Do you remember Julie Adams?

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Universal Studios Hollywood (pictured above).

With thrilling theme park rides and shows, a real working movie studio and Los Angeles’ best shops, restaurants and cinemas at CityWalk, Universal Studios Hollywood is a unique experience that’s fun for the whole family.

And the same holds true for the Orlando attraction.

The locations are extremely popular tourist destinations but wouldn’t be if the studios had not been saved by…

The Universal Monsters. You know them well.

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Hard to believe that Universal was struggling decades ago in the 1920’s right on through to the1950’s. The Studios needed a life raft. It came from one after another famous and popular monsters including all of the above, and this one…

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“The Creature of the Black Lagoon” wasn’t Universal’s  most significant monster, but when it  appeared the popular “monster” run was about to be over, along came this nautical abnormality.

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In the 1954 film a strange prehistoric beast lurks in the depths of the Amazonian jungle. A group of scientists try to capture the animal and bring it back to civilization for study.

And he takes a liking to our heroine.

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That would be the lovely and yummy Julie Adams.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

“I thought, ‘The creature from what? What is this?” Adams said in a 2013 interview. “Because I had been working with some major stars and so on. But I read it and said, ‘If I turn it down, I won’t get paid and I’ll be on suspension.’ And then I thought, ‘What the hay! It might be fun.’ And of course, indeed it was. It was a great pleasure to do the picture. I think the best thing about the picture is that we do feel for the creature. We feel for him and his predicament.”

Adams died last Sunday at the age of 92. 92.

In 1965 Adams starred with Elvis in “Tickle Me,” not Elvis’s best, but if you’re an Elvis fan, you loved it.

Adams played Elvis’ boss at a dude ranch where women who were in great shape were trying to get into shape.

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BONUS

From the movie, Elvis sings “I Feel That I’ve Known You Forever,” to an angry Pam (Jocelyn Lane), who wants nothing to do with him after have just witnessed him kissing another woman. That other woman was Julie Adams.

Lane is an interesting story. From imdb.com:

Jocelyn Lane is one of the most stunningly beautiful, and overlooked, actresses to grace the screen.  Jocelyn had established herself as a popular model and cover girl by the time she was 18, using the stage name Jackie Lane. During this period she kept extremely busy as a cover girl, appearing on hundreds of magazine covers around the world. Jackie moved to Hollywood in the mid-1960s, and began using her birth name.. Although Jocelyn feigned a convincing American accent, her aloof, haughty screen persona did not endear her to US audiences, despite several showy leading roles in popular B-films. She retired from the screen in the early 1970s, ultimately marrying Spanish royalty.

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Elvis and the Grammy Awards

The 61st annual Grammy Awards will be handed out this Sunday.

Elvis himself is not personally nominated for any award, but he’s the subject in a couple of categories.

Best Historical Album

AT THE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE TONIGHT…
Martin Hawkins, compilation producer; Christian Zwarg, mastering engineer (Various Artists)

20 CDs comprise over 25 hours of music captured on-stage in the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s at KWKH’s legendary Louisiana Hayride radio show. At The Louisiana Hayride Tonight –  ,Staged live in Shreveport, the Hayride featured national country music stars, soon-to-be legends, regional break-outs, and talented newcomers.

Most of this music has not been heard since the day it was broadcast.

FABULOUSLY RESTORED SOUND!

• 529 ‘live’ tracks including previously unknown recordings by Hank Williams.

 

• 11 ‘as live’ studio-recorded transcriptions, including Kitty Wells, Johnnie and Jack, Hank Williams, and Curley Williams.

• 19 studio-recorded commercial discs, including hits by Slim Whitman, the Browns, Mitchell Torok, Jim Reeves, Mac Wiseman, and Carolyn Bradshaw.

• 167 artists in total, including Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Johnny Horton, Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Jim Reeves, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Rose Maddox, Frankie Miller, Cousin Emmy, June Carter, Roy Acuff, the Bailes Brothers, the Oklahoma Wranglers, Norma Jean, the Browns, the Carlisles, the Louvin Brothers, Jimmy Newman, Ray Price, Roger Miller, Ferlin Husky, Warren Smith, Wynn Stewart, Grandpa Jones, Rusty and Doug Kershaw, Slim Whitman, and the Wilburn Brothers.

These recordings are included on the Grammy-nominated boxed set. Listen to Elvis’ first performance at the Hayride on October 16, 1954.

Here’s the complete track listing for this amazing compilation with audio clips.

And…

Best Music Film
For concert/performance films or music documentaries. Award to the artist, video director, and video producer.

