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

Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:53 am

Most fans know that singer and actress Barbra Streisand and boyfriend Jon Peters came to Elvis in Las Vegas in March 1975 and pitched the co-starring role of "John Norman Howard" to him for her "A Star Is Born" remake. It soon hit the newspapers, and everyone was excited, including Elvis.


750418_Victoria Advocate_Joyce Haber.jpg

Victoria Advocate, Joyce Haber column, Sunday, April 18, 1975


And most also know, despite Presley's avid interest, it was shot down by management. The role went to Kris Kristofferson instead.

A Star Is Born (1976 film)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075265/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Star_Is_Born_(1976_film)


761217_A Star Is Born poster.JPG



Released in December 1976, both film, single and soundtrack LP were a huge success. It must have crushed Elvis to know it could have been his project.

However, a summer 1974 column I uncovered indicates Elvis was being considered long before Barbra's visit. And the other part was being bandied about for ... Cher!


740618_St. Petersburg Evening Independent.jpg

St. Petersburg Evening Independent - Tuesday, June 18, 1974

So ... who was behind the idea? It obviously was not Streisand's original thought to grab Elvis, after all.

Anyone know more?
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Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:55 am

Anyone have the contact information for Charles Stone?

Seriously, that is an intriguing find. Doc, what made you look into the matter?

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

Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:00 am

Well, well well.

Nice one

Can anyone contact Cher

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

Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:30 am

Fascinating. I wonder if word of this 'rumour' ever got back to Elvis at the time.

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

Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:32 am

Something puzzles me about the often used blame that goes to Parker.

I thought if Elvis wanted the deal/ film, he in effect hires Parker to get said deal for him.

Parker doesn't make artistic choices.

I think Parker often had to be the scapegoat.

Elvis would say no, but he had Parker do the talking, that way shielding him from any back lash.

What is Parkers motive for turning down the part?

Billing?
The story. ie. a character that would be different from the image they spent 20 years creating.
Salary?

Perhaps Elvis was happy to get the offer initially, but my gut feeling is Elvis figured it would just be too much work
at this stage in his life. He couldn't even be bothered to finish or barely start his documentary on
his life's love of karate. I think he figured it was too late in the game to attempt a movie comeback.

The real mystery is what was really going on behind the scenes.

I think if Elvis really wanted to do all the work that it would entale, he
would surely get the colonel to make that deal.

And the movie was terrible.

Why do another remake anyway?

I am glad he didn't make it.

I think the only way this movie would've worked is if
Elvis did the movie with Ann-margret.

Think about it. Ann was doing some really edgy movies in the 70's.

It had been over 10 years since 'Viva las vegas".

That would have been a media blitz and a blockbuster of a reunion.

But Barbra Striesand?

Cher?

NOT on your life.

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

Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:03 am

Fair points Ekenee. I agree that there were probably occasions when the Colonel was made to be the bad guy when Elvis was probably getting him to do the dirty work for him. You could also add that one of Elvis' motives for turning down the part was that the script called for him to snog Barbara Streisand. If that's not a valid excuse for turning down the role I don't know what is. :D

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

Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:05 am

Great observation, Ekenee.
Interesting finds, John

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

Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:08 pm

Excellent find and another great topic Doc! 1974? I am sure this will get the questions rolling.

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

Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:11 pm

Jon Peters wanted Elvis...not Streisand. See attached from Elvis: Frame By Frame.
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Re: Elvis and "A Star Is Born" --> A New Mystery!

Sat Nov 26, 2011 6:45 pm

princedragna wrote:Jon Peters wanted Elvis...not Streisand. See attached from Elvis: Frame By Frame.

He was so heavy, in March 1975, that he couldn't sit in a normal chair? God, this stuff gets so exaggerated. Do you think they came to several shows in Vegas at that time because of this project or do we have the show, on FTD, that preceded this meeting? I love his warm greeting to Babs and his introduction of her as Barbra StreiZand. It's just cool!

