WILD IN THE COUNTRY
Elvis and his party left Memphis by plane to travel to hollywood, on November the 7th 1960
Elvis is pictured at Memphis Airport,with Vernon Presley and friend Gary Pepper in the background. The photo was taken by Gary's mother.Elvis is showing the condition of his recent injured hand.
ON LOCATION SHOOTING STARTED AT NAPA, CALIFORNIA , NOVEMBER 9TH 1960
Elvis and Nancy Sharpe (who Elvis briefly dated when he met her on the set of Flaming Star- she was working as a wardrobe dept. at the time) joke during a break whilst filming.
Elvis,Nancy Sharpe,Alan Fortas stood with Joe Espisito foreground.
Memories of meeting Elvis whilst filming on location for the picture 'Wild In The Country' by Nona Alessio and Judith Towey
Both women, who were teenagers at the time, met Elvis in 1961 when he, Tuesday Weld and others were filming "Wild in the Country" in St. Helena. Towey and Alessio were the sort of star-struck teens who would have swum an ocean, walked a desert or climbed a mountain for a face-to-face encounter with their idol.
Towey not only got to meet the King, but came away with her cheek still tingling from the kiss Elvis planted on it."I'll never forget it. I got my picture taken with Elvis and he kissed me. I could have died a happy girl," she said. Alessio paid her dues to meet the man who was famous for his mellow voice, tantalizing smile and swiveling hips. She still remembers that day in 1961 when she and about six or seven girlfriends from Vallejo High School cut class and stood in the rain from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. to get the singer's autograph."I'll never forget meeting Elvis. It's right up with what I imagine it would be like going through the Pearly Gates," Alessio said. "I begged and begged my mother to let me cut school that day so we could drive to St. Helena. She gave in. She understood. After all, she knew it was Elvis."The news that Elvis was in the area had spread like wildfire. When the girls got to the set at what is now the Ink House Bed and Breakfast on Highway 29, south of St. Helena, they soon found Elvis' whereabouts was no secret.
"The line was at least a mile long, with people waiting to get a look at Elvis and get his autograph," said Alessio, "We had signs saying we were from Vallejo. So, we took our place in line and just like everyone else we stood and waited and waited and waited."Between takes, Elvis would come out and meet the people in line and sign autographs, Alessio said. "But the line was moving very, very slow."Despite their loyalty and perseverance, time ran out for the Vallejo fans."It was 5 p.m., and one of the crew members came out and said that Elvis would not be signing any more autographs. It was all over. Many of the people in line became angry and rude and starting shouting and yelling. We just took our signs and started to leave quietly, when we heard someone holler, 'Hey Vallejo, he will see you,'" Alessio said. The teens stood single file waiting their turn to have a dream come true.
"He was sitting at picnic table eating a sandwich that you get out of a vending machine - you know those triangle-shaped packaged sandwiches - along with a carton of milk," Alessio said. "I don't remember what he was saying to us, but I will never forget how polite he was." of the Vallejo teens, except Alessio's friend Rebecca, were clutching papers for Elvis to sign.
"Rebecca was two people in front of me. When she got up there, Elvis asked her if she had a paper for him to autograph. She said, 'No, I want you to kiss me.' And he did, right on the lips. I wanted to do that so bad, but when it was my turn I was speechless, and I'm not usually a quiet person," Alessio said. "He took my paper and put it on my back to sign his name. And his thumb was touching my neck. That's right, Elvis' thumb touched my neck. That is my two-minute claim to fame. It might not be much, but is all mine."Towey cut afternoon classes from Napa High School that same day in 1961 to meet the man who made young teens swoon with his charisma and Southern charm. Towey also had to convince her mother to let her skip school."It didn't take much convincing. My mom drove me and my girlfriend to St. Helena to see Elvis," Towey said."We were just taking a chance we could maybe just see him. We didn't expect to actually meet him."But fate swiveled in Towey's direction."We pulled into the parking lot of the Ink House, which at that time was a private home, and saw Elvis playing around with some other guys. They were wrestling on the lawn," Towey said. "We started walking over to where he was, and he jumped up and came to meet us. He just walked over and said 'Hi' just like he knew us. He was so nice, such a gentleman. He started talking to my mom. We told him we had cut school to see him. He got a real kick out of that."