THE KING
(Elvis Presley)
Eugene Jarecki, video director; Christopher Frierson, Georgina Hill, David Kuhn & Christopher St. John, video producer
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Forty years after the death of Elvis Presley, two-time Sundance Grand Jury winner Eugene Jarecki’s film takes the King’s 1963 Rolls-Royce on a musical road trip across America. From Memphis to New York, Las Vegas, and beyond, the journey traces the rise and fall of Elvis as a metaphor for the country he left behind.

Of course, Elvis must be vilified.

Here’s Elvis’ complete Grammy history.

Watch Friday night for our second straight week of featured Grammy  nominees.

 

No one had ever talked to Elvis that way before

This is Elvis Birthday Week. He would have been 84 on Tuesday.

Elvis Presley (left), being discharged from the Army with Rex Mansfield (foreground, right), in 1960.

After Elvis was discharged from the Army in March of 1960 most of the decade would be one film, one movie soundtrack after another. He stopped making live and TV appearances (his manager’s decision), and though still immensely popular, he began to lose public consciousness.  That would change in 1968 when he was featured in the special of all TV specials.

The Associated Press recently wrote:

Elvis Presley wanted an honest answer. Steve Binder gave him one.

Presley was meeting Binder for the first time in Binder’s office in Los Angeles in 1968. A music and television producer, Binder had been asked to put together an NBC television special featuring Presley, who had become more of a movie actor than a rock ‘n’ roll singer in the 1960s when the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were dominating the rock world.

Presley and Binder talked for about an hour about music and established a rapport, Binder recalls. Then Presley popped the question: “What do you think of my career?”

“I was young and brash in those days,” Binder told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “I said…”

Click here to see Binder’s answer and the entire AP article that also touches on another upcoming TV special.

The network (NBC)  hopes to replicate the magic in February. The “Elvis All-Star Tribute” will feature Blake Shelton as host and will include well-known performers recreating the original (’68 Comeback Special) program.

NBC’s “Elvis All-Star Tribute” airs on Sunday, Feb. 17 from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT.

The two-hour program will be hosted by Blake Shelton. Priscilla Presley and Steve Binder, the director of the original special will appear as well as Lisa Marie Presley.

Musical performances will include:

  • “Trouble”/”Guitar Man” – Blake Shelton
  • “Hound Dog” – Shawn Mendes
  •  “Burning Love” – Keith Urban
  • “Baby, What You Want Me to Do” – Keith Urban & Post Malone
  •  “Jailhouse Rock” – John Fogerty
  •  “Can’t Help Falling in Love” – Ed Sheeran
  • “Always on My Mind” – Kelsea Ballerini
  • “Heartbreak Hotel” – Jennifer Lopez
  • “One Night” – Darius Rucker
  •  “Suspicious Minds” – Blake Shelton
  •  “Love Me Tender” – Alessia Cara
  • “Memories” – Mac Davis
  • “A Little Less Conversation” – John Legend
  • “Are You Lonesome Tonight” – Little Big Town
  • “Blue Suede Shoes” – Adam Lambert
  •  “Love Me” – Pistol Annies
  • Hits Medley (“That’s All Right,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Blue Suede Shoes”) – Mac Davis, Post Malone, Little Big Town, Darius Rucker & Blake Shelton
  • Gospel Medley (“How Great Thou Art,” “He Touched Me,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” – Carrie Underwood & Yolanda Adams
  •  “Little Sister” – Dierks Bentley
  • “It’s Now or Never” – Josh Groban
  • “If I Can Dream” – Elvis Presley, Carrie Underwood, Shawn Mendes, Post Malone, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton

What they said about Elvis

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This is Elvis Birthday Week. He would have been 84 on Tuesday.

“ I don’t sound like nobody.”
Elvis, to Sun records secretary Marion Keisker when she asked him who he sounded like

Elvis was told to return to being a truck driver.
Grand Ole Opry manager Jim Denny after Elvis performed in 1954 for the first and only time at the Opry. Elvis swore he’d never go back. Years later, Garth Brooks commented in a television interview that one of the greatest thrills of playing the Opry was that he got to play on the same stage Elvis had.

 “Rockin’ on music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can’t help but move to it. That’s what happens to me. I can’t stand still. I’ve tried it and I just can’t do it.”
Elvis, on Elvis

”His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac. It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people.”
Frank Sinatra, in Elvis’ early days. The two would later become good friends.

