Director George Sidney,Elvis and Ann Margret at the MGM studios ,1963,for announcement of the production of 'Viva Las Vegas'
Ann Margret stated ""When I signed the contract to the Elvis-film, at the same time I signed for 'Say it With Music', if I wouldn't get the first, I wouldn't take the other".
The two met in the beginning of July in 1963. Elvis was 28, Ann-Margret 22. Both were on top of the world. For the first time Elvis and the Colonel had agreed to have a "leading lady" starring with Elvis in a film.
The first meeting between Elvis and Ann-Margret was well planned by the publicity department for the upcoming film "Viva Las Vegas". Director George Sidney, who himself was pretty keen on Ann-Margret, introduced the two stars to each other at the MGM studios. Both were formally dressed, Elvis in a suit and tie, Ann-Margret in double-buttoned white turtleneck, her hair up.
They said a few polite phrases. A photographer took some shots, then it was over.
They met again on July 11. This time to work together. The place was Radio Recorders Studio on 7000 Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. Elvis had the days before recorded six of the songs for the film, now it was time for a couple of duets with Ann-Margret: "The Lady Loves Me" and "You're The Boss".^
They found each other instantly. They were on the same wavelength. They sparkled.
From the book "Elvis - King Of Sweden" by Borje Lundberg, 1997
"From day one, when we gathered around the piano to run through the film's songs, Elvis and I knew that it was going to be serious. That day, we discovered two things about each other. Once the music started, neither of us could stand still. Music ignited a fiery pent-up passion inside Elvis and inside me. It was an odd, embarrassing, funny, inspiring, and wonderful sensation. We looked at each other move and saw virtual mirror images. When Elvis thrust his pelvis, mine slammed forward too. When his shoulder dropped, I was down there with him. When he whirled, I was already on my heel. 'It's uncanny,' I said. He grinned. Whatever it was, Elvis liked it and so did I."
Ann-Margret G.P. Putnam's Sons
"It was just like meeting anyone", Ann-Margret says smiling. "Well, almost anyway. I met him while doing 'Viva Las Vegas', in which we're both starring. We were running through the songs we would sing together in the film. He came in, and I felt so shy that I could hardly smile. He just came up and said 'Hi', and I said 'Hi' back". But it didn't stop with that 'Hi'.
Director George Sidney,Elvis,Ann Margret,Calvin Jackson MGM assistant musical director, and George Stoll MGM Musical director,arranger and musical score conductor .(*) http://calvinjacksonjazz.org/index.htmlhttp://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/participant.js ... apid=59486
"The Lady Loves Me" may be the new title of "Viva Las Vegas," MGM movie currently being filmed here.
Reason for the change, a studio spokesman on the set attests, is because of a budding romance visible even to casual onlookers, between the stars of the flicker, Elvis and Ann-Margret.
The boy who owns the only Rolls-Royce in the world with Tennessee license plates and the girl who billed herself as the "Female Elvis Presley" at the start of her career, make a torrid combination, on or off the screen.
And the 109 degree temperature on the set was upped several degrees when the stars did a scene on the parking lot of the Sahara Hotel.
8.Ann Margret,Director George Sidney and Elvis.
Until one has visited an "on location filming," it is difficult to comprehend how little glamour it really entails. Rather, the one word which aptly describes the entire process is "work."
For the more than 200 actors, cameramen, stand-ins, make-up artists, technicians and other specialists necessary for making the movie, the workday begins at 6 a.m.
Work, work, work.
What's more, it doesn't end until 12 hours later. Of the film shot in the day, approximately six minutes is usable. Therefore, it is understandable that "Viva Las Vegas" will cost in excess of $3,000,000.
Each day's filming is viewed the following day by Director George Sidney and Producer Jack Cummings. Then, if any scenes need a re-take, it can be done immediately in order to prevent a costly return trip to Las Vegas after the group has returned to Hollywood.
Premier in LV
Sidney hopes to finish shooting here by the weekend but the movie will not be wrapped up until late September. Cummings told the SUN that there is an excellent possibility that the pictures will be premiered here at Easter-time.
