Elvis landed in the Ft. Lauderdale jail?  I found this shot while doing single frame advance to get to something else.  Note she is wearing the same top as in the dancing shot.

 

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 orbital 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.

 

yvonne craig:

 

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.


        

 

laurel Goodwin:

Laurel Goodwin  played Laurel Dodge, Elvis’ love interest in Girls, Girls, Girls.  Actually, it was more like “the winning love interest,” because Stella Stevens was a former flame that still hoped for a future with Elvis’ character, Ross Carpenter, and she kept popping up throughout the movie.

 The dance that Elvis and Laurel did (pictured above) is one of my favorite scenes from his films.  It must have been difficult to come up with a dance routine that was funny, but this one was.

On Star Trek, Laurel appeared as Yeoman Colt in an episode that contained Spock, but not Captain Kirk or any of the other familiar Enterprise crew members.  That’s because she was in “The Cage,” the one hour pilot that was produced to sell NBC on the series.  Parts of it were used for flashback scenes in a later two-part episode, but “The Cage was not broadcast intact until 1988, twenty years after the series ended.  I like Goodwin’s look in this better than in the Elvis movie.  That’s Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike.  Don’t you bet he and Laurel Goodwin would have had significantly better careers if they had kept their roles when the series went into production?

 

Nancy Kovack:

Nancy Getting Elvis' Eye in Frankie and Johnny

Nancy Kovack also had a major role in an Elvis movie.  She played Nellie Bly, the “losing Elvis love interest” in Frankie and Johnny.  (Not to say Elvis’ movies were formulaic, but do you notice the pattern here?)  Nellie Bly was immortalized in the song as the girl who caused Johnny (Elvis) to do Frankie wrong.  Actually, Johnny just believed Nellie was a good-luck charm for his frequent gambling, but Frankie and the riverboat owner (Nellie’s former boyfriend) thought otherwise.  Skullduggery ensued, and Johnny discovered the real good-luck charm was the one Frankie gave him.  He carried it in his breast pocket, and it saved him from a bullet to the chest.  Of course, Frankie and Johnny got together at the end of the movie, but Nellie did okay too, as she went back to the riverboat owner.

          

On Star Trek Nancy Kovack played Nona in “A Private Little War,” and got to wear the nifty warrior witch outfit you see above.  Nona was the wife of Tyree, leader of the Hill People on the planet Neural.  However, she wanted power and betrayed him.  She stole Dr. McCoy’s phaser and sought out the leader of a rival faction, but ended up being stabbed to death.


Julie Parrish:

Julie Parrish played Joanna, an employee of the Kahala Hilton hotel in Paradise, Hawaiian Style, but she did not play an Elvis love interest.  However, she was part of a scene that requires much willing suspension of disbelief.  She had Elvis’ character (a helicopter pilot named Rick) transport a consignment of pedigreed dogs to a dog show.  The dogs freaked out and Elvis lost control of the helicopter.  Before he could gain control, he ran a car off the road and into a ditch.  Well, the driver of that car just happened to be a big shot in the Federal Aviation Administration (oops).  Gee, what a coincidence.

 

Her Star Trek role was as Miss Piper, Starfleet Adjutant to Commodore Mendez on planet Talos lV in the two-part episode “The Menagerie.”  This is the show where parts of “The Cage” were shown in flashback.  Captain Pike was also in the newer plot, but he had been badly disfigured by delta rays.  Fortunately, Julie Parrish’s figure was just fine, and it was well displayed throughout the story.

Emily Banks:

The credits for Live A Little, Love A Little list Emily Banks’ character as “Receptionist.”  I know it’s hard to notice with that voluptuous stand-up occupying so much of the photo above, but look closely, there is a receptionist here.  Hey, Elvis, don’t stare.  Emily Banks fared a bit better with dialogue, as she had enough lines to be the fifth woman listed in the credits.

For her Star Trek appearance in “Shore Leave,” Emily Banks played Yeoman Tonia Barrows and got to do considerably more acting.  When some of the Enterprise crew beamed down to Omicron Delta for badly needed shore leave, a mysterious energy field (they show up at lot, don’t they?) caused strange things to happen individually to each crew member.  For Yeoman Barrows, it was a visit from Don Juan.  Too bad for Dr. McCoy, who thought scoring with her would be the perfect form of R&R.

 

Tanya Lemani:

Tanya Lemani did not appear in an Elvis movie, but she was featured in the ’68 Comeback Special.  She had significant screen time as a belly dancer in the segment where Elvis sang “Little Egypt.”

