Girls! Girls! Girls! : Paramount 1962
Source: Elvis Australia
March 7, 2005
With the huge success of 'Blue Hawaii' (Paramount 1961), producer Hal Wallis had decided to promote Elvis as an entertainer rather than the rebel actor, reminiscent of James Dean, as Elvis had been seen in 'King Creole' (Paramount 1958). Thus another script was set in scenic Hawaii. The working titles for 'Girls! Girls! Girls!' had been 'A Girl In Every Port', 'Welcome Aboard', 'Jambalaya', and 'Gumbo Ya-Ya',which is said to be a Creole expression for 'everybody talks at once'.
Ross Carpenter, Elvis Presley's character in Girls! Girls! Girls! epitomizes the type of role Elvis is most associated with -- the handsome, carefree bachelor with a colorful occupation. Ross works as a charter boat pilot who moonlights as a nightclub singer to buy a sailboat that once belonged to his father. Wealthy Laurel Dodge, played by Laurel Goodwin, falls hard for Ross and secretly buys the sailboat for him.
When Ross discovers that Laurel has purchased the boat, his pride is damaged, and he sails off by himself. Laurel quickly follows in a boat piloted by wealthy Wesley Johnson, portrayed by Jeremy Slate, who turns out to be a wolf in tailored clothing. Ross rescues Laurel from Wesley's clutches, realizing that he loves her. Ross asks Laurel to sell the sailboat so that he can feel free to marry her and build a new boat.
On March 26, 1962, Elvis began three days of soundtrack recording at Radio Recorders in Hollywood.
The title song 'Girls! Girls! Girls' had been written in 1960 by Leiber and Stoller for The Coasters. Elvis was not pleased with the direction his career was headed and wasn't pleased with the prospect of singing to shrimp or any other sea creatures ('Song of the Shrimp' is a soundtrack song). However, one great classic Elvis song came from this film's soundtrack. It was the Otis Blackwell and Winfield Scott composition 'Return To Sender'. The song had not been written for this movie, but when Colonel Parker heard it he knew it would be perfect for Elvis and made sure he heard it as well. And in the scene of the movie when Elvis sings the song, you can see in his movements the influence of one of his favorite entertainers, Jackie Wilson.
With the music recorded, it was time to go to Hawaii for the location portions of shooting the film. Elvis wanted to go to Hawaii by ship, however, a strike forced him to fly. The decision placed the production behind schedule. Later, when Paramount sent a check for two extra days of Elvis' time, Colonel Parker refused the payment as it had been Elvis' reluctance to fly that had caused the filming delay. The check was never cashed.
On April 7, 1962, Elvis and his entourage arrived in Hawaii on Pan Am flight #817. Elvis then took a helicopter ride to the Hawaiian Village Hotel where he would stay. Approximately 8,000 fans were on hand for his arrival and in the 100-yard walk between the helicopter and the hotel he lost his yachting cap, his jewel-tipped tie clasp and a diamond ring that he especially liked. The next day, a young girl called the hotel and said that his ring had come off in her hand and that she wished to return it.
She did leave the ring at the front desk of the hotel.
At this time Elvis was very much into karate and actively practicing - breaking up to 40 boards a night. Hal Wallis put an end to it for the druation of the production for fear that Elvis would break his hand and hold up the production schedule.
Principal photography began on April 9, 1962. Shooting in Hawaii included locations such as the Bumble Bee Tuna plant near Waikiki Beach and the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. On April 26, 1962 location shooting was finished. Elvis and the production team returned Hollywood where filming resumed on Stage 5 at the Paramount Studios on May 1, 1962.
After location shooting in Hawaii was finished, filming resumed on May 1, 1962 back in Hollywood at the Paramount Studios. On weekends Elvis and the guys would play football in the local De Neve Park with friends and other actors such as Ty Hardin, Bob Conrad, Ricky Nelson, Pat Boone, Gary Crosby and Max Baer, Jr. Also during this time Elvis' name in connection with the filming of 'Girls! Girls! Girls!' was used without authorization in a Coppertone suntan lotion ad in the June issue of 'Ladies Home Journal' magazine. Colonel Parker had Hal Wallis stop the ad.
Principal photography wrapped by June 8, 1962 and Elvis was done with looping and his publicity stills by June 12th. The movie premiered in Honolulu on October 31st. and opened nationwide on Nov. 21st., peaking at #6 on the Variety National Box Office Survey. Even though it only came out a few weeks before the year's end, it was #31 for the year on the list of the 50 Top Grossing Films of 1962. Elvis was voted that year as 'Top Box Office Draw' by the movie industry of America, having three of the top grossing films that year. Besides 'Girls! Girls! Girls!' at #31, 'Kid Galahad' was #37 and 'Blue Hawaii' was #14.
Elvis' nemesis Wesley Johnson was played by Jeremy Slate, who had also played in the Elvis movie 'G.I. Blues'. Mr. Slate has had roles in films such as 'Wives and Lovers', 'The Sons of Katie Elder' and 'True Grit', as well as numerous television roles in such series as 'Police Story', 'Petrocelli', 'The Rookies' and 'Wonder Woman'. Elvis' other leading lady was played by Laurel Goodwin and this film was her movie debut. She went on to have roles in the films 'Papa's Delicate Condition', 'Stage To Thunder Rock' and 'The Glory Guys'. Her roles on TV have included 'Star Trek', 'The Virginian', 'Get Smart', 'Mannix' and 'The Beverly Hillbillies'.