For the first time in his amazing career, Elvis has a name for his romantic lead and one who can share the vocal assignment.
Although the emphasis is primarily on the story, both he and Ann-Margret have production numbers, as well as duets.
The story line is relatively simple - the struggle by a young racing enthusiast to raise money to get his own car. Complicating matters is his romance with a shapely swimming instructor who doesn't cotton to the idea of a husband who spends Memorial Days whizzing around the Indianapolis Speedway.
There is a personal and professional rivalry, too, between Elvis and the leading European sports car racer, played by Cesare Danova.
Ah, there is a man! Cesare's latest film is "Cleopatra" in which he play's Liz' lover Apollodorus. After seeing him, one wonders how Burton stood a chance with Miss Taylor.
Master of five languages, the handsome Italian made his first film in his native Rome when he was 20. The six-foot-four former medical student with curly black hair, melodious voice and flashing smile, also recently starred in "Gidget Goes to Rome."
"Viva Las Vegas" is unique in that the spotlight is on "the other side" of Las Vegas rather than its casinos. The city is shown for the first time in a motion picture as a family vacation center, which it is to thousands of people, instead of just an oasis for quenching the gambling thirst.
The climax of the film will be a roaring, screeching sports car race through Las Vegas streets, across Boulder Dam and through the blazing desert.
At least six new numbers will be introduced in the picture, all of which Elvis will record. Interestingly enough, the 29-year-old often imitated bachelor has had 31 singles pass the million mark in sales, while Frank Sinatra has had none.
Although spectators are not allowed directly on the set, one can easily stand within seeing range. Filming will continue today, tomorrow and Friday at Lake Mead Marina.
By Gloria Reible
Las Vegas Sun
July 24, 1963
A photo from one of the cut scenes from the movie,which would have been at the end, after the existing wedding scene. This image shows members of the general public in the background,waiting for the action to commence, compare this to the photo lower down from the same location.
This image is an interesting one,as Elvis has on the jacket from this scene(below)but the shirt and tie from the wedding scene. Ann Margret's clothes don't appear in the finished movie so far as I can see.The car is the same in both scenes, with the white ribbons attached, so this looks like this is another shot from the cut wedding scene,and this maybe explained in that Elvis and his Co-star are getting ready for a camera rehersal in the car.
There were two types of Elva car ,one a Elva MK VI climax,and an Elva-Maserati (seen in beginning of the movie) developed in Hastings and constructed in Rye, East Sussex,UK. The car was then transported to the USA,and brought by Dan Blocker, had some modifications done and rented to MGM.*
Bob Harris,stunt driver explains
I also stunted five movies with Elvis Presley, What happened was I was racing exotic Can-Am cars for Dan Blocker for this TV series he was the star of called ‘Bonanza.' Our race cars were very valuable and the people filming the movie ‘Viva Las Vegas' wanted to borrow them. They said, ‘You should use Bob, he's got dark hair, he's almost as tall as Elvis and not much older. When I did the driving it worked out well and Elvis liked me, so the next time they did something they were like, ‘Let's get Bob again.' Once we became friends it was a given that I'd stunt double for him."http://www.sundaysalon.com/memento-mori.htm
12.Dan Blocker and Elvis(Not on V.L.V)
Another image from the cut wedding scene,this time with background action/cast in view.
This image,and the one below are taken from this site via e-bay .http://search.stores.ebay.com/Masterpie ... ubmit.yZ23
Elvis in the driving seat,Ann Margret looks to have thrown her bouquet.
A publicity photograph from the end wedding scene.
The original suit worn by Elvis for the wedding scene
I haven't found any photographic evidence to either the rumored scene shot inside the chapel or 'Your the Boss' production number,although I do remember reading in a US video magazine in the early 1990's that 'Your the boss' was to feature in 'Thats Entertainment 3'. Any thoughts?
