Tag Archives: Elvis movies

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

 

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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.

 

 

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.

 

50th Anniversary Elvis Movie Pictorial – Frankie and Johnny

Frankie and Johnny Movie Poster

Frankie and Johnny opened on March 31, 1966, and was Elvis’s 20th film. Although the quality of his films had fallen off during the previous few years, the fans had kept the box office numbers respectable. But Frankie and Johnny followed a real clunker in Harum Scarum, and attendance dropped about 1/3 from the usual average.

It’s too bad, because this is an enjoyable little firm. And speaking from the male perspective, it had the greatest amount of cleavage of any Elvis movie.

Sue-Ane-Langdon-Donna-Douglas-Nancy-Kovack-in-Frankie-and-Johnny

The pretty blonde in the center is Donna Douglas, talking a break from the Beverly Hillbillies to play Frankie opposite Elvis’ Johnny. The redhead is Nancy Kovak playing Nellie Bly, the woman Johnny believes brings him good luck at the gambling casino in the riverboat where they all work as performers.

SS Mississippi Queen Riverboat from Frankie and Johnny

Frankie and Johnnt Starring on the SS Mississippi Queen

By the way, Elvis’ character has no last name in this picture. He is just Johnny. And he has two problems. Although he’s Frankie’s man, he has a wandering eye for the ladies.

Elvis Checking out the Ladies in Frankie and Johnny

And he has terrible luck at gambling.

Elvis Playing Poker in Frankie and Johnny

 

Naturally this causes many uncomfortable moments with Frankie.

Donna Fussing at Elvis in Frankie and Johnny

But there are lots of fun, happy moments for them, too.

Elvis and Donna Douglas in Dream Sequence in Frankie and Johnny

This is kind of like a dream sequence the film morphs into as Johnny sings a song to Frankie called “Beginner’s Luck.” If you study Elvis’ position for a moment, doesn’t it look like the most unnatural and uncomfortable one possible? Fortunately, he didn’t have to hold it for long.

Elvis and Donna Douglas Dancing in Frankie and Johnny

Frankie and Johnny looked like they really enjoyed doing this dance routine to the song “Petunia, the Gardeners Daughter.” That title might be one of Elvis’ worst, but the song is surprisingly good. I’m going back to my 2012 blog article called Dancing Elvis (in the Movies) to add this shot. And this one, too.

Elvis Dancing with Nellie in Frankie and Johnny

This shot is part of the Showboat’s production number “Frankie and Johnny”. The lyrics say, Johnny was doing Frankie wrong with Nellie Bly. The plot sets this situation up in real life (although mostly in Farnkie’s mind), and also has it as the theme of the production number. In the show, Frankie has had it with Johnny interest in Nellie, and she grabs her gun and shoots him.

Elvis and Riverboat Owner in Frankie and Johnny

This guy is Johnny’s boss, the riverboat owner who has claimed Nellie as his own and sees Johnny as a threat. The word gets to his goon who decides to put a live bullet in Frankie’s gun,

Blackie Puts a Real Bullet in Frankie's Stage Gun

So, when Frankie pulls the trigger, Johnny goes down and it looks like he’s bought the farm.

Donna about to Shoot Elvis in Frankie and Johnny

But, no. Johnny carries a good luck charm from Frankie near his heart, and it stopped the bullet.

Elvis' Lucky Cricket Pendant in Frankie and Johnny

We’ve seen this gimmick before, but it works here. Johnny is not hurt, and the near catastrophe makes them realize their love is meant to be. Happy ending.

 

Here are some additional pictures and my random thoughts.

Frankie Throwing Money Away

This is Frankie in costume for a nightime Mardi Gras party. She has just thrown $10,000 of Johnny’s gambling winnings out the hotel window. Tension and conflicts are necessary for a good movie, and this scene had them big time.

Elvis Singing Hard Luck in Frankie and Johnny

Johnny expresses his loss by singing a blues song “Hard Luck” accompanied by this young harmonica player. Of course, an invisible band of piano, bass, drums, and even trombones is soon heard. Those invisible bands are a staple of Elvis movies.

Elvis Fighting with his Boss in Frankie and Johnny

Another staple of all Elvis movies is a fight scene. Here he is slugging it out with his boss the riverboat owner.