She had a much larger part playing Kara in the Star Trek episode “Wolf in the Fold.”  Kirk, McCoy and Scotty beamed down to the hedonistic pleasure planet Argelius II, and went to a favorite café.  Kara’s dancing infatuated them all, especially Scotty.  When she came over to their table, Scotty put his best moves on her and she agreed to leave with him.  As you can see in the picture above, Scotty was really pleased with this development.  Unfortunately, Kara was attacked out on the street and stabbed to death (awww, not that again).

 

Let’s end this Elvis-style 50th anniversary tribute to Star Trek with him getting a promotion.

Star Trek Commander Elvis

If you look back at the group photo of The Next Generation above, you will note the crew had a serious uniform update from those of the original show.  Will Riker was the Commander in that series, so a photo of him was converted to this. I think Elvis looks perfect in a Commander’s uniform.

And finally, how about a shot with both Elvis and Kirk on it?

Elvis and Kirk with two lovlies

Photo Credit – Therese Bohn — https://trekkerscrapbook.com/

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

 

A Rare Look at Elvis Screenplays

Elvis - Change of Habit - Open Script

Movie screenplays are available from a number of different sources. They offer thousands of titles, but one thing you won’t find in their listings is an Elvis screenplay.

Script Fly

Script City

Apparently Elvis collectors long ago snapped up every available copy of the scripts of his movies. So, it was quite a surprise to see nine Elvis screenplays offered at the recent Auction at Graceland. They vary greatly in price for a variety of reasons we will discuss here. They will be presented from cheapest to most expensive.

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Wild in the Country:

Elvis - Wild in the Country First Draft Script

The auction website describes this one as remarkable and a rare example of a well-used original first draft screenplay. Bidders obviously thought otherwise because no one would make the minimum bid of $600 ($750 with the Graceland premium added).

Here’s why they shied away. The shabby condition certainly was a factor. Showing signs of heavy use, it is worn along the edges and stained. It also suffered water damage, mostly confined to the cover.

Please note the date of August 7, 1958 on the cover, and the original title, The Lost Country, crossed out and Wild in the Country written in. Elvis didn’t get out of the Army until 1960, so most of the copious use this script received came before Elvis was active in the project.

Elvis - Wild In The Country Movie Poster

While this script wasn’t of much interest to Elvis fans, it may have value to students of film because it contains numerous handwritten notations and amended dialog throughout. One can see how after months (years?) of review and tweaking, an original first draft script can turn into the final version used for filming.

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Roustabout:

Elvis Movie -Roustabout Script

This script for Roustabout is the final version, so all additions, corrections, and replacements on the first working script have been incorporated. The quality is listed as near-mint.

Elvis - Roustabout Movie Poster

The auction website says this script came from a member of the film crew, so bidders knew Elvis never even touched it. The projected winning price for this Roustabout script was $1,000-1,500, but it generated only the minimum bid of $600 (plus 25%).

 

Stay Away Joe:

Elvis - Stay Away, Joe Script

The next three screenplays sold for $938 ($750 plus premium), which was a good bit below the estimate of $1,000 – $1,500. Also, there were only two bids placed on each of them, presumably by the same two people in each case.

Elvis - Stay Away Joe Movie Poster

The auction website spent more space talking about the movie Stay Away, Joe than the screenplay. They did explain that it is a later-phase final script with evolution evidenced by “the plethora of blue replacement sheets, used when changes were made, to avoid having to reprint entire scripts and actors having to transcribe their personal notations.”

Blue Pages in Elvis' Stay Away Joe Script

Blue replacement sheet on left, original white script page on right.

 

Follow That Dream:

Elvis Presley - Follow That Dream Script

Screenplays ae not usually put in a hardback book cover, but this mint-condition version of Follow That Dream was for some reason.

Elvis - Follow That Dream Movie Poster
The interior cover tells us a few interesting things. The number 172 in the upper right corner indicates the large number of copies made of this script. Any number of production and support personnel get copies, not just the actors. You can see the original title was Pioneer, Go Home, with the change to Follow That Dream (Release Title) hand-written above it.

Elvis - Follow That Dream Final Script

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Double Trouble:

Elvis - Double Trouble Final Script

This script for Double Trouble has the same tan-colored cover we will see several times in this post. We are told a sticker reading “All the King’s Things” is affixed to the inside back page, but it is not explained and no photo is included. The condition is listed as Very Good to Excellent.

Elvis -Double Trouble 3

One thing of note is the message at the top of the cover: “Please do not lose or destroy this script. Return to Script Department.”

Double Trouble - Close up

Most of the screenplay copies in the auction had a similar notation, sometimes on the inside cover. The studios tried to keep their scripts from leaking out or going missing, but whoever had copy # 133 of Double Trouble got around the rule.

