Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:40 am

The evidence we have is circumstantial, for both sides.

But, look at the big picture.

It was 1975, not 1965.

Elvis was out of shape.

Not in the best of health.

Hadn't done a movie in 5 years.

Yes, I admit, I am speculating, but I think its possible that Elvis himself had the colonel squelch the deal.

It's just a gut feeling of mine. When you look at his life at the time and put it all together, Elvis
had gotten real lazy.

Elvis didn't go anything from late 1974 up to march 1975.

Then in August he melts down again.

And even if my gut feeling is wrong, and the colonel once again, screwed Elvis over....

who can you blame for that?? Elvis should have canned him.

Elvis was an established star that needed some new eyes to guide his career in a new direction.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:59 am

I mean it's a fair criticism to make, but having trusted Parker he shouldn't be having to leap frog all the time either. I would say again, in the real world experience that I have seen and endured with professionals most people realize that they've done a bad job only after the damage is done.

Who knows? it's quite possible Parker had something on Elvis. Maybe the dirt on Priscilla although by 1975 that would have been a non-issue.

I think in 1975 Elvis is still not beyond the point of return. 40 is for most people, a prime age in life, when you are still young and vital and have presumably have some life experience. He was out of shape but no out of shape as he would be a year later. And again, Elvis could have made director approval a condition of the project. But of course, as per usual Parker would have not been able to help him with that because he had no idea who was a good director and who was a bad one, who wanted to work with Elvis and who didn't.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:09 am

I found a short clip of Parker explaining Elvis
was not interested in doing the film.
phpBB [video]


Personally, I believe him.
Outside looking in, this film wouldn't have been a good idea for Elvis,
any which way a person looks at it. Only my humble opinion of course. :wink:

(Thanks Doc, for starting the thread. :D )
PEP 8)

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:33 am

likethebike wrote:. And again, Elvis could have made director approval a condition of the project. But of course, as per usual Parker would have not been able to help him with that because he had no idea who was a good director and who was a bad one, who wanted to work with Elvis and who didn't.


I don't think Streisand would have went for that.

If you bring in a talented big name director they'll want big money which means less profits for everyone including Streisand.

I don't see Elvis having any creative input in that movie you'd just be substituting him for Kristofferson.

In my opinion the directing of the movie wasn't the problem it was the script and the majority of the songs.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:35 am

PEP wrote:I found a short clip of Parker explaining Elvis
was not interested in doing the film.
phpBB [video]


Personally, I believe him.
Outside looking in, this film wouldn't have been a good idea for Elvis,
any which way a person looks at it. Only my humble opinion of course. :wink:

(Thanks Doc, for starting the thread. :D )
PEP 8)


Thanks pep for posting that.

That confirms my gut feeling.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:53 am

Other than a Western I just can't picture Presley in any other role at the time.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:06 am

promiseland wrote:Other than a Western I just can't picture Presley in any other role at the time.

You don't think Elvis circa 1975 could have played the role of a successful and self-destructive entertainer with a somewhat declining career?

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:16 am

midnightx wrote:
promiseland wrote:Other than a Western I just can't picture Presley in any other role at the time.

You don't think Elvis circa 1975 could have played the role of a successful and self-destructive entertainer with a somewhat declining career?

You mean like an biography of his own life? On second thoughts yes , but I was thinking more on a level of just a drama type or action flick , just couldn't picture it. Elvis is somewhat typecast as being Elvis and it would seem hard to follow through as him as another character at the time .

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:25 am

What did Parker "have" on Elvis? Oh, just a few little things.

1955 Vernon had worked on a Chain Gang in a Mississippi. Kills the nice little family image.
1958 Gladys dies of alcoholism. Elvis would rather have died than this be revealed in his lifetime or ever.
1961 Elvis's amphetemine use.
1965 Elvis's increasing drug use
1967 Elvis's DANGEROUSLY increasing drug use and an accident to his head the public knew nothing about
1968 Elvis is very nervous about the TV Special and the Col. did get it set up. Elvis worried about end of career
1970 Elvis's drug use ramps up and the Controlled Substances Act sends him on A Mission to collect badges and pay "donations" to police dept.'s all around. He seeks and attains a prestigious award from the Jaycess
1971 Elvis has secondary glaucoma, a serious eye condition that is sometimes caused in a young person by the pupils dilating back and forth all the time: easy for the press to figure out: Parker probably had someone look into it. Easy.
1973 While Elvis is away almost dying several times, Parker gets buyout agreement
1975 Elvis in danger of losing part of his colon due to hard narcotic use. Most people think he is just a "big eater" and is "fat." Parker knows better.
1976-1977 Elvis is actually in serious danger of death. Parker knows this and wants to "keep" Elvis in the event he does die, for the merchandising rights. He dies. Vernon is cornered by Parker and a paper is shoved at the distraught father about said rights. He signs it.