Red West in Frankie and Johnny Cameo

One of my favorite things to do when watching an Elvis movie for the fifth or sixth time is to try to spot some of his buddies in the background. See Red West at the table? Supposedly, George Klein had a cameo in the movie, too, but I couldn’t find him. Maybe I will when I watch for the seventh time.

Frankie and Nellie in Same Costumes in Frankie and Johnny

One of the plot points of the story had Frankie and Nellie wearing identical Madam Pompadour costumes to the Mardi Gras party. Frankie wanted to test Johnny by pretending to be Nellie. After about 30 seconds of coaching, Frankie carries on a substantial dialog with Johnny where she sounds exactly like Nellie. Of course, it was Nancy Kovak dubbing her lines. This was the second time it happened to Donna Douglas in this movie. All of her singing parts were dubbed by someone else.

Elvis in his Gambling Clothes in Frankie and Johnny

One thing I noted was all the different outfits Elvis wore in the movie. We have already shown six or seven. Here are some more.

Leading Parade in New Orleans

 

Frankie & Johnny

 

As usual, we will end this Elvis movie pictorial with him kissing his leading lady.

Elvis Kissing Donna Douglas in Dream in Frankie and Johnny

This kiss took place in the dream sequence and was sweet and tender.

Elvis Gets a Surprise Kissing Donna Douglas in Frankie and Johnny

Elvis’ surprised look here is because he thought he was kissing Nellie but he quickly realized it was Frankie.

Elvis Kissing Donna Douglas in Frankie and Johnny

Here they are later when Frankie’s mask is off and they both enjoy it much more.

 

Editor’s notes:

Donna Douglas died on New Year’s Day 2015. Click here to read more about her.

Nancy Kovak was featured in a 2009 ElvisBlog article titled Star Trek Elvis Connection — Part 2 about actresses that starred in both Star Trek episodes and Elvis movies.  Click here.

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

 

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50th Anniversary Movie Pictorials — Harum Scarum: 1965

Elvis Waking up After Abduction in Harum Scarum

In my opinion, this photo represents the only thing in Harum Scarum to justify watching it. Certainly it is not the plot, acting, songs, or the action scenes. No, it is the constant parade of scantily-clad lovelies. They come in many varieties – a princess, a damsel in distress, a villain, these slave girls (they dress nice for slaves, don’t they?), and three belly dancers.

Harum Scarum was Elvis’ nineteenth movie, and it premiered on November 24, 1965.

There are some silly Elvis movies that I enjoy watching, Tickle Me, Kissin’ Cousins, Live A Little to name a few. But Harum Scarum really isn’t that much fun and strains all creditability. For example, Elvis has been drugged and whisked off by the bad guys and where does he wake up? Not in a prison cell, but surrounded by the beauties above. Even worse, he sings a whole song to them before he realizes he’s not dreaming and says, “Hey, you’re real.”

Movie within a Movie in Harum Scarum

Here’s the device they used to start the film – a movie within a movie. That’s Elvis fighting a bad guy in Arabian Nights type movie being shown to all the important people of the kingdom of Babelstan. After Elvis beats off the villains, he has to battle a leopard. No problem. He gives it just one karate chop and kills it.

Elvis about to Karate Chop a Tiger in Garum Scarum

Elvis Karate Chopping a Tiger in Harum Scarum2

Sorry for the blurry shot, but that leopard was moving fast.

Anyway, there were some real villains in that audience viewing the movie, and they somehow get the idea that the American actor has amazingly talented killing hands for real. And because they believe he can get access to the king, they decide to blackmail him to “eliminate a person of great Importance.”

Let’s go back to that damsel in distress in the photo above for a moment.

Elvis Kissing Girl after Saving Her in Harum Scarum

Once he rescues her, she plants a kiss on him. In my opinion, this is the best on-screen kiss Elvis ever did. Long, sensuous lip-lock. Ladies, check it out. It happens early, so you don’t have to watch a lot of the movie to see it.

Sonny West in Harum Scarum

One way I amuse myself when watching Elvis’ bad movies is looking for cameo appearances by his Memphis Mafia buddies. Can you spot Sonny West in the back row?

Red West as Villian in Harum Scarum

Here’s Red West playing one of the bad guys known as the Assassins. He’s in a number of scenes.