 

King Creole:

Elvis - King Creole Early Production Screenplay

The next two screenplays sold for $1,500 including the premium, but there doesn’t seem to be any compelling reason for the price jump. This King Creole script did at least have Elvis’ name written on it, but it isn’t stated that he wrote it, so it’s a safe assumption that it was someone else.

Elvis - King Creole Movie Poster

As you can see on the script cover, the title was originally A Stone for Danny Fisher, the same as the title of the Harold Robbins novel it was adapted from.

A Stone for Danny Fisher

That’s not the only thing that changed.

“The story of A Stone for Danny Fisher featured Danny as a boxer in a suburb of Brooklyn, New York. The film was originally written for James Dean, but then it was shelved after his untimely death in September of 1955. In 1957, the idea of the film was resurrected and adjusted for the lead to be played by the wildly popular star, Elvis Presley. The character of Danny was converted from a boxer to a musician, changed to being set in New Orleans and the title was adjusted to King Creole.”

“This working script was truer to the original story than the final version, as Danny dies on the last page, but this was later changed for the film. Perhaps this change was a result of the reaction to Elvis’ character Clint dying in the end of Love Me Tender.”

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Clambake:

Elvis - Clambake Script

I’m not sure what made this copy of the Clambake script worth more money than others we’ve looked at, except that it is mint condition. It did get ten bids, so some additional people were interested in it compared to the previous scripts at this auction.

Elvis - Clambake Movie Poster

Elvis -Clambake Script Open

With the blue cover open, we see the kind of information script covers usually contain.

 

Live A Little, Love A Little:

Elvis - Live A Little Script

It is easy to see why the top bid on this one went to $2,500 – Elvis’ signature on the cover. The auction website states this original production script was Elvis’ personal working copy. But it also sates: “There is a secretarial Elvis signature on the front cover of this script and someone has added the handwritten notation “(I’m Coming)” under the novel’s title in pencil (it cannot be determined if this is in Elvis’ hand).”

Does that mean a secretary signed his name? If so, she did a pretty good job.

Elvis - Live A Little Movie Poster

 

Change of Habit:

1969 Change of Habit Production Script Signed by Elvis Presley

There is no question why this was the winner for top bid among the screenplays offered at the Auction at Graceland. Just under the Change of Habit title, you can see Elvis’ signature.

Elvis and Barbara McNair

This script is attributed to Barbara McNair, one of Elvis’ costars. Her name is on script cover (shown in the first image of this post), it appears she had a little signing party when filming completed. In addition to Elvis, she got Mary Tyler Moore, Jane Elliot and director William A Graham sign her script. Here’s a look at Elvis’ message to her with some of the adjacent verbiage cut out.

Elvis' message to Barbara McNair

The script and autographs had value added with the inclusion of two copies of shooting call sheets dated April 18, 1969 (the 28th day of shooting) on which sets are listed with the actors’ names and handwritten costume notes.

Elvis Movie Change of Hhabit Poster

If all that wasn’t enough, Change of Habit was Elvis’ last theatrical film, so that probably added some sentimental value and boosted the winning bid up to $4,000, well above the auction estimate.

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Fun and Games on Elvis’ Movie Sets

Elvis Tossing Football off Set on 'Follow That Dream'

Three months ago I shared a few excerpts from the new book Elvis Humor by Bo Keeley. Bo had a unique concept for producing a successful book about Elvis. He went out and bought 43 other books on Elvis, and searched through them to find 290 anecdotes about his humor and love of fooling around and pulling stunts on others.

Elvis Humor

 

Elvis Humor is organized into many categories like the three in the subtitle: Girls, Guns, and Guitars. Last time we looked at a few from the Graceland section, but this time the stories of fun and games take place in the Movies category. Bo Keeley precedes each story with a little background and follows with the original source information.

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Wet Shirt

The Memphis Mafia was a mobile family that accompanied Elvis wherever he went, including onto Hollywood movie sets. Each had a specific duty such as bodyguard, valet, sport trainer, scheduling logistics, or playing in the bands. In Hollywood, the function of the group was to make sure Elvis had a good time. The boss always said that when making movies stopped being fun, he would stop making movies…

Elvis on Motorcycle in Clambake

I walked on the set of Clambake one morning. A bucket of water hit me from way up on one of the high catwalks. Elvis had a dressing room trailer that they pull from different locations. And I was there waiting for somebody to come out. Well, Red West had taken two buckets of water and crawled to the top of that studio. And I’m sitting there waiting. All of the sudden, a bucket of water hit me all over my head. And, when I looked up, the second one got me right in the face. Then I went to wardrobe and got a dry shirt. I hung my shirt up. And I went over there about 30 minutes later, it was still ringing wet.