Elvis pictured from a scene in the movie filmed at the 'Tropicana Hotel' for the Folies Bergere scene. A brochure from 1963 Folies Bergere
A Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta on the left and the Elva MK VI car can be seen in a still from the movie .**
They said, "We'd like you to make a picture with Elvis because Elvis' pictures have gone to hell." I had never seen one. I looked at one and said, "Sure. The problem is he doesn't play opposite the girls. They only have close-ups of him."
So they had a story that he went out in desert and dug for oil. I decided to make a love story, one to show the good side of Vegas that I always loved. I had fun making the picture. They looked great together.
I think we became as friendly as you could with an illusion. When you meet him, he's behind a piece of glass and for those two minutes, that's the best you'll ever know him. They called him Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs because he always had his people around him.
People ask me, how did I take him? I say, "What do you mean take him? We had (Greta) Garbo, (Clark) Gable, (Spencer) Tracy, (Fred) Astaire, (Gene) Kelly -- we had all those people. He was just another person."
Ann Margret and Elvis relax between takes at the Flamingo Hotel.
I directed the two kings of Las Vegas -- Elvis and Frank Sinatra. They were completely opposite. Frank was show business. What we did after the shooting, we sat around and had a lot of laughs, told jokes. When the day was over with Elvis, he went home to his little tribe, which was right for him because they had manufactured something and they kept it going 'til the end.
Presley pictures were just dying. They were doing nothing. So his agent and my agent were really pushing me to do it. I said, "I've never even seen a picture with this guy." Well, I went and looked at one, and I said, "It's pretty simple what's wrong. The camera's only on him. It's never on the girl. It's never equal. You gotta have boy, girl, boy, girl. You've got to match people up." And then the idea of doing it became sort of a challenge to me, you know? I have an ego like everybody else. So I told them I'd do it.
They had a script, but it was no good, so I just threw it out. They had him in the desert somewhere. I said, "No. We'll put him in a racecar. That's what the youngsters want. We'll shoot it in Vegas, because I can make some good deals up there." They said, "Maybe you should have a girl. That girl, what's her name?" So I got Ann-Margaret, who I'd worked with on Bye Bye Birdie, and we made a deal. I wrote the script in ten days, and we made a picture where the close-ups of the two stars were equally divided. So it played. As weak and as stupid as the story was, the audience went along with it and enjoyed it, and the picture really took off.
The following photo's are from the location where the motorbike/scooter sequence was being shot.
Ann is not yet in her movie clothes,and the heat is obvious looking at Elvis's shirt.
The desert sun is too red for filming and at 4 pm today's shooting is over. Elvis and Ann-Margret sneak into the Hotel Sahara the backway, because the hotel is always crammed with fans. Elvis takes the kitchen elevator right up to the 28th floor - he rents the whole floor for him and his entourage.
Ann-Margret stays in a luxury-suite not that high up. She didn't have to pay, because management wanted her in the hotel during shooting. This is where she once started her career a few years ago, performing with George Burns. Ann-Margret's parents live next door to her. They have chosen the first two weeks of shooting for their holiday.
"I admire you Ann-Margret because you're so nice to your mum and dad", Elvis said to her one night. "When my mother died my only comfort was that I tried to do everything I could for her".
"Elvis has never had so much fun on a movie set before", says his old friend Earl Wingard. "He really like Ann-Margret and stuck around with her both on the set and after. He has never been so relaxed and happy before".
The couple started seeing each other every night after work. Going on motorcycle trips together, even going to the movies together, a thing Elvis rarely does.
Elvis started giving her presents, jewellery and things for her new home. When she left to go on the road singing, it took him hours to say goodbye.
The temperature crept towards F100°, on the plains outside Las Vegas, where we sat sneezing together in the dry desert-winds, Ann-Margret's parents and I. Elvis' entourage, all nice guys, took turns running for water and lemonade, and once in a while, Ann-Margret's mother and I went into the film-company's air-conditioned limousine to get some air-condition. But not daddy Gus! He had blisters on his lips from the heat, but his big, proud grin was still intact, hour after hour.
"You go, I wanna watch", he said. He didn't want to miss a single moment of what was going on in front of him.
