Ramblings of a Lifelong Elvis Fan – Part 71 – The Movies 17-19 (1966) –Frankie and Johnny, Paradise Hawaiian Style, Spinout

[INTRO: I am a die hard, card carrying Elvis fan and have been for as long as I can remember. There is so much about Elvis to love; his incredible singing voice, his generous spirit, his looks (the most gorgeous man ever), his movies (yes, his movies. They make me happy, so critics can just shush), his service in the army, his magical presence on stage, his transcendent charisma, and…I could go on and on. As a matter of fact, on my 50th post, I believe it was, I DID go on and on. I listed 50 things I love about Elvis. It wasn’t difficult. I am an author and I mention Elvis in almost every story I write. I named my son Presley. I was fortunate to see Elvis in concert three times. I have been to Graceland five times… See? I love Elvis. I have been blogging weekly for more than a year, but going forward, I will blog every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month. My life is insanely busy and I found myself missing weeks from time to time. This way, I’m more likely to be consistent. Hopefully, even if you are not an Elvis fan, you appreciate something about him and will find my posts interesting. Feel free to comment. Thank you so much for stopping by!]

Frankie and Johnny:

This wasn’t one of my top Elvis movies, but I enjoyed it. As a kid, I wasn’t aware it was set in the 1800’s. I just thought everyone was dressing in costumes. Although, as an adult, I must admit it’s not entirely clear. I believe some mixed signals were sent. The costumes and some of the references, such as a reference to confederate money, indicate the 1800’s, but some of the dialogue sounds a little more modern, such as Elvis using the word ‘chicks’ to refer to girls.  🙂 

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About: Elvis plays Johnny, a performer on a Mississippi riverboat with a gambling addiction. I wonder how tis would of played out if online casinos for real money existed back then. He and the other performs put on a short production that plays out the lyrics of the song, ‘Frankie and Johnny.’ When a gypsy tells him a redhead will change his luck, and he promptly meets a gorgeous redhead, he begins winning with her at his side, but he loses his girlfriend, Frankie, played by Donna Douglas. Of course, he gets the girl in the end, even though there is a close call. A well-meaning but misguided dufus switches out a blank for a real bullet and when Johnny and Frankie perform their routine and Frankie shoots Johnny for two-timing her, the bullet hits his lucky charm Frankie had given him, rather than his heart. As a child, I was terrified until I learned Elvis was okay, which was only a few brief moments. 🙂

Side notes: Elvis and Donna Douglas spent a lot of time discussing religion on the set. They didn’t have a romantic relationship as he did with many of his leading ladies. I didn’t see a lot of chemistry between them on screen either. As you all probably know, she played Elly May Clampett on ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’ I couldn’t help notice in this movie, she had that same ‘Elly May’ posture where her shoulders tilted forward a lot. 🙂 I’m not sure if it shows all that well in this video, but it does a little. There are other parts of the movie where it’s more obvious. However, this is also my favorite song from the movie, and perhaps my favorite scene, so it’s worth watching.

The movie people thought Elvis was ‘fat’ and supposedly used an image from ‘Girl Happy’ for the body on this album cover:

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I think he looked pretty damn good…

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Favorite Song: ‘Please Don’t Stop Loving Me’ (Although I like the title song a lot too)

Favorite Scene: Either his fight scene. As you can see in the above pic, he looks pretty sexy fighting. Or, it would be the scene in the video above where he’s trying to win Frankie back by singing to her. He does that sexy, hurt thing pretty darn well. 🙂 – Hmmm…I seem to be using the word ‘sexy’ a lot. Go figure! 🙂

Paradise Hawaiian Style

Definitely not a top pick. There honestly wasn’t much of a story and the songs weren’t great. Still, any time I can watch Elvis, I am not upset. 🙂 Something I noticed in this one, unless I missed it, he never kissed Suzanna Leigh, the leading lady. He kissed several other girls, but not his love interest. As a matter of fact, this movie seemed pretty weak in the romance department. Elvis’ friend and business partner told Elvis the girl was married, and Elvis barely paid attention to her during the entire movie. Then, suddenly, they’re in love, I suppose. Although, nothing really indicates that they are. They just sort of get together. At the end, Elvis is about to kiss her and he’s pulled away by some local islanders to perform and the movie ends after his performance. He didn’t even tug the girl onto the ‘stage’ with him for a movie-ending kiss. Not sure what that was all about.

