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A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:32 am

The Colonel used a very simple and successful formula for promoting and releasing Elvis' movies during the sixties:

a) approximately two months before the movie release date, he issued a promotional single
b) approximately one month before the movie release date, he issued the soundtrack album

However, by cross-referencing "Elvis Day By Day" and http://www.elvisrecords.us, I've noticed a few anomalies with this pattern: there were occasions when the "triple threat" approach (single / LP / movie) seemed badly timed.

For example, is anyone able to confirm or correct these general release dates:

28 Aug - KID GALAHAD EP
29 Aug - Kid Galahad movie

29 Jan - One Broken Heart For Sale / They Remind Me Too Much Of You
10 Apr - IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD’S FAIR LP
10 Apr - It Happened At The World’s Fair movie

1 Mar - Frankie And Johnny / Please Don’t Stop Loving Me
1 Mar - FRANKIE AND JOHNNY LP
30 Mar - Frankie And Johnny movie

5 Apr - Double Trouble movie
28 Apr - Long Legged Girl / That’s Someone You Never Forget
1 Jun - DOUBLE TROUBLE LP

The other movies make sense (from a publicity perspective that is) but those listed above seem odd.

All corrections and suggestions gratefully received!

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:44 am

I have researched further and, for the most part, Billboard seems to back up the record release dates, although both "Frankie And Johnny" discs are not mentioned until 9 April.

Also, it seems that "Kid Galahad" was intended to be a Thanksgiving release (late November).

With regard to the movie "Double Trouble", Variety reports a trade screening on 15 March, the movie is reviewed on 5 April, but the film isn't particularly mentioned until early June, which may indicate a delayed general release.

On a sidenote, check out this delightful clipping regarding a controversial film called, "I, A Woman": it seems that EP was considered the safe choice in summer 1967 ... how things had changed since 1957!

Variety 14 Jun 67.jpg
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Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:45 am

A big flaw in 1967 was when the Double Trouble movie was launched (April) only one month after Easy Come, Easy Go. Anyway, both were not succesful at the box office. But I think Elvis this year became very worried about his career and very unhapy with the Colonel's management.

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:51 am

Indeed, this is my point, the general release date of "Double Trouble" must surely have been delayed until the summer: the record releases (and logic) would suggest so.

1967
10 Jan - Indescribably Blue - Fools Fall In Love
8 Mar - HOW GREAT THOU ART LP
10 Mar - EASY COME, EASY GO EP
22 Mar - Easy Come, Easy Go movie

5 Apr - Double Trouble movie
28 Apr - Long Legged Girl / That’s Someone You Never Forget
1 Jun - DOUBLE TROUBLE LP

8 Aug - Judy / There’s Always Me
26 Sep - Big Boss Man / You Don’t Know Me
10 Oct - CLAMBAKE LP
22 Nov - Clambake movie

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:19 pm

George Smith wrote:The Colonel used a very simple and successful formula for promoting and releasing Elvis' movies during the sixties:

a) approximately two months before the movie release date, he issued a promotional single
b) approximately one month before the movie release date, he issued the soundtrack album

However, by cross-referencing "Elvis Day By Day" and http://www.elvisrecords.us, I've noticed a few anomalies with this pattern: there were occasions when the "triple threat" approach (single / LP / movie) seemed badly timed.

For example, is anyone able to confirm or correct these general release dates:

28 Aug - KID GALAHAD EP
29 Aug - Kid Galahad movie

29 Jan - One Broken Heart For Sale / They Remind Me Too Much Of You
10 Apr - IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD’S FAIR LP
10 Apr - It Happened At The World’s Fair movie

1 Mar - Frankie And Johnny / Please Don’t Stop Loving Me
1 Mar - FRANKIE AND JOHNNY LP
30 Mar - Frankie And Johnny movie

5 Apr - Double Trouble movie
28 Apr - Long Legged Girl / That’s Someone You Never Forget
1 Jun - DOUBLE TROUBLE LP


The other movies make sense (from a publicity perspective that is) but those listed above seem odd.

All corrections and suggestions gratefully received!


Your dating for the records seems pretty accurate, as do the movies. It should be noted that although management dictated RCA's release policy -- a unique practice, then as now -- that doesn't mean disagreements between the two parties might have impacted when product hit retail. Some thoughts follow...

---

It seems the record of Kid Galahad was "yet to be released" as of the August 25, 1962 Billboard, and they were calling it an LP, not an EP. Perhaps RCA and management debating whether to flesh out the six-song soundtrack with a full album held up the release a bit? In the next issue, RCA placed a full-page ad for the EP, and there was a review as well.


