lunes, 23 de abril de 2012

Judy Tyler … Elvis’s Ill-fated Leading Lady in Jailhouse Rock



Judy Tyler … Elvis's Ill-fated
Leading Lady in Jailhouse Rock

Alan Hanson
In Memphis on October 17, 1957, actress Judy Tyler made her official entry into the world of Elvis Presley. Twenty-six minutes into the premiere of Jailhouse Rock, she walked into a Los Angeles bar and sat down on a stool next to Presley. Awkward glances marked the first interaction of their characters, Peggy Van Alden and Vince Everett. Over the next hour, a strained relationship played itself out on the screen, culminating in romance in the film's final scene.
Elvis Presley and Judy Tyler For many in the audience that night, it must have been a surreal experience watching Judy Tyler in the debut of Jailhouse Rock. They all knew that she had died over four months earlier. Even all these years later, it can be a touching experience viewing the final scene of Jailhouse Rock, knowing that just three weeks after it was filmed, the leading lady's promising career tragically ended on a lonely Wyoming highway.
Born Judith Mae Hess on October 9, 1932, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Judy Tyler was raised by parents familiar with show business. Her father, a building contractor, had played the trumpet in big bands, and her mother had been a chorus girl. In her youth, Judy studied ballet, music, and acting. In 1948, at age 15, she left school to go into modeling. The following year she was named "Miss Stardust" in a nationwide contest. Soon afterwards she moved to New York City and got a job dancing in the Copacabana chorus line. There she met her vocal coach Colin Romoff, whom she later married.
After working in several New York nightclubs as a singer, Tyler got her first national exposure in 1952 when she began a three-year run as Princess Summerfall Winterspring on the Howdy Doody TV show. In 1955 she landed a roll in the Broadway production of Pipe Dream. An amicable divorce from Romoff in 1956 was followed by another marriage to TV actor Gregory LaFayette in March 1957. The couple then traveled to Hollywood for what were to be the last four months of Judy Tyler's life.
• 1957 … A triumphant and tragic year for Judy Tyler
They were eventful months for Judy. She had a substantial role in "The Case of the Fan Dancer's Horse," the first Perry Mason TV episode to be filmed (though not the first one broadcast). She starred in her first film, the forgettable Bop Girl Goes Calypso, and then landed a breakout part as Elvis Presley's love interest in Jailhouse Rock.

Elvis Presley and Judy Tyler The movie was filmed at MGM's Hollywood studios from May 13-June 14, 1957. Elvis remained front and center throughout the film, and, although Judy had second billing, her roll in the script was not a challenging one. During her contentious on-screen relationship with Presley's character, Tyler spent much of her time revolving facial expressions between happiness, confusion, anger, and adoration. Her only memorable line came early on after Vince Everett smashed his guitar on the table in the Florida Club. When Vince asked Peggy why she was interested in him, she responded, "I like the way you swing a guitar."
Since Tyler was dressed conservatively throughout Jailhouse Rock, she appeared considerably older than Elvis. (Actually, at 24 she was only two years older than him.) Judy had just two dramatic scenes in the film, first when Elvis's character told her he was going to sell the recording company they started together, and the second when she told Elvis in the hospital that she loved him. Tyler handled the scenes well, but the briefness of both made them unmemorable in the context of the entire film. Judy also exhibited some athleticism in Jailhouse Rock. She twice chased Elvis down from behind on the sidewalk, wearing high heels both times.
The death of Judy Tyler
After principal photography on Jailhouse Rock ended on June 14, 1957, Judy and her husband decided to drive rather than fly to New York City, where she was due to appear on the CBS-TV program Pantomime Quiz. The couple chose to drive the mid-West route across the country through Wyoming.
In the early evening of July 3, their 1957 Chevrolet approached "Wild Bill's Curio Store and Petting Zoo" On US Highway 30, three miles north of Rock River, Wyoming. When a car pulled out of the tourist site onto the highway, LaFayette swerved, sending the couple's car skidding into the oncoming lane. Their car was hit broadside by a northbound vehicle. Judy was killed instantly; her husband died the next day in a Laramie hospital from chest and back injuries. Also dead at the scene was a passenger in the other car. The only survivor of the collision was the other driver.
Although Judy Tyler was not well known nationally at the time, newspapers across the country printed wire service articles on her death in the days that followed. Conflicting elements in those early accounts have left details about the accident and its aftermath unresolved to this day. Ted Smith's assertion in the Memphis Commercial-Appeal that Judy Tyler's body was "severed by the impact" continues to feed a belief over 50 years later that her body was cut in two. None of the other stories that appeared in national press at the time contained that claim, including The New York Times, which cited on-scene patrolman Paul Thresher as a source.
A few contemporary reports and many on-line sources today also reported that cash, furs, and jewelry were stolen from the Tyler car after the accident. However, other accounts indicate that a Milwaukee detective returned the couple's personal effects to their families. Gregory LaFayette's age at the time of his death is also in question. Smith, in his Commercial Appeal article, cited an MGM spokesman as saying "both Miss Tyler and her husband were 24." Those ages were universally reported at the time of the accident, but current evidence indicates that LaFayette was born on January 23, 1938, which would have made him 19 years old at the time of his death.
• Elvis wept upon learning of Tyler's death
George Klein says he'll never forget when Elvis knocked on his door early one morning in 1957. "He said, 'I've got some bad news. Judy Tyler just got killed in a car wreck.' So we drove around Memphis, talking about, reminiscing about her. How nice she was, how professional she was, and how tragic it was that she was killed in a car accident when first big motion picture was coming out. And he took it pretty tough."
Elvis Presley and Judy Tyler
"Nothing has hurt me as bad in my life," Elvis told reporter Smith later that day. "I remember the last night I saw them. They were leaving on a trip. Even remember what she was wearing. All of us boys really loved that girl. She meant a lot to all of us. I don't believe I can stand to see the movie we made together now, just don't believe I can."
According to Lamar Fike, however, Elvis was able to put the tragedy behind him. "It really upset him. He broke down and cried … Elvis couldn't get over it. He gave an interview to the Commercial-Appeal saying he didn't think he could stand to ever watch the movie. And he meant it at the time. But in thirty-six hours he was over it."
Elvis told Smith he planned on attending Tyler's funeral in New York, even if it meant missing the Memphis premiere of his film Loving You scheduled for the following Tuesday. A few days later, however, the Presley family issued a statement saying Elvis would not attend the funeral because he didn't want to create a disturbance.
Judy Tyler's ashes were interred at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Her husband was buried in his hometown of Hopewell Junction, New York.
Jailhouse Rock reviewers kind to Judy Tyler
When the film was released nationally in November 1957, reviewers were kind to Judy Tyler. Since she was dead by then, the writers apparently saw no need to analyze her work in detail, and so usually provided only passing remarks. Following are some of references to Tyler in the initial reviews of Jailhouse Rock.
"Star receives good support, Miss Tyler—killed in an auto accident several months ago—comes through nicely." | Variety
"Judy Tyler—alas, recently killed in a car crash—is a charming heroine." | Picturgoer
"The late Judy Tyler, as a pretty record promoter who helps the crude young singer to success only to receive shameful treatment in return, gives a performance that makes her untimely death seem all the sadder. | Los Angeles Herald Express
"Although she isn't allotted one single note here, Miss Tyler is the lovely little brunette from Broadway's 'Pipe Dream,' tragically killed after making her film debut." | The New York Times
• The lost future of Judy Tyler
While Elvis Presley fans will long remember Judy Tyler, her death at age 24 in 1957 did not raise her to iconic status in the consciousness of American culture. Unlike James Dean, she was struck down before her full promise as an actress could be realized. In a July 20, 1957, article, Variety asserted that Tyler "was advancing far ahead of herself … In 'Pipe Dream' her performance was described as cryptic, while in the café, Miss Tyler was described as needing direction before she could enter top ranks in this field."
Margaret Harford, however, writing in the Los Angeles Mirror News on November 4, 1957, lamented the promising future that had been lost to the entertainment industry. "Youthful Miss Tyler's death is a real loss," Harford judged, "for she was a talented, fresh-looking beauty who probably would have done extremely well in the movies."