Dressed in minimal shorts, and so made-up she wouldn't get burned from the sun, Ann-Margret and Elvis drove their red motorbikes.
"Shouldn't you use a stunt-double for the hardest parts?" mother Anna asked anxiously director George Sidney. "Don't let her get her every wish to do everything herself".
Ann-Margret would be exchanged for a stunt-driver in the toughest races, Sidney assured her. But this "easy", she definetely wanted to do. She who drives a bike every day in Hollywood!
The camera starts rolling, the the engines rev up. Elvis drives a circle around Ann-Margret. She hits the pedal, smoke rises, and she is within the right distance of the camera. If she's scared, she won't show it, instead she has a confident grin on her face. Suddenly she's standing on the saddle and doing the twist! At this point the tension is as strong as the heat. Only daddy Gus laughs: "Did you see that? I knew she could do it. If she says she can, she can".
When the take is done, Elvis and Ann-Margret drive on. They both love to ride, and today for a change, they can have fun, and that is because of the heat!
They are two popular stars, working in the touristy Las Vegas, and it's not often they can be alone. Wherever Elvis is filming, he is always surrounded by a double police-guard. Today, the police however, sat still and motionless in the shadow of his large bus. No fans had made it here in this heat!
Ann Margret and Elvis on their Honda motor scooters,with part of the camera platform visable bottom right.
This image below shows the area,Las Vegas Convention centre,Paradise Road, where the above scenes were shot,with the area to the lower right being where Elvis and Ann Margret were on their bikes.
'vintage vegas' taken between 1963-1966
An alternative view taken from the tower with tarmac area in middle distance.
It was a challenge. What you knew of Elvis 15 minutes after meeting him was just about all you'd ever know; he was like a piece of glass. No one got near him. Frankly, I think I was a bigger shock to him than he was to me. On the opening day of the picture, I drove up to the soundstage on my big old Harley-Davidson. Well, I don't think he had ever worked before with a director who rode a motorcycle. Then next I came in with a racing Bentley, and he found out that I owned my own airplane. I think I was a freak to him. Don't get me wrong, he was always very polite, "Yes sir. No sir."He came, and he did his work. But people don't seem to realize, he wasn't a traditional show business guy. At the end of a long day, with stars like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, you'd sit around together and have a lot of laughs. But not with Elvis. He had his own little troupe that constantly surrounded him. You couldn't get close to him. It was sad, really.
These candids were taken at the time of 'The Lady Loves Me' production number.
Shooting The diving board sequence.Elvis and Ann Margret can be seen in this sequence,although the actual fall into the water was performed by Lance LeGault,he explains "That was about twenty foot fall with a suit on and a guitar around your neck,going off backwards.That's a good way to lose your face.It had nothing to do with wether he could,would,or wanted to do it.If Elvis had done the fall and gotten hurt,he could have shut production down"
Another image from the same time,Flamingo Hotel,Alan Fortas,Elvis,Richard Davis,Joe Esposito, give some protection whislt signing autographs.
University of Nevada gym was used for the C'mon Everybody dance sequence.
Photo's from the rehersals for the 'C 'mon Everybody' sequence shot on location at the University of Nevada gym.
"Of course I wanted to act with Elvis", says Ann-Margret. "It was very difficult to say no the first five times he wanted me. But it was wise - and my manager is wise. No girl has ever been give room with Elvis before. He has had co-stars, but no 'leading ladies'. I will be his first, and that's a big difference. He also hasn't wanted to sin any duets before, now we do three together!"
"Elvis is 'Lucky', a well-known racecar driver, who I think is a mechanic. I'm 'Rusty' and runs the swimming-pool at one of the hotels. I try to everything better than he does, drive a bike, a race car, I even shoot a gun. And I hit bull's eye 14 times out of 24 yesterday! Not bad for a beginner, huh?"
Ann-Margret of course, like every other girl on the planet, went through a phase where she admired Elvis from a distance.
