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
Elvis’s 17th film was a 1965 MGM production, directed by Boris Segal, which opened nationally in America on 14th April 1965. The film was produced by Joe Pasternack who had already filmed ‘Where The Girls Are’, about the students annual spring break in Fort Lauderdale and wanted a similar setting for the Elvis movie. Working titles for the movie, written by Harvey Bullock and R.S. Allen, were ‘The Only Way To Love’ and ‘Girl Crazy.’
Director Segal could see that Elvis was unhappy churning out lightweight musicals and took him aside to advise him to take time off from making film after film and go to New York to study at the Actor’s Studio or Neighbourhood Playhouse. He said to Elvis, “Every actor studies his trade, even those as good as Marlon Brando.” Elvis told him that he didn’t have time, but added, “I’m looking forward to doing a picture where I can finally act and not just sing.” Incidentally, Segal was killed in a helicopter crash in 1982 while working on the TV movie ‘World War 3’.
Elvis starred as Rusty Wells who sings with his combo at a Chicago nightclub owned by Big Frank. Rusty and the band now feel they want to travel south for their spring break, but they’ve been such a big success at Frank’s club that he won’t let them go. When Frank’s only daughter, Valerie, goes on Easter vacation, Rusty suggests that he and his group go down there to look after her, without her knowing. Frank agrees and they set off for Fort Lauderdale in Florida.
The combo begins a residency at a local club and Rusty is attracted to some of the girls, including Pamela Curran, Rusty Allen and Gail Gerber (left), but has to intervene when he notices Valerie is in the audience and is being pestered by a creep. Other boys subsequently take a shine to Valerie, who keeps getting into trouble.
When her father phones her and admits that Rusty has been sent to watch over her, she goes wild and ends up in a local jail. Rusty then tunnels into the jail to rescue her – but finds she’s no longer there.
By this time Valerie and Rusty have fallen in love and when Big Frank arrives he is initially angry, until he reckons he can’t fail to like a guy who would break into jail to save his daughter.
Happy’ is sung over the opening and closing credits and was written
by Doc Pomus and Norman Meade.
‘Spring Fever’ is sung while Elvis is driving to Fort Lauderdale in a red convertible with Gary Crosby, Jimmy Hawkins and Joby Baker. Written by Bill Giant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye.
‘Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce’ was sung to Shelley Fabares at a poolside and was written by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett.
‘Startin’ Tonight’ was sung in the Sandbar Club and was written by Lemore Rosenblatt and Victor Millrose.
‘Wolf Call’ was sung in the Sandbar Club and was written by Bill Giant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye.
‘Do Not Disturb’ was sung to Mary Ann Mobley in Elvis’s motel room and was written by Bill Giant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye.
‘Cross My Heart And Hope To Die’ was sung to Mary Ann Mobley in the woods and was written by Sid Wayne and Ben Weisman.
‘The Meanest Girl In Town’ was sung in the Sandbar Club and was written by Joy Byers.
‘Do The Clam’ was sung at a night time beach party and was written by Sid Wayne and Ben Weisman.
‘Puppet On A String’ was sung to Shelley Fabares as he walked her back to her motel room and also sung to her on a sailboat. It was written by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett.
‘I’ve Got to Find My Baby’ was sung at the Sandbar Club and was written by Joy Byers.
The soundtrack album was recorded at Radio Recorders Studios in Hollywood during March 1964. The musicians were: Elvis Presley (vocals), Scotty Moore, Tiny Timbrell, Tommy Tedesco (guitars), Bob Moore (bass), D.J. Fontana, Buddy Harman, Frank Carlson (drums), Floyd Cramer (piano), Boots Randolph (sax), The Jordinaires, The Jubilee Four and The Carole Lombard Trio (backing vocals). The soundtrack album was issued on RCA LPM 3338 in April 1965 and contained all eleven songs from the film, plus the bonus track ‘You’ll Be Gone.’ It reached No.8 in the Billboard chart. Mary Ann Mobley was also to co-star with Elvis in ‘Harum Scarum’.
Shelley had achieved a No.1 chart hit with her million-seller ‘Johnny Angel', released on Colpix 621 in 1962 - it was replaced at the top by Elvis’s ‘Good Luck Charm’! She went on to co-star with Elvis in ‘Spinout’ and ‘Clambake’ and Elvis said that she was his favourite co-star. Elvis’s friend Jerry Schilling was to say, “She wouldn’t go out with him, she was seeing Lou Adler at the time, but they had a real good chemistry and he adored working with her.” Shelley Fabares played Valerie Frank with Harold J. Stone as her father ‘Big’ Frank, while Gary Crosby was Andy and Deena Shepherd was played by former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley.
|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.|
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