Towey admits she was somewhat in shock. "I just couldn't believe Elvis Presley was standing there talking to my mom and us - just like an ordinary person. He had such good manners. He was truly a Southern gentleman."Towey also had the chance to gloat a little. "While we were standing there with Elvis, a school bus pulled in to drop kids off, and the kids saw us. They were all staring out the window at me, my friend, my mom and Elvis," she said. "I think I got a little embarrassed."Towey's big moment was still to come. "He asked my mom if she wanted a picture of he and me. She couldn't get her camera out quick enough. Elvis put his arm around me. My mom snapped the picture and then he gave me a kiss on the cheek. It might not have been the most romantic kiss I have had in my life, but it is one I will never forget for as long as I live. How could I? It was Elvis."*http://www.napavalleyregister.com/news/ ... c8172.html
Unknown vistors to the location.
Unknown vistor's to the location.
Don Altman and his team the Blue Devils ,pictured with Elvis and Millie Perkins (far left)
"They took the team to 20th Century Fox for a visit and Elvis and Millie Perkins were filming a picture - the drama 'Wild In The Country'. I was asked to Pose with Elvis,showing him how to throw a football.I was nervous as a kid. I asked him if he was going to the game,and he said,"The last time I went to a game,it took 75 cops to get me out"
Tuesday Weld and Elvis sat on a bed,Producer Jerry Wald with Director Philip Dunne who is looking at his watch far right,Fox Studios.
Pat Boone was in production for the picture 'All Hands On Deck' shot at 20th Century Fox Studios in late 1960,as was Elvis for Fox with 'Wild In The Country' from November 1960,these shots are not from G.I. Blues but are at Fox Studios -
Alan Fortas was not present during the production of 'G.I. Blues' or 'Flaming Star',and can be seen in photo (3) far right.
Alan Fortas : "When the guys got to California - I stayed in Memphis working construction for the next two movies (G.I. Blues and Flaming Star)
"Right before he went out to Los Angeles that November to start work on "Wild In The Country" for 20th Century-Fox,he pulled me aside one night-
"C'mon back to work, Alan" he said."I don't know,Elvis" "Tuesday Weld is in the movie,man"(said Elvis)
Photo 6 - these shots provide a clearer view,and show they are not from 'G.I. Blues', as Elvis had his haircut a lot shorter at the back for G.I. Blues. As to why Juliet Prowse is present, it's not clear at this stage,could be personal,could be business?
Actor Jack Grinnage who starred with Elvis in King Creole and also took part in the Pat Boone film 'All Hands On Deck' (no credit)
"I saw Elvis again when I was doing Twentieth Century Fox. It was a Pat Boone film (the film was All Hands On Deck). Elvis was just standing outside the stage and I walked by,I wasn't going to say anything,because I thought, "Well,he dosn't remember me" He called me over and I went over to him and we chatted. I think that is the last time I saw him. I was really surprised that he called me over to say hi. I got a christmas card from him until the year he died. It's funny, I recently ran into an old friend of mine,Joe Conley who played Ike Godsey in "The Waltons" He was also in the Pat Boone film and he said to me,"I will always remember you introduced me to Elvis Presley" and I said, "I did?" It was when we were working on the Pat Boone film."
Juliet Prowse, Elvis, Pat Boone and Sonny West.
Juliet Prowse, Elvis, Pat Boone and Sonny West.
Lamar Fike,Juliet Prowse,Elvis,Pat Boone standing,Sonny West looking at the camera,Gene Smith stood behind Sonny,Alan Fortas stood far right,and Joe Espisito sat far right.
Elvis, Pat Boone and Sonny West.
Juliet Prowse, Elvis, Pat Boone and Sonny West.
Elvis, Pat Boone and two unknowns?
Elvis photographed with an unknown centre and co-star Tuesday Weld.Gossip columnist Louella Parsons reported that Elvis was trying to put on weight, and when he took Tuesday Weld for a quiet dinner at a Hollywood steak house he had two helpings of strawberry shortcake.