I might have left out some things.

rjm

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:09 am

promiseland wrote:
midnightx wrote:
promiseland wrote:Other than a Western I just can't picture Presley in any other role at the time.

You don't think Elvis circa 1975 could have played the role of a successful and self-destructive entertainer with a somewhat declining career?

You mean like an biography of his own life? On second thoughts yes , but I was thinking more on a level of just a drama type or action flick , just couldn't picture it. Elvis is somewhat typecast as being Elvis and it would seem hard to follow through as him as another character at the time .

In hindsight, yes, the role was similar to his own existence at the time. But it is doubtful many people would not have viewed it as such back in 1975. His image and reputation were still in many ways protected from the scrutiny of the past 35 years. Forget the arguments as to whether or not this was a good film (it was clearly a departure from the majority of the crap he starred in during the second half of his Hollywood years); but wouldn't it have been nice had Elvis stopped his endless cycle of secondary-market tours and casino engagements and focused his efforts on a respectable film project? Could he have pulled it off? Who knows, but 1976 could have potentially been significantly more fulfilling than what ultimately transpired.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:38 am

rjm wrote:What did Parker "have" on Elvis? Oh, just a few little things.

1955 Vernon had worked on a Chain Gang in a Mississippi. Kills the nice little family image.
1958 Gladys dies of alcoholism. Elvis would rather have died than this be revealed in his lifetime or ever.
1961 Elvis's amphetemine use.
1965 Elvis's increasing drug use
1967 Elvis's DANGEROUSLY increasing drug use and an accident to his head the public knew nothing about
1968 Elvis is very nervous about the TV Special and the Col. did get it set up. Elvis worried about end of career
1970 Elvis's drug use ramps up and the Controlled Substances Act sends him on A Mission to collect badges and pay "donations" to police dept.'s all around. He seeks and attains a prestigious award from the Jaycess
1971 Elvis has secondary glaucoma, a serious eye condition that is sometimes caused in a young person by the pupils dilating back and forth all the time: easy for the press to figure out: Parker probably had someone look into it. Easy.
1973 While Elvis is away almost dying several times, Parker gets buyout agreement
1975 Elvis in danger of losing part of his colon due to hard narcotic use. Most people think he is just a "big eater" and is "fat." Parker knows better.
1976-1977 Elvis is actually in serious danger of death. Parker knows this and wants to "keep" Elvis in the event he does die, for the merchandising rights. He dies. Vernon is cornered by Parker and a paper is shoved at the distraught father about said rights. He signs it.

I might have left out some things.

rjm


All of that stuff wouldn't be things he could really blackmail Elvis with.

Gladys Presley died from complications of diabetes.

The stuff about Gladys and Vernon was known at the time and it had nothing to do with Elvis.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:41 am

It's silly to think some changes wouldn't have been made to the film if Elvis did do it. Music more appropriate for him likely would have been used and he would have had some input into his character. He may have improved the movie. He probably would have had some trouble with Streisand but maybe they would have worked well together. The Colonel would have had more trouble with her power than Elvis would have.

If Parker wanted that film done, which, if he was concerned about Elvis' well being, he would have wanted, he could have made it happen. He knew how to get Elvis to do what he wanted him to do. It's likely Parker feared Elvis interacting with powerful entertainment associates and disuaded him from wanting the role.

As bad as the film was and even if he didn't improve it any, it would have been a huge success and seriously boosted his career. The movie was successful with Kristofferson. Elvis would have magnified that success.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:55 am

stevelecher wrote:It's silly to think some changes wouldn't have been made to the film if Elvis did do it. Music more appropriate for him likely would have been used and he would have had some input into his character. He may have improved the movie. He probably would have had some trouble with Streisand but maybe they would have worked well together. The Colonel would have had more trouble with her power than Elvis would have.


It's not silly.

It's likey that the songs would have been changed somewhat to fit his style but they probably still would've been crappy.

I just don't think Elvis would have had any great input that was going to impact the film in any positive way.

Besides did Elvis even make any creative suggestions for his own star vehicles.

