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

Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:08 am

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


Seriously. Oh, I forgot something. Elvis sent his underage "girlfriend" to The Immaculate Conception High School while she lived in HIS BEDROOM, but her parents were told she lived with The Presley Bunch on Dolan.

'Cilla was 14 when they first spent the night together in his bedroom. Something not too different ravaged Jerry Lee Lewis.

So, yeah, seriously. Parker understood secrets cause he had 'em.

rjm

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

Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:20 am

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


Seriously. Oh, I forgot something. Elvis sent his underage "girlfriend" to The Immaculate Conception High School while she lived in HIS BEDROOM, but her parents were told she lived with The Presley Bunch on Dolan.

'Cilla was 14 when they first spent the night together in his bedroom. Something not too different ravaged Jerry Lee Lewis.

So, yeah, seriously. Parker understood secrets cause he had 'em.

rjm


You don't know if Parker was blackmailing Elvis with any of these things.

You are just speculating.

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

Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:23 am

Parker was a greedy, gold-diggin' s.o.b., but for him to stoop as low as blackmailing his own breadwinner is pure fantasy.

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

Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:28 am

brian wrote:
rjm wrote:
midnightx wrote:Again, your assertion of blackmail is based on nothing of substance and is pure speculation. Extortion? Seriously?


Seriously. Oh, I forgot something. Elvis sent his underage "girlfriend" to The Immaculate Conception High School while she lived in HIS BEDROOM, but her parents were told she lived with The Presley Bunch on Dolan.

'Cilla was 14 when they first spent the night together in his bedroom. Something not too different ravaged Jerry Lee Lewis.

So, yeah, seriously. Parker understood secrets cause he had 'em.

rjm


You don't know if Parker was blackmailing Elvis with any of these things.

You are just speculating.

What good would it do for Parker to blackmail or extort? There would be legal implications, including a possible prison sentence and a potential deportation. Parker would never work again in a management capacity and therefore have limited streams of income. Would Tom Parker have played that gamble? rjm, your theory is pure speculation and fantasy. The only thing on record is that Parker presented Elvis' father with an accounting of what he claimed he was owed in deferred commissions. The figure was stiff enough to influence Elvis' decision not to go through with a firing. Of course, had Elvis actually consulted with an attorney and not his father, most likely there would have been a thorough accounting of all financials and at that point, good old Tom Parker may have backed down from his inflated figure.

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

Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:06 am

The point is, doing ASIB, could not have hurt Elvis, in anyway, shape or form. It might have lit a fire under his ass! Doesn't matter if the movie itself, was overrated, according to the pundits.

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

Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:08 am

TCB-FAN wrote:Parker was a greedy, gold-diggin' s.o.b., but for him to stoop as low as blackmailing his own breadwinner is pure fantasy.


It's not like he had to SAY anything. Just a hint here and there . . . it's not my notion, anyway. It's old.

And there's very very little he wouldn't stoop to. I do not accept the frequent "hypnotism" theory.

Parker wouldn't be the first or only show biz player to hold stuff over someone. It's a raw business and they do worse things. And besides, it isn't direct: the stuff with 'cilla, for instance, was understood.

Parker was not gonna be fired again.

He had plenty of other advantages as well. Fear of the Plantation Owner was how Vernon saw the whole world.

rjm

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

Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:43 am

Even if Elvis had known about The Colonels situation he would not have exposed him. He was not the type of person to do that.

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

Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:57 am

I really like the movie with Kris and Barbra, but never liked Kris' vocals in that one. No doubt Elvis would have done a more decent job. I always used to make fun out of that and imitate Kris' vocal on "Watch Closely Now".

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

Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:30 pm

The extortion is a mere speculation (as is the idea that Elvis killed this project) however for a man who jumped so many other moral, legal ethical lines in the sand it's hard to see why he would stop at that one. It only comes up from time to time because the relationship between the pair was at times so quizzical and contradictory. It seems as if there is a piece missing somewhere. But yes it's true there's no solid evidence, so it's just in the air speculation.

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

Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:43 pm

Joe Car wrote:The point is, doing ASIB, could not have hurt Elvis, in anyway, shape or form. It might have lit a fire under his ass! Doesn't matter if the movie itself, was overrated, according to the pundits.


Actually Joe, ASIB could've hurt Elvis if his acting was stiff. The powers-that-be in Hollywood would say, "He got his shot at drama and couldn't cut it," and he'd likely never be considered for another drama again.

