Payday Loans
Elvis Presley (1935-1977)

  1. Eddie Cochran, The Girl Can’t Help It, 1956.     Presley’s huckster manager,the self-styled Colonel Tom Parker, demanded too much money for Elvis to sing one song. Besides, E wanted real movies, not guest shots.
  2. Earl Holliman,  The Rainmaker, 1956.  Hey fellas, rasped The Colonel, not that real... As late as April 13, 1956, Elvis thought this would be his first film.  Impressed  by his  impact on TV, his March  screen test (“electricity in the air”)   and his manners (after years of suffering Jerry Lewis), Hal Wallis signed E for one film, with options for six more, rising from  $15,000 to $100,000 per film. (Blue Hawaii extended that  deal – and salaries, rising from $175,000 to $200,000).   Instead, Wallis prepared Loving You for their debut… and, for a hefty price, let Fox take the gamble on the rocker in Love Me Tender. If it failed, Wallis could simply drop Presley. If it hit big, then he had a big new star on  his roster. With its inflation-adjusted take of $133.2m,  Tender remains E’s #1 box-office hit. Apart from  Jailhouse Rock and Loving You, none of his other 30 films came close.
  3. Don Murray, Bus Stop, 1956.      Presley was first choice for the dumbcluck cowpoke, Beauregard Decker - aka Bo - taking Marilyn Monroe’s Cherie away from all this bar singing stuff.  Elvis & Marilyn - what a wet-dream combo! Except  “Colonel” Tom Parker didn’t want nobody takin’ the shine off his boy!  Despite (or because of) Marilyn being all Stanislavsky at the time, Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift weren’t interested. And she only ever wanted Rock Hudson (more into Jane Wyman sob schlock).  Also considered: three tele-cowpokes: Fess Parker, aka Davy Crockett, John Smith, from Laramie, and the lanky Rowdy Yates on Rawhide, a  certain Clint Eastwood.Murray (the first star I interviewed at the first of my 26 Cannes festivals in 1961) won an Oscar nomination for his debut  and wed his other co-star, Hope Lange.
  4. Jeffrey Hunter, The Way To the Gold, 1956.    $100,000 stopped this middling  B noir becoming Presley’s second movie.  And indeed, his second for journeyman director Robert D Webb, who had  - by chance of a Fox contract - helmed the Elvis debut, Love Me Tende, earlier that year.   They got on fine, and Webb offered his next gig to the rock idol -  but… oh, for  all manner of reasons…  1. Fox found The Colonel’s demand of $250,000 pus 50% of the profits, extortionate. 2. The dreaded Colonel wasn’t happy with the Presley character just coming out of prison. “Not mah boy!” (Presley’s third film was… Jailhouse Rock!). 3. Hal Wallis, the producer who had Elvis under exclusive contract, was not about to let Fox make more money off his guy a second time, after as  allowing him to  make Love Me Tender at Fox,  before his first Wallis film, Loving You, 1956.  (Hunter had also been in  the mix for Presley’s Tender role).  Fox’s supposed “new Marilyn”, Shereee North, only agred to the film because Elvis was to be her co-star. She had to wait 13 years to finally get  him at the f
  5. Robert Wagner, The True Story of Jesse James, 1957.    If he had known that Nicholas Ray wanted him as Jesse, it would have happened. Like every other Hollwyood youngster, Prersley craved to work with the director of Rebel Without A Cause…  The Colonel knew that. so he kept quiet. So did Fox.  Wagner, totally unsuitable, wasa contract player and, thereby, cheaper.
  6. Tommy Sands, Sing Boy Sing, 1957.  A tad close to the Elvis story. So, The Colonel suggested his other teen client who  he wanted to turn into a new Roy Rogers! - proving Parker  knew as little about music as he did about movies. The Colonrl hated Edmond O’Brien as the cracker-barrel manager figure, feeling Sharkey was too close to Parker and even close to … shark. The title possibly stemmed from Parker’s orders when Elvis kept asking for dramas… Presley pal, Nick Adams,  co-starred and E watched from his Caddy at  a drive-in. 
  7. Paul Newman, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, 1957.    For some reason, poor Ben Gazarra was never asked to reprise his Broadway triumph as Brick. MGM looked at everyone else: Montgomery Clift, Don Murray, William Shatner. Even the too old Robert Mitchum - and Elvis Presley, whose manager, Colonel Parker, was furious. Now it was: Ain’t gonna have mah boy im-po-tent! Elvis was a keen fan of another Tennessee Williams item, A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951.
  8. Robert Evans, The Fiend Who Walked The West, 1958.     Not that it was ever called that when future producer Evans beat Elvis, Steve McQueen, etc, to retreading Richard Widmark's 1947 Kiss of Death role re-set out West as...Hell-Bent Kid, Rope Law, Enough Rope,Quick Draw at Red Rock, etc.