sábado, 14 de abril de 2012



This article from November of 1956 was quite the change of pace from the articles that were being written about Elvis early in his career. Instead of bashing Elvis for his sex appeal and gyrating dance movies, this journalist said that Elvis' first film, Love Me Tender, needed more of it.
May 26, 1956, Columbus, Ohio, Veterans Memorial Auditorium
June 3, 1956 - Oakland, CA
June 27, 1956 Augusta Georgia, heading to the show
June 27, 1956 Augusta Georgia
June 28,1956  Charleston, S.C.
Elvis outside New York's Hudson Theater, July 1, 1956, after his Steve Allen appearance.



"Whipper" Billy Watson, Elvis and wrestling promoter Frank Tunney
Backstage at the Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario - Tuesday, April 2, 1957.Watson, famous Canadian professional wrestler, was part of Elvis' security team in Toronto.

1960ManOfTheYear.jpg october24.60ManoftheYear.jpg october24.1960Manoftheyear.jpg 3 above, Graceland October 24, 1960, Rick Husky (right) from the TKE fraternity at Arkansas State College came up with the idea of presenting Elvis with a "Man Of The Year" Award for his considerable contributions to charity.

March/April 1965 From May the 8th 1965 copy of Billboard Magazine

jueves, 12 de abril de 2012

Elvis Roots … Early R&B, Hillbilly & Doo Wop Influences


Elvis Roots … Early R&B,
Hillbilly & Doo Wop Influences

                                             Alan Hanson
Elvis often cited rhythm and blues as the forerunner of rock 'n' roll, as well as the inspiration for his personal vocal style. It was through Elvis, however, that I was introduced to R&B. I was too young in the early fifties to be listening to that musical genre along with Elvis. And I've never been motivated to investigate those early R&B recordings that Elvis internalized.
Elvis roots Recently, however, a friend loaned me a CD box set and made me promise to listen to it. Issued on Proper Records in England and titled We're Gonna Rock, We're Gonna Roll, the 4-CD set contains 118 R&B, Hillbilly, and Doo Wop recordings, almost all from the 1949-1954 period.
Listening to those cuts has been a revelation for me. I've begun to understand how young Elvis felt when he listened to the same music on Dewey Phillips's "Red Hot and Blue" show on WDIA radio in Memphis. Among the 118 recordings are 17 tunes that Elvis later either recorded or performed during his live shows. Comparing those recordings reveals the direct connection Presley had with the R&B artists and rock 'n' roll pioneers who came before him. All of the information below, other than my own observations, comes from the booklet that accompanied the British box set. Adam Komorowski wrote the text. (All titles in bold face are pre-Elvis recordings included in the English set.)
 Let's start with Elvis's Sun recordings in 1954-1955. Of course, it's common knowledge that his very first studio recording, That's All Right, was first recorded by Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup. As Komorowski observes, "That's All Right enabled Elvis to combine the black man's blues with a white man's delivery to give birth to rockabilly." Born in Mississippi in 1905, Crudup later moved to Chicago and was signed to a recording contract by RCA Victor in 1941. During the next 10 years he recorded over 80 songs for RCA, including "My Baby Left Me" and "So Glad You're Mine," both of which Elvis later covered. It was his 1946 recording of "That's All Right," however, that provided Presley with the perfect vehicle to kickstart his own career. In 1954, just as Elvis's career was getting started, Crudup's was coming to an end. It wasn't until the late 1960s, when a revival of interest in the blues made Crudup a cult figure, that he recorded and performed again. He died of a stroke at a Mississippi hospital on March 28, 1974.