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About: Elvis plays Rick Richards, a pilot who is suspended for hanky panky with a stewardess. He goes to Hawaii where his friend joins him in a helicopter business. His friend hires ‘Friday,’ a good-looking blonde, to run the office, but they tell Elvis she’s married so he’ll keep his playboy paws off of her. Toward the end of the movie, they confess she’s not married, and Elvis says he knew all along, he can spot ’em a mile away. (or something to that effect). Then, after that, they are ‘a couple’ even though, as mentioned above, there really wasn’t any romance that lead up to it. It would have been better, if perhaps a little cliche, if Elvis had resisted his feelings and felt bad about yearning for a married woman, then he was hurt when he realized she’d lied to him.  

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Side Notes: 

Elvis loved Hawaii and was always happy to be there. This movie was supposed to be an attempt to duplicate the success of ‘Blue Hawaii,’ but it failed to reach that goal.

One thing I always love is when kids are in Elvis’ movies. The kid star in this one was ten-year-old Donna Butterworth, who was a singer/performer in Hawaii. This was her third and final movie. She did an interview years later where she was asked what it was like to work with Elvis. She said he was professional, but a kind and wonderful human being. She was confused because Priscilla was on the set, yet she saw Elvis kissing all these other girls. Elvis invited her to lunch. He and his bodyguards picked her up on a golf cart and took her to his dressing room. From Donna’s interview: “He had cheese burgers and I had tacos from Del Taco because that was my favorite. He set there for an hour explaining to me the difference between love and being in love. He explained it in a very loving way. God wants us to love all his brothers and sisters. We are making a movie that’s apart of the story line, but of course you can only be in love with only one person and that is Priscilla. So here is the king of rock and roll sitting down with cheeseburgers and tacos. Taking time out in his enormous life to explain it to ten year old me.”

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Favorite Song: The songs were not his best. (I hate to sound critical. I adore anything Elvis did. I’m just comparing this to his other movies and songs). Probably the one I liked best was Datin’  where he did a duet with the little girl. 

Favorite Scene: Not any particular awesome scenes in this one. I always love it when he fights and sings. He had some cute moments with the child.

Spinout:

Now we’re talking. Loved this movie. It had great songs, a cute story line, amusing dialogue, and all kinds of fun, fun Elvis stuff. I vividly remember watching this one as a child. I was a bit confused, though, at the end. Elvis doesn’t end up with a girl, although three were chasing him all through the movie. When the three suitors of those women demanded that Elvis choose, he said he was going to marry all of them. Then, it went to a scene where he took turns kissing each of the women, who were wearing wedding dresses, and after Elvis kissed them, he said things like: ‘I married Cynthia, to Philip’, and he passed the girl along to her ‘guy.’ My sister and I determined that Elvis must have been a preacher, although it was a well-kept secret during the movie. 🙂 

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About: Elvis plays  Mike McCoy, a singer and race car driver. A rich girl sets her sights on him. She wants to marry him and her father wants him to drive his car in an upcoming race. Elvis’ drummer, a girl named Les, and another woman, an author, Diana St. Clair, are all vying for Elvis’ hand in marriage, but he is a confirmed bachelor. The rich father and his daughter scheme and manipulate Elvis, but in the end, he’s his own man. He wins the race without the rich man’s fancy car, and he avoids the clutches of matrimony. 

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Elvis with the ‘rich girl’ played by Shelley Fabares

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Elvis with his drummer, played by Deborah Walley.

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Elvis with the author, played by Diane McBain

Side Notes: President Lyndon Johnson visited Elvis on the set of the movie. 

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This was one of three Elvis movies Shelley Fabares co-starred in, although in the other two, ‘Clambake’ and ‘Girl Happy,’ she was his love interest and she got him in the end.

The two male members of Elvis’ band, Larry and Curly, were each in one of Elvis’ other movies.

Shelley and the actor who played her father, Carl Betz, were also father and daughter in ‘The Donna Reed Show.’ Jimmy Hawkins, who played Larry in the movie, also appeared in ‘The Donna Reed Show.’

Some of the filming took place at Dodger Stadium and at Ascot Motor Car Racing Ground.