Elvis and Thief with Bananas in Harum Scarum

This guy is a conniving marketplace thief who ends up helping Elvis beat the Assassins. However, the more scenes he was in, the more I wished he’d go away. I only added this screen grab because he looks obsessed with the banana and Elvis seems amused. Feel free to add your own caption to the picture.

.Elvis, Thief and Water Lillies in Harum Scarum

Another cinematic highlight staring Elvis and this guy.

Elvis using Karate Chop on Assasin in Harum Scarum

Elvis does a bunch of Karate chops throughout the movie, but never kills anybody. He says his hits will put them out of commission for about an hour. Guess he does have pretty talented hands after all.

Fran Jeffries and Elvis in Harum Scarum

This is lovely villian Aishah played by Fran Jeffries. Elvis didn’t waste any time putting a move on her after she came out of the tent.

Elvis Kissing Fran Jeffries in Harum Scarum

But she tricked him and knocked him out with drugged wine. At least he got in a kiss before he keeled over (She was the second of four women Elvis kissed in the film. Might be a record number).

Elvis Singing in Jail in Harum Scarum

Here’s Elvis singing a song in prison. Of course, there was background music from that talented invisible band that shows up in so many Elvis movies. I’ve got to compile a list of all the movies where Elvis ended up in jail. Let’s see: Jailhouse Rock, Girl Happy, Blue Hawaii, and probably some others I can’t think of.

Elvis and Belly Dancers in Harum Scarum

These are the three belly dancers mentioned above. They were actually in a number of non-dancing scenes, a nice distraction when the plot got lame.

Little Girl Dancing in Harum Scarum

This little girl also did a belly dance for Elvis. I wish they had cut the scene. It was totally inappropriate and cringe worthy.

Elvis leads the Raid in Harum Scarum

I like this shot of Elvis. He is leading a motley crew of folks taking on the Assassins, and he giving directions on what everybody should do.

 

Mary Ann Mobley When she First Sees Elvis in Harum Scarum

We will finish this pictorial with shots of Elvis’ love interest, Princess Shalimar, played by Mary Ann Mobley. This is when she first laid eyes on Elvis. As you can see, she was most impressed. They talked for one minute and thirty-seven seconds of screen time, and then rode horses to the Pool of Omar without speaking. Then he spent two minutes singing to her followed by a kiss and a few more seconds of dialog. That’s all it took – they were both in love.

Mary Ann Mobley When she First Sees Elvis in Harum Scarum

Earlier in the movie, Elvis sang to five women while thinking he was asleep, but here we have the Princess gazing into a pool and not only seeing Elvis but hearing him sing. Mystical stuff for sure.

Mary Ann Mobley Getting Mad at Elvis in Harum Scarum

Mary Ann Mobley is so sweet and composed during the whole movie, except for this scene. Here she is angry with Elvis because she thinks he is out to harm her father the king. I like her in both movies she made with Elvis, but I much prefer the aggressive hottie she played in Girl Happy, even though she lost Elvis to Shelly Fabares.

Elvis Hugging Mary Ann Mobley in Girl Happy

But in Harum Scarum, she gets her man, and then the movie ends with this.

Elvis Kissing Mary Ann Mobley at End of Harum Scarum

 

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

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Remembering Yvonne Craig

Elvis & Yvonne Craig Kissing in Kissin Cousins

Yvonne Craig, who co-starred with Elvis Presley in two movies, passed away on Monday, August 17. She died after a long two-year battle with breast cancer. She was 78.

When I read in Graceland.com/news that Yvonne Craig had passed away, I said to my wife, “My favorite Elvis co-star just died.” Then I had to think about if she really was. Certainly Ann Margret and Shelly Fabares are up there in my list of favorites, and I absolutely loved Michele Carey, Jocelyn Lane, and Ann Helm in their roles.

So, to settle this confusion, I used the ElvisBlog “Search” box to see which actress I had written about the most. It was no contest. Yvonne Craig had been mentioned in nine posts, and pictured in seven of them. Definitely my fav.

Here are excerpts from some of those old articles.