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

Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:45 pm

Again, some try to give Tom Parker a pass on his role or non-role in Elvis declining the movie role. Some of you guys really have no clue about the dynamic between artists and their management representatives. It is the job of management to lock in lucrative and creative opportunities - to develop the career and have vision for the direction of the career. They don't simply leave the decision up to the artist. Artists get pressured into getting involved with all kinds of projects that initially they may not find appealing. The manager directs the career; the manager is simply not a yes-man (and clearly that wasn't the case with Elvis and Tom Parker, but some of you act as if that was what was missing). That isn't how it works. In 1974/1975, Elvis was at an impasse so-to-speak. His career was stalled. His studio work was only producing moderate results, he had no television or film opportunities on the horizon, and his main source of income was an endless cycle of numbing touring and showroom commitments. That isn't how a skilled manager manages a star client with significant cross-over potential into other mediums. Regardless of where the original idea to have Elvis star in A Star Is Born came from, the offer and project ultimately became real. It is clear from all historical evidence that Elvis was initially intrigued by the project and that Tom Parker had serious reservations (which essentially derived from the fact he did not want Elvis to deviate from his controlled formula and did not want Elvis expanding his relationships into Hollywood). Whether Elvis soured on the project due to anxiety and doubts; a skilled manager would have seized the opportunity to get his star client into a creative project with the potential to not only open new doors into the entertainment world, but to also inspire a client who clearly was in a rut. Parker did no such thing. He essentially killed the project with excessive demands. The potential combination of killing the opportunity and Elvis passing on the project was the end for Elvis. Nothing else of substance came his way. It is hard to fathom any other major Hollywood manager having a client in Elvis' position in 1975 passing up on this kind of opportunity.

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

Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:40 pm

midnightx wrote:Again, some try to give Tom Parker a pass on his role or non-role in Elvis declining the movie role. Some of you guys really have no clue about the dynamic between artists and their management representatives. It is the job of management to lock in lucrative and creative opportunities - to develop the career and have vision for the direction of the career. They don't simply leave the decision up to the artist. Artists get pressured into getting involved with all kinds of projects that initially they may not find appealing. The manager directs the career; the manager is simply not a yes-man (and clearly that wasn't the case with Elvis and Tom Parker, but some of you act as if that was what was missing). That isn't how it works. In 1974/1975, Elvis was at an impasse so-to-speak. His career was stalled. His studio work was only producing moderate results, he had no television or film opportunities on the horizon, and his main source of income was an endless cycle of numbing touring and showroom commitments. That isn't how a skilled manager manages a star client with significant cross-over potential into other mediums. Regardless of where the original idea to have Elvis star in A Star Is Born came from, the offer and project ultimately became real. It is clear from all historical evidence that Elvis was initially intrigued by the project and that Tom Parker had serious reservations (which essentially derived from the fact he did not want Elvis to deviate from his controlled formula and did not want Elvis expanding his relationships into Hollywood). Whether Elvis soured on the project due to anxiety and doubts; a skilled manager would have seized the opportunity to get his star client into a creative project with the potential to not only open new doors into the entertainment world, but to also inspire a client who clearly was in a rut. Parker did no such thing. He essentially killed the project with excessive demands. The potential combination of killing the opportunity and Elvis passing on the project was the end for Elvis. Nothing else of substance came his way. It is hard to fathom any other major Hollywood manager having a client in Elvis' position in 1975 passing up on this kind of opportunity.


You have just stated the cliche' theory of this particular story.
You added nothing new.
You have given the proper definition of what a manager should be.
The problem........the colonel was far from normal and he didn't
consult any kind of managers handbook.

We still don't really know what kind of dialogue went on between Elvis and the colonel concerning this.

If you look at the past and what had been done prior and give examples you see a diffferent pattern.

Do you really think the colonel thought that if he went on tour in June of 1976 that it would be
a calculated career move to inspire Elvis to higher ground? And then that August 1976 tour?

That was to promote the new album right??? WRONG?

The truth is...Elvis said "I'm bored, I wanna go on tour, set it up".

And colonel did just that. Elvis did make some decisions in his career believe it or not.
That is another pattern that goes way back to the 50's.
If the colonel made demands, they were the usual demands
made.

REcall that story that....I believe in was an Australian company that wanted Elvis to do one show.

And they met the colonels demand of a million dollars. Elvis didn't do the show.