Robert Strauss played Sam, the owner of the Pirate's Den. You might recognize him as Blackie in the Elvis movie 'Frankie and Johnny'. He also had roles in 'Stage To Thunder Rock' with Laurel Goodwin and in 'Li'l Abner' with Stella Stevens. This gravelly voiced actor was the son of a theatrical costume designer and started his career on Broadway, where, among other productions, he played in 'Stalag 17'.
Papa Stavros was played by Frank Puglia. The Sicilian born actor's career started at age 13 when he began to appear in Italian opera. He moved to the U.S. in 1907 at age 15 and joined an Italian theater group.
Polish born actress Lili Valenty played Mama Stavros.
Twins Barbara and Betty Beall played the Stavros twins Leona and Linda.
Their career had few roles. They were always cast together as twins.
Kin Yung, the wise family patriarch, was played by Benson Fong. Mr. Fong, a native of California may be best remembered for his long running role as Tommy Chan, son of the famous detective Charlie Chan, in the popular movie series made in the 1940s. He also had roles in films such as 'Flower Drum Song', 'Our Man Flint', and 'The Love Bug', as well as in TV series such as 'Kung Fu'. The son of a wealthy Sacramento merchant who had lost everything in the Depression, Mr. Fong had no plans to become an actor. He had planned to open a grocery store. But, one night while he was out to dinner, a talent scout approached him and his thirty-year career as an actor soon was underway. He also owned a chain of popular California restaurants called Ah Fong's.
Beulah Quo played the even wiser Yung matriarch. Ms. Quo's career garnered her an 1978 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress for 'Meeting of Minds'. She had many roles on TV, including a long-running role on the TV series 'General Hospital'. Her movie career included films such as 'Love Is a Many Splendored Thing', 'Flower Drum Song', 'The Sand Pebbles' and 'Chinatown'.
Guy Lee played Chen Yung. Mr. Lee also had roles in the films 'Gidget Goes Hawaiian' and 'Flower Drum Song', among others. He appeared in guest roles on a number of TV series, including 'Bonanza'.
The Ling children that Elvis' character sings to in this film were played by the Tiu siblings. Ginny Tiu played Mai Ling, Elizabeth Tiu played Tai Ling and their brother Alexander Tiu played the unnamed little brother. Their sister Vicky Tiu would play a leading role in the next Elvis movie 'It Happened at The World's Fair'.
Their father William was a teacher from Hong Kong. The children were musically gifted and appeared on stage and in a number of variety shows on television.
Mary Treen played Mrs. Figgot and Marjorie Bennet played Mrs. Dicks, the two women customers in the hat store. Both ladies were long-time character actresses with hundreds of roles between them. Mary Treen had roles in films like 'It's A Wonderful Life' and 'The Errand Boy' as well as roles in the Elvis films 'Fun In Acapulco' and 'Paradise Hawaiian Style'. Marjorie Bennett's career included parts on many TV series, as well as in movies such as 'What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?', 'Sail A Crooked Ship' and 'My Fair Lady'. She was also the voice of Duchess in the original version of the animated film '101 Dalmatians'.
Frank Atienza (Ito in the Elvis film 'Blue Hawaii') plays an uncredited role. Look closely and you'll see Red West from Elvis' entourage as a bongo playing crewman on the tuna boat. And entourage member Alan Fortas catches a tuna that Elvis' character throws his way. Elvis' recording session drummer Hal Blaine is seen as a drummer in the lounge band, Elvis' stand-in Lance LeGault is playing the bass.
The story was written by Allan Weiss, who also worked on the Elvis films 'Blue Hawaii', 'Fun In Acapulco', 'Paradise, Hawaiian Style', 'Easy Come, Easy Go' and 'Roustabout'. For 'Roustabout' he received a 1965 nomination from the Writer's Guild of America for Best Written American Musical. Also working on the script was Edward Anhalt, who won Academy Awards for his screenplays for 'Becket' and 'Panic In the Streets'. He received an Academy Award nomination for 'The Sniper'.
Girls! Girls! Girls!
I Don't Wanna Be Tied
Where Do You Come From (cut)
A Boy Like Me, A Girl Like You
I Don't Wont To
We'll Be Together
Return To Sender
Because Of Love
Thanks To The Rolling Sea
Song Of The Shrimp
The Walls Have Ears
We're Coming In Loaded
Plantation Rock (Cut)
Recorded at: Radio Recorders Studios, 7000 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood March 1962
Musicians: Elvis Presley (vocals), Scotty Moore, Tiny Timbrell, Barney Kessel (guitars), Ray Seigel (bass), D.J. Fontana, Hal Blaine, Bernie Mattinson (drums), Dudley Brookes (piano), Boots Randolph (sax & vibes), the Jordanaires and the Amigos (vocals).
A newcomer to the musicians was Barney Kessel, a widely popular electric jazz guitarist who would feature on several of Elvis' later film soundtracks.
Girls!, Girls!, Girls! Paramount 1962
Directed: Norman Taurog
Writing Credits: Allan Weiss (story), Edward Anhalt
Producer: Hal Wallis
Cast Overview: Elvis Presley .... Ross Carpenter, Stella Stevens .... Robin Gatner, Jeremy Slate .... Wesley Johnson, Laurel Goodwin .... Laurel Dodge, Benson Fong .... Kin Yung, Robert Strauss .... Sam, Guy Lee .... Chen Yung, Frank Puglia .... Papa Stavros, Lili Valenty .... Mama Stavros, Beulah Quo .... Madam Yung, Ginny Tiu .... Mai Ling, Elizabeth Tiu .... Tai Ling, Alexander Tiu .... Mai Ling's Brother
No part of any article on this site may be re-printed for public display without permission.
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. + Plus Bonus DVD Audio.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
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.
Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD Video with Sound.