Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Un(der)known Elvis--- "(It's a) Long Lonely Highway"

I thought this week I would feature a few Elvis songs wither on video or Mp3 that I enjoy that didn't get a lot of airplay or were put into those mediocre movies he began to make around 1962 when producers figured out that you didn't need a good script or a first-rate director to make money on an Elvis feature--you just needed Elvis.

This song was featured in a very "needy" little film called 'Tickle Me" from 1965. It's a lightweight screwball comedy of the kind that we as kids used to watch on the CBS Friday Night movies. (It didn't take long for these films to get from the drive-ins of North America to network television. )

We in the junior set all knew the Elvis films weren't all that good. But we also knew that Elvis had charisma and he seemed confident around beautiful women and always got the girl and beat the bad guys at their own game.

Despite his physical and emotional swagger on the screen, it seems a shame that his manager, the rapacious Col. Tom Parker, steered the real Elvis into so many bad films when it's clear that he had some good acting chops and deserved the same material that was often accorded a Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra.

Instead he got "Tickle Me", "Spinout", "Live a Little, Love a Little" and "Girls, Girls, Girls". All these movies made a brick of money and all of them were made on the cheap. Thank goodness we have them at least for the fans, but thankfully Elvis got off this "drive-in-late show filler" stuff and became a concert singer again in his last few years. Even then he discovered to late he had been shafted out of royalties by the Colonel (who managed by some shady financial legerdemain to get him to accept a lump sum payment) along the way. It's safe to say Parker died a richer man than Elvis.

But the legend will live on, and as one fan said, "he was my kind of good person and he gave lots to his fans, even in movies like this that were increasingly beneath him". 'Nuf said I say. Play it.


  1. Just casual but so good thankyou my friend!

  2. This is one of my favorites from one of those movies. Dumb movie, but the lovely lady is Celeste Yarnall, who was also in "The Apple" on Star Trek and is one of my favorites.

  3. That's just it, Rosie. Just casual and so good. Thanks.

  4. Didn't know that, Christy. Except for Ann-Margret, not a lot of the ladies in Elvis films of this period went on to major success. But they were all beautiful.

    Thanks also for that version of "Little Less Conversation". The remix went Number One in Britain a few years ago and is one of my all-time favorites.

  5. Celeste had some success, appearing in a lot of TV shows including "Land of the Giants" and "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." plus a number of movies. I kind of followed her for years, remembering her from the Star Trek episode, and she has since become a friend of mine, a very lovely lady. She said that they filmed the kiss first thing on the set, which was a little startling since she'd never even met him before, but says wonderful things about him!!!

    His acting improved some in later years, but it was always that beautiful voice for me!!!

  6. I imagine that was off-putting for her, to say the least. Thanks for sharing that inside story, Christy.

    Elvis did have quite a voice, that's for sure! :-) How ironic that as his acting improved, his films (and quality of directors, writers) generally went downhill.