Wet Shirt

We broke for lunch, and when we came back, it was still wet. About an hour later, I came back, it’s still ringing wet. Well, this time I shot around the trailer, and I stopped and looked back where my shirt was hanging. And Elvis had one of those pumps, you know, that they use to keep the greenery looking good on the set. Every time I’d walk away, he’d go pump it and drown my shirt again. But that’s the type of thing we’d just for fun.

(Attribution missing on this one)

 

Wigged Out In Kissin’ Cousins

An Army officer returns to the Smokey Mountains and tries to convince his kinfolk to allow th Army to build a missle site on their land. On Arriving, he discovers he has a lookalike cousin…

Elvis - Kissin Cousins Poster

Elvis played twins in the movie Kissin’ Cousins for MGM in 1963. Although he got a kick out of seeing two of himself on the screen, before filming started he became quite uncooperative with the director. He was required to wear a blond wig as one of the twins, and because he though the hairpiece made him look stupid, he refused to come out of his dressing room. The studio heads contacted Colonel Parker, who came down to the set to try to coax Elvis out. He told Elvis he was wasting the good money the studio was paying him, as well as hurting the other actors and prolonging everyone’s day.

Elvis with Black and Blonde Hair in Kissin' Cousins

When Elvis finally emerged with the wig on his head, he was startled to see everyone on the set wearing blond wigs. Even the Colonel, with his ever-present cigar poking out of his mouth, was sporting a curly blond wig on top of his bald head. Elvis rolled over laughing. He forgot his nervousness and apologized to the cast and crew for his behavior.

Jim Curtin, Elvis:Unknown Stories Behind the Legend, P.84

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Frightening, Isn’t It?

Elvis found out by watching movies that Tony Curtis wore mascara, so that on film and when they took photos, his eyes would be more defined. So, Elvis started doing it also when he performed. He was one of the very few men, with those Roman chiseled features, who could get away with it…

Young Elvis wearing eyeliner.

Young Elvis wearing eyeliner.

He was eagerly looking forward to one particular film, Harum Scarum (1965), seeing it as a chance to create a genuinely interesting character.

Elvis - Harum Scarum Soundtrack Album

He identified his role with Rudolph Valentino’s in The Sheik. At last, he thought, a part he could sink his teeth into. He saw a physical resemblance between himself and Valentino, especially in profile.

Rudolph Valentino

During production, he came home darkened with makeup, dressed in white harem pants and a white turban. He looked extremely handsome, much more so than Valentino.

Elvis Wearing Turban in Harum Scarum

Tilting his head down, with a piercing gaze, he asked rhetorically, “Frightening, isn’t it, how much I look like him? How does this get to ya?” He took me in his arms Valentino style and dipped me a la the famous poster of The Sheik.

Rudolph Valentino The Shiek

Night after night he kept his makeup and turban on all through dinner and up until bedtime.

Priscilla Presley, Elvis and Me. P.211.

 

Just Plain Ol’ Elvis

Elvis blamed his fading popularity in the 60s on his humdrum movies, and yet the silver screen gave many of his fans around the world their only opportunity to view him. He stayed sane through the decade with pranks on the sets involving the Memphis Mafia, sports, and girls. In 1962, he played Walter Gulick, who is returning from his military service to his birthplace where he was orphaned as an infant, and grew up elsewhere, but always wanted to return to where he was from. Walter is happy to take any kind of work, but his devastating right hook send him down a different path as Kid Galahad…

Elvis - Kid Galahad Poster

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During the filming of Kid Galahad in the winter of 1961, Elvis’ friends ordered a custom-made director’s chair as a prank gift. The chair had “Mr. Presley” stamped on the back of it. They presented it to the star on the first day of filming in mid-November. Elvis turned to the crew, the director, and the producer and asked, “Mr. Presley? Why so formal?” Director Phil Karlson said, “Only the best for our star.”

Elvis in Director's Chair

Elvis hated the formality of it. He wanted to be treated like one of the boys, and the chair destroyed the illusion. The next day a new chair replaced the formal one. The bright red canvas sported bold print that read “JUST PLAIN OL’ ELVIS.” Elvis laughed out loud and plopped into the chair.