Billboard Aug 25 1962 p1.JPG
Billboard - August 25, 1962
Note: Kid Galahad LP [sic] was "yet to be released."


Billboard Sep 01 1962 p20.JPG
Billboard - September 1, 1962
Note: very good review of new EP.


Billboard Sep 01 1962 p51.JPG
Billboard - September 1, 1962

---

With "It Happened At The World’s Fair," the "8-week/4-week/film" timeline was only off for the LP. History shows there was some debate between RCA and management over the paucity of album tracks and the excessive retail price, perhaps a reason for the album's tardiness.

---

The material for 1966's "Frankie And Johnny" was so weak that perhaps coupling the single and LP to one release day was a ploy to make each more viable at retail.

---

The inversion of the film and record release schedule for "Double Trouble" seems odd, but so was early 1967.

This was, of course, when management was having a great deal of trouble motivating their star for the current project ("Clambake"), which led to a "review" of Presley's employees after a concussion delayed Presley's start date. Also, at this time management was moving their share of the artist's gross to a 50/50 split -- obscene, to say the least -- and orchestrating a "secret" Las Vegas wedding on May 1.

All of these events could serve to explain the distracted manner in which they handled "Double Trouble."
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Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:27 pm

Wonderful riposte, John, thank you for going the extra mile.

I agree with all of your observations and conclusions, and thanks for double-checking my dates.

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:37 pm

Thank you very much Doc. I read in many books that the Double Trouble movie was released in April 1967. So where is the truth? It was delayed or not?

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:51 pm

George Smith wrote:Wonderful riposte, John, thank you for going the extra mile.

I agree with all of your observations and conclusions, and thanks for double-checking my dates.


The pleasure is mine. But ... is this topic a casual inquiry, or something else entirely?


jurasic1968 wrote:Thank you very much Doc. I read in many books that the Double Trouble movie was released in April 1967. So where is the truth? It was delayed or not?


I just found "Double Trouble" debuted in Los Angeles in late June 1967, and was reviewed a month later in Boston, which would eliminate the oddity of the schedule originally suggested. Despite all the craziness in early 1967, the MGM project proceeded according to plan after all.


'Double Trouble' in Citywide Showing
By Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
Friday, June 23, 1967, Page E8

In "Double Trouble" Elvis Presley's problems are considerably more than two. He's got an underage runaway heiress and a mysterious brunette in hot pursuit all over Europe--not to mention ...

http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes


Is Elvis in Real Trouble?
Boston Globe
Thursday, July 27, 1967, Page 17

In "Double Trouble," at the Center and various other suburban theaters, singing star Elvis Presley indicates that he is in real trouble ...

http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/boston/access

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:35 pm

Interesting stuff guys.It sure is a complicated issue in regards to the release schedule it must have been a nightmare to keep up as a fan especially in the 60's


norrie

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:22 pm

norrie wrote:Interesting stuff guys.It sure is a complicated issue in regards to the release schedule it must have been a nightmare to keep up as a fan especially in the 60's ...


Well, as far as nightmares go, the release schedule is one thing, seeing the actual film is another.

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:47 pm

norrie wrote:Interesting stuff guys.It sure is a complicated issue in regards to the release schedule it must have been a nightmare to keep up as a fan especially in the 60's


norrie


It was great fun checking in the newspaper if any Elvis movies were to be shown in the area.

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:37 pm

I think that 1967 is Elvis nadir' year for releasing movies : Easy Come, Easy Go, Double Trouble and Clambake showed him at his worst. He must had fired the Colonel after he finished Stay Away, Joe in November 1967.

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:42 pm

Thank you, George Smith and Doc for posting and for being such an incredible source of information!

It's amazing how much time, effort and money went into releasing Elvis' films and soundtracks.

I pulled Elvis's salary, bonuses, expenses and profit participation per film posted by greystoke in HoneyTalkNelson's Elvis Movie Statistics thread.

Parker gets called a lot of things but he made money for Elvis and made a lot of money for himself as well.