Why, because he simply didn't want to. Even if all the colonels demands were met,

I doubt Elvis would have done the movie, even though he was flattered they wanted him.

In this "mystery" there is too many unknowns. Both Elvis and the colonel aren't telling there story.

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

Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:42 pm

midnightx wrote:Again, some try to give Tom Parker a pass on his role or non-role in Elvis declining the movie role. Some of you guys really have no clue about the dynamic between artists and their management representatives. It is the job of management to lock in lucrative and creative opportunities - to develop the career and have vision for the direction of the career. They don't simply leave the decision up to the artist. Artists get pressured into getting involved with all kinds of projects that initially they may not find appealing. The manager directs the career; the manager is simply not a yes-man (and clearly that wasn't the case with Elvis and Tom Parker, but some of you act as if that was what was missing). That isn't how it works. In 1974/1975, Elvis was at an impasse so-to-speak. His career was stalled. His studio work was only producing moderate results, he had no television or film opportunities on the horizon, and his main source of income was an endless cycle of numbing touring and showroom commitments. That isn't how a skilled manager manages a star client with significant cross-over potential into other mediums. Regardless of where the original idea to have Elvis star in A Star Is Born came from, the offer and project ultimately became real. It is clear from all historical evidence that Elvis was initially intrigued by the project and that Tom Parker had serious reservations (which essentially derived from the fact he did not want Elvis to deviate from his controlled formula and did not want Elvis expanding his relationships into Hollywood). Whether Elvis soured on the project due to anxiety and doubts; a skilled manager would have seized the opportunity to get his star client into a creative project with the potential to not only open new doors into the entertainment world, but to also inspire a client who clearly was in a rut. Parker did no such thing. He essentially killed the project with excessive demands. The potential combination of killing the opportunity and Elvis passing on the project was the end for Elvis. Nothing else of substance came his way. It is hard to fathom any other major Hollywood manager having a client in Elvis' position in 1975 passing up on this kind of opportunity.


Excellent, excellent post! Given where Elvis was during this time, the timing for ASIB, was perfect to help motivate Elvis. He needed challenges!

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

Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:43 pm

midnightx wrote:Again, some try to give Tom Parker a pass on his role or non-role in Elvis declining the movie role. Some of you guys really have no clue about the dynamic between artists and their management representatives. It is the job of management to lock in lucrative and creative opportunities - to develop the career and have vision for the direction of the career. They don't simply leave the decision up to the artist. Artists get pressured into getting involved with all kinds of projects that initially they may not find appealing. The manager directs the career; the manager is simply not a yes-man (and clearly that wasn't the case with Elvis and Tom Parker, but some of you act as if that was what was missing). That isn't how it works. In 1974/1975, Elvis was at an impasse so-to-speak. His career was stalled. His studio work was only producing moderate results, he had no television or film opportunities on the horizon, and his main source of income was an endless cycle of numbing touring and showroom commitments. That isn't how a skilled manager manages a star client with significant cross-over potential into other mediums. Regardless of where the original idea to have Elvis star in A Star Is Born came from, the offer and project ultimately became real. It is clear from all historical evidence that Elvis was initially intrigued by the project and that Tom Parker had serious reservations (which essentially derived from the fact he did not want Elvis to deviate from his controlled formula and did not want Elvis expanding his relationships into Hollywood). Whether Elvis soured on the project due to anxiety and doubts; a skilled manager would have seized the opportunity to get his star client into a creative project with the potential to not only open new doors into the entertainment world, but to also inspire a client who clearly was in a rut. Parker did no such thing. He essentially killed the project with excessive demands. The potential combination of killing the opportunity and Elvis passing on the project was the end for Elvis. Nothing else of substance came his way. It is hard to fathom any other major Hollywood manager having a client in Elvis' position in 1975 passing up on this kind of opportunity.

Excellent post ! 100% agree

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

Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:37 am

When you make a musical where both the leads are singers then you've only got so many people that can play the part.

Warner brothers had been thinking about doing an updated rock star verson of A Star is born since 1974.

They had originally thought about casting James Taylor and Carly Simon in the leads but neither of them wanted to make movies.

David Bowie and Diana Ross were considered at one point.