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

Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:48 pm

DEH wrote:Even if Elvis had known about The Colonels situation he would not have exposed him. He was not the type of person to do that.


I agree. But if Vernon knew, it would have really rocked his world. But he wouldn't have exposed him. I think Elvis would have certainly been in a position to say "your services are no longer required" with utter ease. I am sure "Parker" thought about this possibility all the time, and was aware that all the Presleys had to do was to hire a private dectective. Especially when he had the audacity to present them with that phony "bill" of money they did not owe him. I don't think it's exactly legal to bill someone for what they do not owe. And say: "pay this, if you want to leave." That cannot be legal. But no one called up a private eye. Even when they both knew Gladys started out quite suspicious of him. This was certainly unusual, and should have instigated them to action, but they took no action. Except to say "aw, forget about it."

That particular film project is just a small part of the story: he was leading man age at the time, and yet retired from films. Someone, just someone should have offered help. Never mind ASIB: there were lots of potential films if he was actively involved in a business in which he had plenty of experience. In the early days, films and concerts were balanced: why couldn't that continue? One reason: the Col. would not have the control via isolation that he created. He carefully crafted that isolation: he even had spies within Elvis's personal group: particularly one. Why did someone need to "report" back to the Colonel? He didn't get involved in Elvis's life to help him with the drugs, for instance, so why have someone report to him? It kept Elvis isolated and in his control. Anyone who really, really didn't like the Col. was soon dispatched.

rjm

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

Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:27 pm

But there was a legit reason for the Colonel to know what was going on with Elvis. He needed to know what condition Elvis was in especially the years where Elvis was not taking care of himself at all.

People can't seem to decide what role they wanted The Colonel to play in Elvis' life. some people seem to think The Colonel had too much control over Elvis and some think he didn't do enough.lol

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

Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:46 am

What role should Parker have played in Elvis's career and life? That's easy. "Former manager."

rjm

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

Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:26 pm

You're righ RJM. "Former manager." Because until the early '60s he had largely done solid work. Star change managers all the time, Elvis shouldn't have been any different.

Pete- I used to agree with your point about Elvis not doing well in ASIB as his one big shot, but now I think that's kind out of touch with reality. I see all the time where actors seem to blow a chance to prove themselves and another one comes along. All you need is one person to believe in you and the right vehicle.

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

Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:13 pm

likethebike wrote:Pete- I used to agree with your point about Elvis not doing well in ASIB as his one big shot, but now I think that's kind out of touch with reality. I see all the time where actors seem to blow a chance to prove themselves and another one comes along. All you need is one person to believe in you and the right vehicle.

True. Elvis essentially ran his course as an actor by 1969. Once his contracts expired, it isn't as if you saw studios and producers lining up to continue his deals. Yet, by the mid-70s, clearly there was again some interest.

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

Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:12 am

There were serious feelers for Midnight Cowboy. The perfect time for him to truly START a serious acting career. If the subject matter was a little low-down, I can a see a slight alteration to making The Cowboy an aspiring Broadway actor with very few plot changes. He came to The Big City to "be somebody": somebody glamorous, and ended up in the gutter. I never cottoned to the idea of a grown man as a hustler, anyway: real male hustlers are teens, and even young runaway boys. Voight was too old. I know about the "gigilo" notion, but that never seemed to jibe with reality, so a few plot alterations would not have been bad for the picture. The essence of it was the relationship between The Cowboy and Dustin Hoffman.

And they could have used an excellent singer for the title tune.

I have always read about that one, and wondered why people tended to say "oh, no way." Oscar material for him! Really. If he did the job he did in King Creole, he would have been nominated. That's what I believe.

It was never gonna happen because of Elvis's situation.

From a film trivia site: "The John Voight role was originally offered to Elvis Presley. Unbelievably ,as it would surely have kick started The King's movie comeback, Col. Parker, without consulting Elvis, turned the role down."

This is just one citation; I can find many more.

rjm

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

Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:34 am

I think Elvis himself would have turned that down because of the simulated homosexual sex his character must perform.

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

Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:52 am

likethebike wrote:I think Elvis himself would have turned that down because of the simulated homosexual sex his character must perform.


The media overplayed that, actually. It was one scene and nothing was actually visible. Besides, it wasn't seen as a positive situation for The Cowboy: his dignity was literally down the drain. But, as I said, the script could easily have been tweaked and the story would have been just as powerful. The "hustling" angle was only a vehicle to tell a deeper story about two guys who had dreams and lost them.