Elvis recorded Good Rockin' Tonight at Sam Phillips' Sun Studio in September 1954. According to Komorowski, however, it was Wynonie Harris's 1949 recording of the song on King Records that "set off the rocking aspect of R&B and was one of the pivotal recordings to inspire the advent of rock'n'roll." Five years later Elvis completed the transition with his recording of Good Rockin' Tonight. As he did with many of the early R&B tunes that he covered, Elvis changed some of the lyrics to accommodate his faster tempo. Harris came to dislike rock 'n' roll and sought to distance himself from it in both his recordings and stage shows. Harris's career effectively came to an end in the late fifties, although he recorded again in 1960 for Roulette and in 1964 on the Chess label. He died of throat cancer on June 14, 1969.

Elvis roots During a Sun session on July 11,1955, Elvis recorded two other early R&B numbers included in the British box set. Mystery Train was an inhouse cover, it having been first recorded in the same studio two years earlier by Herman "Little Junior" Parker. Like Elvis, Parker was weaned on gospel music before turning to blues as a teenager. After recording on Ike Turner's Modern Records label in 1952, Parker moved over to Sun, where he recorded under the name "Little Junior's Blue Flames." His Mystery Train earned him notoriety on the R&B charts. With the rise of rockabilly, Parker signed with Duke records, where he enjoyed success throughout the fifties. He recorded and toured extensively during the fifties and sixties. In 1971 he fell ill while on tour in Chicago. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died soon afterwards on November 18. In 2001 he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
Also at the July 1955 Sun session, Elvis recorded Tryin' to Get to You, a tune first recorded by The Eagles just a year earlier on the Mercury label. Elvis obviously liked The Eagles' version of the song. His rendition matches their tempo and lyrics almost exactly. Elvis later included the song in the sit-down segment of his 1968 TV special, as well as in concerts during the 1970s. He said Trying' to Get to You was his father's favorite among all the songs he had recorded. And who were The Eagles? They went on to record seven more sides and release two more singles for Mercury. Yeah, but who were they? "Not a clue," confesses Komorowski.
 A scratchy 1955 Hayride recording also exists of Elvis singing Hearts of Stone, waxed by The Jewels the year before. Same goes for Fool Fool Fool, released by The Clovers on Atlantic Records in 1951. Elvis was taped performing that song during a 1955 appearance in Lubbock, Texas. Komorowski gives no information about The Jewels, but The Clovers had a long run as an R&B act. The group signed with Atlantic in 1950 and in July 1951 cut Fool Fool Fool, which went to the top of the R&B chart. They continued to produce hits into the 1960s. In 1959 they reached #23 on the pop chart with Leiber and Stoller's Love Potion No. 9. Bossa Nova Baby, another Leiber and Stoller composition, did not chart for The Clovers in 1962 but was a top 10 hit for Elvis the following year. After a final recording session in 1980, The Clovers finally split up for good.
The seven Presley covers discussed thus far all came from Elvis's days at Sun Records from 1954-55. Elvis recorded the following covers during his years with RCA. They span the length of his career with that company, from his very first session with RCA until his final one. His career-long tendency to return to his youth for recording material reveals how deeply those early R&B and hillbilly artists influenced him.
Elvis roots After Elvis signed with RCA in late November 1955, he quickly went into the studio to record material for his first single and album for the label. His first RCA session on January 10, 1956, in Nashville is historic primarily because Heartbreak Hotel came out of it. Two other songs waxed that day, however, were R&B covers.
The very first number tackled in that first session was Ray Charles's I Got a Woman. When Charles wrote and recorded the song for Atlantic Records in 1954, he was already an established artist singing gospel inspired rhythm and blues. Obviously deeply influenced by this particular Charles number, Elvis performed it often during live performances throughout his career. Charles, of course, went on to have a hugely successful jazz, R&B, country, and soul career. His final hit single came in 1989. He died of liver disease at the age of 73 on June 11, 2004.
At the same January 1956 session, Elvis recorded Money Honey, which appeared on his first RCA album along with I Got a Woman. Reaching #1 on the R&B charts in 1953, Money Honey started a run of seven straight hits for The Drifters from 1953-55. The military draft removed lead singer Clyde McPhatter from the group in late 1954, but The Drifters carried on, creating a signature sound in the early sixties with hits like Save the Last Dance for Me, On Broadway, and Under the Boardwalk.
Later in January 1956, Elvis was back in the studio to record more cuts for his first RCA album. Again, he leaned heavily on early R&B numbers. Included was Lawdy, Miss Clawdy, which put New Orleans born Lloyd Price on the R&B map. His recording for Specialty Records in 1952 stayed on the charts for six months. As with Elvis, though, Uncle Sam interrupted Price career in 1953. When he returned in 1956, rock 'n' roll had a firm hold on popular music, and Price, again like Elvis, had to adapt musically. Signing with the ABC Paramount label, Price reeled off a trio of chart toppers, Stagger Lee, Personality, and I'm Gonna Get Married. After his business partner was murdered in 1969, Price left the recording business to become a boxing promoter in Africa. Meanwhile, Elvis included Lawdy, Miss Clawdy in his 1968 TV special and his stage shows in the seventies.
Elvis also waxed a cover of Shake, Rattle and Roll during his second RCA session in 1956. The British CD includes two earlier recordings of that rock classic. Big Joe Turner had a long recording career dating back to 1938. His career really took off, however, when he signed with Atlantic Records in 1951 and began aiming his recordings directly at the R&B market. When Turner cut Shake, Rattle and Roll in December 1953, it cemented his role in the birth of rock 'n' roll. As the 1950s closed, so did Turner's career. He died November 24, 1985, from complications of diabetes and a stroke.