According to Cher she actually had the part in 1975 but then Warner brothers just decided to go with Streisand all of sudden.

I assume the reason is because Streisand was at the time a big box office star with more acting experience.

I personally feel that Cher would have been better in this type of role than Streisand.

Since Elvis was a singer who also acted in movies it makes sense that his name would have been thrown around early on in discussions about the film.

Once Streisand came on board Neil Diamond was also offered the part but he turned it down because of his touring schedule.

Mick Jagger was also considered.

According to Streisand if Kris turned the part down then Mick Jagger would have played the part.
Last edited by brian on Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:57 am

ekenee wrote:Something puzzles me about the often used blame that goes to Parker.

I thought if Elvis wanted the deal/ film, he in effect hires Parker to get said deal for him.

Parker doesn't make artistic choices.

I think Parker often had to be the scapegoat.

Elvis would say no, but he had Parker do the talking, that way shielding him from any back lash.

What is Parkers motive for turning down the part?


That one's easy to answer Ekenee. Parker hated it because he didn't think of it. He hated the idea that Elvis would find out that there were interesting lucrative opportunities that Parker himself did not generate. He was extremely threatened by any outside influence. The only thing a quality outside project could do was highlight his own deficiencies. This is why the L&S project, a much more fascinating endeavor than this one, was rejected. The more Elvis steps out of the bubble and succeeds the more it becomes clear to Elvis and the industry large that Elvis does not really owe it all to Parker.

To say that Elvis had input in his decisions and that Parker was a negative influence are not contradictory positions. As Midnight X ably pointed out in his post, a big part of a personal manager's job is to give advice. It almost seems clear this is what led to the change in the mid-1960s. They advise them what's good for them, what will work for them. After the relative lack of success of the two dramatic films and the fabulous success of the two light musicals, it seems Parker made it clear that the public did not want Elvis as a dramatic actor and that if he pursued that path, his fans would abandon him. Elvis basically states this philosophy in the Lloyd Shearer interview. And to that point in the 1960s, Parker had been at least solid financially so Elvis had good reason to listen to his advice even though it didn't turn out to be particularly good advice in the end.

Whether this bit of advice was good or bad, and it seems the Colonel's influence was the difference because Elvis was by all accounts very excited upon hearing the news, is up in the air. I agree that it did not out out to be a very good film although it was a financial success. Also, A Star is Born at least in its more musical film is primarily a showcase for the female lead, after all she's supposed to be tearing it up as he is on the way down. Additionally, for all the emoting the male lead gets to do, the female lead's heartbreak at losing him is the story's center. On the other hand, if Elvis had had a good show biz savvy manager, he could have redressed at least some of these issues particularly in the employment of a director that would be even handed in handling both stars. As for it being the wrong image, I think that's a misguided concern. That's what actors, they pretend to be other people with problems and concerns that are not necessarily their own. Any concerns about the image projected by the role would be offset by the image projected by a nation's critics saying "Hey that Elvis Presley's a good actor." I'm not saying that would have automatically happened, but it could have.

I think one final thing needs to be said though about Elvis and Parker. Maybe at a certain point Elvis should have said "I'm not getting all the things I want. The Colonel and I should part ways." But I think the people who keep saying that he should have constantly over ruled him and insisted on X projects are slightly out of touch with the way things work. You shouldn't constantly have to be at loggerheads with your personal manager. He/she is there to make opportunities happen for you. You really shouldn't have to insist and battle all the time to do what you want. The manager should be out trying to provide those things as a matter of course. Elvis wants to Europe, his job is not to explain reasons why that can't happen. I mean he has a job to say this is not enough money, this place is no good to play, play this one. But if the goal is to do something, he should be working to find a way to do that, not discourage it.

On the opening though that is a nice little find a new wrinkle in the story. Congrats Dr.

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

Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:11 pm

likethebike wrote:
ekenee wrote:Something puzzles me about the often used blame that goes to Parker.

I thought if Elvis wanted the deal/ film, he in effect hires Parker to get said deal for him.

Parker doesn't make artistic choices.

I think Parker often had to be the scapegoat.

Elvis would say no, but he had Parker do the talking, that way shielding him from any back lash.