If he did were his suggestions ever used.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:58 am

Both Sonny West and Jerry Schiling have said that Elvis changed his mind about doing it. The Colonel i am sure was happy about that but Elvis was the one that killed it. Elvis was a huge name and when you are managing a huge name you consult with them on things. More than one person around Elvis have said if Elvis did not want to do something and said no, it would not happen. And unfortunately he did not try hard to enough to make things he wanted to do happen. A lot of times when Elvis did not want to do something he told the Colonel to kill things and The Colonel would take the blame.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:12 am

It's likely the Colonel inspired Elvis to NOT want to do the film. Like I said, he knew how to "work" Elvis. He probably could have influenced him the other way. We've been led to believe Elvis deeply wanted to do a movie he could be proud of and then, when one dropped into his lap, he just didn't want it? There's a missing piece to that puzzle.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:20 am

brian wrote:
stevelecher wrote:It's silly to think some changes wouldn't have been made to the film if Elvis did do it. Music more appropriate for him likely would have been used and he would have had some input into his character. He may have improved the movie. He probably would have had some trouble with Streisand but maybe they would have worked well together. The Colonel would have had more trouble with her power than Elvis would have.


It's not silly.

It's likey that the songs would have been changed somewhat to fit his style but they probably still would've been crappy.
So there would be changes for the better. The songs would be better than those in many of his 1960's musicals.

I just don't think Elvis would have had any great input that was going to impact the film in any positive way.
The film would be better just if Elvis was in it.

Besides did Elvis even make any creative suggestions for his own star vehicles.
Probably

If he did were his suggestions ever used.
Probably

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:22 pm

stevelecher wrote:
brian wrote:
stevelecher wrote:It's silly to think some changes wouldn't have been made to the film if Elvis did do it. Music more appropriate for him likely would have been used and he would have had some input into his character. He may have improved the movie. He probably would have had some trouble with Streisand but maybe they would have worked well together. The Colonel would have had more trouble with her power than Elvis would have.


It's not silly.

It's likey that the songs would have been changed somewhat to fit his style but they probably still would've been crappy.
So there would be changes for the better. The songs would be better than those in many of his 1960's musicals.

I just don't think Elvis would have had any great input that was going to impact the film in any positive way.
The film would be better just if Elvis was in it.

Besides did Elvis even make any creative suggestions for his own star vehicles.
Probably

If he did were his suggestions ever used.
Probably


If you think Elvis' participation alone would have made the movie better then fine but I don't.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:10 pm

I wouldn't consider Parker a reliable source on this simply because by the time interviews were done he wants to make his own position look stronger and he had taken a beating about his management in the press. Hey Parker forget A Star is Born did you ever think to tell your client about the deal Leiber and Stoller had on the verge for him in the late 1950s?

Yes, Elvis actually did insist on some creative changes in his films. One was the use of Scotty, Bill and DJ on the film recordings rather than studio players after Love Me Tender. On the set of King Creole Dolores Hart remembered that Elvis urged Michael Curtiz to restructure the scene where Danny and Nellie go to the hotel. Originally, they make it into the hotel room and Nellie starts to undress. Elvis insisted to Curtiz that the couple would never go that far and go back. There are stills that show the scene at least prepared in that way. Elvis' version is what's in the movie.

In terms of insisting on a director, no Elvis had never done that but if Parker were a viable manager, he would have urged Elvis to do such and in the 1960s, Elvis' box office such that the pair could have made such concessions. If Parker was a competent manager at this point he could have stressed to Elvis the importance of protecting himself in a project such as this with professionals that would handle the project evenly and not favor Streisand. It's true that Elvis probably wasn't on top of who could handle a project like this but there were plenty of acquaintances and friends in Hollywood like Ann Margaret or Binder who could have advised him.

In his book, Schilling doesn't mention Elvis cooling on the project. He mentions Elvis getting angry at a remark Schilling made that Elvis and Streisand would be given free reign. He speculates about what possibly happened but doesn't use any direct quotes from Elvis.

But according to Schilling perhaps it was Streisand's camp that killed the deal as Parker did insist on large creative control in the project.

By the way, I think on Parker's side on billing. Elvis was a bigger star than Streisand. Maybe not a bigger movie star at that time but a bigger star overall, of course, billing is not something that should hold up a movie. Maybe they could have done what they did for Captain Newman M.D. where Gregory Peck received top billing at the front of the film and then Bobby Darin got a special "And starring Bobby Darin" near the end of the cast list.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:19 pm

midnightx wrote:
promiseland wrote:
midnightx wrote:
promiseland wrote:Other than a Western I just can't picture Presley in any other role at the time.

You don't think Elvis circa 1975 could have played the role of a successful and self-destructive entertainer with a somewhat declining career?

You mean like an biography of his own life? On second thoughts yes , but I was thinking more on a level of just a drama type or action flick , just couldn't picture it. Elvis is somewhat typecast as being Elvis and it would seem hard to follow through as him as another character at the time .