Elvis roots A few months after Big Joe Turner's record hit the R&B charts in 1954, Bill Haley & the Comets covered Shake, Rattle and Roll with a straight rock 'n' roll rendition. While Haley's Rock Around the Clock from 1955 is often credited with being the first rock 'n' roll recording, his rendering of Shake, Rattle and Roll is an earlier and equally deserving candidate for that honor. Elvis's cover of the song shows the influence of both Turner's and Haley's recordings—Turner's in the lyrics and Haley's in the beat. While Haley's star had faded out in the U.S. by the 1960s, his popularity in Britain and other parts of Europe lasted the rest of his life. He died on February 9, 1981.
Before Elvis recorded Hound Dog on July 2, 1956, in RCA's New York studios, his performances of the song on the Milton Berle and Steve Allen network TV shows had already created controversy. Elvis's recording made the Leiber and Stoller composition a rock 'n' roll classic, but the studio history of Hound Dog can be traced back to Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton in 1952. "A committed lesbian and hard bitten alcoholic, Big Mama took no prisoners," according to Komorowski. After Hound Dog sold two million copies and topped the R&B charts, Big Mama claimed the song was her composition, a contention successfully countered by Leiber and Stoller in court. Supported by a growing white interest in the blues, she continued to record through the 1970s. After having been struck down by a car, Big Mama later died of a heart attack on July 25, 1984.
Through the years, Hound Dog has been covered over 80 times by various artists. The British CD set includes a 1953 version of Hound Dog by country singer Betsy Gay. Her rendition was about as rockabilly as a woman could get in those days. As a teenager Elvis certainly must have heard both Big Mama's and Betsy Gay's versions of "Hound Dog, and his straight rock 'n' roll version three years later showed the influence of both styles.
On September 1, 1956, Elvis recorded Love Me at Radio Recorders studio in Hollywood. It appeared on Elvis's second RCA LP and was also released as the lead song on a 4-song extended play record. In that format, Love Me spent 19 weeks on Billboard's Top 100, including seven weeks in the top 10. Another Leiber and Stoller composition, Love Me was first recorded by Willy and Ruth on the Spark label in 1953. Willie Headen was the lead singer of the Honey Bears, and Ruth was married to the group's bass singer. The duo had one more hit for Spark before Headen continued on as a solo act and a member of various groups through the late sixties.
After leaving the army in March 1960, Elvis went into RCA's Studio B in Nashville to record material for new singles and an album. On April 3, 1960, he cut Such a Night, which appeared on the Elvis is Back LP and was released as a single by RCA in 1964. The British CD set includes two versions of the song from 1954. The Drifters' release of Such a Night reached #2 on the R&B charts. Elvis's later recording also may have been influenced by Bunny Paul's provocative rendition of Such a Night. The buxom blonde's recording was banned by some radio stations as being too sexually suggestive. Still, it became one of Bunny's best selling records in a career that produced over 50 singles starting in 1946. A 1960 brain tumor resulting in partial paralysis slowed, but did not end, her singing career.
Finally, We're Gonna Rock, We're Gonna Roll contains three other early recordings that Elvis covered later in his career. First is Hank Snow's I'm Movin' On, recorded by Presley at American Studios in Memphis in January 1969. Snow's signature hillbilly tune rode the country charts in 1950. In March 1975, Elvis covered Faye Adams' powerful 1953 black gospel recording of Shake a Hand. Elvis's version appeared on his Today LP.
Lastly, Elvis covered Johnny Ace's 1954 hit Pledging My Love during his Jungle Room Sessions at Graceland in 1976. The song was one of the last that both artists recorded. Ace died in Houston a few months after his recording when he accidentally shot himself in his dressing room while touring with Big Mama Thornton. Elvis died less than 10 months after he recorded Pledging My Love, which was on the B side of the last Presley single released during his lifetime. The song served as a last, tragic reminder of the influence early R&B singers had on the life and music of Elvis Presley

jueves, 5 de abril de 2012

Fan Mags Kept Elvis Home Fires Burning During the Army Years


Fan Mags Kept Elvis Home Fires
Burning During the Army Years

 Alan Hanson

With the exception of one recording session, after Elvis Presley's army induction on March 24, 1958, his show business activities halted completely for nearly two years. His handlers, though, worked tirelessly to keep Presley's image alive in the marketplace. Although Elvis was out of sight, his fans still had one more opportunity to see him perform. King Creole, produced just before his induction, wasn't released in theaters until three months later. When Elvis embarked for Germany in the fall of 1958, however, he physically disappeared from the entertainment landscape.

Elvis Presley army cartoon His recording label did what it could to keep his voice alive at home. While Elvis was in uniform, RCA issued 5 Presley singles, 3 LPs, and 6 EPs. While they did well on both the record charts and in the record stores, they were not enough to meet Colonel Parker's goal of keeping Elvis continually in the public eye during his absence.
Part of Parker's strategy was to promote Presley in the nation's popular celebrity magazines. Encouraging writers to cover Elvis cost the Colonel nothing and led to regular articles about Elvis appearing in various entertainment publications that were trendy with the young set.
Just one example is Maxine Block's article, "When Elvis Comes Marching Home … " in the November 1959 issue of Movieland and TV Time magazine. Colonel Parker's prompting was evident immediately in Block's opening. She quoted Parker: "When that little ol' boy o' mine—Elvis Aron Presley—comes marchin' home again to Hollywood, I aim to give him the biggest ol' welcome-home party this town's ever seen. That blowout will be the biggest combined clambake, catfish fry, dancin'-in-the-streets affair you ever heard tell of. The boy deserves it: His record as a GI couldn't be better and there's every indication he'll have more fans than when he left."
The Colonel fed Block a few Elvis rumors to spread. The singer has his manager scouting out digs for him near Hollywood, Block dutifully informed her readers. Real estate agents were already scouring Westwood, Pacific Palisades, and the San Fernando Valley to find a palatial estate for Elvis, whose army discharge was just five months away. Oh, and Parker had plans as well to send his boy on a nationwide concert tour interspersed with guest shots on TV shows. (Of course, this was all Parker propaganda. He had no intention of harming his client's movie box office potential by overexposing him on stage or on TV.)
• The "Coke set" was not about to forget Elvis
Block then backtracked to March 24, 1958, which she labeled "Black Monday" for much of America's female population. "That was the day Elvis Presley traded his blue suede shoes for U.S. Army combat boots," she reminded her readers. "And there were those who said he'd be forgotten long before he could slip back into his well-worn blue suedes. They reasoned that the Coke set, notoriously fickle, would desert their hero for a new idol … You know the old adage—out of sight, out of mind."

