Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper  Mersey Beat

Sixties City - Elvis - Kissin Cousins - Bill Harry's 60s



Sixties City - Elvis - Kissin Cousins - Bill Harry's 60s Elvis’ 14th film was a 1964 MGM release directed by Gene Nelson and produced by Sam Katzman (who was known as ‘king of the quickies’) in only 16 days, on a budget of $800,000. Discussing Katzman, Nelson said “He knew how to make pictures, he just had lousy taste in writers and wouldn’t know a story if it hit him in the face". The movie, penned by Gerald Drayson Adams, was mainly a studio-bound production with a few exterior shots at Big Bear Lake, California. Co-star Yvonne Craig said that Elvis was so embarrassed and ashamed by the movie that he didn’t want to leave his dressing room. Elvis was also embarrassed about the blonde wig he had to wear, thinking it made him look like he did in the early fifties before he dyed his hair black.

In the movie Elvis plays Lieutenant Josh Morgan and also Jody Tatum, one a dark-haired military man, the other a blonde-haired hillbilly. However, the two are rarely seen together, no doubt due to the cost of the split screening effects needed for both characters to be on screen at the same time. The Pentagon seeks to talk Pappy Tatum (Arthur O’Connell), a hillbilly, into leasing part of his mountain as an ICBM missile base for Strategic Air Command.

Naming the enterprise ‘Operation Smoky Mountain’, General Alvin Donford (Donald Woods) assigns Captain Salbo (Jack Albertson) to the task. He, in turn, orders Second Lieutenant Josh Morgan to accompany him to secure the co-operation of the Tatums as Morgan is a native of Hidden Rock, North Carolina, which is part of the Smoky Mountain region.

Initially, the Tatums and their clan don’t want anything to do with the ‘Government critters’ – that is, until Tatum’s daughters Selena (Pam Austin) and Azalea (Yvonne Craig) notice the resemblance between Josh and their brother Jody. Josh reveals that they are actually distantly related on his mother’s side, saying “We’re practically kissin’ cousins!”, then quickly adds, “Uh…to you two gals. Not him.” As Josh has to convince the Tatums to lease part of their mountain, the woman-chasing Jody insists that they bring along a female clerk, Corporal Midge Riley (Cynthia Pepper), who he falls for, while Josh falls for Azalea and pairs Selena with his best friend.

Meanwhile, a group of females called Kittyhawks are looking for men to give them a male offspring (the 13 girls recruited to play the Kittyhawks, who attempt to capture the soldiers, included Maureen Reagan, daughter of Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman). As a result of the romances, they are able to persuade Pappy to sell one side of the mountain to the military as long as he can keep his moonshine business on the other side.

‘Kissin’ Cousins’ (penned by Fred Wise and Randy Starr) was sung over the opening credits; ‘Smoky Mountain Boy’ (penned by Lenore Rosenblatt and Victor Millrose) was sung while Elvis was driving a jeep to the Tatum property; ‘One Boy, Two Little Girls’ (penned by Bill Giant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye) was sung to Pam Austin and Yvonne Craig while walking through the woods; ‘Catchin’ On Fast’ (penned by Bill Giant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye) was sung while he was kissing Yvonne Craig; ‘Tender Feeling’ (penned by Bill Giant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye) was sung to Cynthia Pepper; ‘Barefoot Ballad’ (penned by Dolores Fuller and Lee Morris) was sung to Cynthia Pepper during a party; ‘Once Is Enough’ (penned by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett) was also sung during a party; ‘Kissin’ Cousins (No.2)’ was sung at the end of the film. Glenda Farrell sang ‘Pappy, Won’t You Please Come Home’ and an Elvis number ‘Anyone (Could Fall In Love With You)’ was cut from the movie.
Sixties City - Elvis - Kissin Cousins - Bill Harry's 60s

Sixties City - Elvis - Kissin Cousins - Bill Harry's 60s In order to give the soundtrack a ‘country feel’ it was recording at RCA’s studios in Nashville in October 1963 rather than in the usual studios in Hollywood. ‘Kissin’ Cousins’ was issued as a single in January 1964 on RCA 47-8307, with ‘It Hurts Me’ as the flip. It reached No.12 in the Billboard chart with a chart life of nine weeks. The soundtrack album was issued on RCA LPM-2894 in March 1964 and all nine songs from the film were included, together with three bonus numbers.
The album reached no.6 in the Billboard chart with a chart-life of 30 weeks. The tracks were:

Side One: ‘Kissin’ Cousins (No.2)’; ‘Smoky Mountain Boy’ (bonus); ‘There’s Gold In The Mountains’; ‘One Boy, Two Little Girls’; ‘Catchin’ On Fast’; ‘Tender Feeling’
Side Two: ‘Anyone (Could Fall In Love With You)’; ‘Barefoot Ballad’; ‘Once Is Enough’; ‘Kissin’ Cousins’; ‘Echoes Of Love’ (bonus); ‘(It’s A) Long Lonely Highway’ (bonus).

Sixties City - Elvis - Kissin Cousins - Bill Harry's 60s
Sixties City - Elvis - Kissin Cousins - Bill Harry's 60s
Sixties City - Elvis - Kissin Cousins - Bill Harry's 60s

Also see Sixties City pages: Elvis Films




Mersey Beat Magazine Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.


Article Bill Harry 2017               Original Graphics SixtiesCity 2017

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