Spinout : MGM 1966
By: Elvis Australia
March 8, 2005 - 7:27:00 PM
Fast cars are not nearly as dangerous for Mike as beautiful women, all of whom want to race him down the aisle to marriage. Les, played by perky Deborah Walley, works as the drummer in Mike's band, and she is extremely jealous of his attention toward other women. Also vying for Mike's affection is sophisticated Cynthia Foxhugh, played by Shelley Fabares, who is the daughter of wealthy auto magnate Howard Foxhugh. Finally, representing the intellectual type is writer Diana St. Clair, played by Diane McBain, who falls in love with Mike while finishing her book The Perfect American Male.
In an ending that seems to mock Elvis films in general, Mike does not end up marrying any of these women. Instead, he succeeds in wedding them to friends and associates, while he remains free to begin a new romance.
This film began with the working title of 'Never Say Yes'. In January 1966 producer Joe Pasternak asked Elvis' manager Tom Parker if he had any suggestions for a better title. Parker came up with 'Jim Dandy' and 'Clambake'. Other titles considered were 'Never Say No','Never Say Yes' and 'After Midnight'. In Britain it was finally released as 'California Holiday', while in the U.S. they ended up using 'Spinout' and saving 'Clambake' to use for a later film.
Above, Lynda Johnson, President Lyndon Johnsons daughter, George Hamilton,
Colonel Parker with elvis on the set of Spinout.
Spinout Movie Poster - Finland
On January 30, 1966 Elvis and his entourage left Memphis in his Dodge motor home and headed to California. Soon after arriving Elvis gifted his new toy, a Sony video camera and recorder, to director Norman Taurog. Personal video equipment was new on the market and relatively hard to come by.
Elvis reported for film pre-production on February 11, 1966 and for soundtrack recording on the 16th. Famed vehicle customizer George Barris was almost finished customizing Elvis' new bus. A bit impatient to try it out, Elvis took it on a trial spin to Las Vegas that weekend.
Principal photography for 'Spinout' began on February 21, 1966. During the shooting of this film Elvis told a reporter that he wanted to do another gospel album. He had in fact been working on new music at home with entourage members Charlie Hodge and Red West. His latest inspiration had come from folk singers Peter, Paul and Mary and Odetta singing songs written by Bob Dylan. He also told the reporter that he would always keep Graceland because of the memory of his late mother.
Principal photography finished on April 8, 1966 and Elvis drove his new bus home to Memphis. The movie opened on November 23, 1966. Theaters sponsored 'The Perfect American Male Essay Contest' as a way to promote the movie. It was a play on the character Diana St. Clair's book and the best essays won Elvis records as prizes. Radio stations received promos of the 'Spinout' single and prerecorded open-ended interviews with Shelley Fabares, Deborah Walley and Dian McBain. The film was the 57th highest grossing film for the year. Elvis was the tenth highest paid actor in 1966.
Carl Betz had played Fabares's character's father Dr. Alex Stone on 'The Donna Reed Show' and in this film he played her character's father Howard Foxhugh. Betz, a graduate of Carnegie Tech. (today known Carnegie Mellon), played in the 1938 Sugar Bowl football game and made his acting debut on stage. He received an Emmy Award in 1969 for his TV series 'Judd For The Defense'. Jimmy Hawkins, who played Larry in 'Spinout' and had played Doc in Elvis' movie 'Girl Happy', was also a co-star of Fabares's on 'The Donna Reed Show'. He began acting as a child and had the role of Tagg Oakley on the 'Annie Oakley' TV series. He might be best known as Tommy Bailey in the film 'It's A Wonderful Life'. Location shooting for 'Spinout' took place at the Los Angles Dodgers Baseball Stadium as well as Ascot Motor Car Racing Ground. Over 200 extras were used for the Sante Fe Road Race scene. Elvis' character drove a classic 1929 Duesenberg to tow his race car around.
Movie Poster - Spinout - MGM 1966
There were, as usual for an Elvis movie, a number of lovely actresses who had bit parts in this film. Among them was a very young Rita Wilson, who would go on to be a movie star and a film producer.
Diane McBain, who played author Diana St. Clair, started her career as a teenage model. She has played in a number of TV series including 'Surfside Six' and today continues to perform on television and in films.
Will Hutchins, best known for his lead role as Tom 'Surgarfoot' Brewster on television in the late 1950s, played Lt. Tracy Richards in 'Spinout' and worked again with Elvis in the 1967 film 'Clambake'. He was at one time married to comedian Carol Burnett's younger sister Chris. Jack Mullaney, often cast as the goofy sidekick, played musician Curly in 'Spinout'. He had played Elvis's buddy in the movie 'Tickle Me'.
Milton Berle's nephew Warren Berlinger played Phillip Short. His career as a character actor began in 1956 with the film 'Teenager Rebel' and continues working today.
Cecil Kellaway, who played Bernard Ranley in 'Spinout', was known for his many character roles, two of which garnered him Academy Award nominations.
The story was written by Theodore J. Flicker and George Kirgo.
Theodore J. Flicker was a director for TV series such as 'The Andy Griffith Show', 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' and 'I Dream of Jeannie' when he also began to write scripts. He went on to be nominated for Best Written American Screenplay by the Writer's Guild for the 1968 work 'The President's Analyst'.
'Spinout' was produced by Joe Pasternak, who had also produced Elvis' film 'Girl Happy'. His credits include four Academy Award nominations and ten Golden Laurel Awards. The associate producer was Hank Moonjean, who had been an assistant director on the Elvis film 'Jailhouse Rock'. He went on to receive a 1989 Oscar nomination for Best Picture for producing 'Dangerous Liaisons'. The director was Norman Taurog, who was one of Elvis' favorites to work with.
Directed Norman Taurog
Writing Credits Theodore J. Flicker, George Kirgo
Producer Joe Pasaternak
Cast Overview: Elvis Presley .... Mike McCoy, Shelley Fabares .... Cynthia Foxhugh, Diane McBain .... Diana St. Clair, Dodie Marshall .... Susan, Deborah Walley .... Les, Jack Mullaney .... Curly, Will Hutchins .... Lt. Tracy Richards, Warren Berlinger.... Philip Short, Jimmy Hawkins .... Larry, Carl Betz .... Howard Foxhugh, Cecil Kellaway .... Bernard Ranley, Una Merkel .... Violet Ranley, Frederick Worlock.... Blodgett, Dave Barry .... Harry.
Interview with actor, songwriter Dolores Fuller.
Dolores Fuller went into a collaborative partnership with Ben Weisman and got one song, 'Rock-A-Hula Baby', into Blue Hawaii, a beginning that eventually led to Elvis recording a dozen of her songs.
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Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever.
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The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.