 

The Elvis / Star Trek Connection – Posted August 23, 2009:

Yvonne Craig as Marta in Star Trek

This post featured three actresses who had appeared in both Elvis movies and Star Trek TV episodes: Celeste Yarnall, Teri Garr, and Yvonne Craig. 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.

Marta and Kirk Kissing

Spock and Marta

Leave it to Mr. Spock to spoil all the fun. Here’s a shot off-screen with lots of fun going on.

Yvonne Craig and William Schattner in When Worlds collide

The 2009 ElvisBlog article of course mentioned that Yvonne starred in two Elvis movies. She had a small part in It Happened at the World’s Fair and a major one in Kissin’ Cousins.

Yvone and Elvis in Color in It Happened at the Worlds Fair

Elvis With Two Girls in Kissin Cousins

Yvonne was friendly with Elvis off-screen, too, if this picture is any indication.

Elvis On Set With Pam and Yvonne

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Dancing Elvis (In the Movies) – Posted March 11, 2012:

Elvis and Yvonne Craig Dancing

This post featured photos showing that Elvis not only sang to his female co-stars, he also danced with several lucky ones. I can’t say I remember either of these outfits in the film Kissin’ Cousins, but I like the shot.

 

Elvis Movie 50th Anniversary Pictorials — It Happened at the World’s Fair – Posted April 22, 2013:

After giving proper attention to Elvis’ co-star Joan O’Brien and cute five-year-old Sue-Lin, I showed six stills from my favorite Elvis movie scene – with Yvonne Craig – and it has nothing to do with the plot

First Elvis-Yvonne Craig Kiss

Elvis shows up at the house where Yvonne Craig lives, and in no time they are doing this.

Then, she decides things are getting too hot and pulls away. Elvis chases her all over the living room like a hound dog on the scent.

Elvis Putting Moves on Yvonne Craig

Elvis Puts More Moves on Yvonne Craig

Elvis-Yvonne Craig Moves 4

Elvis-Yvonne Craig Moves 3

Last Elvis-Yvonne Craig Kiss

Believe it or not, Elvis had time to sing a song during all that. It is said that Elvis dated Yvonne Craig during the filming of the movie. And, he must have liked her acting skills so much that he elevated her to co-star status a year later in Kissin’ Cousins.

 

Italian Poster - It Happened at the World's Fair

This post also included this Italian poster for the movie. You don’t see any picture of Joan O’Brien on it, do you? Those Italians know what is important for bringing people to see Elvis movies – multiple fight shots and hot Yvonne Craig.

 

Random Thoughts on Encore’s Elvis Collection — Part 4 – Posted May 18, 2013:

Many films got mentioned in this post, including:

Kissin' Cousins Poster

I offered a trivia question based on something I noticed on the DVD credits. “What actress was number eight in the cast credits but ended up with Elvis at the end of the movie?” The answer was Yvonne Craig. Check it out.

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Elvis Movies 50th Anniversary Pictorial: Kissin’ Cousins – Posted March 9, 2014:

Elvis and Yvonne Craig in Jeep

I started this post off with the following comment:

“Serious reviews of Kissin’ Cousins lament that it was the start of a bad trend in Elvis movies – low-budget, quickie-filmed, light-weight fluff. Some even call it his worse movie. I don’t care. I like Kissin’ Cousins for one reason: Yvonne Craig.”

Yes, she is definitely at the top of my list. You’ve already see two photos of Yvonne Craig from this post, but here are three others.

Tatum Girls Painting Their Nails

Tatum Girls Painting Their Nails

Elvis Kissing Yvonne Craig in Kissin' Cousins

 

I searched Google for a later day photo of Yvonne Craig. I found one, but I also found this:

Yyvonne Craig as Boxer

Wow! She had a great body all right, but this must be Photoshopped. However, that didn’t keep me from immediately making it my screen-saver.

 

Yvonne Craig in 2008

This is a photo of Yvonne Craig taken at the 2008 Screaming TikiCon convention by someone who has a blog but doesn’t want to give his name. She is holding a drawing of herself as Batgirl, a roll she had in the 1967 season of the Batman TV series. She looks very good for seventy-one years old.

Yvonne Craig in 2012 Better

This 2012 picture of her is the most recent I could find.

 

Good bye, Yvonne Craig. We’ll miss you.

Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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50th Anniversary Movie Pictorial — Girl Happy

Girl Happy Poster

Girl Happy opened nationally on April 14, 1965.

When I started posting these Elvis movie pictorials, I would always watch each one again on the TV and make notes about things that interest me.  Now I watch on the laptop, and I make heavy use of pause, single frame advance (or reverse), and screen grab.  You can discover a lot of fun shots this way.

 

Mary Ann Mobley's Booty in Girl happy

Here we have Mary Ann Mobley showing off her acting talent.

I must admit, she’s the reason I can watch Girl Happy over and over.  Too bad they couldn’t find a way for Elvis to wind up with her at the end.  The scenes with Elvis pursuing Mary Ann just sizzle.  These two beautiful people are hot for each other.

Elvis Hugging Mary Ann Mobley in Girl Happy

Elvis Getting Comfy with Mary Ann Mobley

 

On the other hand, the Elvis and Shelly Fabares scenes are sweet and tender.

Elvis Wearing Long-Sleeve Shirt at Pool - Girl Happy.

He sings to her.

Elvis Dancing with Shelly Fabares - Girl Happy

He takes her dancing.

 

So far, we have seen Elvis in five pictures, and he is wearing a different long-sleeve shirt in each one.  In fact, he wears nothing but long sleeve shirts the whole film.

Elvis Sunbathing in Long-sleeve Short - Girl Happy

Even when he is sunbathing around the motel pool.

Elvis Sailing in Long-sleeve Shirt - Girl Happy

Even when sail boating.  Doesn’t Shelly look dreamy?  No, thanks.  I’ll take Mary Ann.

Elvis Water Skying Wearing Long Sleeved Shirt - Girl Happy

Even when water skiing.  Did Elvis have some mysterious rash on his arms during filming?

 

Here are some odds and ends pictures that caught my fancy.

Looking in the Boat

Elvis and the boys in the band playing peeping-toms.

Message to Elvis from Mary Ann Mobley

No everything went well between Elvis and Mary Ann.  She let her feelings be known when Elvis disappeared to rescue Shelly for the third time.

 

Seadrift Motel in Girl Happy. 2jpg

A lot of the action took place at the Seadrift Motel.  Lots of eye-candy for the male viewers.

Girl Happy -- Boat in Motel Pool

Somehow Elvis miraculously came up with a pick-up truck and boat trailer to pull this boat into the motel pool.

Elvis Shining Spotlight in Girl Happy

He also commandeered a spotlight to search for Shelly on the beach.

But his biggest coup was getting a backhoe to help break into jail where Shelly was being held.

Elvis Breaking into Jail - Girl Happy

Here’s Elvis trying to break into jail.  How convenient that the Ft. Lauderdale jail had a wooden floor he could saw through.

Elvis in Drag - Girl Happy

And after he got in, Elvis had to dress in drag to get out.  Not exactly the high point of Elvis’ acting career.

 

Elvis Looking at Ugly Shelly Photo - Girl happy

Shelly Fabares’ character changed quite a bit from what Elvis thought she looked like to what she actually did.

Ugly Shelly Fabares in Girl happy

 

Elvis and Shelly Fabares - I'm Evil

She looked great in this musical number.

Shelly Fabares Stripping in Girl Happy

And she’s a riot when she gets drunk and wants to try her hand at stripping.

 

I had a friendly dispute with another fan about whether Teri Garr appeared in five or six Elvis movies.  The film in question was Girl Happy.  He said the shots I provided of her dancing on the beach during “Do the Clam” were inconclusive, because it was dark and she moved too fast.  Now, I’ve got some new screen grabs proving Teri Garr did appear in Girl Happy.

Teri Garr in Jail - Girl Happy

Here she is in the jail scene.

Teri Garr Dancing in Girl Happy

Here’s Teri Garr doing the Clam.  Not as clear, but she is wearing the same top as in jail.

 

Elvis and the Band - Girl Happy

The guy on the right playing guitar is Joby Baker, but look back one picture and see him playing sax.  The sax solos on several songs including “I’ve Got to Find My Baby” and “Do the Clam” are excellent.  No wonder — they were actually performed by Boots Randolph.