What is Parkers motive for turning down the part?


That one's easy to answer Ekenee. Parker hated it because he didn't think of it. He hated the idea that Elvis would find out that there were interesting lucrative opportunities that Parker himself did not generate. He was extremely threatened by any outside influence. The only thing a quality outside project could do was highlight his own deficiencies. This is why the L&S project, a much more fascinating endeavor than this one, was rejected. The more Elvis steps out of the bubble and succeeds the more it becomes clear to Elvis and the industry large that Elvis does not really owe it all to Parker.

To say that Elvis had input in his decisions and that Parker was a negative influence are not contradictory positions. As Midnight X ably pointed out in his post, a big part of a personal manager's job is to give advice. It almost seems clear this is what led to the change in the mid-1960s. They advise them what's good for them, what will work for them. After the relative lack of success of the two dramatic films and the fabulous success of the two light musicals, it seems Parker made it clear that the public did not want Elvis as a dramatic actor and that if he pursued that path, his fans would abandon him. Elvis basically states this philosophy in the Lloyd Shearer interview. And to that point in the 1960s, Parker had been at least solid financially so Elvis had good reason to listen to his advice even though it didn't turn out to be particularly good advice in the end.

Whether this bit of advice was good or bad, and it seems the Colonel's influence was the difference because Elvis was by all accounts very excited upon hearing the news, is up in the air. I agree that it did not out out to be a very good film although it was a financial success. Also, A Star is Born at least in its more musical film is primarily a showcase for the female lead, after all she's supposed to be tearing it up as he is on the way down. Additionally, for all the emoting the male lead gets to do, the female lead's heartbreak at losing him is the story's center. On the other hand, if Elvis had had a good show biz savvy manager, he could have redressed at least some of these issues particularly in the employment of a director that would be even handed in handling both stars. As for it being the wrong image, I think that's a misguided concern. That's what actors, they pretend to be other people with problems and concerns that are not necessarily their own. Any concerns about the image projected by the role would be offset by the image projected by a nation's critics saying "Hey that Elvis Presley's a good actor." I'm not saying that would have automatically happened, but it could have.

I think one final thing needs to be said though about Elvis and Parker. Maybe at a certain point Elvis should have said "I'm not getting all the things I want. The Colonel and I should part ways." But I think the people who keep saying that he should have constantly over ruled him and insisted on X projects are slightly out of touch with the way things work. You shouldn't constantly have to be at loggerheads with your personal manager. He/she is there to make opportunities happen for you. You really shouldn't have to insist and battle all the time to do what you want. The manager should be out trying to provide those things as a matter of course. Elvis wants to Europe, his job is not to explain reasons why that can't happen. I mean he has a job to say this is not enough money, this place is no good to play, play this one. But if the goal is to do something, he should be working to find a way to do that, not discourage it.

On the opening though that is a nice little find a new wrinkle in the story. Congrats Dr.



that was an excellent point there LTB ::rocks

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

Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:55 pm

likethebike wrote:
ekenee wrote:Something puzzles me about the often used blame that goes to Parker.

I thought if Elvis wanted the deal/ film, he in effect hires Parker to get said deal for him.

Parker doesn't make artistic choices.

I think Parker often had to be the scapegoat.

Elvis would say no, but he had Parker do the talking, that way shielding him from any back lash.

What is Parkers motive for turning down the part?


That one's easy to answer Ekenee. Parker hated it because he didn't think of it. He hated the idea that Elvis would find out that there were interesting lucrative opportunities that Parker himself did not generate. He was extremely threatened by any outside influence. The only thing a quality outside project could do was highlight his own deficiencies. This is why the L&S project, a much more fascinating endeavor than this one, was rejected. The more Elvis steps out of the bubble and succeeds the more it becomes clear to Elvis and the industry large that Elvis does not really owe it all to Parker.