"I was curious, but I had never met him before we started filming. The first day at MGM, I was so shy, the only thing I said was 'Hello'. The we did our songs together, and I said goodbye. Now we actually have fun together. He's completely different from what I had expected".(Reference to soundtrack recording,
Of course he's different. When you approach an interview with him, you have all kinds of prejudice lined up, and he's nothing like that, he shyly shakes your hand, unbuttons his overalls, and underneath he's wearing trousers and a red sweater in the unbearable heat. He's all smiles and remembers when (Swedish) Princess Margaretha from Stockholm visited Paramount, when he was shooting 'G.I. Blues' And he insists that he also remembers me, though we both know that he's lying. Lying comes with the territory.
Note:Photo is from 1964.
While on location in Las Vegas,Elvis went to see the Clara Ward singers with Ann Margret in July 1963,at the New Frontier Hotel,Las Vegas. Alan Fortas stated in his book that a waitress at the hotel asked to see some identification from the 23 year old Ann Margret,whilst serving drinks,which caused some embarrassment to Elvis and showed his displeasure to the manager when leaving.
This image has 14 August 1963 stamped,MGM Studios,L.A.,and Elvis is wearing a jacket not used in the final film.
That is for your mother and father of course. Any wedding plans? "No, none at all".
She is surrounded by romantic rumours all the time, as soon as she's seen in public with an admirer. But sh's not in a hurry.
One who has been named as her future husband is Eddie Fisher, but while we're in Las Vegas, news comes that he's about to marry a model, just as soon as Elizabeth taylor agress to a divorce.
"I'm so happy for Eddie's sake", is Ann-Margret's comment. "He's the type of guy who should be married. Myself, I guess all the rumours comes with the job. But I will be very careful. I believe divorce comes like a chain-reaction when it comes to actors and actresses. If they do it once, they do it again... I don't want any of that. I come from a family who respects marriage". Mother Anna in a Rolls The right one can, she admits, show up anytime. Might it perhaps be Elvis?
Ann-Margret frowns. But her eyes shine. The rock icon, who normally has a harem of girls, has only been interested in Ann-Margret since they met, and he has said to one of his closest friends, that if he meets the right girl, the time is right for marriage. The have had some nice dinners, just the two of them, in Ann-Margret's suite, and one night they sneaked out to catch the midnight show at the Lido de Paris, because then, all teenage fans had gone to bed.
"Gus and I was on our way up, and suddenly the youngsters are going out in the middle of the night", Anna tells and adds "He's such a nice boy".
"Yes, I'm marrying him on Thursday", Ann-Margret teases. "But only in the film. We do get each other in the end, but before that I'm terribly mean to him. I push him into the swimming pool with his clothes on, I gun him down on a Wild West street, and I put my foot on his chest, like big-game hunters do with lions in Africa".
Paul Anka,and his wife, Anne,and Elvis. Paul look to be holding sunglasses,so the location could well be the Flamingo Hotel.
"Viva Las Vegas" is the most expensive Elvis-film so far. Close to $ 2.000.000 have been spent and Elvis will bank 50 percent of the profit plus his usual "salary" of about $ 300.000. There are of course plenty of song-numbers in "Viva Las Vegas", especially since both Elvis and Ann-Margret are singing idols, but even more so since both are signed to the same company, RCA! Contracts can otherwise often be a problem, when one company doesn't want to let another use a certain voice. But in this case both artists work for the same company, and that is probably why Elvis sings duets for the first time on record - together with Ann-Margret! By the way, one of the songs the couple performs together is called "The lady loves me" and it isn't unlikely that the films title will be changed to just that, come opening day...
An "animal" comes home Artist Revy (Sweden) 1963
The green-eyed, red-haired Swede has become a household name in the U.S. In fact so big, she's the first girl ever, to make demands to Elvis Presley.
When they were filming "Viva Las Vegas" together, Ann-Margret refused to sign the contract if she couldn't have as much stage time as Elvis. It was unheard of. The girls in Elvis' previous films always had kept to the background, it was Elvis that was the star!