In hindsight, yes, the role was similar to his own existence at the time. But it is doubtful many people would not have viewed it as such back in 1975. His image and reputation were still in many ways protected from the scrutiny of the past 35 years. Forget the arguments as to whether or not this was a good film (it was clearly a departure from the majority of the crap he starred in during the second half of his Hollywood years); but wouldn't it have been nice had Elvis stopped his endless cycle of secondary-market tours and casino engagements and focused his efforts on a respectable film project? Could he have pulled it off? Who knows, but 1976 could have potentially been significantly more fulfilling than what ultimately transpired.

You are so right anything would have been better than going through the stress of knowing that those back breaking tours were the only means to pay the bills. A happier Elvis could have ment a healthier Elvis.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:58 pm

Here is Red West's take on it, it appears he is talking with George Klein.
phpBB [video]



Now Red knows better than I and along with Jerry Schilling he remains adamant that Elvis wanted the part but but I've always suspected that maybe just maybe Elvis was attracted to the idea since it was presented to him with enthusiasm and he got caught up in the thought's of appearing in a lifetime ambition, that of a serious, dramatic acting role. Something new to focus on instead of the same old tireless Vegas engagements. Afterwards though becoming less enthusiastic about the theme of the movie, those involved, along with being despondent by his own physical condition and requested the Colonel to get him out of it. Hence the $1million salary, $100,000 in expenses and 50 per cent of the profits. Could it be that the Colonel is telling the truth and that Elvis didn't want to admit to the guys that he just didn't feel up to it?

We know that he went against the Colonel's suggestion, following Binder on the "NBC TV Special" so it appears to me that if the desire was strong enough then he would do as he pleased. If he's been offered the role of 'Dirty Harry' would he have done that even had the Colonel said no? I'd guess yes would be the answer.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:20 pm

I think Sonny West sets the record straight the best as to what went down with Elvis and Parker with "A Star Is Born" in this interview below:
phpBB [video]

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:49 pm

brian wrote:
rjm wrote:What did Parker "have" on Elvis? Oh, just a few little things.

1955 Vernon had worked on a Chain Gang in a Mississippi. Kills the nice little family image.
1958 Gladys dies of alcoholism. Elvis would rather have died than this be revealed in his lifetime or ever.
1961 Elvis's amphetemine use.
1965 Elvis's increasing drug use
1967 Elvis's DANGEROUSLY increasing drug use and an accident to his head the public knew nothing about
1968 Elvis is very nervous about the TV Special and the Col. did get it set up. Elvis worried about end of career
1970 Elvis's drug use ramps up and the Controlled Substances Act sends him on A Mission to collect badges and pay "donations" to police dept.'s all around. He seeks and attains a prestigious award from the Jaycess
1971 Elvis has secondary glaucoma, a serious eye condition that is sometimes caused in a young person by the pupils dilating back and forth all the time: easy for the press to figure out: Parker probably had someone look into it. Easy.
1973 While Elvis is away almost dying several times, Parker gets buyout agreement
1975 Elvis in danger of losing part of his colon due to hard narcotic use. Most people think he is just a "big eater" and is "fat." Parker knows better.
1976-1977 Elvis is actually in serious danger of death. Parker knows this and wants to "keep" Elvis in the event he does die, for the merchandising rights. He dies. Vernon is cornered by Parker and a paper is shoved at the distraught father about said rights. He signs it.

I might have left out some things.

rjm


All of that stuff wouldn't be things he could really blackmail Elvis with.

Gladys Presley died from complications of diabetes.

The stuff about Gladys and Vernon was known at the time and it had nothing to do with Elvis.


She had acute hepatitis, which resulted in a heart attack at about 3 A.M. I think most Elvis historians, and many others, know about her alcoholism. Never heard about diabetes, but it sure didn't kill her. She did not have kidney failure or gangrene, or any other fatal diabetes complications. Please cite. I can give you MANY citations (hey, we need a DOC here for the diagnosis).

It was NEVER, EVER known about Vernon's incarceration in his lifetime. Except to family. No one told. And the "mug shot" seems to be missing: wonder who had it? Well, I don't wonder. That's easy. Yeah, that would have played well in 56 when Elvis was accused of causing juvenile delinquency. Played real well: the son of a "criminal." No one would have been quite so understanding at the time. Later, other things happened, and the Col. used every dang one. It was like a kept an accounting.

It's ok to talk about these personal issues now, but back in the day? No way.