  9. Jim Mitchum, Thunder Road, 1958.  
    What an idea! Mitchum and Presley as brothers!   This was Bob’s very personal movie: he wrote the story that pre-dated Smokey and the Bandit and The Dukes of Hazzard by two decades.  E adored Bob, stole his hairstyle and all, even came by for Sunday lunch, played piano and sang duets with him. As usual,  The Colonel made another dumbass decision. “Fuck,” growled Mitchum, “I’m talking to you. Don’t need your manager. Let’s do the picture.”  “Not unless the Colonel says I can.” Mitchum’s son played his brother and Pop hit #62 in the charts with his song: “The Ballad of  Thunder Road.”

  10. Tony Curtis,The Defiant Ones, 1958.       As with everything else that didn’t smell of carny, Colonel Parker dumped on the another explosive pairing: Presley and Sammy Davis Jr!   The Colonel didn't want his boy handcuffed to a black man. (He also rejected several offers from Marlon Brando and James Dean’s director Elia Kazan!).

  11. Ricky Nelson, Rio Bravo, 1958.
  12. Marlon  Brando, The Fugitive Kind,  1959.   His cup runneth o’er…  E told  co-star Anne Helm during Follow That Dream in 1961, that he had d been offered the Tennessee Williams drama - with  Eli Kazan directing. Wishful thinking?  Well, he had already played one role that had been reserved for Brando  in his sixth vehicle, Flaming Star.  (It was the thrill of his  life for the Brando-with-a-guitar when one day at the Paramount canteen: “My God, I shook hands with Marlon Brando!”).  However, Tennessee Williams penned the original Orpheus Descending  play with Brando and Magnani in mind. And Brando followed Liz Taylor as the second star to net $1m for a movie… Which is probably why he gave  one of his worst  screen performances, like an bad parody of his screen persona. 
  13. James Darren, Gidget,  1959.    Just about sums up poor his lousy film  career: being offered The Fugitive Kind(by Tennesse Williams) and Gidget (with Sandra Dee) in the same year!  Before producing two of  the singer’s 60s’ horrors, Joe Pasternak had planned the first beach movie for Elvis as… wait for it… Moondoggie! Darren couldn’t really swim or surf and was hardly known as a singer  - yet became came a huge teenage idol, reprising Moondoggie in two more Gidget movies (with two more Gidgets). Throwing away the potential  of his first ten movies and  just not trying anymore, Presley then reprised Moondoggie, more or less (no, just less), in his next 21 films… including such Pasternak drek as  Girl Happy, 1964, and Spinout,1965.
  14. Laurence Harvey, A Walk on the Wild Side,  1961. Hollywood agent turned producer  Charles K Feldman talked about a musical version.. Feldman had the rights  to the  Nelson Algren novel – and the carrots. The One The Waterfront team of director Elia Kazan and writer Budd Schulberg. “It’s perfect. He’s handsome. Hel’s innocent. And he’s the victim.” OK, said The Colonel, but what’s with all these hookers…  Feldman made it straight - and badly.  (Harvey and Barbara Stanwyck made it camp; idem forn Elvis and Stanwyck in Roustabout, 1963).  Wild remains the sole Hollywood movie where the credits (by The King, Saul Bass, of course) are better than the film. 
  15. Richard Beymer, West Side Story, 1961.     Demonstrating an almost Colonelesque ignorance, producer Walter Mirisch saw Presley as the New York Romeo… supported by Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, etc!Colonel Parker might have agreed to E as Tony but not opposite the Presley clone Fabian as Bernardo. Beymer was dubbed by Jimmy Byrant. And “wasn’t happy with his performance,” reported co-star Russ Tamblyn. “He thought he was miscast: he was from a farm in Indiana and had no street sense whatsoever.He needed a lot of direction and didn't get it. They just stuck fake teeth in his mouth!”
  16. Paul Newman, Sweet Bird of Youth, 1962.     Ain’t gonna castrate mah boy, neither..! Geraldine Page's sneering gigolo was called Chance Wayne… after Presley's Clint Reno, Rick Richards, Jodie Tatum, Rusty Welles, etc. 
  17. Robert Goulet, Gay Purr-ee, 1962.    Poor Elvis was not even allowed the fun of voicing the French cat Jaune-Tom in a toon co-scriptedby The Man - Chuck Jones.
  18. George Hamilton, Your Cheatin' Heart, 1964.     For once, it was not the Colonel but Hank Williams’ widow rejecting the plan. Audrey Williams felt Elvis would become the focus of thebio-pic, not Hank.So it went to that other famous rock ’n’ country singer,George (’scuse me, while I catch some rays) Hamilton.
  19. George Hamilton, Looking For Love, 1964.     “I hear you’re using a lot of guest-stars in your new musical,” said Elvis to Connie Francis on the Metro lot. “How about a job for a hungry folk singer?”Once the Colonel found out, he helped push the Top Tan star into the Presley slot. Again.