That wouldn't happen with Ann-Margret. And Elvis gave up. Ann-Margret says: "If you've become a name, you have to use it!"
The firm tone between them softened considerably once filming started. Rumours of a romance started, and they were seen together almost every night.
Ann-Margret found out, that Elvis wasn't as arrogant as it was said, but fun and very nice to be around. But anytning more than a light romance never happened and once again Ann-Margret's mother had to act. This time to deny rumours about marriage.
""If the rumours would have been about any other youngsters, there would never be so much talk. But Elvis is a very nice young man", she said.
This is how it sounds at Ann-Margret's place:
Ma, Can I Date Elvis Tonight?Bild Journalen (Sweden) 1963
Ann-Margret brings Elvis to Sweden!
When 'Viva Las Vegas opens in cinemas here this spring, it's not impossible that the stars of the film will also show up. According to our source, Ann-Margret is doing everything she can to return to Sweden.
Shooting of the film has just closed down and the Swedish office of MGM is working hard to get not just her, but also Elvis Presley to attend the Swedish premiere. Marketing director, MrsMonica Trobert, says "We're working hard to get them both, and chances are big, according to Hollywood. We're expecting a decision in the next few days".
Ann-Margret, who really made an impression when she visited here the last time, is very keen on returning. Elvis, who has a busy schedule for years to come, probably wouldn't hesitate to join the fair Ann-Margret in her native country. Rumours of their upcoming engagement are getting stronger.
Artist Revy (Sweden) 1963
The original suit design sketch's by Donfield for 'Viva Las Vegas' production number,by Sy Devore. Publicity photograph,and the 'Viva Las Vegas' production number.
"In a very good year," Bob Hope once said, "I had my choice between a Rolls-Royce, a new house in Beverly Hills, or a suit from Sy Devore."
Sy is a tailor. To call him Hollywood's No. 1 tailor would be to insult him by suggesting that there could possibly be a No. 2 Hollywood tailor. He gets about $50 a stitch, because his label, in Hollywood, signifies incomparable status. When a star gets into the 10%-of-the-gross category, he is ready for Sy Devore.
No Sequins. Sy is custom itself. He drapes David Niven aloofly and John Wayne toughly. He is the author of Bob Hope's tweeds. If Donald O'Connor wants to look like George M. Cohan, which for some reason he does, Sy cuts him a checkered vest. But he won't do just anything. He designed Liberace's first gold lame suit, but when the big Lib began demanding sequins for it, Sy sent him to a costume house.
Elvis Presley used to walk in, sweep $1,000 worth of clothes off the rack, and walk out (Sy democratically keeps racks for people who make less than $100,000 a year). Sy finally convinced Presley that he ought to stand still for fittings. Elvis stood—until Sy told the world that Elvis wore no underwear. Elvis sulked for a while, but he came back, wearing underwear.http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... id=googlep
The original script had the following:
Lucky was working in the desert with the oil rigs.The opening would have Lucky driving his race car towards Vegas,he would be overtaken by a car,which was full of cowboys who would empty their revolvers-cue Opening titles/Neon signs 'Viva Las Vegas'.
The song 'Night Life' was to be used with Lucky and Rusty were in a nightclub scene.
The song 'Do The Vega' was to be used with Lucky singing this number at the talent contest.
'Today Tomorrow and Forever' duet was to be sung at the dating scene between Lucky and Rusty .(below)
Lucky and Rusty were to be seen going on honeymoon and Rusty to become racing driver's wife.
Elvis outside the Sahara Hotel, on the last day of the Las Vegas location shoot,July 26th 1963
link to two more images from the above photo session : http://www.mptvimages.com/cgi-bin/image ... d&bool=and
I have not corrected any dates/ages from the articles.
* With thanks to Roger Dunbar
**from dvdbeaver reviews
(*)Thanks to drjohncarpenter for idents
^ Today,Tomorrow And Forever also
All Ann Margret quotes by By Ingrid Clairmont on location in Las Vegas,July 1963.
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Last edited by davide on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:05 am, edited 18 times in total.