To say that Elvis had input in his decisions and that Parker was a negative influence are not contradictory positions. As Midnight X ably pointed out in his post, a big part of a personal manager's job is to give advice. It almost seems clear this is what led to the change in the mid-1960s. They advise them what's good for them, what will work for them. After the relative lack of success of the two dramatic films and the fabulous success of the two light musicals, it seems Parker made it clear that the public did not want Elvis as a dramatic actor and that if he pursued that path, his fans would abandon him. Elvis basically states this philosophy in the Lloyd Shearer interview. And to that point in the 1960s, Parker had been at least solid financially so Elvis had good reason to listen to his advice even though it didn't turn out to be particularly good advice in the end.

Whether this bit of advice was good or bad, and it seems the Colonel's influence was the difference because Elvis was by all accounts very excited upon hearing the news, is up in the air. I agree that it did not out out to be a very good film although it was a financial success. Also, A Star is Born at least in its more musical film is primarily a showcase for the female lead, after all she's supposed to be tearing it up as he is on the way down. Additionally, for all the emoting the male lead gets to do, the female lead's heartbreak at losing him is the story's center. On the other hand, if Elvis had had a good show biz savvy manager, he could have redressed at least some of these issues particularly in the employment of a director that would be even handed in handling both stars. As for it being the wrong image, I think that's a misguided concern. That's what actors, they pretend to be other people with problems and concerns that are not necessarily their own. Any concerns about the image projected by the role would be offset by the image projected by a nation's critics saying "Hey that Elvis Presley's a good actor." I'm not saying that would have automatically happened, but it could have.

I think one final thing needs to be said though about Elvis and Parker. Maybe at a certain point Elvis should have said "I'm not getting all the things I want. The Colonel and I should part ways." But I think the people who keep saying that he should have constantly over ruled him and insisted on X projects are slightly out of touch with the way things work. You shouldn't constantly have to be at loggerheads with your personal manager. He/she is there to make opportunities happen for you. You really shouldn't have to insist and battle all the time to do what you want. The manager should be out trying to provide those things as a matter of course. Elvis wants to Europe, his job is not to explain reasons why that can't happen. I mean he has a job to say this is not enough money, this place is no good to play, play this one. But if the goal is to do something, he should be working to find a way to do that, not discourage it.

On the opening though that is a nice little find a new wrinkle in the story. Congrats Dr.


All you wrote is basically what is in the books. Yes, Parker was out of touch.
But so was Elvis. Elvis should have learned his lesson with the 68 special when
his brilliant manager wanted him to committ career suicide by singing 20 Christmas songs
and call it good. My point is then, why blame Parker for this fiasco?

Shouldn't the blame be on Elvis in this case.
One, he had several opputunities to fire the colonel in the past.
Elvis let him stay on as his manager.
So who's fault is that?
The 1973 publishing buyout-----Wasn't that done by the colonel at Elvis' bidding?
Again, if that was totally the colonel, a good reason to fire him.
Elvis had lost out on other fiilm roles.
Again, Elvs kept him on.
The colonel set up long long vegas contracts.
Again, Elvis kept him on.
When does Elvis get to harbor some of the blame?

It is cliche to blame the colonel, and I do, and I agree with your post basically,
but really, in this case, do we really know if the colonel screwed this deal up,
or did Elvis get cold feet and back out?

And if he did,
Again, Elvis kept him on, even after that huge arguement in 1975.

So, who is really to blame in a passive sort of way?

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

Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:09 pm

Parker never was blessed with creativity. He was always about the money, and in that area, did some extraordinary things for Elvis, especially in the 50s and early 60s.

Elvis needed someone equally dynamic in the creative department, someone like Steve Binder, who would have known that his star bored easily, and would have lobbied against locking him into long term contracts in Hollywood and Vegas.

Schilling makes a pretty good case for this argument in his book.

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

Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:09 pm

With all due respect to the Doc and others. I for whatever reason am glad Elvis turned down a succesful but crappy film. Only helped Streisands musical career. Not much would have done to the has been strung out character Elvis would have played. Too close to the truth maybe? My take anyway...

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

Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:24 am

elvisjock wrote:Parker never was blessed with creativity. He was always about the money, and in that area, did some extraordinary things for Elvis, especially in the 50s and early 60s.

Elvis needed someone equally dynamic in the creative department, someone like Steve Binder, who would have known that his star bored easily, and would have lobbied against locking him into long term contracts in Hollywood and Vegas.


Steve Binder wouldn't have been a good choice to be Elvis' manager.