 

Turkish Poster -- Guardian of my Daughter

Here’s a brief diversion from the screen grabs to look at a Girl Happy poster from Turkey.  The title translates to “Guardian of My Daughter,” which does fit with the theme of the movie.  Those Turks knew who to pair with Elvis in the picture – Mary Ann Mobley.

 

I always end these pictorials with a shot or two of Elvis kissing his leading lady.  Mary Ann beat Shelly 3 to 2 in this department.

Elvis Kissing Mary Ann Mobley - Girl Happy 3

Elvis Kissing Mary Ann Mobley - Girl Happy 1

Elvis Kissing Mary Ann Mobley - Girl Happy 2

 

But in the end, Elvis wound up with Shelly Fabares.

Elvis Kissing Shelly Fabares - Girl Happy

Elvis Kissing Shelly at end of Girl Happy 2

The movie closes with this kiss.

 

Oh, well.  Elvis will have another chance with Mary Ann Mobley in Harum Scarum.

 

©  2015    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis Movie Madness — Handicapping the Final Four

Elvis Movie Final Four

You can see the survivors of Round 3 voting above.

King Creole knocked off Loving You 71% to 29%.

Viva Las Vegas topped GI Blues 67% to 33%.

Jailhouse Rock slammed Girl Happy 73% to 37%.

ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is got by Blue Hawaii 55% to 45%.

 

I would like to make my predictions right now. The Final Four losers will be Viva Las Vegas and ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is, meaning they tie for honor of third best Elvis movie. King Creole and Jailhouse Rock battle it out in the finals with King Creole coming out on top.

King Creole Poster 3

In list form, the Top 4 Elvis movies will look like this:

#1 – King Creole

#2 – Jailhouse Rock

#3 (tie) – Viva Las Vegas, and ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is

That’s my prediction. I made it primarily on my gut feelings, then decided to do some research on the three websites used for the Worst Elvis Movies post two weeks ago. There was much agreement on the worst, but their rankings for the best four Elvis movies were more disparate. That wasn’t enough to bolster my picks, so, I added one more source and the pattern became very evident. Here’s what they showed.

IMBd Elvis Movie Rankings

 

 

 

#1 – Follow That Dream
#2 – Loving You
#3 – Flaming Star
#4 – Blue Hawaii

Follow That Dream - Lobby Card

These folks seem to be taking a contrarian point of view, but all of their picks showed strength in the Elvis Movie Madness voting. Loving You and Blue Hawaii made the Elite Eight, and Follow That Dream had 47% of the vote against Loving You in the first round. It’s a shame they had to be paired up so early. The same could be said about Flaming Star that had the misfortune to go against Love Me Tender in the first round, but still got 43% of the vote
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For what it’s worth, here’s where my favorites ranked on IMDb: Jailhouse Rock – 6, King Creole – 7, and Viva Las Vegas – 18. IMDb included only Elvis acting movies in their ranking.

 

Ranker Elvis Movie Rankings

 

 

 

 

 

#1 – Viva Las Vegas
#2 – King Creole
#3 – Jailhouse Rock
#4 – Blue Hawaii
#5 – ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is

Viva Las Vegas Lobby Card

Not bad. Ranker got all of the Final Four in that list.

 

USA Today Elvis Movie Rankings

 

 

 

 

 

#1 – King Creole
#2 – Jailhouse Rock
#3 – Loving You
#4 – Flaming Star

King Creole  Poster 2

Another good list. Viva was #6. No concert films included on the USA Today list.

 

King Creole and Jailhouse Rock showed a lot of strength in the listings above. However, when I added one more respected ranking source, things became perfectly clear.

MovieFone Elvis Movie Rankings

 

 

 

#1 – King Creole
#2 – Jailhouse Rock
#3 – ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is
#4 – Elvis On Tour.

MovieFone placed Viva Las Vegas at #7

So, based on these four listings, I feel confident in my Elvis Movie Madness picks. King Creole will be named Elvis’ best movie.

King Creole Poster 1

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Elvis Movie Madness — The Plot Thickens

Elvis Movie Madnesss Logo

Voting has now narrowed the field to eight choices in Graceland’s promotion to determine the fans’ favorite Elvis movie. It’s a fairly predictable group, containing two serious dramatic films, four comedies, one concert film, and one semi-autobiographical movie. Here is the Elvis Elite Eight.

