Tag Archives: Donna Douglas

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.


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

ElvisBlog Mini-Nuggets #19

We haven’t done Mini-Nuggets since March 2014, but Elvis’ 80th birthday has provided some short subjects to report.

Record Number of Hits for ElvisBlog:

ElvisBlog Results on Google Analytics

On January 1, I checked Google Analytics to see how well ElvisBlog did for the year. 147,000 people (users) visited the site, resulting in 279,991 pageviews (hits). That’s an average of 2,800 users a week, a gain of 30% over the 2013 results. Definitely a good year.

Which makes the results in the graphic above even more remarkable. Yesterday, on what would have been Elvis’ 80th birthday, ElvisBlog had nearly 2,600 people visit the site. Wow. I hope I’m still around to see the results on Elvis’ 100th birthday.


Elvis’ Movie Costars Pass Away:

Mary Ann Mobley with Elvis in Girl Happy

When time permits, we will take a deeper look at two late actresses who appeared with films with Elvis. Mary Ann Mobley (Girl Happy, Harum Scarum) died on December 19, 2014.

Donna Douglas and Elvis in Frankie and Johnny

Donna Douglas (Frankie and Johnny) passed away on New Year’s Day, 2015.

Elvis’ leading ladies have been a staple for print and video interviews about him for decades. Has there ever been an Elvis Week without one or two of them being “Special Guests” for talks, panel discussions, and autograph sessions?

Donna Butterworth with Elvis Presley in Paradise, Hawaiian Style

Well, the list is getting short, and you have to wonder what authors, journalists and EPE will do when Elvis’ female costars are all gone. Now we have a hint. In celebration of Elvis 80th birthday, an article in the Boone, NC Mountain Times featured an interview with Donna Butterworth who was ten-years-old when she appeared with Elvis in Paradise, Hawaiian Style. You are going to see more of this.


Peanut Butter ‘N Banana Ice Cream:

Baskin-Robbins Peanut Butter 'N Bananna Ice Cream

I received an email from the PR firm representing Baskin-Robbins telling me about their new flavor to celebrate Elvis’ 80th Birthday. It will be available for the entire month of January, and it is described as banana-flavored ice cream with a chunky peanut butter ribbon. They are sending me two $31 gift cards – one to use to sample it and write a review. I expect to like it, but I did have a bad experience at Elvis Week 2007 when I tried peanut butter and banana coffee, and it was lame.

The other gift card will be offered as the prize in an Elvis Caption Contest which I will post in a couple of days.


The Elvis Auction at Graceland:

Auction at Graceland

The auction last night was a huge success, highlighted by the 1953 acetate of Elvis’ first recorded songs “My Happiness”/”That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.” The pre-auction estimate was for $75-100,000, but it went for $300,000! That’s got to be the highest priced record ever. Let’s see a record by Michael Jackson, or the Beatles, or Mariah Carey top that.

There were 67 items up for auction, so it will take two or three blogs to cover all the interesting elements of this Elvis 80th birthday event, and I’ll get them posted as soon as possible.



© 2014 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.


Random Thoughts on Encore’s Elvis Collection — Part 6

Thirty-one straight nights of Elvis movies.  A big thank you goes to cable channel Encore for the Elvis Collection they presented in May.  This was a rare treat for Elvis fans.  The last week featured repeats of three of the best Elvis movies from earlier showings, which is good if you missed any of them (or gives you a few nights to do other stuff if you don’t want to see them again so soon).

Movies Presented Last Week That I liked:


Elvis With Punks

King Creole – This was a repeat from three weeks ago, so I didn’t watch.  That will be the last time I’ll ever skip it when King Creole is shown commercial-free on cable.  It is probably Elvis’ best movie and the cast of supporting actors is great.  I like the way Elvis handled his character Danny Fisher.  He would never again get to portray such a conflicted and tortured soul.  King Creole was discussed in Random Thoughts Part 2.


Elvis and Shelly Fabares

Girl Happy – One of those silly happy Elvis movies I love so much.  I really like the vibe between Elvis and Shelly Fabares in Girl Happy.  Plus, lots of lovely girls in bikinis and several good songs.  I can’t figure out why Encore didn’t repeat Girl Happy, instead of the lame Girls, Girls, Girls.


Elvis and Juliet Prowse

G.I. Blues – Another of the fun Elvis movies with pretty good music.  The two dance sequences by Juliet Prowse are different and interesting.  This was another repeat and has be covered in Random Thoughts Part 2.