Jim Curtin, Elvis: Unknown Stories Behind the Legend, P.98

 

Memphis Mafia on Set

Robert ‘red’ West was a close friend of Elvis and the first member of Presley’s inner circle, known as the Memphis Mafia. He first met Elvis in high school, where he was a year behind him, and defended Elvis in a bathroom brawl. After Elvis’ discharge from the Army in 1960, West was employed as one of Elvis’ bodyguards, and not only was quick to his boss’ defense, but strong on the practical jokes. West also became a movie stuntman appearing in 16 of Elvis’ films in the 60s, usually playing extras or bit and supporting parts…

Red West Before Swinging at Elvis - Tickle Me

Red West remembers that there was so much playing around on Clambake [four of the stories in this post are from that movie]. We sure did cut up on Clambake, but I don’t think we held up production any. There were pie-throwing, firecracker fights, and water bombardments.

“In one scene,” Red remembers, “Bill Bixby was before the cameras, which were rolling, and Elvis walked in and hit him with a cream pie.”

Cream Pie in the Face

“Up until that time, director Arthur Nadel hadn’t been hit. I thought he felt a little bit left out of it. So on the last day of shooting, he was dressed in a raincoat and rain hat, virtually inviting us to hit him. We didn’t. But that night as we had the end-of-movie party, he changed into a suit. After the party, he was going to a meeting. Well, we all made a little speech about how we love him and what a great guy he was to work with and what a great guy he was. Well, he gets choked up and begins to say thanks, and that’s when we hit him with a pie right in the face. At last he got the pie he wanted, but he was fully dressed.”

Red West, Elvis: What Happened, P.273

 

Boom Truck

After graduating from high school, Elvis took a full-time job driving a truck for Crown Electric Company. His pay was $1 an hour. Elvis enjoyed driving a truck for 14 months until the fall of 1954. His truck driving career was interrupted by a phone call from Sam Phillips inviting Elvis to record at Sun Studio. It was resumed in 1965 on a Hollywood set…

Girl Happy Poster

Elvis was in a restless mood during the filming of Girl Happy. In order to get in Elvis’ good graces, as well as to lift his mood, one of the cameramen offered Elvis the chance to drive the camera boom truck around the studio lot. Excited at the prospect, Elvis ran over to the truck before the cameraman could change his mind. Elvis maneuvered the vehicle slowly at first, familiarizing himself with the gadgets. Within minutes, he was driving like an expert.

Elvis on Camera Boom

Elvis began to get restless and drove the truck all over the lot much too fast. The cameraman ran after him, shouting at him to slow down, but Elvis would not listen. As he manipulated the large vehicle around the sets, he came within inches of knocking down permanent light fixtures and several backdrops. Panicking, the cameraman started to direct Elvis and prayed that the actor would listen. Elvis slowed the vehicle down and drove it around the lot at a reasonable speed. Fifteen minutes later, he parked the truck and shut off the engine. He thanked the cameraman for the opportunity. Relieved that nothing terrible happened, the cameraman had nonetheless learned his lesson. He never allowed the King to ride in the boom truck again.

Jim Curtain, Elvis: Unknown Stories Behind the Legend, P.86

 

Sidecar Singers

Elvis waterskied on McKeller Lake, Memphis as a teenager, so he was a natural in the 1967 musical Clambake. He is heir to an oil fortune who trades places with a waterski instructor at a Florida hotel to see if girls like him for himself, rather than for his father’s money…

Elvis on Camera Boom

We were in Nashville cutting the soundtrack or Clambake with the Jordanaires, and Elvis told them, “Y’all sing on the chorus with me.” Well, the director of the picture was there, and he said, “Elvis, I don’t think you understand where the song’s going in the picture. In this particular scene, you’re riding down the highway on a motorcycle singing this song.”

Elvis Singing on a Motorcycle in Clambake

“The voices can’t sing along with you. Where would we put the singers?”  Elvis thought for a second and said, “Put ‘em the same damn place you put the band.” That was the end of that.

Rose Clayton, Elvis Up Close, P.226

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Cricket Interlude

Filming for the musical Follow That Dream began July 6, 1961 in the summer heat of Florida. Recording sessions had taken place at RCA studio in Nashville. Six songs were recorded for the movie, and a distressed Presley insisted the worst song “Sound Advice” be omitted from the soundtrack. However, to director Gordon Douglas, the worst recording of the film was the crickets on location…

Follow That Dream Poster 2

The film crew had a difficult time recording the soundtrack for Follow That Dream. Filming took place in Florida from July through August 1961, and the crickets caused major problems. The crickets seemed to have an uncanny instinct to congregate at the exact location of Elvis’ movie set. Every time Elvis’ voice was heard, the crickets began to sing; every time he stopped, silence filled the set.