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Loving You:

Loving You Poster

Loving You, Elvis’ second film, contains elements that parallel his own career. The selection of songs is great, and if you are fans of Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, and Bill Black, you will enjoy their considerable presence in this film. Loving You had to knock off Follow That Dream and Love Me Tender to make the final eight, probably the toughest challenges any of the finalists had to face.

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King Creole:

King Creole Poster

While King Creole contained many wonderful songs, without question it presented Elvis’ most serious dramatic role. Most fans lament he was not given the chance to really develop his acting talent later in his career, so this movie is very unique and special in their hearts. This could be seen in the voting, where King Creole clobbered Double Trouble 86% to 14% and Kid Galahad 81% to 19%. Two slam dunks.

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G.I. Blues:

GI Blues Poster

Elvis’ first movie after he returned from Army service in Germany, G.I. Blues has plenty of songs, not much plot, and a nice love story. It also swamped the competition so far, beating Kissin’ Cousins 83% to 17% and It Happened at the World’s Fair 74% to 26%. The next round is against Viva Las Vegas. Good Luck.

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Viva Las Vegas:

Viva Las Vegas Poster

There was never any question Viva Las Vegas would make it to the Elite Eight, and we can reasonably expect it to go even higher. It has been the second most dominating winner so far, clobbering both Spinout and Tickle Me by 88% to 12%.

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 Jailhouse Rock:

Jailhouse Rock Poster

Who doesn’t like Jailhouse Rock? You knew from the beginning that it would go far in the voting. Of course, it didn’t have tough competition so far, beating The Trouble with Girls 87% to 13% and Girls, Girls, Girls 92% to 18%. If Jailhouse Rock survives the next round, it will have the honor of knocking off all three of Elvis’ movies with Girl in the title.

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 Girl Happy:

Girl Happy Poster

 This might be the surprise entry in the final eight, and it survived the closest contest of any winner in the first two rounds. Girl Happy barely nudged past Roustabout 51% to 49%, after having no trouble with Live A Little, Love A Little 70% to 30% in the first round. It was Elvis’ seventeenth film. None of the fourteen films made after Girl Happy in 1965 ranked in the top eight. No surprise there.

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Blue Hawaii:

Blue Hawaii Poster

Blue Hawaii has been the powerhouse champion of the first two rounds, starting with a 91% to 9% embarrassment over Paradise Hawaiian Style, then drubbing Fun in Acapulco 88% to 12%. From the start, the odds were great that Blue Hawaii would go far. It’s unfortunate that it now has to go against a non-acting movie, because the criteria would seem to very different.

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Elvis — That’s The Way It Is:

Elvis - That's the Way It Is

This is certainly a fine movie, capturing Elvis in top form while rehearsing and performing at the Las Vegas International Hotel in 1970. It had little trouble in overcoming Charro 77% to 23% and Change of Habit 72% to 28%.

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A Contrarian Point of View:

I understand why EPE added Elvis — That’s the Way It Is to the ballot. They needed one more film added to Elvis’ thirty-one acting movies to make the brackets work out. However, I would like to consider what movie would replace it if we want a top eight list of just Elvis’ acting movies.

Follow That Dream

My pick for the top eight would be Follow That Dream. It had the misfortune to be paired against Loving You in the first round, and barely lost 53% to 47%. Follow That Dream is a little weak on good songs, but it’s funny, Elvis’ acting as the family’s lawyer in the courtroom may be his finest acting scene ever, and the sweet love scene at the end with Anne Helm is just perfect. Among Elvis movies, I think Follow That Dream is an underappreciated gem.

 

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50th Anniversary Elvis Movie Pictorial: Roustabout — 1964

Roustabout

Elvis’ 16th movie, Roustabout, opened on November 11, 1964. It used to be more fun doing these pictorials on the early Elvis movies that were mostly pretty good. But, I found it hard to get cranked up for Roustabout, because I just don’t really care for it.

Elvis and Joan Freeman in Roustabout

Part of the problem for me is Elvis’ love interest in this movie. Joan Freeman just doesn’t work for me as woman Elvis would be attracted to. Or, maybe she just didn’t have the attributes needed to keep my interest. You women get to oogle at Elvis, but us male fans need our eye candy, too. Girls like Ann Margret, Yvonne Craig, Barbara Eden, Shelley Fabares, Tuesday Weld and Michele Carey. These love interests added some sizzle.