Millie Perkins : I saw Elvis looking around that set and summing up people faster than anyone else could have, and I felt that after a short period of time he was disappointed in Philip Dunne...He tried very hard to make this film better than his other movies and you saw him trying and asking questions. I remember doing this one scene; we were sitting in the truck, and we were supposed to be driving home from a dance or going to a dance, and in the script he was supposed to break into song, turn on the radio and start singing. And to me it was like, "Yuck,"....finally the director walked away, and Elvis looks at me and says, "God, this is so embarrassing. Nobody would ever do this in real life. Why are they making me do this?" So there we were, both of us having to do something and we just wanted to vomit."
'I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell' production number
Millie Perkins : Elvis turned out to be someone I liked very much. He tried very hard to make this film better than his other movies,and you saw him trying and asking questions,and I just believe the sad thing is that the director did not have the ability to help Elvis through it.I felt there was a man with heart and soul there who truly cared about people. Certainly he treated me as if he cared about me,there was a mutual respect between us,but his life was on a level that my life was not on. I was married to Dean Stockwell at the time,and he was - I felt like he was drifting. The guys were on the set everyday, you know,wrestling on the floor. I didn't even know what girls he was dating at the time, because it didn't interest me,his personal life seemed so silly,and yet I knew I was a victim of it. I felt like Philip Dunne fawned all over Elvis. Elvis attiude was - I saw Elvis looking around that set and summing up people faster than anyone else could have,and I felt that after a short period of time he was disappointed in Philip Dunne,but he was too polite and well behaved to say anything.The essence of Elvis was a fine a person as I've ever met,he treated me as well as anyone has ever treated me in this business.
Extract of an interview by Peter Guralnick
Elvis, Johnny Mathis and (maybe family friend Beverly Nogas right?)
D.J. Jimmy Saville presents Elvis with a Gold Disc for 'It's Now Or Never'.
Sir Jimmy Saville recalls to the visit : I remember my first meeting with Elvis,when I presented him with his first British-earned Gold Disc for 'It's Now Or Never' in the winter of 1960,while he was filming 'Wild In The Country' in Hollywood.I actually didn't have an appointment or even an address when I arrived in LA with that framed disc under my arm. I just had a scrap of paper with a phone number of the Elvis Presley office in Paramount Studios,so I dialled the number and someone answered."I've just popped over from England with this Gold record for Elvis,'" I said.
"You've what?" an incredulous voice replied,but nevertheless my enterprise got me an appointment for 3p.m. the following day. Not with Elvis,but with the 'fearsome' Colonel Parker. 'You're late boomed the Colonel at 3.30p.m. when I arrived at the studios. '"It's 6,000 miles" I protested,"And the traffic was bad!" From that moment the Colonel and I became friends,or rather,he was the professor and I was the pupil.
"Bring the boy",the colonel said to one of his assistants - and five minutes later I was shaking hands with a legend and having my photograph taken with Elvis - the first DJ ever to be allowed that privilege.
They actually stopped work on the film,for me to make the presentation of the Gold Disc. Elvis said,'Gee, isn;t it fabulous?' and then did something quite unexpected. He danced around the set, clutching the latest trophy in his hands and showing it to everyone - artistes,technicians and studio hands,even as we chatted he wouldn't put it aside or give it to someone else to take to his dressing room.
Smiley Burnett ,Elvis and Colonel Parker.
CHRISTMAS CARD PROMOTION SHOTS
Hope Lange Elvis and Colonel Parker dressed in Santa Claus outfit
Tuesday Weld and Red West
Red West : I played Elvis's brother,Hank Tyler, in 'Wild In The Country'.Elvis was pretty close to Tuesday Weld,he dated her for a while,she used to come out to the house.Millie Perkins was kind of shy,but Hope Lange and Tuesday and everybody got along fabulously. Elvis respected all those people. Philip Dunn,the director was a real nice man. He added something for me as Elvis's brother in the courtroom scene.
I had my first film line in that movie. I'd rehearsed and rehearsed all weekend,but when they said,'Roll 'em' and Hope Lange stepped in front of me,I couldn't think of my name. Elvis laughed like hell.He was always looking for something to laugh at,some way to make fun of you.We had a real great fight scene. It had kind of got 'round that Elvis was doing some great fight scenes without using a double. It was always him and me.