”I wanted to say to Elvis Presley and the country that this is a real decent, fine boy.”
Ed Sullivan to Elvis during one of Elvis’ appearances on Sullivan’s popular Sunday night variety show

Elvis was the king. No doubt about it. People like myself, Mick Jagger and all the others only followed in his footsteps.”
Rod Stewart

A Presley picture is the only sure thing in Hollywood.”
Producer Hal Wallis

”A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man’s music, when in fact almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis.”
Jackie Wilson

”There have been a lot of tough guys. There have been pretenders. And there have been contenders. But there is only one king.”
Bruce Springsteen

”When I first heard Elvis’ voice I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody; and nobody was going to be my boss. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.”
Bob Dylan

”Elvis is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century. He introduced the beat to everything, music, language, clothes, it’s a whole new social revolution… the 60’s comes from it.”
Leonard Bernstein

“Without preamble, the three-piece band cuts loose. In the spotlight, the lanky singer flails furious rhythms on his guitar, every now and then breaking a string. In a pivoting stance, his hips swing sensuously from side to side and his entire body takes on a frantic quiver, as if he had swallowed a jackhammer.”
 “Time Magazine,” May 15, 1956

“It isn’t enough to say that Elvis is kind to his parents, sends money home, and is the same unspoiled kid he was before all the commotion began. That still isn’t a free ticket to behave like a sex maniac in public.”
Eddie Condon, “Cosmopolitan,” December 1956 

“I wanted to say to Elvis Presley and the country that this is a real decent, fine boy.”
Ed Sullivan, during Elvis’ third appearance on his show, January 6, 1957

“There is something magical about watching a man who has lost himself find his way back home…He sang with the kind of power people no longer expect from rock ‘n’ roll singers.”
John Landau, Review of “Elvis” (1968 TV Special)

“You have no idea how great he is, really you don’t. You have no comprehension – it’s absolutely impossible. I can’t tell you why he’s so great, but he is. He’s sensational.”
Phil Spector

“Elvis had an influence on everybody with his musical approach. He broke the ice for all of us.”
Al Green

“He was an instinctive actor…He was quite bright…he was very intelligent…He was not a punk. He was very elegant, sedate, and refined, and sophisticated.”
Walter Matthau, who co-starred with Elvis in “King Creole,” from a 1987 interview

“…it was like he came along and whispered some dream in everybody’s ear, and somehow we all dreamed it.”
Bruce Springsteen

“A lot has been written and said about why he was so great, but I think the best way to appreciate his greatness is just to go back and play some of the old records… Time has a way of being very unkind to old records, but Elvis’ keep getting better and better.” 
Huey Lewis

“This boy had everything. He had the looks, the moves, the manager, and the talent. And he didn’t look like Mr. Ed like a lot of the rest of us did. In the way he looked, way he talked, way he acted – he really was different.” 
Carl Perkins

“It’s rare when an artist’s talent can touch an entire generation of people. It’s even rarer when that same influence affects several generations. Elvis made an imprint on the world of pop music unequaled by any other single performer.” 
Dick Clark

“I’m sitting in the drive-through and I’ve got my three girls in the back and this station comes on and it’s playing “Jailhouse Rock,” the original version, and my girls are jumping up and down, going nuts. I’m looking around at them and they’ve heard Dad’s music all the time and I don’t see that out of them.” 
Garth Brooks

“Ask anyone. If it hadn’t been for Elvis, I don’t know where popular music would be. He was the one that started it all off, and he was definitely the start of it for me.” 
Elton John

“The first concert I attended was an Elvis concert when I was eleven. Even at that age he made me realize the tremendous effect a performer could have on an audience.” 
Cher

“It’s insane the charisma he had. I’ve never seen anything like it to this day.” 
Faith Hill

”There have been many accolades uttered about Elvis’ talent and performances through the years, all of which I agree with wholeheartedly. I shall miss him dearly as a friend. He was a warm, considerate and generous man.”
Frank Sinatra

”Elvis Presley’s death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique, irreplaceable. More than twenty years ago, he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense. And he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness and good humor of this country.”
President Jimmy Carter after Elvis’ death

Before Elvis, there was nothing.”
John Lennon

”If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.”
Johnny Carson

Elvis taught white America to get down.”
James Brown

”We’ll never know what an old Elvis Presley would have been like. He’ll just always be the King.”
Pat Boone

”When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book. I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie .So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times. These gentlemen over there, these are the type who care, are dedicated. You realize if it´s not possible that they might be building the kingdom, it´s not far-fetched from reality. I´d like to say that I learned very early in life that:

‘Without a song the day would never end

Without a song a man ain´t got a friend

Without a song the road would never bend

Without a song…’

So I keep singing a song.Good night. Thank you.”
Elvis in his acceptance speech in 1971 for being one of the Top Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the national Junior Chambers of Commerce (the Jaycees)

Happy Birthday EP!