Elvis and Sue Anne Langdon as Madame Mijanou in Roustabout

In Roustabout, the only sexual tension came from Sue Ane Langdon, who as fortune teller Madame Mijanjou wanted Elvis badly, but he pushed her away for Joan Freeman. Stupid move.

Speaking of Sue Ane Langdon, Elvis must have liked her, because she later appeared in Frankie and Johnny with him.

Sue Ane Langdon, Donna Douglas, Nancy Kovack in Frankie and Johnny

This publicity photo shows Sue Ane Langdon, Donna Douglas, and Nancy Kovack. Now that’s some eye-candy.

So, what else does this dull movie have interesting enough to put in this article? How about the opening credits? Think about how many Elvis movies start with him travelling down the highway (or the air or the water) singing the title song. Here are some examples:

Elvis Singing Title Song - Follow That Dream

Follow That Dream

Elvis Singing Title Song - Girls, Girls, Girls

Girls, Girls, Girls

Elvis Singing During Opening Credits - Kid Galahad

Kid Galahad

Elvis Singing Title Song - It Happened at the World's Fair

It Happened at the World’s Fair

Elvis Singing Title Song - Fun in Acapulco

Fun in Acapulco

So, when Roustabout starts, we hear the title song and see a convertible coming down the road.

Roustabout Opening Credits

Naturally, we think it’s Elvis behind the wheel. But, no, it’s four college kids. Surprise.

Elvis Singing Title Song - Roustabout

See the dark haired girl in the back seat? This is Raquel Welch in her first movie role.

Raquel Welch in Roustabout

Raquel had one line. She says to this waitress, “How can you call this a teahouse, dear?

Raquel Welch and Guy from Girl Happy

See the guy next to Raquel in the blue letter sweater? He also showed up later in Girl Happy.

Elvis and Wolf Call O'Brien in Girl Happy

 

Roustabout has another actor in it with duel credits in Elvis movies.

Elvis and Jack Albertson - Roustabout

Jack Albertson as stage manager/MC at the roadhouse where Elvis performed in Roustabout.

Jack Albertson as Captain Salbo in Kissin’ Cousins

Jack Albertson as Captain Salbo in Kissin’ Cousins

And there is on person who appeared in Roustabout and five other Elvis movies as a dancer.

Elvis and Teri Garr - Roustabout

That’s Teri Garr to the right of Elvis. Check her out in other Elvis movies by clicking here.

Here’s some other Roustabout tidbits.

Elvis Winning Fight with Karate Chop in Roustabout

Elvis beats up on these two college smart-asses using karate. He used that a few more times in his movies, didn’t he? In Roustabout, Elvis actually has four fights. Seems like that should be a record, but I’m not going to watch all the movies again to find out for sure.

Elvis in Jail - Roustabout

Uh, oh, Elvis landed in jail. How many times has that happened in Elvis movies? Let’s see, Jailhouse Rock, Girl Happy… probably more.

While looking for photos of Joan Freeman, I came across this one:

Joan Freeman and Roy Orbison

Joan looks hotter here, but who is that with her? Give up? It’s Roy Orbison in his one and only movie role, The Fastest Guitar Alive.

Fastest Guitar Alive Poster

The movie was made in 1967 and is thought by some to be a classic because it is so weird.

Hidden Rifle in Fastest Guitar Alive

How’s this for a plot device? Turn that little knob and a rifle barrel comes out of a secret compartment and you’re ready to shoot-‘em-up.

Roy Orbison and Girls in Fastest Guitar Alive

In this promo shot both Roy and Joan look pretty good.

Roy Orbison Kissing Joan Freeman

And this is them kissing.

I always end these Elvis movie pictorials with a shots of him kissing his leading ladies, so here’s Elvis and Joan Freeman.

Elvis Kissing Joan Freeman in Roustabout

Frankly, I think Roy got the better kiss from her.

But, don’t worry, Elvis. You got this one from Sue Ane Langdon.

Elvis Kissing Sue Ane Langdon in Roustabout

You should have given in, Elvis, and enjoyed the sizzle.

 

 

© 2014 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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