Tuesday Weld,Elvis and Brenda Lee who was invited to the set by Tom Diskin.'Wolf', Tuesday Weld's German Shepherd can be seen far right in the car.
Joe Espisito,Colonel Parker and Elvis.
FOX STUDIOS - ELVIS 26TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS - FRIDAY 6TH JANUARY 1960
Elvis shakes hands with Colonel Parker,Friday January 6th 1961 - on set Birthday celebrations for Elvis 26th Birthday.Lamar Fike is on the left of frame and Sonny West on the right of frame.
Elvis,Colonel Parker and Director Philip Dunne
Elvis holds his birthday cake.Alan Fortas is on the left of frame."Happy Birthday King Karate" is the message seen on the cake.
Joe Espisito,Elvis,Colonel Parker,Alan Fortas,Sonny West.
Alan Fortas,Joe Espisito,Colonel Parker,Elvis with Hope Lange,Sonny West,Philip Dunne
Nancy Sharpe and Elvis. There is an informal recording made around this time featuring Elvis,Nancy Sharpe and Red West recorded at ,525 Perguia Way,Los Angeles(Page 145 of Elvis Presley Alife In Music by Ernst Jorgensen)
Elvis and co-star Hope Lange,Alan Fortas in the background.
Hope Lange,Director and Elvis
Alan Fortas : That January,when we went back to re shoot the ending,the studio threw Elvis a 26th birthday party,and photographed a bunch of us standing around eyeing the cake,afterwards Elvis sat at a small table at the motel and signed pictures for all the local kids who hounded him for autographs while he was making the film. He must have signed for four or five hours.(It's not clear when Alan Fortas states 'afterwards' as meaning the same day)
Elvis in the motel room ,with Joe Espisito to his left and Alan Fortas stood behind,January 1961
FOX STUDIOS MUSIC RUN THROUGH
Kenyon Hopkins (Music) and Edward B. Powell (Orchestration) may well feature in some of the following photo's,though I have been unable to identify them at this stage. The following photo's feature Elvis with various member of the cast and crew on the 20th Century Fox studios for the movie 'Wild In The Country' and are not of the main recording session at Radio Recorders on November 7/8th 1960.
(Above)Hope Lange holds a sheet of music whilst Elvis is sat at the piano,Fox Studios.This could possibly be a run through of (the movie set) recorded number 'Husky Dusty Day'.(Below) A cropped image(full frame version is contained in the book 'Elvis from Memphis To Hollywood by Alan Fortas and Alanna Nash) Cast gather around a piano with Lamar Fike left of frame
THE RECORDING SESSIONS
November 7 1960 Radio Recorders - Hollywood, California
Lonely Man (Record Version)
Lonely Man (Solo)
In My Way (Solo)
Wild In The Country
Forget Me Never (Solo)
November 8 1960 Radio Recorders - Hollywood, California
I Slipped I Stumbled I Fell (High Key)
I Slipped I Stumbled I Fell (Low Key)
November 1960 Radio Recorders - Hollywood, California
Wild In The Country (Overdub)
Follow that dream release
(For a detailed look at these sessions see ETMAHM No.74)
Elvis and Sonny West on the Fox back lot.
Sonny West : I worked in most of Elvis' movies either as an extra, stuntman or as an actor. The first movie of his I worked in was Wild in the Country in 1960. I was one of the State Troopers that arrested him for man-slaughter. I drove the squad car that pulled him over. Red and I doubled a lot of the actors that had a fight scene with Elvis.
Interview by Jim Wilson - Moments with Elvis
DRUMS - Elvis is seen on the 20th Century set sometime in early december 1960.
In the past,this has been reported to be Elvis and Boots Randolph, when asked about the image denied it was him.(ETMAHM No.74)
Director Philip Dunne dances with Nancy Sharp as Elvis plays drums for the camera.
Hope Lange's birthday cake and celebrations - November 28th 1960
Elvis and Hope Lange enjoying some cake.
Elvis,director Philip Dunne,Joe Espisito and Hope Lange.
Elvis and Hope Lange Publicity shot
"Elvis Presley in War Bonnet|"
Elvis Presley is inducted into the Los Angeles Tribal Council by Chief Wha-Nee-Ota for his "constructive portrayal of a man of Indian blood" in Flaming Star. Picture taken around 19th-23rd December 1960.
