Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #53: Girls, Girls, Girls

12 of Elvis' Leading Ladies, Plus 1 Almost Co-star

During his career, Elvis starred in over 30 films. Some were fairly good, while most were just an excuse to put The Pelvis in an exotic setting. Besides plenty of tunes, one thing that was practically a given with an Elvis pic is that he would be surrounded by a bevy of babes. Below in chronological order are 12 of Elvis' leading ladies, plus one female that was almost his co-star.

What is your favorite and/or least favorite Elvis film?

1. Debra Paget- She was Elvis' co-star in his first film (the 1956 post-Civil War drama Love Me Tender). I always thought it was funny because even though this film is set in the 19th century, you have Elvis doing his 1950s-era hip shaking moves as the girls swoon and scream.

2. Dolores Hart-The lovely Ms. Hart appeared in two Elvis films, 1957's Loving You (my personal favorite) and the 1958 musical drama King Creole. Hart retired from acting in 1963 to become a nun. Today, she is known as the Reverend Mother Dolores Hart.

3. Judy Tyler- She appeared as Peggy Van Alden opposite Elvis (Vince Everett) in Jailhouse Rock. This 1957 film contains one of the most memorable quotes from an Elvis movie:

Peggy Van Alden: How dare you think such cheap tactics would work with me!
Vince Everett: That ain't tactics, honey. It's just the beast in me.

Sadly, Ms. Tyler was killed in a car accident shortly after filming Jailhouse Rock. She was only 23.

4. Barbara Eden- The once and future Jeannie appeared with Presley in one of his best films, the 1960 western Flaming Star.

5. Joan Blackman- She co-starred with Elvis in two films, Blue Hawaii (1961) and the boxing drama Kid Galahad (1962).

6. Ursula Andress- The Swiss sex symbol appeared in the 1963 film Fun In Acapulco. Also appearing in this movie in an uncredited role as an extra was an actress making her film debut... Teri Garr.

7. Ann-Margret- The flame haired dynamo co-starred with Elvis in Viva Las Vegas (1964). Next to the Jailhouse Rock number in the film of the same name, Viva Las Vegas contains my 2nd favorite musical sequence in an Elvis movie (the uptempo rocker Come On Everybody).

8. Shelley Fabares- Appearing with Elvis in the films Girl Happy (1965), Spinout (1966), and Clambake (1967), Fabares holds the distinction of co-starring on the big screen with him the most number of times.

9. Donna Douglas- Best known as Elly May on the sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, Douglas made one of her few big screen appearances opposite Elvis in the riverboat musical comedy Frankie and Johnny (1966).

10. Nancy Sinatra- The These Boots Are Made For Walking singer co-starred as an IRS agent assigned to collect taxes from Elvis' financially troubled race car driving character in the 1968 movie Speedway. According to, the role of the IRS agent was turned down by British pop star Petula Clark.

11. Ina Balin- Ms. Balin appeared with Elvis in the 1969 western Charro. This film marks the only time that Elvis wore a beard in one of his movies.

12. Mary Tyler Moore- The former Laura Petrie co-starred with Elvis in what proved to be his final feature film role, the 1969 comedy-drama A Change of Habit. Also appearing in this movie was Mary's future co-star Ed Asner.

13. Barbra Streisand- When this 1976 remake was announced, Elvis was Streisand's first choice to play washed up singer John Norman Howard (the role that eventually went to Kris Kristofferson). According to, Elvis wanted to do it but Colonel Tom Parker, his manager, made several demands (such as having Elvis' name at the top of the movie poster, above Streisand's) which knocked Elvis out of the running.

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The Gal Herself said...

I thought I knew all there is to know about The King's movies, but you got me. I didn't know Nancy Sinatra's Speedway role was almost played by Pet Clark. Hats off to you, Malcolm!

I wish you'd included Carolyn Jones from "King Creole." She was Morticia Addams, once married to Aaron Spelling, and dies rather thrillingly at the end of the movie.

Or Lizbeth Scott from "Loving You." I just want to hissss every time she comes on screen.

Sue said...

Interesting choice for a TT. This has been fun to read :)


pjazzypar said...

This is so cool. Mary Tyler Moore professes to be the only co star who did not sleep with the King!

Open Grove Claudia said...

What an interesting guy. Boy I always wonder why he didn't have more children. I guess in the back of my mind, I've wondered if he was gay. The women are gorgeous... but...

What do you think Malcolm? There wasn't any birth control - why didn't he have more kids?

pussreboots said...

Interesting list. I know almost nothing about his films. Happy TT.

Jay said...

Very cool.

I've never really like an Elvis Movies, but I will still watch if they are the one's with Ann Margret or Shelley Fabares because I loooooove those two!

Lori said...

OK...that last pic was photoshopped, right? It would have been great to meet the King. Happy TT. Great list and tribute.

SJ Reidhead said...

Wow, a what if! I never knew the thing about A Star Is Born. You wonder what would have happened IF...

The Pink Flamingo

Kim said...

Cool post, Elvis was before my time but I still like some of his old movies. Kim

Jason Elias said...

I liked, ok, loved "Girl Happy." Why I don't know...

citizen jane said...

Fun, fun list. I'm not a big Elvis movie aficionado, but I might need to have an Elvis film festival here to catch up.

My fave film, though -- Blue Hawaii. Just for "Rock-a-Hula Baby." Infectious, that.

Lisa said...