For one thing he wasn't a manager he produced television specials.

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

Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:25 am

Juan Luis wrote:With all due respect to the Doc and others. I for whatever reason am glad Elvis turned down a succesful but crappy film. Only helped Streisands musical career. Not much would have done to the has been strung out character Elvis would have played. Too close to the truth maybe? My take anyway...


Yep.

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

Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:31 am

ekenee wrote:
likethebike wrote:
ekenee wrote:Something puzzles me about the often used blame that goes to Parker.

I thought if Elvis wanted the deal/ film, he in effect hires Parker to get said deal for him.

Parker doesn't make artistic choices.

I think Parker often had to be the scapegoat.

Elvis would say no, but he had Parker do the talking, that way shielding him from any back lash.

What is Parkers motive for turning down the part?


That one's easy to answer Ekenee. Parker hated it because he didn't think of it. He hated the idea that Elvis would find out that there were interesting lucrative opportunities that Parker himself did not generate. He was extremely threatened by any outside influence. The only thing a quality outside project could do was highlight his own deficiencies. This is why the L&S project, a much more fascinating endeavor than this one, was rejected. The more Elvis steps out of the bubble and succeeds the more it becomes clear to Elvis and the industry large that Elvis does not really owe it all to Parker.

To say that Elvis had input in his decisions and that Parker was a negative influence are not contradictory positions. As Midnight X ably pointed out in his post, a big part of a personal manager's job is to give advice. It almost seems clear this is what led to the change in the mid-1960s. They advise them what's good for them, what will work for them. After the relative lack of success of the two dramatic films and the fabulous success of the two light musicals, it seems Parker made it clear that the public did not want Elvis as a dramatic actor and that if he pursued that path, his fans would abandon him. Elvis basically states this philosophy in the Lloyd Shearer interview. And to that point in the 1960s, Parker had been at least solid financially so Elvis had good reason to listen to his advice even though it didn't turn out to be particularly good advice in the end.

Whether this bit of advice was good or bad, and it seems the Colonel's influence was the difference because Elvis was by all accounts very excited upon hearing the news, is up in the air. I agree that it did not out out to be a very good film although it was a financial success. Also, A Star is Born at least in its more musical film is primarily a showcase for the female lead, after all she's supposed to be tearing it up as he is on the way down. Additionally, for all the emoting the male lead gets to do, the female lead's heartbreak at losing him is the story's center. On the other hand, if Elvis had had a good show biz savvy manager, he could have redressed at least some of these issues particularly in the employment of a director that would be even handed in handling both stars. As for it being the wrong image, I think that's a misguided concern. That's what actors, they pretend to be other people with problems and concerns that are not necessarily their own. Any concerns about the image projected by the role would be offset by the image projected by a nation's critics saying "Hey that Elvis Presley's a good actor." I'm not saying that would have automatically happened, but it could have.

I think one final thing needs to be said though about Elvis and Parker. Maybe at a certain point Elvis should have said "I'm not getting all the things I want. The Colonel and I should part ways." But I think the people who keep saying that he should have constantly over ruled him and insisted on X projects are slightly out of touch with the way things work. You shouldn't constantly have to be at loggerheads with your personal manager. He/she is there to make opportunities happen for you. You really shouldn't have to insist and battle all the time to do what you want. The manager should be out trying to provide those things as a matter of course. Elvis wants to Europe, his job is not to explain reasons why that can't happen. I mean he has a job to say this is not enough money, this place is no good to play, play this one. But if the goal is to do something, he should be working to find a way to do that, not discourage it.

On the opening though that is a nice little find a new wrinkle in the story. Congrats Dr.


It is cliche to blame the colonel, and I do, and I agree with your post basically,
but really, in this case, do we really know if the colonel screwed this deal up,
or did Elvis get cold feet and back out?


That's true.

We don't know if the Colonel screwed up this deal or if Elvis changed his mind about doing it.

Conflicting stories.