Elvis and Judy Tyler

Jailhouse Rock – I love this movie, but I skipped it because it was another repeat from the first week.  It is discussed in the first Random Thoughts on Encore’s Elvis Collection. It’s a serious film that manages to have the best soundtrack of any Elvis film.


Elvis and Joan Blackman

Kid Galahad – I haven’t watched this one very often, but I’m glad Encore included it in their Elvis collection.  It grows on me each time.  Elvis plays a modest, well-adjusted young man, who gets to sing, box and romance, while his co-stars Gig Young, Lola Albright, and Charles Bronson grapple with their serious problems.

I noticed that unlike most Elvis movies, he and love interest Joan Blackman never had a break-up before coming together at the end.  A very smooth romance.  I also noted that Elvis’ hair was dark brown – a distinct change from the jet black he sported the previous night in Roustabout.

The Ones I’m Tired of Watching:


Elvis and Mary Ann Mobley

Harum Scarum – Well, it was different, but I get bored watching it.  The plot and action were pretty weak.  The bad guys (including Red West) weren’t very believable, nor was Elvis dropping a tiger with a single Karate chop.  I did like Mary Ann Mobely, though.


Elvis and Mary Tyler Moore

Change of Habit – I know other reviewers think this is pretty good movie, but I don’t.  It certainly wasn’t a fun movie.  Elvis was almost a bit player compared to the tribulations that Mary Tyler Moore and two other nuns encountered.  There was little music, and except for “Rubberneckin,’” it was forgettable.


Elvis and Teri Garr

Roustabout – This one isn’t too bad, but it certainly would have been improved with a better love interest than Joan Freeman.  The most interesting female in the cast was Sue Ann Langdon as the carny fortune teller, Madame Mijanou.  She nearly duplicated this roll as Mitzi in Frankie and Johnny – both characters were busty, love-starved women on the prowl.

There is one reason I still watch Roustabout.  A teenaged Raquel Welch appears in an early bar scene, and a young Teri Garr is the dancer to Elvis’ left when he sings on the outdoor stage.


Some Things I’ve Noticed Watching Twenty-four Different Elvis Movies in Four Weeks:

Lots of Elvis movie opening credits have him driving a car (motorcycle, helicopter, etc) while singing a song.  Change of Habit may have been the only one that used graphics for the credits.  No shots of Elvis at all.

Lots of actors show up in more than one Elvis movie.  We all know about the leading ladies with rolls in multiple films: Yvonne Craig, Delores Hart, Joan Blackman, Shelly Fabares, Mary Ann Mobley, etc.  But a series of consecutive viewings allows you to spot other actors.  Ed Asner made his film debut in Roustabout and also played a cop in Change of Habit.  Arthur O’Connell was the father figure in both Follow That Dream and Kissin’ Cousins.  Jeremy Slate was a soldier buddy of Elvis’ in G.I. Blues and the nasty boat company owner in Girl, Girls, Girls.  Bill Bixby competed with Elvis for the girl in Clambake, and was Elvis’ partner in Speedway.  This list could go on and on, all the way down to bit players (Teri Garr actually danced in four Elvis movies).

Elvis’ Memphis Mafia buddies are in many movies.  As I said before, when I know the story and dialog so well, I amuse myself studying the background characters for Joe Esposito, Red West, Charlie Hodge, Jerry Schilling and others.  Try it yourself.  The next time you watch an Elvis movie with a club scene, scan the audience and see who you can spot sitting at the tables.

My enjoyment of some Elvis movies is enhanced because of his fine costars in them.

Ann Margret  — Viva Las Vegas

Barbara Eden — Flaming Star (not in Encore collection)

Yvonne Craig — It Happened at the World’s Fair and Kissin’ Cousins

Tuesday Weld — Wild In The Country (not in Encore Collection)

Michele Carey — Live A Little, Love A Little

Anne Helm  — Follow That Dream

Donna Douglas — Frankie and Johnny


There are several costars that decrease my enjoyment in watching an Elvis movie.

Laurel Goodwin —  Girls, Girls, Girls

Ursula Andress — Fun In Acapulco

Joan Freeman — Roustabout

Annette Day  — Double Trouble (not in Encore Collection)


And finally, this is the Elvis movie not included in the Encore collection that I missed the most.

"Tickle Me"

“Tickle Me”


©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net


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