I think if Elvis had even been given the chance to talk to the producers, which he didn't, he might have been able to work the film into something maybe a little less of a "hot potato" but just as good a film. I don't think it's a good film or attracted Oscar attention on account of the tempest in a teapot. I mean, people have been arguing that for ages. But when I saw the film, finally, I was surprised that it wasn't about "sex" at all, really. And so a slight alteration in the script would have been pretty easy. It would not have raised the controversy, but I think the essential film stands above that. The character development was extraordinary. Elvis would have been perfect as the "dreamer" who escaped the terrors of his small town life for The Big City only to have his dreams crushed. In some ways, it would be like singing "Long Black Limousine."

He was pretty daring in '69, anyway. He wanted to shock, and didn't back down. If they made him cut out one joke on stage, he'd replace it with a rougher one. Some of the "jokes" on stage in August actually did have a homoerotic edge that freaked out RCA, who were recording. The Bob Dylan-slept-in-my-mouth line, which replaced "frog in my throat. Only meat I had all day." GAWD!!!!!!! He had a lotta nerve. Maybe he DID find out about the film offer, after all. Too late. The jokes sometimes did go a bit over the line, although we can't really hear that today. Back then, they heard the jokes with alarm. We are so jaded, we can't even hear them as anything but cute. But they were rough for the time. If the media got upset at the very suggestion of a homosexual act in a film, well the times were . . . different. But Elvis was wild that year. I think he would have wanted to tweak the script, though, so that it wasn't a "sex" picture. That really got in the way of the film. Years later, it was more appreciated for its other qualities. That's how I see it.

It was one among many possibilities that he never got to explore. Maybe he was ready for the grungy side of life. He lived a rougher life than the public thought, then.

I think the constant racial and other slurs in Change of Habit ought to have been more controversial than one scene in a great film. COH was like a TV movie of the week, except the language and rape of a nun (!!!!!!) could not have been on TV at the time. If you watch closely, this was not an attempted rape: he rips her clothes, she goes "OH! NO!!" and then really screams. And then we cut to the street, and as this is happening, Dr. Carpenter and Barbara McNair hear the scream, after her clothes are torn . . . same scream, and then head upstairs, where he pulls him off. It's outrageous, and far more extreme than anything in Midnight Cowboy.

At least, he deserved the chance to think it over and talk it over with someone other than his manager, who didn't even do that according to every account I've read.

rjm

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

Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:55 am

we don't even know when the offer was made. Elvis was pretty busy during that time period. The man did not have lots of openings.

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

Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:57 am

I've heard different things regarding Midnight Cowboy.

I heard once that Elvis was just asked to audition for the role.

Then I heard that around 1967 when the first draft of the script was completed Elvis' name was mentioned as a possible star.

I'll say this if Elvis was indeed offered and had he accepted Midnight Cowboy the entire script would've been changed and songs added.

Same thing with Charro where they alledgedly changed the script from a very violent action oriented western to the one in which Elvis played.

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

Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:31 am

brian wrote:I've heard different things regarding Midnight Cowboy.

I heard once that Elvis was just asked to audition for the role.

Then I heard that around 1967 when the first draft of the script was completed Elvis' name was mentioned as a possible star.

I'll say this if Elvis was indeed offered and had he accepted Midnight Cowboy the entire script would've been changed and songs added.

Same thing with Charro where they alledgedly changed the script from a very violent action oriented western to the one in which Elvis played.


Actually, adding one or two good songs, if the script was shifted to aspiring Broadway star, could have been ok for the plot. Worked in King Creole with a LOT of songs. A song or two more than the title tune, by a great roots music/contemporary folk writer like Nilson (sp?) or Dylan (who wrote "Lay, Lady, Lay" for the film, but turned it in too late: if he knew it was an Elvis role, he might have hurried up a bit! Nilson's song was ok, and has old folk roots that Dylan had earlier plugged into himself: "where the weather suits my clothes). Just an extra song or two would have been fine.

I never saw the film until I knew about the Elvis offer: when it came out, I was too little: they had this whole big deal about it being "X" rated and my parents were still taking me to cartoons . . . so I watched it much later, after I heard about the offer. And so I could never see The Cowboy walking innocently through The Big City without thinking about Elvis and how he would have handled various dramatic situations and the whole attitude. I kept seeing Voight as just not quite good enough.