Tuesday Weld and Elvis in the hose scene,which reveals that the scene was shot using a 'Day for Night' method.There were minor problems during the shoot including a new studio policy that limited filming to thirty-seven days instead of fifty, causing the production to run over schedule. Elvis therefore returned to Memphis by plane on the 23rd December 1960,for the christmas break before returning to Hollywood on January 2nd 1961.
Following a violent fight with his brother, Glenn Tyler, a moody, rebellious Shenandoah Valley farmboy, is paroled into the custody of his Uncle Rolfe, a conniving tonic manufacturer who hopes to find a husband for his daughter Noreen, the mother of an illegitimate child. Glenn is instructed by the court to pay weekly visits to psychiatric consultant Irene Sperry, a widow and the former fiancÃ©e of the town's wealthiest citizen, Phil Macy. Irene eventually succeeds in winning his trust and confidence by encouraging his efforts to become a writer and sends one of his stories to a college professor, hoping that Glenn will win a scholarship. Meanwhile, Glenn has rejected his former girl friend, Betty Lee, and entered into an affair with the wanton Noreen. Following a dispute with his uncle, Glenn leaves home and stops visiting Irene. She seeks him out, however, and takes him to the nearby university. Returning home, they are caught in a sudden storm and forced to spend the night at a motel. They take separate rooms, but Glenn's enemy, Cliff Macy, spreads vicious rumors among the townspeople. Furious, Glenn attacks him, unaware that Cliff has a weak heart. Cliff dies, and Glenn is arrested on charge of manslaughter. Macy takes the stand and refutes Irene's testimony that young Cliff was chronically ill. Blaming herself for the tragic turn of events, Irene attempts suicide. Only then does Macy admit the truth about his son's poor health, thus clearing Glenn. When Irene recovers completely, Glenn says goodby and leaves for college.
(Above)A Still from the cut production number 'Lonely Man',seen briefly in the trailer for the picture. The location is the garage/workshop and was placed after Tuesday Weld leaves the garage at 68 mins* (Below) A poster which mentions the numbers to be featured in the film,one of which 'Lonely Man' is featured.It is often mentioned that the song 'Forget Me Never' was another cut number,but it seems that the decision to delete this song was done at a slightly earlier stage to 'Lonely Man' as it is not mentioned in any posters or seen in the trailer,and that 'Lonely Man' was a fairly late deletion. Thursday December 8th 1960,Fox Studios,Stage 6 - Scene 116
An extract from Variety review from Sunday January 1st 1961.
"The complications occur when the two spend an innocent night in a motel, innocent on the strength of their May (he)-December (she) respect for each other. The gap in romantic seasons is quickly bridged when their one-night relationship is misinterpreted by some of the incredibly foul and mischievous people who live in the town. Clifford Odets penned the screenplay, from the novel The Lost Country by J.R. Salamanca. The writing has its occasional rewards.Presley, subdued, uses what dramatic resources he has to best advantage in this film. Lange, for the most part, plays intelligently and sensitively. Tuesday Weld contributes a flashy and arresting portrait of a sexy siren enamored of Mr P.
Story, set in the Shenandoah Valley, was filmed in the Napa Valley. Sans wiggle, Presley croons four or five songs. Guitars rather mysteriously keep turning up on the premises, but E.P. leaves the plunking to Weld."
Interesting to note the last line "Four or Five songs" which would be 'I Slipped, I Stumbled, I fell', 'In My Way', 'Lonely Man' and 'Wild In The Country' for sure,and 'Husky Dusty Day' could well be the fifth song. As for 'Forget Me Never' - The number could have been placed in this scene (seen in a still below)58 mins.*
The above is not directly seen in the picture,and clearly shows Elvis singing and playing the guitar and I would guess this is the point in which "Forget Me Never' was placed before being deleted?