I love Ann Margaret. Love her.

Happy TT. Thanks for stopping by!

Pop Art Diva! said...

Oh, my choice would be Jailhouse Rock! Always and Forever the best Elvis film for me!

I do love the theme for Viva Las Vegas the best though - that song always makes me want to get up and boogie!

Wow, Elvis for John Norman Howard! Oh, how I wish that had happened. Elvis and Streisand singing together - imagine it! Though I do like Kristofferson I think Elvis would have made history in that film.

Yasmin said...

Happy TT and great blog!
Fellow TT Participant

Pamela Kramer said...

Ann Margaret all the way! Great post for TT. Thanks for stopping by.

Malcolm said...

The Gal Herself: Thanks! I just discovered the Petula Clark trivia factoid yesterday.

As for my exclusion of Carolyn Jones and Lizabeth Scott, the 12 ladies I chose to feature were selected mainly for their "hotness" factor. To me, Dolores Hart (who co-starred with both ladies) trumps them both. That's not to say that I don't enjoy their work, esp. Lizabeth Scott (who appeared in some of my favorite film noir movies of the era).

Sue: Thanks

Pjazzy: Do you mean to tell me that Bill Bixby (who appeared in Clambake and Speedway) and Elvis did the deed?

Open Grove Claudia: No birth control back then?! Sure there was birth control, although there's no way to know whether Elvis used any or not unless ladies he slept with were to tell us so. Throughout the years, there have been rumors of Elvis fathering other children. Whether or not this is true, who knows?

Jay: By the mid 60s, Elvis said that his movie scripts were so bad that he would get physically ill. I'll bet that ladies like Ann-Margret and Shelley Fabares made those crapfests a little easier to take.

Lori: Yes, the photo of Elvis and Barbra is a Photoshop job. It would have been more realistic if whoever Photoshopped it had used a picture of Elvis from his "fat" period because he wasn't even remotely that slim in 1976.

SJ: I and others have wondered the same thing. If he had did "A Star Is Born", it could have been a career resurgence for him and possibly led to some other meaningful film work. Unfortunately, all we can do is wonder.

Kim: Thanks! I wish that TCM would get the rights to "Loving You", "King Creole", and "Fun In Acapulco". I haven't seen the latter one in years.

Jason: Long time no hear... thanks for commenting.

Citizen Jane: Thanks for stopping by. By the way, I like your user name. Out of habit, I orig. typed "Kane".

Lisa: I wish that Ann-Margret and Elvis had made more movies together. I wonder why they didn't.

Pop Art Diva: Jailhouse Rock is neck and neck for me with Loving You as the best Elvis film. One of my favorite scenes in Jailhouse Rock is when Elvis is performing at a club and there's this patron laughing out loud. Elvis hops off stage, smashes his guitar on the patron's table, and then lets out a sarcastic laugh... good stuff!

Elvis' manager (Col. Tom Parker) made some really bad choices for him. When you see the films that Elvis was considered for or wanted to do, your jaw might drop.

Yasmin and Pamela: Thank you!

Barbara Doduk said...

Wow, I didn't know a lot of that. Thanks dude. Happy TT.

B @ The Love Blog

Meju said...

I love to hear Elvis sing...but as for his movies...ummm I will have to pass. Good TT idea though.

JohnH985 said...

Thanks for visiting my site. I think I'll be visiting yours again, it looks like something I'll enjoy. I just came back from Memphis this week where it's Elvis week. I went to Beale Street and saw quite a few Elvis walking around.

Angelika said...

I don't think I've EVER seen an Elvis movie. Are they all musicals? The only musical I like is "Rocky Horror Picture Show", LOL.

Jessica said...

I've never seen an Elvis movie either. I like his music, but I've never thought his movies looked that great. Do you recommend any? :)

Anonymous said...

I don't think I've ever seen an "Elvis movie" in its entirety. But, I did know about a few of these ladies being in films with him.

I had no idea that Mary Tyler Moore was in one of his films. I've always liked her. I saw her in person for a brief moment back in 2000 in NYC at a Juvenile Diabetes Walk that Chris' company was sponsoring. I wanted to reach out and touch her arm or something - but of course I just smiled at her.

Malcolm said...

Barbara D: You are welcome.

Meju: I think you are the first person who I've heard say that they like Elvis' singing, but won't touch his movies. :-)

John985: Thanks for stopping by. I can imagine that there was a sharp increase in shot up TV screens in Memphis with all the Elvis impersonators in town.

Angelika: No, there were a few Elvis films that weren't musicals. "Love Me Tender", "Flaming Star", "Wild In the Country", "Charro", and "Change of Habit". Even though many of these feature Elvis singing at least one song, they aren't musicals per se.

It's funny you mention "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". While stuck in traffic this afternoon, I was singing along to "Time Warp" (which is on the mix CD I had in my car).

Jessica: Many of Elvis' films were mediocre at best. However, there are some gems on his film resume'. I'd recommend "Jailhouse Rock", "Loving You", "King Creole", "Flaming Star", "Wild In the Country", "Roustabout", and "Viva Las Vegas". Even some of his mediocre films have enough of a cheese/camp factor to make them fun viewing as well.

Thriving Holly: Yeah, Mary's appearance opposite Elvis was sandwiched between her roles in The Dick Van Dyke Show and her own self-titled sitcom. That had to be pretty cool to be so close to a living legend like MTM.

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