  20. Chad Stuart, The Jungle Book, 1966. 
    Make of this what you will…! Frankly, I don’t believe it, but it’s too good to throw away… For what proved his final toon (one of his finest), Walt Disney inaugurated the idea of using celebrity voices. He won over Sebastian Cabot, Phil Harris, Louis Prima and George Sanders for Bagheera, Baloo, King Louie and Shere Khan.  But John Lennon was annoyed  by the very invitation for the  Beatles  to Liverpoolise four vultures. And then, so it goes… Disney asked Elvis to be the vulture group’s leader, Flaps.  Hmm! So then, who would have been the others -  three of The Jordanaires? Or was Uncle Walt suggesting he’d settle for three Beatles plus Presley and Lennon could go off in a dream… Yes, yes, Disney also wanted Louis Armstrong for King Louis - but Elvis!!! I’m not convinced. Yet.  (Stuart, incidentally,  came from  the UK pop duo, Chad and Jeremy).

  21. Roy Orbison, The Fastest Guitar Alive, 1968.    Elvis dyed his hair black to match his idol  - for him Orbison was “the greatest singer in the world.” After Harum Scarum, 1965, even the Colonel realised Presley’s scripts had all the box-office appeal of dog-shit burgers.  They left this one for poor Roy to pluck out of the garbage.  Orbison dropped his glasses to succeed him as Johnny Banner and kick off his five-picture deal at MGM. (It was such a flop it flipped the deal). “He was  no actor,” said co-star Douglas Kennedy, But after walking in on him in his trailer, I can tell you he has a tallywhacker like an industrial spanner! So I spare him no sympathy". 
  22. Glen Campbell, True Grit, 1968.   The Duke and The King! That was the lofty aim of Hal Wallis. And as the  first producer  to sign Presley (for eight films), Elvis owed him, after all. The damned Colonel stuck his oar in yet again, insisting on top billing for his boy!  Elvis often wanted to sack him. “Tell Parker, he’s fired,” he’d tell the Memphis Mafia. Parker would reply: “Tell Elvis to tell me personally.”  E never did .  E just hated confrontations. 
  23. Jon Voight, Midnight Cowboy, 1968.
    The only American X-rated production to win a Best Picture, Adapted Script and Director Oscars. Plus nominations for the three stars, Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight and Sylvia Miles. . And yet an UA suit once suggested: "If we could clean this up and add a few songs, it could be a great vehicle for Elvis!”  Well, having secretly obtained copies of the script, both Elvis and Warren Beatty were determined to play the street hustler Joe Buck. No way, said UK director John Schlesinger. “You’re too well known to play a dishwasher who lives in New York and fucks a lot of women."  Elvis made Change of Habit (aka Elvis and The Nun!) instead - and quit movies as he was never allowed to stretch.  The unknown Harrison Ford and Kiel Martin (from TV’s The Virginian) tested for Joe.,  So did  London’s Hoboken  actor  Stuart Copper, future director of 27 movies.   Lee Majors won Joe but was suddenly his Western series, The Big Valley, was renewed. And so Canadian Michel Sarazzin became Buck - until Universal, where he was contracted,  wanted more money for him. Enter: Jon Voight, having  by now worked on his Texan accent enough.   For the French language  release, Voight was dubbed by rising French star Patrick Dewaere. (On  April 18, 1968, Daily Variety actually stated that Van Heflin was being considered for Joe. At the time, Heflln was… 60.  And, of course, up for the Barnard Hughes role of Joe Buck’s old gay guy victim).

  24. Kris Kistofferson, A Star Is Born, 1976.
  25. Meat Loaf, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1974.   20th Century Fox wanted Elvis as Eddie, “Ex Delivery Boy,” and offered a bigger budget if director Jim Sharman would use other current rock and pop stars. He would not. Preposterous! Not so, said Meat Loaf, the LA stage Eddie. Presley was keen to be Eddie - played, of course, by Mr Loaf, himself. And a dummy corpse.
  26. John Travolta, Grease, 1977.    Seemed like a good idea in 1972 when flamboyant producer Allan Carr bought the rights - for E and Rusty. Elvis and Ann-Margret (aka The Female Elvis!). Not caring a jot about their ages: 42 and 36! Which made ’em more suitable for the parents of Danny or Sandy. Plus E was suffering from too much grease - in food and body…  
  27. Frankie Avalon, Grease, 1977.   OK, E doesn’t want to do an entire musical, so why not play himself as the Teen Angel. Or, Tubby Angel… He was not in good shape to play anything or anyone and, in fact, Elvis died during the production. The song, Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee, had a a line about Sal Mineo. This was changed to “Elvis, Elvis, let me be. Keep that pelvis far from me!” for the movie. Publicity releases insisted the scene was shot on August 16, 1977… the day that Elvis died.After 31 films, 784 songs and 1,684 concerts best summned up by Chuck Berry.  “He got what he wanted but lost what he had.” 









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