Millie Perkins had to slap Elvis in one scene, she suffered a broken wrist. After Miss Perkins had suffered for her art, the scene ended up on the cutting room floor
February 6th 1961 : Preview audience's don't respond well to the suicide of Hope Range's character - Elvis and his party return to LA to film a more positive ending. This in turns meant that Elvis was unable to attend the funeral of his cousin Junior Smith.(Day by Day)
Alan Fortas : The original script,which high-brow writer Clifford Odets ('Golden Boy') adapted from a novel by J.R. Salamancacalled for Elvis's character to sink into deep depression and commit suicide by inhaling carbon monoxide in a closed garage. That's the way they shot it too, until Colonel Parker issued a veto,so we all trekked back to California in early January 1961, to reshoot the ending so that Elvis's character could overcome his disadvantaged background and in true Hollywood style - triumph over adversity.
"The fans would never go for a weak Elvis!" Colonel said,waving his ever present stogie and shifting his considerable weight from one foot to another. He'd already sabotaged the drama by talking studio head Spiros Skouras into sticking six production numbers in the picture,two of which
were mercifully cut.
Peter Guralnick Careless Love : On January 20th Elvis was finally released by the studio and permitted to go home,though he was recalled briefly two and one half weeks later to re-shoot the ending when studio executives decided that Hope Lang's suicide after her abortive romance with Elvis' film character was a 'Too bitter an ending',
1961 The re-shoot for the new ending.
A still from the deleted/alternative ending.
Elvis at the train station,saying goodbye to Millie Perkins charceter
Jimmy Velvet : Elvis actually went to see 'Wild In The Country' himself. They say it was the only one of his movies he ever went to the premiere of. The premiere was held in Memphis,and if I remember right,it was at the Loew's theatre,where he had been an usher and gotton fired years before. I was staying with Aunt Loraine and Uncle Travis and Billy and Bobby Smith,and Elvis invited us all to go. It was fun to watch the movie with him being there. He would get embarrassed and would yell out,"Oh,no!" or something. Everyone would laugh. He made it real funny.
Director Philip Dunne reflected : Audiences who might have liked Clifford Odet's drama wouldn't buy Elvis and his songs,and Elvis fans were disappointed in a Presley picture which departed so radically from his usual song-and-sex comedy formula.
Interview with Philip Dunne by Ronald L Davis From Words into Images Screenwriters on the studio system.:
RD : How did you find working with Elvis Presley?
PD : That was a different,strange sort of exprience.We got on all right,but Wild In The Country was ruined by the songs.Elvis didn't want them. It was producer Jerry Wald,and I on one side,and Colonel Parker and Spyros Skouras on the other. We found out at the preview that the audience was going with the story and didn't want it interrupted for a song.
RD : Was Presley a competent actor?
PD : I thought he was brilliant,far more than competent. I was just amazed. He was a natural actor. The scene in which he talked about his mother and how his father mistreated her he read so beautifully and got tears in his eyes,and I had another one who had a natural sense in the picture,and that was Tuesday Weld,She did everything just right and was brilliant.
LIFE magazine June1961
Wild In The Country. Unfortunately Elvis Presley has a face that jeers at the whole human race,to add to his artistic problems in this film,he plays with Tuesday Weld,a charming round little female whose innocent young face glows joy at the mere thought of anything nice and evil. Here she is a dedicated teenage boozed snitcher who chortles tenderly over her illegitimate baby-and romps off with the whole picture,which comes only alive with her,for the rest,Elvis is torn between bad girl tuesday,Good girl Millie Perkins and untouchable Lady Hope Lange. After committing a casual homicide-the victim had a bad heart so it wasn't Elvis' fault he died- Elvis decides that he will be a good boy and go to collage. He sings briefly three.
Bosley Crowther - The New York Times : "In this seamy, sentimental lot of nonsense, which we are requested to believe that Clifford Odets has written, our nemesis plays a kid who has all the education and social presence of an underprivileged resident of Tobacco Road....Mr. Presley, who did appear to be improving as an actor in his last picture, is as callow as ever in this. The few times he sings are painful - at least they are to our ears - and his appearance is waxy and flabby."
*NTSC DVD which is the only way to see the film at the correct speed . It is also essential to view the film in this form as it is presented in it's original aspect ratio of 2:35:1 with left/centre/right sound reproduction.
see ETMAHM 89 for in depth article by Bill Bram
Any contributions or comments/corrections please let me know
Last edited by davide on Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:24 pm, edited 5 times in total.