Today would have been Elvis Presley’s 84th birthday. So let’s celebrate with some tunes from the King that true fans will recognize and might be new to many who aren’t as ardent followers. I hope you’ll enjoy our selection.

We begin with one of Elvis’ early RCA recordings from the album “Elvis Presley” that was ranked number 56 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Note the great boogie woogie piano. And the cool lyrics.

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Birthday cake today at Graceland.

Elvis could do it all. Check out this number mixed with a bluesy, jazzy, rockabilly, country sound.

Again, from those early years.

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The King of Rock and Roll could sing a tender ballad like nobody else. The flip side of “Good Luck Charm” …

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Presented recently by President Trump. It reads:

Elvis Presley defined American culture to billions of adoring fans around the world. Elvis fused gospel, country, and rhythm and blues to create a sound all his own, selling more than a billion records.  Elvis also served nearly 2 years in the United States Army, humbly accepting the call to serve despite his fame. He later starred in 31 films, drew record-breaking audiences to his shows, sent television ratings soaring, and earned 14 Grammy Award nominations. He ultimately won 3 Grammy Awards for his gospel music. Decades after his passing Elvis Presley remains an enduring American icon. The United States is proud to honor this American legend.

Finally, I do believe I detect some cha-cha or tango.

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Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: “There’s Always Me”

If you’ve been watching NFL football the past several weeks you’ve seen this commercial.

“A little company.” Get it.

The Elvis impersonators were doing their take on a 1961 song by Elvis from this album.

Something for Everybody by Elvis Presley | Arena Music

A beautiful ballad, we could easily blog that song from that 1961 LP, but instead, from an amazing track of Elvis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The video somehow manages to squeeze Elvis’ career into two minutes. Yes, it’s obvious how.

BONUS

The husband-wife team of “Captain and Tennille” rose to major stardom in the mid-70’s with the Grammy-award winning #1 smash “Love Will Keep Us Together.” A weekly TV variety show on ABC quickly followed.

The Captain, Darryl Dragon, is the son of orchestra leader Carmen Dragon. He got his nickname when he toured with the Beach Boys, always wearing a nautical hat.

When you watched or heard him you’d swear he was playing a half dozen keyboards at the same time.

Vocalist Tennille could also handle keyboards.

Their second album included a boogie track, written by Tennille and inspired by one of the Captain’s influences, performed here on Tennille’s TV talk show that was broadcast 1980-81.

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After 39 years of marriage, Tennille divorced Dragon in 2014. She expressed a lack of intimacy.

Image may contain: 2 people, shoesDragon died on Wednesday.

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Today’s highly interesting read (11/16/18): Elvis Wasn’t Racist. Neither Is Giving Him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

President Trump will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to seven Americans today, including Elvis Presley. Somehow some view that as a racist move.

A Washington Post critic called it “a little nod to the good old days, back when black visionaries could invent rock-and-roll, but only a white man could become the king.”

That’s just crazy.

Another view from the Weekly Standard:

Even if Elvis popularized an art form that people of another race largely invented, it’s hard to argue that a lots and lots of successful black artists didn’t walk right through the doors he opened. Presley was initially a hero among black musicians in Memphis for that reason, and there’s no reason to think Elvis himself was racist. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Rock ‘n’ roll has been around for the better part of a century. If you’re invested in making Elvis an avatar for racial resentments more than 40 years after his death, you’re, perhaps unwittingly, making the problems of contemporary divisions worse.

Read the entire column here.

It’s ELVIS WEEK – “Cheer up my brother”

Today is the last day of ELVIS Week.

At Graceland today:

Mississippi Delta Blues Tour

Departs The Guest House at Graceland at 8:30 a.m. and returns by 6:30 p.m.  
$119/adults; $89/children ages 5-12; children under 5 are not permitted.
Rock ‘n’ roll has its roots in the music of the Mississippi Delta and blues and R&B artists such as B.B. King, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and Ike Turner. The Graceland Excursions Mississippi Delta tour will trace the influences that inspired the creation of rock ‘n’ roll music. Expert tour guides will narrate this day-long adventure that takes a detour down the backroads and explores the deep roots of blues culture and blues history, while discovering delicious foods and reliving a musical revolution powered by raw emotion. Delta Tour includes:

  • Gateway to the Blues Museum: Learn the remarkable story of how the blues were born and the role Tunica and the Delta played in building the genre’s legacy. The museum features interactive exhibits, artwork and more, including a recording studio where you’ll learn the basics of blues music with a chance to record your very own blues song.
  • Delta Blues Museum: Explore the history and heritage of the unique American musical art form. The collection of artifacts at the museum includes musical instruments, recordings, sheet music, posters, photographs, costumes, folk art and much more. One of the largest pieces of the collection is the actual cabin where legendary blues artist Muddy Waters once lived.
  • Grammy Museum Mississippi: Located in Cleveland, MS, the museum is dedicated to exploring the past, present and future of music, and the cultural context from which it emerges, while casting a focused spotlight on the deep musical roots of Mississippi. The museum features educational programming, engaging multimedia presentations, and interactive permanent and traveling exhibits, including a Mississippi-centric display that introduces visitors to the impact of Mississippi’s songwriters, producers and musicians on the traditional and modern music landscape.
  • Southern Sounds at Dockery Farms: This historic site is where musicians invented the blues genre around the turn of the 20th century. It’s a mecca to blues enthusiasts and the home to Charley Patton, the “Father of the Blues.”
  • Lunch: Lunch on your own at Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Elvis Live in Concert – with an All-Star Band

7:00 PM. Graceland Soundstage, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. $55
Celebrate the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s greatest hits with Elvis live in concert and on the big screen, in the tradition of Elvis’ legendary, live concert tours. A live, rock ‘n’ roll all-star band will accompany Elvis and bring this stage production to life at Graceland with former members of The Stamps Quartet and a very special guest appearance by TCB band member Ronnie Tutt. A not-to-be-missed concert event.

August 18, 1977, the funeral procession for Elvis was held. The caravan was led by a silver Cadillac followed by the white Cadillac hearse with Elvis’ body and 17 white Cadillac limousines on a two and a half mile ride to Forest Hill Cemetery Midtown.

We close with Elvis’ recording of the traditional gospel song “Farther Along” that he personally arranged in 1966.

 

It’s ELVIS WEEK – “So don’t you mess around with me”

Today at Graceland:

Conversations on Elvis: Elvis Connections

10:00 AM. Graceland Soundstage, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. $25
Hosted by Tom Brown, hear from those who connection from Elvis varies from personal to professional. Special guests this year include: Ann Moses, who was editor at “Tiger Beat Magazine” from 1965 – 1972 and sat on the stage for Elvis’ “’68 Comeback Special,” toured Elvis’ and Colonel Parker’s offices, observed filming for “Change of Habit” and attended Elvis’ opening show in July 1969 in Vegas; Billy Blackwood, James Blackwood’s younger son, who toured with Voice, the opening act for the Elvis Presley in the 1970s; Donna Rhodes Morris, who was called to American Sound Studios by Chips Moman to sing harmony on the original Elvis recordings of Elvis’ “In The Ghetto,” “Kentucky Rain” and “Suspicious Minds”; Elvis’ friend and country star TG Sheppard; and Mark Kogan, who worked with Concerts West to promote Elvis’ concert tours.

In 2012, Ann Moses who is mentioned above wrote about her Elvis experiences, including that 1968 TV special.

I was often hounded by the Public Relations director of RCA records, Greylon Landon, to publicize Elvis’ latest movie (and the corresponding soundtrack album on RCA) and I would do this as a favor to him, because I could sell my Elvis stories to the NME. I also had two friends from high school, Tony and Don, who were complete Elvis “nuts.” That’s a fan to the 100th degree. So Greylon would send me premier tickets to new Elvis movies and I would pass them along to Tony and Don.

But in the summer of 1968, Greylon called and told me he had something really special. It was not to be publicized in advance, but he brought two tickets over to my office for the “Elvis starring Elvis Presley” TV show taping. He let me know this was a small group of people invited to view the taping of this TV special. This time I was not giving the tickets away. I did invite my friend Tony, as Don was out of state on vacation with his parents. It would have been a difficult choice if they both had been in California on that night.

Long story short, I not only enjoyed the TV show taping, but became an instant Elvis “nut” after seeing the new and improved Elvis. He was lean, dressed in black leather and to hear his voice live and up close, I was just overcome with his musical prowess.

Rightfully so there’s been a great deal of attention around this year’s Elvis Week to that “Comeback Special.”  Real, true Elvis fans know a lot about that remarkable special, even 50 years later.

We’ll get to it in just a bit, but first, from what many claim was Elvis’ best performance as a movie actor.

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This was a very good movie, not a beach film with 14 short songs, one after another.

An all-star cast helped. Just look at that movie poster.

Here’s a memorable scene.

That was 1958. Fast forward 10 years later.

The famous TV special opened and also was featured near the end with “Trouble.” The song was a recurring theme, during rehearsals and at various parts of the program.

Enjoy.

And don’t forget. New dates and times.