Oddly enough, this is one of the few movies in which Elvis did not have a fight scene.

Favorite Song: This is kind of tough. He sang two beautiful ballads, ‘Am I Ready’ and ‘All That I Am’ and I love them both, but my favorite is probably ‘I’ll Be Back,’ which was also a favorite of my middle child, Lacey, when she was about two years old. I had it on a CD and each time we got into the car, she demanded I play “BeBack.” 🙂 One thing I love so much about the song is the way he performed it, including the cute drum playing toward the end. (He ends up with a gorgeous brunette drummer, so a future romance is definitely foreshadowed) Check it out:

Favorite Scenes: I had a few favorites… One was when his drummer, Les, a girl who was looked at as ‘one of the guys,’ dressed up and came into the room where Elvis was singing at a party. He stumbled over his words and the look he gave her was sooooo sexy and sweet. I also loved the scene at the beginning when Shelley Fabares runs him off the road into the water. He’s furious, while she’s up on the road above, acting as though nothing happened and gushing about how much she likes him. She says, “I really go for you.” and he angrily says, “Honey, I’m just about to go for you.” And he threatens to ‘paddle her bottom.’ 

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Another of my favorite scenes was a brief moment where the author is spying on Elvis through binoculars and he approaches and stares back at her through the other end of the binoculars and we get a close up of his gorgeous eyes:

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All in all a ‘feel good’ movie that put me in a great mood, as do all of his movies. 🙂

 

Thank you for joining me. Have you seen these movies? What did you think?

 

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EOLS Charity

Elvis was known for his giving heart and charitable work during his lifetime. Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises have continued that tradition with their involvement in various charities. In 1984, The Elvis Charitable Foundation was formed. The EPCF created a scholarship fund for students majoring in the arts. The charity also contributes to one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families. The EPCF also assists numerous other charities, especially focusing on arts, education and children’s programs.

Learn more here, including how to donate:

http://www.graceland.com/epcf/

END OF LONELY STREET – Now Only 99 Cents!

On Elvis’ birthday this year, I released a Vintage Romance short story set in 1957, and of course, my heroine is an Elvis fan. 🙂 As a tribute to Elvis’ generosity, and in order to assist with this worthy cause, 10% of my proceeds for End of Lonely Street will go to the EPCF.

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All Toby Lawson wants is to go to college to become a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and some painful memories. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away and helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.

Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, she can‘t get past the fact that her drunken mother once kissed him. He soon realizes the true problem lies in Toby’s belief she’s not good enough for him and in her fear she will be just like her mother.

What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?

Click Here for Kindle

Click Here for Nook

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5 Comments

Filed under Elvis Presley, Entertainment

5 responses to “Ramblings of a Lifelong Elvis Fan – Part 71 – The Movies 17-19 (1966) –Frankie and Johnny, Paradise Hawaiian Style, Spinout

  1. Interesting information about these movies Elvis stared in…of course there were a number of others as well.

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  2. Oh, my, Alicia! You’re going to make an Elvis fan out of me yet! I’ve always enjoyed his music but didn’t really delve enough into things to become a fan. The more you tell me about him the more interested I become! I do remembering catching snatches of his movies and enjoying them and finding him very appealing! Thanks for sharing this. It was an interesting and well put together post! Looking forward to more!

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  3. Wow, sister!! You sure bring back memories of Elvis & our young years as fans! I forgot all about the preacher thing!! How funny is that??? I don’t think we looked at him as a preacher when we got older! 😉
    You are doing a FANTASTIC service to all Elvis fans the way you present & speak of him. If I didn’t already know it…I could still see & feel the adoration, deep love, & respect you have for him! I could have used a few other adjectives but I AM a Christian, ya know! 🙂
    I love you, appreciate you, adore you, & agree with you 100% on every Elvis blog I have read of yours (imagine that!) Keep doing what you’re doing…he would have LOVED it!

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    • Awww, thank you. I love thinking back to our ‘growing up with Elvis’ days. I wish my memory was better and I could recall every single detail. LOL. Nope, I don’t think we looked at him as a preacher later either. 😀 I’m so happy that my deep love for him shows in my posts. I will for sure continue. I like thinking that he would have loved it. Thanks for that. Love and hugs!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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