Elvis Presley army photo Others had been groomed to take his place, she noted—Rick Nelson, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Darin, and Tommy Sands. The truth was, Block contended, "no one has taken the place of the greatest teenage idol of all time." (Colonel Parker couldn't have said it better.)
Next came more propaganda from Parker, who, when it came to Elvis, had a fondness for making big numbers even bigger and a shameless proclivity for exaggeration. "In Germany Elvis has received between 5,000 and 10,000 letters a week from fans all over the world," Block wrote, echoing the Colonel. "The hysteria over the handsome singer has never simmered down. Wherever he's gone in Germany there's been a crowd of adoring German teenagers in full cry. They've crashed cordons of military police, upset photographers' cameras and shoved each other in their zeal to press flowers upon him." (Of course, the truth is the army had kept Elvis away from any such potential disturbances.)
Block went on to assure Elvis's fans that he wanted to see them as much as they wanted to see him. He was "painfully homesick," she noted, and he became teary-eyed when he expressed hope he could return home for Christmas on furlough. (Instead he consoled himself with showgirls during a two-week leave in Paris.)
• Elvis was eager to get back to his "American chicks"
Colonel Parker assured Block that the dreams of millions of American girls were still alive. Elvis wasn't about to fall for any German girl, he said. "It's this reporter's feeling that all the talk about Elvis' finding a real heart interest in Germany is—just so much talk," Block concluded. Those German girls mentioned in press reports were "merely dates, as are others, with whom he whiles away his few free hours on weekends." Elvis was looking forward, Block believed, to turning in "the buxom, blond-banged German frauleins for his little ol' American chicks."
Maxine Block concluded her article in Movieland and TV Time with the following declaration of Elvis Presley's enduring popularity.
"Elvis has changed as he's ripened into manhood, mellowed as he's shaken hands with maturity and kissed his rebellious adolescence good-bye. So there remains no doubt that he will be a stronger entertainment figure than ever before. His old, loyal audience hasn't left him—and a good proportion of newer, more mature people will applaud the newer, more mature Elvis Presley."
(Block's article must have brought a smile to the face of Colonel Parker, the self-acclaimed "great snowman.")
• Parker deserves credit for promoting soldier Elvis
That the magazine's glorification of Elvis in its November 1959 issue was part of an ongoing policy is confirmed in the letters column of the same issue. "MOVIELAND AND TV TIME is my favorite magazine," wrote Sharon Fox of Chicago. "Why? Because you always have such wonderful stories on Elvis Presley. Other magazines either have him engaged to every girl he dates or even make up stories about him. But we Elvis fans can always rely on MOVIELAND AND TV TIME to give us great stories on our boy."
Just how many similar Elvis articles that appeared in celebrity magazines during Presley's army hitch were promoted by Colonel Parker will never be known. What is certain, though, is that Elvis's manager worked tirelessly during those years to keep his client's image prominent in the nation's pop culture. Without Parker's efforts, would Elvis have come back to civilian life as triumphantly as he did? I think not._

lunes, 2 de abril de 2012

the making of Viva Las Vegas part 2

What's more, it doesn't end until 12 hours later. Of the film shot in the day, approximately six minutes is usable. Therefore, it is understandable that "Viva Las Vegas" will cost in excess of $3,000,000.
Each day's filming is viewed the following day by Director George Sidney and Producer Jack Cummings. Then, if any scenes need a re-take, it can be done immediately in order to prevent a costly return trip to Las Vegas after the group has returned to Hollywood.

Premier in LV

Sidney hopes to finish shooting here by the weekend but the movie will not be wrapped up until late September. Cummings told the SUN that there is an excellent possibility that the pictures will be premiered here at Easter-time.
For the first time in his amazing career, Elvis has a name for his romantic lead and one who can share the vocal assignment.
Although the emphasis is primarily on the story, both he and Ann-Margret have production numbers, as well as duets.
The story line is relatively simple - the struggle by a young racing enthusiast to raise money to get his own car. Complicating matters is his romance with a shapely swimming instructor who doesn't cotton to the idea of a husband who spends Memorial Days whizzing around the Indianapolis Speedway.
There is a personal and professional rivalry, too, between Elvis and the leading European sports car racer, played by Cesare Danova.
Ah, there is a man! Cesare's latest film is "Cleopatra" in which he play's Liz' lover Apollodorus. After seeing him, one wonders how Burton stood a chance with Miss Taylor.

Language Expert

Master of five languages, the handsome Italian made his first film in his native Rome when he was 20. The six-foot-four former medical student with curly black hair, melodious voice and flashing smile, also recently starred in "Gidget Goes to Rome."
"Viva Las Vegas" is unique in that the spotlight is on "the other side" of Las Vegas rather than its casinos. The city is shown for the first time in a motion picture as a family vacation center, which it is to thousands of people, instead of just an oasis for quenching the gambling thirst.
The climax of the film will be a roaring, screeching sports car race through Las Vegas streets, across Boulder Dam and through the blazing desert.
At least six new numbers will be introduced in the picture, all of which Elvis will record. Interestingly enough, the 29-year-old often imitated bachelor has had 31 singles pass the million mark in sales, while Frank Sinatra has had none.
Although spectators are not allowed directly on the set, one can easily stand within seeing range. Filming will continue today, tomorrow and Friday at Lake Mead Marina.

By Gloria Reible
Las Vegas Sun
July 24, 1963

A photo from one of the cut scenes from the movie,which would have been at the end, after the existing wedding scene. This image shows members of the general public in the background,waiting for the action to commence, compare this to the photo lower down from the same location.

This image is an interesting one,as Elvis has on the jacket from this scene(below)but the shirt and tie from the wedding scene. Ann Margret's clothes don't appear in the finished movie so far as I can see.The car is the same in both scenes, with the white ribbons attached, so this looks like this is another shot from the cut wedding scene,and this maybe explained in that Elvis and his Co-star are getting ready for a camera rehersal in the car.