$500.000 (+ 50% of the profits)
28 Aug - KID GALAHAD EP
29 Aug - Kid Galahad movie

$400.000 (+ $75.000 expenses, $25.000 musical expenses & 50% of the profits after the first $500.000 recouped)
29 Jan - One Broken Heart For Sale / They Remind Me Too Much Of You
10 Apr - IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD’S FAIR LP
10 Apr - It Happened At The World’s Fair movie

$650.000 (+ 50% of the profits)
1 Mar - Frankie And Johnny / Please Don’t Stop Loving Me
1 Mar - FRANKIE AND JOHNNY LP
30 Mar - Frankie And Johnny movie

$750.000 (+ 40% of the profits)
5 Apr - Double Trouble movie
28 Apr - Long Legged Girl / That’s Someone You Never Forget
1 Jun - DOUBLE TROUBLE LP

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=55990&hilit=movie+statistics&start=100

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:11 pm

To this day, I will never understand the release of Judy as a single in the summer of '67 one of the most revolutionary years in pop music. To this end, I blame Elvis as much as the Col. Didnt he have a say in this, and if not, why? Surely, he must have known this single would flop, and further alienate him from the current pop scene. Thats why I use the word lazy a lot and get blasted for for it. To this end, Elvis was lazy in deciding which direction his career was going. He should have demanded better decisions and did not do so.

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:13 pm

EPA4368 wrote:I pulled Elvis's salary, bonuses, expenses and profit participation per film posted by greystoke in HoneyTalkNelson's Elvis Movie Statistics thread.

Parker gets called a lot of things but he made money for Elvis and made a lot of money for himself as well.


And the higher his salary for the movies the more unhappy Elvis became.

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:38 pm

George Smith wrote:
EPA4368 wrote:I pulled Elvis's salary, bonuses, expenses and profit participation per film posted by greystoke in HoneyTalkNelson's Elvis Movie Statistics thread.

Parker gets called a lot of things but he made money for Elvis and made a lot of money for himself as well.


And the higher his salary for the movies the more unhappy Elvis became.


I've said it before, commercial success is one thing, artistic success is quite another. If all they were interested in is money, thats a shame, and it sort of showed Elvis 'sold-out' by selling his soul to Hollywood and Parker. He is perceived as a puppet by many and that is a bigger shame. Two examples of people who did not do this are 1) Bobby Darin - His mgmt thought he was nuts abandoning Splish Splash and rock for Mack The Knife, but he made the decsison to do it anyway, 2) The Beatles, they could have kept making movies after Help (Epstein was all for it) but decided this was one area they didnt want to be like Elvis and stopped. Elvis couldnt do this? He was that afraid of Parker? He had to sign those movies contracts as well. He should have torn them up!

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:48 pm

George Smith wrote:
EPA4368 wrote:I pulled Elvis's salary, bonuses, expenses and profit participation per film posted by greystoke in HoneyTalkNelson's Elvis Movie Statistics thread.

Parker gets called a lot of things but he made money for Elvis and made a lot of money for himself as well.


And the higher his salary for the movies the more unhappy Elvis became.


True but when Elvis tried it his way "Flaming Star" and "Wild in the Country" the results unfortunately didn't help Elvis, it helped Parker.

Believe me, I'm not a Parker fan but Parker did great things for Elvis and he also made mistakes.

Parker was a businessman not a visionary. The difference between Parker and Sam Phillips was the difference between a colorful businessman and a visionary.

Image

Image

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:02 pm

I got the Double Trouble album around the first of June and saw the movie shortly thereafter on the first day it was in theaters in my town. At that time, the movies didn't stay in theaters for very long.

The first movie I saw before I had seen and purchased the soundtrack was Clambake. What were the dates for that project? It was weird not knowing the song when he started to sing in that movie. It was also a surprise when he did You Don't Know Me as it was nothing like the single I already owned.

The fact that Flaming Star and Wild In The Country did less business than Blue Hawaii should not have doomed him to endless travelogues. I don't believe they lost money and WITC was not a good movie. He needed to hold out for better projects. Unfortunately, it can be said Elvis sold out and that he was a puppet. He was an unhappy puppet but a puppet nonetheless. I've heard him referred to as a very well paid shift worker. However it's said, it's not flattering.

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:20 pm

r&b wrote:
George Smith wrote:
EPA4368 wrote:I pulled Elvis's salary, bonuses, expenses and profit participation per film posted by greystoke in HoneyTalkNelson's Elvis Movie Statistics thread.

Parker gets called a lot of things but he made money for Elvis and made a lot of money for himself as well.


And the higher his salary for the movies the more unhappy Elvis became.


I've said it before, commercial success is one thing, artistic success is quite another. If all they were interested in is money, thats a shame, and it sort of showed Elvis 'sold-out' by selling his soul to Hollywood and Parker. He is perceived as a puppet by many and that is a bigger shame. Two examples of people who did not do this are 1) Bobby Darin - His mgmt thought he was nuts abandoning Splish Splash and rock for Mack The Knife, but he made the decsison to do it anyway, 2) The Beatles, they could have kept making movies after Help (Epstein was all for it) but decided this was one area they didnt want to be like Elvis and stopped. Elvis couldnt do this? He was that afraid of Parker? He had to sign those movies contracts as well. He should have torn them up!