Lots of Crickets

Director Gordon Douglas yelled at the crickets to shut up, which they did. He turned to Elvis and asked him why the crickets were making so much noise. Elvis smirked and blurted out, “Maybe they’re Pat Boone fans.” Elvis started to sing with the crickets and remarked that it even sounded like they were chirping a Pat Boone song. Everyone laughed.

Douglas had to postpone that day’s filming. To make sure that the crickets would not cause further delays, he called an insect specialist.

Jim Curtin, Elvis: Unknown Stories Behind the Legend, P.98

 

Firecracker Battle

When Elvis lit a firecracker, it was to ease tension, make a point, or bring people together. When he lit dozens of them…

Stash of Firecrackers

In March 1967, Elvis was working on the movie Clambake. While he was having his make-up done by make-up man Dan Greenway, one of the crew members tossed a lit firecracker into the trailer. An all-out firecracker war was soon under way.

Elvis lit a firecracker to toss under a crew member’s chair. He misjudged, however, and the cracker landed on top. As the crew member sat down, the firecracker blew a hole in his pants. Elvis laughed so hard he did not hear one of his bodyguards behind him until a larger cracker popped right under his own read end. He quickly ran to his dressing room and retrieved his own stash of fireworks. The firecracker fights continued for several days. The set looked and sounded like a war movie. Even director Arthur Nadel got involved in the action; he eventually appeared on set sporting a German war helmet.

German Army Helmet

Rear ends were singed and fingers were burned, but by the time some action was finally caught on film, everyone was in a great mood and it showed.

Jim Curtin, Elvis: Unknown Stories Behind the Legend, P.100

 

 

Elvis Humor on Amazon

My thanks to Bo Keeley for agreeing to let me use excerpts from his book in this post. If you are interested in getting a copy of Elvis Humor – Girls, Guns & Guitars, click here.

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Beach Boy – (Uncredited)

Special Guests Added to Elvis WeekSpecial Guests At Elvis Weekk 2016

(Editor’s note:  Seven months after this post apeared, Christopher Riodan, the title subject, posted a long comment detailing his connections wih Elvis.  It is worth your time to click on Comments and read it.)

Did you get this email from Elvis Insiders like I did? The heading caught my eye. “Special Guests Added to Elvis Week.” So, I eagerly read on to find out who these special people might be.

As you can see, the first name is Christopher Riordan, identified as Elvis’ co-star. Now, I’m a big fan of Elvis movies and have books listing the entire cast and crew for each one. I have read them all several times, but I just couldn’t remember Christopher Riordan in any of them.

 

Christopher Riordan Bio

So, I clicked on Read More which brought up this bio. It does say he had roles in several Elvis movies, but there is no longer any mention of co-star status. Still, roles in six Elvis movies, plus the ’68 Special, is something to be proud of. You and I would be thrilled if we had been in six Elvis movies, no matter how small the parts.

(One side note: It seems EPE wants to phase out reference to the ’68 Comeback Special. The official preferred name is now Elvis ’68 Special.  Sort of like how they prefer Elvis Tribute Artist over Elvis Impersonator.)

Anyway, I was curious about Christopher Riordan’s participation in Elvis movies. So I decided to go to the best source for any and all information about movies – The International Movie Database. IMDb is a subsidiary of Amazon, and has 3.7 million movies and TV episodes in its database. Plus 7 million actors and other personalities.

IMDb Selections

I love this website. Look at the list of links available under the Movies, TV & Showtimes tab. There are two more tabs with tons more stuff. Check it out.
I typed Christopher Riordan into the Search box and confirmed his presence in those six Elvis movies and the ‘68 Special. Here is the summary of his roles:

1964 – Viva Las Vegas                    Dancer (Uncredited)
1964 – Roustabout                          Carnival Worker (Uncredited)
1965 – Tickle Me                             Dancing bit (Uncredited)
1965 – Spinout                                Party Guest (Uncredited
1967 – Double Trouble                    Young Englishmen (Uncredited)
1967 – Clambake                            Beach Boy (Uncredited)
1968 – Elvis (TV movie)                  Dancer.

Christopher Riordan and Elvis in Spinout

Christopher Riordan as Party Guest with Elvis in Spinout

I started to feel a little let down. Christopher Riordan seemed a little over-hyped – not a co-star, not in roles with character names and lines of dialogue. But, I checked out what else Riordan had appeared in, and found he has scored 101 credits in both TV and movies. The bulk of these were uncredited bit parts in dozens of movies each year 1964 through 1967. During this busy period, he also had recurring credited rolls in two TV shows – Ozzie and Harriet in 1964 and Many Happy Returns in 1965. Ironically, his character’s name in both series was Ronnie.