There were two types of Elva car ,one a Elva MK VI climax,and an Elva-Maserati (seen in beginning of the movie) developed in Hastings and constructed in Rye, East Sussex,UK. The car was then transported to the USA,and brought by Dan Blocker, had some modifications done and rented to MGM.*
Bob Harris,stunt driver explains
I also stunted five movies with Elvis Presley, What happened was I was racing exotic Can-Am cars for Dan Blocker for this TV series he was the star of called 'Bonanza.' Our race cars were very valuable and the people filming the movie 'Viva Las Vegas' wanted to borrow them. They said, 'You should use Bob, he's got dark hair, he's almost as tall as Elvis and not much older. When I did the driving it worked out well and Elvis liked me, so the next time they did something they were like, 'Let's get Bob again.' Once we became friends it was a given that I'd stunt double for him."


12.Dan Blocker and Elvis(Not on V.L.V)


Another image from the cut wedding scene,this time with background action/cast in view.
This image,and the one below are taken from this site via e-bay . ... ubmit.yZ23
Elvis in the driving seat,Ann Margret looks to have thrown her bouquet.

A publicity photograph from the end wedding scene.
The original suit worn by Elvis for the wedding scene

I haven't found any photographic evidence to either the rumored scene shot inside the chapel or 'Your the Boss' production number,although I do remember reading in a US video magazine in the early 1990's that 'Your the boss' was to feature in 'Thats Entertainment 3'. Any thoughts?


Elvis pictured from a scene in the movie filmed at the 'Tropicana Hotel' for the Folies Bergere scene. A brochure from 1963 Folies Bergere

A Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta on the left and the Elva MK VI car can be seen in a still from the movie .**

George Sidney

They said, "We'd like you to make a picture with Elvis because Elvis' pictures have gone to hell." I had never seen one. I looked at one and said, "Sure. The problem is he doesn't play opposite the girls. They only have close-ups of him."
So they had a story that he went out in desert and dug for oil. I decided to make a love story, one to show the good side of Vegas that I always loved. I had fun making the picture. They looked great together.
I think we became as friendly as you could with an illusion. When you meet him, he's behind a piece of glass and for those two minutes, that's the best you'll ever know him. They called him Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs because he always had his people around him.
People ask me, how did I take him? I say, "What do you mean take him? We had (Greta) Garbo, (Clark) Gable, (Spencer) Tracy, (Fred) Astaire, (Gene) Kelly -- we had all those people. He was just another person."

Ann Margret and Elvis relax between takes at the Flamingo Hotel.


the making of Viva Las Vegas

Director George Sidney,Elvis and Ann Margret at the MGM studios ,1963,for announcement of the production of 'Viva Las Vegas'
Ann Margret stated ""When I signed the contract to the Elvis-film, at the same time I signed for 'Say it With Music', if I wouldn't get the first, I wouldn't take the other".
The two met in the beginning of July in 1963. Elvis was 28, Ann-Margret 22. Both were on top of the world. For the first time Elvis and the Colonel had agreed to have a "leading lady" starring with Elvis in a film.
The first meeting between Elvis and Ann-Margret was well planned by the publicity department for the upcoming film "Viva Las Vegas". Director George Sidney, who himself was pretty keen on Ann-Margret, introduced the two stars to each other at the MGM studios. Both were formally dressed, Elvis in a suit and tie, Ann-Margret in double-buttoned white turtleneck, her hair up.
They said a few polite phrases. A photographer took some shots, then it was over.
They met again on July 11. This time to work together. The place was Radio Recorders Studio on 7000 Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. Elvis had the days before recorded six of the songs for the film, now it was time for a couple of duets with Ann-Margret: "The Lady Loves Me" and "You're The Boss".^
They found each other instantly. They were on the same wavelength. They sparkled.
From the book "Elvis - King Of Sweden" by Borje Lundberg, 1997

"From day one, when we gathered around the piano to run through the film's songs, Elvis and I knew that it was going to be serious. That day, we discovered two things about each other. Once the music started, neither of us could stand still. Music ignited a fiery pent-up passion inside Elvis and inside me. It was an odd, embarrassing, funny, inspiring, and wonderful sensation. We looked at each other move and saw virtual mirror images. When Elvis thrust his pelvis, mine slammed forward too. When his shoulder dropped, I was down there with him. When he whirled, I was already on my heel. 'It's uncanny,' I said. He grinned. Whatever it was, Elvis liked it and so did I."
Ann-Margret G.P. Putnam's Sons


"It was just like meeting anyone", Ann-Margret says smiling. "Well, almost anyway. I met him while doing 'Viva Las Vegas', in which we're both starring. We were running through the songs we would sing together in the film. He came in, and I felt so shy that I could hardly smile. He just came up and said 'Hi', and I said 'Hi' back". But it didn't stop with that 'Hi'.



Director George Sidney,Elvis,Ann Margret,Calvin Jackson MGM assistant musical director, and George Stoll MGM Musical director,arranger and musical score conductor .(*) ... apid=59486

"The Lady Loves Me" may be the new title of "Viva Las Vegas," MGM movie currently being filmed here.
Reason for the change, a studio spokesman on the set attests, is because of a budding romance visible even to casual onlookers, between the stars of the flicker, Elvis and Ann-Margret.
The boy who owns the only Rolls-Royce in the world with Tennessee license plates and the girl who billed herself as the "Female Elvis Presley" at the start of her career, make a torrid combination, on or off the screen.
And the 109 degree temperature on the set was upped several degrees when the stars did a scene on the parking lot of the Sahara Hotel.
8.Ann Margret,Director George Sidney and Elvis.

Until one has visited an "on location filming," it is difficult to comprehend how little glamour it really entails. Rather, the one word which aptly describes the entire process is "work."
For the more than 200 actors, cameramen, stand-ins, make-up artists, technicians and other specialists necessary for making the movie, the workday begins at 6 a.m.
Work, work, work.