And I thought that making it a "sex picture" sold the whole idea of broken dreams short. It was about a young guy escaping a really traumatic small town past to have a glamorous future in New York City, which he'd only heard about. I would think such a guy would want to be on Broadway and be a "star." And that can go very badly sometimes. It didn't have to end up in a men's room to demonstrate how low he'd sunk. That was baggage for the film, and I do not think the media hoopla over the "sex"-rating thing did the picture any favors. It is a fine picture in spite of that.

It would have been a better picture for more than one reason. Audition? Elvis could handle that. I always felt that in COH, he didn't really give it his all: he enjoyed a more interesting, gritty picture, but he knew it was all over. So why dig deep? In the trailer, he kept rehearsing "Suspicious Minds," according to Barbara McNair. Back in the early days, he took it for granted that music and films were equal parts of his career. If it were a great property, he would have had a different outlook.

I suppose just jumping back into pictures, cold, after "retirement" from films would have been a little more difficult. Plus, his health was very bad by the time of ASIB. In '69, his health still appeared fine. (Clearly, appearances can be deceiving: he probably was already having problems but it was not obvious.)

rjm
Last edited by rjm on Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:20 am

Unless Streisand's a liar--and as a long-time fan I've known her to be quite the opposite, speaking her mind and the truth whenever she feels it necessary--then it absolutely was her choice to have Elvis as her co-star. "Star" was in development with Streisand as producer for years before the film was made. In her DVD commentary she speaks of this as well as her belief that Elvis had the perfect qualities to play the role of John Norman Howard. She was very disappointed when Parker wanted top billing and more scenes for Elvis, as well as changes to the script that would have muted his character's tragic trajectory. I believe working with Barbra might have been a crowning achievement for both artists. While not a stellar film, it's a great '70s rock/pop story. Elvis and Barbra could have made the film an even bigger hit than it was, and could possibly have helped Elvis attain the box office and critical clout we all know he deserved.

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

Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:22 am

He should've done an action movie with Bruce Lee in 1968....he was in great shape then.

Lee also might've welcomed the idea since he was out of work and thought "lets try it , who knows ?"

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

Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:28 pm

The first kernel of an idea that resulted in the 1976 version of A Star is Born, actually came to be in late 1973 when John Dunne and Joan Didion took the notion of two rock singers - one on the rise, and one whose life and career are on the skids - to Dick Shepherd, who was the head of production at Warner Bros. Dunne and Didion would write the screenplay for Warner Bros. with John Foreman coming on board to produce -- the mould being based on A Star is Born.

The first draft was passed on by Peter Bogdanovich, who was approached to direct with Cybil Shepherd as a potential lead. The feelers were out for lead actors and a director, and with Mark Rydell coming into the picture, pre-production was fully underway long before Streisand's involvement and with the names of numerous suitable actors and rock singers being touted for the lead roles -- Elvis's name came into the mix, with Cher, Carly Simon and Liza Minnelli all considered for the female lead, whilst Mick Jagger, James Taylor, Neil Diamond and Marlon Brando were also considered. Formal offers weren't necessarily made to any of the above, and such was also the case with Midnight Cowboy, as Elvis was never offered the part of Joe Buck and what came Parker's way was merely a rudimentary and early draft of a script that was far removed what was ultimately a classic, landmark piece of cinema.

It was Sue Mengers who sent Streisand the second draft of the script around the summer of 1974, when Mark Rydell dropped out of the picture and Jerry Schatzberg came on board as director. Kristofferson was also being considered at that point. When Streisand formally agreed to star, this ensured Jon Peters came on board as producer, with the film becoming property of First Artists and to be distributed by Warner Bros. Numerous rewrites of the script were abound during 1974 - Jonathan Axelrod briefly being involved with a submitted script that was tossed out - whilst Kristofferson delayed in signing to play the male lead -- Schatzberg walked off the project in late '74. Peters now decides that he will direct the picture, and with the title changed to A Star is Born, Peters now begins suggesting that the film had been his idea all along. Elvis is approached in March of 1975, as Kristofferson still hasn't signed on to play John Norman Howard - holding out until he sees a completed script - and a definite male lead is sorely needed. By the time Elvis/Parker decline to participate, the script is complete and Kristofferson is keen to sign and the director duties being handed to Frank Pierson. The film and soundtrack were both smash hits . . .

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

Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:17 pm

greystoke, nice historical overview.