Christopher Riordan in 1977 Publicity Photo.

Christopher Riordan in 1977 Publicity Photo.

For some reason, Riordan’s appearances dropped off drastically in 1968 through 1971, and he had no credits at all in 1972-1974, and none in the decade from 1978 to 1988. Maybe nobody was looking for a guy with immense hair for their movie or TV projects. Obviously, Riordan was supporting himself with some other line of work during that time.

During the 90s, he resurfaced with bit parts in one movie, one short, and three TV show episodes. In the 2000s he appeared in seven TV episodes of House of Carters and Ugly Betty.

AjayMehta and Christopher Riordan in Outsourced - 2010

Christopher Riordan (right) on set of Outsourced – 2010

Then suddenly he showed up in 2010 in 21 episodes of the TV show Outsourced acting as the Call Center Supervisor. Wow, where did all the hair go? He’s had a few credits in the years since, and so far in 2016, he has appeared in five episodes of the NBC TV series Superstore.

 

Conversations on Elvis

So, the questions are why did Christopher Riordan get selected for the Conversations on Elvis panel, and will he have anything to add to the conversation. The sad truth is that many people close to Elvis have died, and it is obviously getting harder to fill the stage with suitable panelists.

I would prefer to think that Riordan was a young good-looking party guy and probably did have some chances to hang out with Elvis. He very well could have been around for some crazy antics, and if he shares these during Elvis Week, I think the fans will love it. My bet is that Christopher Riordan will be one of the most interesting people on the stage.

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Elvis Meets Nixon – Part 2

Elvis Has Entered the White House

Last week, ElvisBlog reported that a new movie about Elvis would premier on April 22.  It is Elvis & Nixon, starring Kevin Spacey as Nixon and Michael Shannon as Elvis.  Like all Elvis fans, I hope it will be a good film, but I expressed doubts that it could be as enjoyable as a 1997 made-for-Showtime movie titled Elvis Meets Nixon.

Elvis Meets Nixon DVD

Take a look at the fine print on this DVD cover.  The New York Daily News called it “The giddiest, funniest, most entertaining comedy …in years.”  I absolutely agree.

Elvis Meets Nixon follows a semi-documentary format with Dick Cavett as the host and frequent voice-over narrator.  I have only one beef with his commentary.  In the very beginning, he says Elvis was a forgotten performer in 1970, reduced to doing Las Vegas shows.  That is so wrong.  Elvis was huge in Las Vegas, setting attendance records with his concerts.  He was the hottest ticket in town.

Dick Cavett In Elvis Meets Nixon

 

From that point on, Cavett does a good job, and one statement he made captures the essence of this movie.  While talking about the short time Elvis and Nixon actually spent together in the oval office, Cavett said, “If what you are about to see didn’t happen exactly this way, it should have.”  Actually, that sentiment could be made about the entire movie.

 

Nixon and Elvis Giving Peace Signs

 

Of course, it’s all a dramatization of events, and quite a bit of artistic license has been taken with the two main characters’ personalities and the absurdity of the reality these two men lived in.  Both were so out of touch with everyday life that it could have been destiny they found each other in this truly ironic way.

 

Elvis and Nixon Hugging in Oval Office

According to Jerry Schilling, Elvis did in fact hug Nixon.  The President was caught off guard, but the scene in the movie is very endearing.

 

Here’s the story on the two actors in the key roles.  Bob Gunton showed pure genius of comedic timing in his portrayal on Richard Nixon.  You may not know him by name, but you’ve seen his face in lots of movies.

Bob Gunton as Richard Nixon

L

The fellow playing Elvis is Rick Peters, and his acting career has been rather modest.  His last movie was in 2006.

Rick Peters

 

But with the wig, sunglasses, and attitude, he pulls off a great Elvis portrayal.

Elvis Smoozing the Srewardesses on Flight from DC to Dallas

This clip is from the flight Elvis took from Washington DC to Dallas.  You see, Elvis’ odyssey took him from Memphis to DC, DC to Los Angeles (via Dallas), and from LA to DC.

Elvis Mingling on Plane -- Nixon Visit


This is a photograph a passenger took of Elvis mingling with folks on the flight to Dallas.  He wore the same outfit that he did when he went to the White House a day and a half later.

 

Elvis in Donut Shop

This clip is from a scene when Elvis stops off at a donut shop (in a rather seedy part of town) on the way from the airport to the Washington Hotel.  He actually did this, but the “artistic impression” of what happened is one of the most amazingly surreal moments I’ve ever seen on film.  Take a few minutes and watch this.