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

Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:51 am

What evidence is there to state that Elvis changed his mind, other than Parker interference? I don't know of any stories where Elvis told someone "I don't know if I can handle this role," or "this is bad for my image." There are stories though of Parker squelching the deal. To give Parker a pass calls for an unfounded leap of faith. It's possible that Elvis that got cold feet but we have no evidence of that. It's not like Elvis had never made a movie before or had not worked with big time actors and directors in challenging dramatic roles in the past, including at least one of which King Creole was widely praised.

It's fair to argue that maybe the television special should have changed Elvis' mind because it showed Parker's way was not the best way. It is fair to note though that Parker did line up the opportunity which was a great success despite his machinations. So on the other side, it's definitely possible to see that project as lining up according to the alleged Elvis/Parker ideal. Parker takes care of business (lining up the show for a lot of money), Elvis and the creative people make it a success. It is important to remember here that although the show was supposed to be a Christmas show, it did not turn out that way.

The more important thing to ask when discussing the other things is how is Elvis supposed to know what's a good deal in Vegas, what's a good movie contract, what roles are being offered? He had no formal business training. He had no formal training in the mechanics of show business other than performing. His financial adviser was his father. How is he supposed to know that what Parker is proposing is a good deal or a bad deal? The idea of having a personal manager is in the fact that this manager will find good deals and protect you from bad deals. If the "expert" in this case Parker says so and so is a bad deal or a good deal, how is the layman supposed to know otherwise? It's like if you had a lawyer and he gave you bad advice, you might guess instinctively that it's wrong but at the end of the day the lawyer is supposed to be the expert. I encounter this in day to day life all the time. Many times I've seen friends and family have a pain or illness and go to a doctor and the doctor says you're fine or maybe prescribes the wrong medication and the people usually go to that doctor long after they know in their head something is wrong because he's the doctor and you're not. He's an expert and you're not. When a person hires an expert they expect that person to know what they're doing.

If Elvis gets lined up for a movie and stinks in it. That's his fault. If Elvis decides to sing "Life" as a favor to Lamar that's his fault. If he likes Olivia Newton John better than Tony Joe White as a source for material that's his fault. That he did not get good movie deals is not his fault. He hired a personal manager to do that job. If Elvis was an expert in these areas, there would be no reason to have a personal manager. It's be better to keep all the money himself rather than pay even 15 percent let alone 25 or 50.

And this is the second time this week that the RCA buyout has been painted as Elvis' idea. It was not. This idea came from RCA suit Mel Ilberman. I have no doubt that Elvis was for it after it was proposed. And I would be for it too if someone said to me, hey we can get you $5 million right away and you don't have to do anything for it. However, that should not have been the pitch. Parker's pitch should have been you have to think long. This is fool's gold. But then no one though to say that. Parker should have been smart enough to tell Elvis that a lot of the money coming so quickly all in one lump sum would be lost in taxes. Additionally, although many have pointed out that catalog sales had yet to become the behemoth they would be in subsequent years, it's worth noting that the deal as written contained then contemporary performers like Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden, Elvis Sings Burning Love and Hits from his Movies, Separate Ways and most importantly Aloha From Hawaii.

That all being said I do agree with the reservations many have about the project artistically. But perhaps Elvis' involvement could have changed that, particularly if he and Parker had insisted on a director.

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

Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:30 am

likethebike wrote:What evidence is there to state that Elvis changed his mind, other than Parker interference? I don't know of any stories where Elvis told someone "I don't know if I can handle this role," or "this is bad for my image." There are stories though of Parker squelching the deal. To give Parker a pass calls for an unfounded leap of faith. It's possible that Elvis that got cold feet but we have no evidence of that. It's not like Elvis had never made a movie before or had not worked with big time actors and directors in challenging dramatic roles in the past, including at least one of which King Creole was widely praised.
.


Sonny West has stated that Elvis initially was interested in doing the movie and he promised Barbara Streisand that he would do it.

However a few days later he became concerned about working with Jon Peters and Streisand thinking about their reputations for being difficult.

Elvis then told Parker to get him out of it which he did.

As I said conflicting stories.

It is true about a lot of people in Hollywood not wanting to work with either Barbara Streisand or Jon Peters.

or if they have worked with Jon Peters or Streisand they've regretted it.

I know both Kristofferson and the director Frank Pierson got into some big arguments with them on the set of A Star is Born