For Elvis, the situation was socially much more difficult, and I am sure he was terrified. Of that, alone, and there were other things: "this would really hurt my daddy," he confided to Nick and and few others. None told any of it in his lifetime. Maybe they should have, and it wouldn't have hung over him. But his own problems with drugs were also something he tried to keep on the QT, and he was fearful of getting into trouble, as any of us would be. And "help" would have made him look like "a dope addict" and many in his audience, what with the places where he performed, would be quite judgemental and consider him "just another" drug addicted rock star . . . if he sought "help." Or, in any case, this is the way many afflicted people felt at the time. Maybe it wouldn't have been that big a deal, but it is how it seemed that mattered.

I have to check, but do you remember the '70s? Or even the latter sixties? Know how it was in the '50s? Those were tougher times. The Col. understood the cultural atmosphere, and what he didn't know, he'd make it his business to know. "He never forgets anything," Elvis said in "Elvis On Tour." Yup.

And carried that elephant's head cane, so folks would know "he never forgets."

He didn't need to hypnotize Elvis, or whatever the going theory is. He had "the goods" on him, and everybody has something. The Col. understood this. A previous major client told him, in a letter, "your services are no longer required." He was never gonna let that happen again.

This is not even puzzling.

As for this particular film, it would have made him look like a loser . . . whoever made the call to say no, made the right call. But there were other films, if he wanted them. Col. didn't want him to get good reviews in good films and the old style Elvis films were passe. Anything that gave him confidence would not be something Parker wanted him to do.

I think he would have had fun in a film like "Billy Jack." But, seriously, there were feelers out there for him to play The Cowboy in Midnight Cowboy, and he would have been terrific. Maybe Oscar territory. As for the "X" rating, it was just one scene, and it wasn't really an "X" scene: you "saw" nothing. It was only implied that The Cowboy had lost his dream of making the fabulous big time in New York City, and was reduced to losing his own dignity. Actually, the script could have been slightly altered, making The Cowboy into an aspiring Broadway star, and then being reduced to losing his dignity, in one way or another, and the film would have been just as great. That would not have been a problem, but the idea of a top drawer film with Oscar potential was simply not allowed for Elvis.

He would have been good on the title song, whether it was the one they actually used, or the one they turned down for being delivered late. That one was "Lay, Lady, Lay." On Elvis's "big brass bed" . . . 8)

rjm
Last edited by rjm on Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:55 pm

The direction this thread is taking with regards to blackmail is absurd. There is no credible evidence to support such an assertion. What Tom Parker held over Elvis was Elvis' constant need for large infusions of cash and Elvis' lack of sophistication. Elvis felt no one else could manage him; get him those big deals. Parker also deferred his commissions which created a scenario where Elvis constantly owed Parker large sums of money. It is hard to walk away from a manager with those factors in play.

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:36 pm

midnightx wrote:The direction this thread is taking with regards to blackmail is absurd. There is no credible evidence to support such an assertion. What Tom Parker held over Elvis was Elvis' constant need for large infusions of cash and Elvis' lack of sophistication. Elvis felt no one else could manage him; get him those big deals. Parker also deferred his commissions which created a scenario where Elvis constantly owed Parker large sums of money. It is hard to walk away from a manager with those factors in play.


Midnight: I respectfully disagree. And I am not the first to bring this forward. It's just that I have never seen a "list" before, so I gave you a very reasonable list.

"Lack of sophistication." Elvis was FAR from dumb. He knew about Parker's gambling entangling him to "the f'ing Hilton." He knew a lot of things about Parker, but not the most important thing. Parker had a REAL "past" that Elvis and the world knew nothing about. He was, in his words, "a man without a country." If only Elvis knew. He'd be free. Hell, maybe he'd be ALIVE right now. Kris Kristofferson was born in 1936 and seems just fine. Hell, even Glen Campbell, with his serious problem, is here and PERFORMING. I saw him on a talk show a few weeks ago, and he was wonderful: better than ever, in some ways. His music has a new depth. They are all in the same close-age co-hort. Elvis has been gone a long, long time. Too long.

And I believe Parker's rancid management helped him into the grave, not to mention lousing up his life and career.

Again, as for extortion, I am not the first to suggest it. To me, it's a no-brainer. Elvis had things he didn't want anyone to know about: in a big way. And Parker never forgot anything.

We will agree to disagree there. But that particular film would not have been a good move, imo. (And yes, he certainly contributed creatively: the witnessed take in "Change of Habit" where Elvis added a line and fought for it is just one small example. And it stayed in. The reporter thought they'd cut it out, but it stayed in.)

rjm

Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:58 pm

Again, your assertion of blackmail is based on nothing of substance and is pure speculation. Extortion? Seriously?