 

Here’s another clip that takes even more creative license, but it’s a riot.  The set-up is that Elvis had time to kill in Los Angeles before the flight back to DC, so he went down to the Sunset Strip.  His friend Jerry Schilling (they used the name Bobby Bishop in the film for some reason) urged him to walk around and see if he was relevant to people on the street.  Elvis wanders into a record store and goes through some hilarious culture shock.  Rick Peters does this bit so well, you will think you are watching archival film of the real Elvis.  You definitely want to click on this.

Elvis Meets Nixon is 140 minutes long, but the scene of Elvis and Nixon together in the Oval Office lasts just 11 minutes.  That was plenty for these two very different men to bond together.  Before the movie gets to Elvis’ visit, there are three scenes of Nixon and H.R. Haldeman in the Oval Office.  They aren’t funny like the Elvis clips, but they are still fascinating.  One warning — if you were were offended by the profanity in the donut shop clip, you might want to skip the one below.

 

There is one more thing I suggest you click on.  It is the full movie on YouTube.  You can buy it for $7.99, or rent it like I did for $1.99.  I wasn’t able to get it to stream onto my smart TV, but maybe you can.  If not, it’s still a blast watching it on your computer screen.  Check it out here.  I guarantee you will be happy you spent the two bucks.

Elvis Meets Nixon DVD

 

There is enough stuff left in my Elvis and Nixon file to squeeze out one more article in this series next week.  Stay tuned.

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

 

ELVIS meets NIXON

Elvis and Nixon Shades and Flag

We are about to see a flurry of promos and media buzz for a new movie about Elvis’ famous December 21, 1970 meeting with President Richard Nixon. It is titled Elvis & Nixon and will premiere on April 22.

 

Elvis & Nixon Poster

As a big Elvis fan, I really want to see this film; and I really, really hope to like it a lot. But I have some doubts. For instance, the guy they chose to play Elvis is Michael Shannon. In the preview clips I have seen, he does not look like Elvis at all.

Michael Shannon Plays Elvis Presley

So, what do you think? See much Elvis there? Maybe he looks better wearing an Elvis wig and shades and clothes.

Michael Shannon as Elvis

Sorry. To me he looks more like Evil Elvis living a parallel existence in an alternate universe. Or maybe Keith Richards.

To be fair, Michael Shannon has been in dozens of movies and is an excellent actor. In 2008, he was nominated for an Academy Award — Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the Leonardo DiCaprio/Kate Winslet movie Revolutionary Road. But he primarily plays intense, scary, bad guys, so why pick him to play Elvis?

 

President's Day Kevin Spacey as Nixon

The choice to play Nixon is perfect – Kevin Spacey. He is going great guns in House of Cards, and he’s excellent playing all those characters on the E-Trade commercials.

Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon

My worry after watching an Elvis & Nixon featurette on You-Tube, is that Spacey will dominate the movie with an inspired portrayal of Nixon. That won’t bother the casual movie-goer, but we Elvis fans want our guy to be the center of attention.

 

Elvis and Nixon in Oval Office

One thing we can count on to keep the story on track is that Elvis’ good buddy Jerry Schilling is an Executive Producer of the movie. He was with Elvis on the trip to Washington DC and was inside the Oval Office for part of the time Elvis was with Nixon.

Sonny West and Jerry Schilling with Nixon and Elvis

Sonny West and Jerry Schilling between Nixon and Elvis

This picture was one of 28 taken by the White House photographer that day. The public is very familiar with the famous one of Nixon and Elvis shaking hands. It is the most requested photo from the US National Archives

The Official Photograph of Elvis and Nixon

To see all the photographs taken, click here.

Colorized Photo of Elvis Meeting Nixon

They were all black and white, but here is a colorized version of one of them.

Photographer Taking Official Photograph of Elvis Meeting Nixon

And this is the scene from the movie where they posed for the famous photo.

 

Elvis and Nixon - Historical Drama

The key thing to me in the heading of this article is “Historical Drama.” This implies that they will be playing it straight. However, the whole story of Elvis’ visit to Nixon is bizarre and surreal. There’s little drama to it. To me, the best way to tell this story is with humor, and, in fact, that has already been done.

Elvis Meets Nixon -1997 vrs 2016

The above composite shows this is not the first time a movie has been made about Elvis and Nixon. I absolutely love the 1997 version, and will devote the next ElvisBlog post to it. It is one of the most hilarious movies I have ever seen, and there are three You-Tube video clips that will show you what a great fun romp it is. Next week is going to be a really great post.

 

Elvis & Nixon Title Block

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.