Elvis was one person. The Beatles were four. They kept each other's negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. I believe it was Lennon that said why they didn't want to keep making movies... "They did not want to fall into the same trap Elvis did." They learned a lot from Elvis.

Elvis was only 26 when he made Blue Hawaii in '61. Blue Hawaii set the tone for Elvis's future film career. I have often wondered what might have happened had more fans flocked to see Elvis's work in Wild in the Country and Flaming Star over Blue Hawaii.

Image

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:39 pm

r&b wrote:To this day, I will never understand the release of Judy as a single in the summer of '67 one of the most revolutionary years in pop music. To this end, I blame Elvis as much as the Col. Didnt he have a say in this, and if not, why? Surely, he must have known this single would flop, and further alienate him from the current pop scene.


I don't think they had much to release as a single at that time.

I don't think releasing ''Judy'' as a single alienated him anymore than he already was.

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:46 am

EPA4368 wrote:I have often wondered what might have happened had more fans flocked to see Elvis's work in Wild in the Country and Flaming Star over Blue Hawaii.


I think an argument can be made that "Can't Help Falling In Love" was one of the worst things to happen to Elvis (musically speaking). It was a great song, but it was just too successful (and the soundtrack it was pulled from depressingly inconsequential).

Perhaps this isn't the best thread to ask this in, but while we're on the subject...does anyone know why did they start cutting back the number of songs in Elvis' films as the 60's rolled on? By the end, they were only issuing the occasional EP...of course the movies weren't going to gross as much without the soundtracks to promote them!

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:53 am

EPA4368 wrote:
George Smith wrote:And the higher his salary for the movies the more unhappy Elvis became.


True but when Elvis tried it his way "Flaming Star" and "Wild in the Country" the results unfortunately didn't help Elvis, it helped Parker.


Yup. And it was no accident.

It may be argued that those two Presley films were quietly undermined by management, as their existence did not serve the formula of soundtrack fuels movie -> movie fuels soundtrack. Neither project went all the way as a "serious" drama because songs were shoehorned into the scripts. In fact, "Wild in the Country" director Philip Dunne -- a very accomplished Hollywood veteran -- nearly quit because of Parker's interference.

Philip Dunne (writer)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Dunne_(writer)#Career_highlights

And one suspects that a tepid box office, coupled with lower record sales, would help "prove" to Elvis that the musicals were his forté . So management did what it could to ensure that this happened.

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:14 am

Parker up to his tricks, Wallis never intended to cast Elvis as a serious actor and Blue Hawaii turning out to be a huge success. Elvis is up against a heavily stacked deck. And he's only 26 years old. I’d say except for Kissin' Cousins, up to Viva Las Vegas they were still probably fun for Elvis, quality stuff and some good tracks. Unfortunately Elvis was caught doing something he ended up hating as early as in '65.

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Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:50 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:It may be argued that those two Presley films were quietly undermined by management, as their existence did not serve the formula of soundtrack fuels movie -> movie fuels soundtrack. Neither project went all the way as a "serious" drama because songs were shoehorned into the scripts. In fact, "Wild in the Country" director Philip Dunne -- a very accomplished Hollywood veteran -- nearly quit because of Parker's interference.


And I have a sneaking suspicion that the ridiculous scenario regarding the "Viva Las Vegas" single and (non) LP were further evidence of Parker interering with Presley product to prove a point.

Re: A Flaw in the Colonel's Formula?

Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:37 pm

George Smith wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:It may be argued that those two Presley films were quietly undermined by management, as their existence did not serve the formula of soundtrack fuels movie -> movie fuels soundtrack. Neither project went all the way as a "serious" drama because songs were shoehorned into the scripts. In fact, "Wild in the Country" director Philip Dunne -- a very accomplished Hollywood veteran -- nearly quit because of Parker's interference.


And I have a sneaking suspicion that the ridiculous scenario regarding the "Viva Las Vegas" single and (non) LP were further evidence of Parker interfering with Presley product to prove a point.


Agree 100%.

"Viva Las Vegas" was Elvis' most successful 1960s film, post-"Blue Hawaii," but might have been twice that had the music been released properly on single and LP. And how could Elvis and Ann not make a second film, after the incredible energy and charisma they exuded in the 1964 MGM release? A sure-fire hit, denied!

This was the true beginning of Parker's slide as a savvy manager.