Levi Strauss, the jeans maker is creating a Warhol Factory X Levi's line of men's and women's clothing, including US$250 jeans and US$300 jackets.
The line of clothes will use some of Warhol's most famous images, including those of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, in its new collection which will be unveiled to prospective retail buyers at a trade show in Las Vegas next week but are not due to launch in shops until the spring of 2006.
``Levi is synonymous with American culture in the same way that Warhol and Elvis is, Levi is an iconic brand, Andy Warhol is an iconic artist and Elvis Presley is an iconic figure.'' a spokesman said. /Source:Levi Strauss

domingo, 1 de abril de 2012

Elvis's Grammy nominations


Although Elvis won only three Grammy Awards, he was nominated several other times.
 The following is a complete list of Elvis's Grammy nominations:
1. Record of the Year - "A Fool Such As I" ( lost to Bobby Darin's, "Mack the Knife")
2. Best performance by a " Top 40 " Artist - "A Big Hunk o' Love " ( lost to "Midnight Flyer " by Nat King Cole )
3. Best Rhythm and Blues Performance - "A Big Hunk o' Love" - (lost to Dianh Washington's "What a Diffference a Day Makes)
4.Best Album Cover - "For LP Fans Only" ( this was an art directors award and Col. Parker was nominated, lost to "Shostakovich:Symphony No 5 " )
5. Record of the Year - "Are You Lonesome Tonight? " ( lost to Percy Faith's "Theme From a Summer Place" )
6. Best Vocal Performance, Male - "Are You Lonesome Tonight? " ( lost to "Georgia On My Mind" by Ray Charles )
7. Best Performance by a Pop Singles Artist - "Are You Lonesome Tonight ?" ( lost to "Georgia On My Mind " by Ray Charles)
8. Best Vocal Performance - Male, Album - "G.I. Blues" ( lost to "Genius of Ray Charles")
9. Best Soundtrack Album or Recording of Original Cast From A Motion Picture or Television - "G.I. Blues " ( lost to Can- Can")
10. Best Soundtrack Album or Recording of Original Cast From A Motion Picture or Television - "Blue Hawaii" ( lost to "West Side Story ")
11. Best Sacred Performance -  " How Great Thou Art" WON
12. Best Sacred Performance - " You'll Never Walk Alone" ( lost to Jake Hess's album " Beautiful Isle of Somewhere")
13. Best Inspirational Performance - " He Touched Me " album - WON
14. Best Inspirational Performance - " How Great Thou Art " ( this was a track from the LP "Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis")  WON
15. Best Country Vocal Performance, Male - "Softly As I Leave You" ( lost to Willie' Nelson's, " Georgia On My Mind")
 Best Album Notes - "Elvis Aron Presley ( Lorene Lortic was nominated ) ( lost to Frank Sinatra's "Trilogy: Past Present and Future")



Aloha from Hawaii

Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite
Directed by Marty Pasetta
Produced by Marty Pasetta
Starring Elvis Presley
Editing by Stephen McKeown
Studio Pasetta Productions
Distributed by RCA
Release date(s) January 14, 1973(Worldwide)
Running time 85 minutes
Language English
Budget $2.5 million[1]

Aloha from Hawaii is a music concert that was headlined by Elvis Presley, and was broadcast live via satellite on January 14, 1973. It is regarded as the most watched broadcast by an individual entertainer in television history.[2] The concert took place at the Honolulu International Center (HIC) in Honolulu(now known as the Neal S. Blaisdell Center) and aired in over 40 countries across Asia and Europe (who received the telecast the next day, also in primetime). Despite the satellite innovation, the United States did not air the concert until April 4, 1973 (the concert took place the same day as Super Bowl VII). Viewing figures are debatable, with several sources, including Elvis Presley Enterprises, claiming figures between 1 and 1.5 billion.[3] However, some other sources claim that these figures are "an Elvis Myth" promoted by Colonel Tom Parker, and quoted by many biographers since.[4] These sources suggest only several hundred million would have tuned into the broadcast.[4] The show was the most expensive entertainment special at the time, costing $2.5 million.[1]

On July 8, 1972, inspired by a recent visit made by U.S. President
 Richard Nixon to China a few months earlier,[5] Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, announced that there would be a worldwide satellite broadcast from Hawaii to allow the whole world the chance to see a Presley concert "since it is impossible for us to play in every major city".[6] Parker initially stated that it would take place in either October or November 1972[6] but this date was changed to early 1973 after MGM showed concern about it clashing with the release of their documentary film Elvis on Tour.[7] As the show had already been planned prior to this upset, the original shows, now set for November, would still go ahead but without being filmed.[8][edit]

Parker held another press conference on September 4, 1972 in Las Vegas to confirm that the concert, now titled Aloha From Hawaii, would be broadcast on January 14, 1973.[7] The press were told that an audience of 1 billion was expected to tune in to see the "first entertainment special to be broadcast live around the world",[7] although Parker had not taken into account the fact that many countries, including parts of Europe and America, would not see the concert live due to the time of the broadcast.[7]Two weeks after the Las Vegas press conference Parker received a letter from Honolulu Advertiser columnist Eddie Sherman.[9] Sherman had read in news accounts that there was to be no charge for admittance to the concerts, instead a donation for charity was required. He suggested to Parker that, as Presley had recorded and was still performing the song I'll Remember You written by Kui Lee, the donations could go to the Kui Lee Cancer Fund that had been set up following the death of the song writer in 1966.[9] Seeing the chance to publicize Presley's charitable nature once again, Parker eagerly agreed.[9]

Producer-director Marty Pasetta had attended one of Presley's concerts at Long Beach in mid-November, and found it to be "boring" and lacking in any physical excitement.[10] He approached Parker with ideas about the broadcast, including a runway that led out from the stage so Presley could get closer to his audience.[10] Parker insisted that the ideas were useless, and that Presley would agree that they were useless.[10] Pasetta, however, decided to approach Presley about the ideas anyway and was pleasantly surprised to find that he would be happy to do whatever Pasetta felt was best for the show.[10] This was another example of the ever-growing rift between Presley and his manager.

Presley performed three shows over November 17 and 18 in Honolulu, the dates originally planned for the satellite broadcast,[8] and gave a press conference on November 20 to promote the satellite special.[8] He also announced officially that it would now be in aide of the Kui Lee Cancer Fund.[8]

Presley arrived in Hawaii again on January 9, 1973 to begin rehearsals.[11] He had lost twenty-five pounds for the show[12] and was confident after news that his record sales were increasing and Elvis on Tour had been nominated for a Golden Globe.[12] Rehearsals were held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village while the main set was being constructed.[13] Although there were several technical problems, the rehearsals were an overall success.[13]


Elvis Presley, 1973 Aloha From Hawaiitelevision broadcast

Presley taped a January 12 rehearsal concert as a fail-safe in case anything went wrong with the satellite during the actual broadcast - however, nothing went wrong during the January 14 broadcast. For both shows, Presley was dressed in a white "American Eagle" jumpsuit designed by Bill Belew. The broadcast was directed by Marty Pasetta, who was then in charge of directing the Oscar ceremonies.

Audience tickets for the January 14 concert and its January 12 pre-broadcast rehearsal show carried no price. Each audience member was asked to pay whatever he or she could afford. The performance and concert merchandise sales raised $75,000 for the Kui Lee Cancer Fund in Hawaii.

Presley performed a vast array of old and recent hits like "Steamroller Blues", "See See Rider", "Early Morning Rain", "Burning Love", "Blue Suede Shoes", "A Big Hunk o' Love", "Suspicious Minds", "Can't Help Falling in Love", the Beatles' "Something", "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", "It's Over", "Welcome to my World", "I'll Remember You" and "What Now My Love". After the concert had finished and the audience had left, Presley recorded five songs on stage to be aired during the American airing of the show.[1]

[edit]Viewing figures

For many years, biographers and fan sites, including the official website of Elvis Presley, have claimed that up to 1.5 billion people watched the broadcast live.[3] This claim has been questioned by other sources who point out that, as the broadcast was only seen in around 40 countries, it would have been near impossible for that figure to have been achieved.[4] Alan Hanson, writing for "Elvis History Blog", states that "the world's total population in 1973 was 3.973 billion. Does it sound reasonable that fully one-third of the planet's people were glued to the tube when Elvis's special aired in 1973? Hardly."[4] He also makes the claim that the American figures were only "33.8 percent of households", approximately 70 million, and that many of the other countries watching were much less populated; "If barely a third of the U.S. population tuned in, does it seem reasonable that an equal amount would have done so in places like South Vietnam, where TV broadcasting only began in 1965?".[4] To further debunk the claims of 1 to 1.5 billion views, Hanson states;

So how was the exaggerated number of 1.3 billion viewers of the Elvis special reached? If you add together the 1973 populations of the 38 countries the actually did broadcast the Aloha show, the total comes to—you guessed it—about 1.3 billion. In what was perhaps the greatest snow job of his career, Colonel Parker convinced four decades of Elvis experts and fans that every single living person in 38 countries tuned in to Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii in 1973.[4]

[edit]Soundtrack album

The album containing the music from the concert was a blockbuster hit, becoming Presley's first chart-topping album in the US since the soundtrack to Roustabout in 1965.[14] The original release of the album, however, did not include the five post-show performances.

Initially released only in quadraphonic sound, the album was the first quadraphonic album to top the Billboard album chart, and remains the biggest-selling release in the format.[15]

Presley was accompanied by:


His TCB Band

Joe Guercio Orchestra

  • Joe Guercio was Elvis's conductor and musical director and, with a few exceptions, the orchestra consisted of local musicians contracted for this particular engagement. Brass players were Patrick Houston, Thomas Porrello, Gary Grant and Forrest Buchtel (trumpets); Leslie Benedict and William Barton (trombones); Martin Harrell (bass trombone); and David Baptist (french horn). Saxophonists were Gabriel Baltazar, Jr., Robert Winn, Peter Dovidio, Wayne Dunstan and Mary Taylor, with Baltazar and Taylor also playing flute. Violinist Bertine Corimby, who performed with Elvis at the Las Vegas Hilton, headed the 12-piece string section, the rest of whom were musicians from the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra: Dale Bechtel, Marianne Fleece, Louise Solmssen, Arthur Loventhal, Mervin Whitcomb, Heidi McCole and Carol Shive (violins); Betty Deeg and Diana Mallery (violas); and William Konney and Beverly LeBeck (cellos). Rounding out the orchestra were Frank Strazzeri (Hammond organ) and Dean Appleman (percussion?). Houston, Porrello, Harrell and Strazzeri had toured with Elvis in 1972 and were brought to Hawaii for the show, as were Buchtel and Corimby. Harvey Ragsdale was the Hawaiian contractor who hired local musicians for the orchestra. [16] [17] [18]

[edit]DVD releases

Aloha from Hawaii jumpsuit on exhibit at Graceland

In September 2004, "Aloha from Hawaii" (Special Edition) together with "The '68 Comeback Special" was released on DVD.[19] The 2-Disc deluxe package includes the full-length concert broadcast around the world on January 14, as well as the full rehearsal concert given on January 12, and the extended US version shown on April 4. Additionally, the set contains an uncut 17.5 min. sequence of Elvis arriving in Honolulu and the complete post-concert session. The picture and the sound (in Dolby Digital 5.1) have been digitally remastered from the original master tapes.

Early in August 2006 the TV special was also released in a single disc version. This edition contains some new material which was not included in the original deluxe release. The new material consists of some TV news footage shot during the arrival, offering an alternate look on the event and portions of two press conferences held for the upcoming live broadcast in September and November 1972. Those film clips with an overall length of about 9 minutes are so-called "Easter Eggs" and can be found by pressing a hidden button in the menu.

A bronze statue of Elvis was unveiled in front of Neal Blaisdell Center Arena in Honolulu. The statue was sponsored by TV Land channel.