THAT’S THE WAY IT IS: SPECIAL EDITION coming to Blu-ray in August

Elvis Presley performs live in August 1970

Elvis Presley in THAT’S THE WAY IT IS: SPECIAL EDITION (1970/2000)

From ElvisMatters:

An exclusive screening of the world premiere of Warner Bros.’ newly-remastered version of Elvis: That’s The Way It Is – Special Edition will be held at the Orpheum Theatre [in Memphis, Tennessee]. The Elvis concert documentary will be available for the first time on Blu-ray on August 12. Fans will be treated not only to the newly-remastered film, but will also get to experience an outtake performance or sequence never-before-seen on the big screen. In addition, the screening will feature an on-stage performance by Terry Blackwood and The Imperials and “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” related artifacts on display in the lobby, direct from the Graceland Archives.

I have not yet been able to find confirmation of this on the official Elvis.com or Graceland.com sites, but it is not unusual for them to be behind on even their own news. I even tried the Orpheum site.

If this pans out, I would not be surprised if additional screenings are added across the United States via Fathom Events, as was done to promote the Elvis On Tour Blu-ray in 2010.

Perhaps Warner will be more accurate in its product descriptions for That’s The Way It Is: Special Edition Blu-ray than they were for the Elvis On Tour Blu-ray.

Update: Graceland.com has now confirmed the screening and Blu-ray release for August, though the press release is unclear on certain product details. Look for plenty of coverage here in coming months.

Cinematic Justice: NOBODY short film to focus on 18-year-old Elvis Presley

“He said he was a singer. I said, ‘What kind of a singer are you?’ He said, ‘I sing all kinds.’ I said, ‘Who do you sound like?’ He said, ‘I don’t sound like nobody.'” –Memphis Recording Service office manager Marion Keisker recalling her Summer 1953 meeting with Elvis (1)

Elvis, circa. 1953

Elvis, circa. 1953

“My ultimate goal with Nobody is to give Elvis Presley the cinematic justice he deserves, even if only through an independent short film,” said William Bryan, writer/director/producer of Nobody. The film, currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, will portray Elvis in the waning days of his senior year in high school. A key event will be his performance at the April 1953 Humes High School talent show, which gave the shy singer enough confidence to walk into Memphis Recording Service just weeks later to record a demo.

Bryan, an Elvis fan since he was 11-years-old, has made an annual visit to Memphis for the last ten years. While studying at Columbia College Chicago, he made numerous short films. His goal for Nobody, which is also produced by 2011 Columbia College graduate Tom Radovich, is that it inspire today’s dreamers.

“Sure, this might sound a bit romanticized,” Bryan explained, “but think about who Elvis Presley was at the time of our story. He was a senior in high school who wasn’t the sports hero, didn’t have a girlfriend…he really was a nobody.”

While Nobody focuses on early Elvis, Bryan does not limit his fandom to that era. “I’ve been listening to a lot of ballad numbers that Elvis recorded between 1969 and 1971. ‘I’ll Never Know’ and ‘I’ve Lost You’ have been two of my favorites this week,” he said.

Nobody‘s Kickstarter campaign ends on June 1. If it can secure enough funding to proceed, the independent production promises a new look at Elvis compared to previous dramatizations of his life. “With all due respect to the filmmakers who have come before me and already told an Elvis story, many of the ‘Hollywood’ productions have unfortunately been less-than-tasteful, historically inaccurate, or worse, both,” said Bryan.

Reference

(1) ELVIS: The Biography by Jerry Hopkins, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 41.


Considering that as recent as four days ago, I noted that I no longer care to watch dramatizations of Elvis’ life, you may wonder why I chose to cover this particular story. I believe Nobody has a chance to distance itself from many of the other films made about Elvis over the years due to the most important ingredient in any creative endeavor: Passion. Bryan seems to have a strong passion for the subject, which will hopefully translate into a special film.

As with all Elvis dramatizations, though, another important aspect will be casting. This is even more important for a short film, I would say, because there is less time for the audience to connect with the character. For a movie such as Nobody to be taken seriously, a strong actor needs to be cast – not someone doing an Elvis caricature.

This should be a fun story to keep an eye on in the coming months. My thanks to William Bryan for taking part in an email interview for this article.

King Creole: The Making Of The Movie

Elvis Presley, 1958

Elvis Presley in King Creole, 1958

King Creole was based on the 1952 novel A Stone For Danny Fisher by Harold Robbins. The novel’s protagonist is a boxer in New York, which the movie adapted into a singer in New Orleans to better suit audience expectations of its star, Elvis Presley. Elvis read the novel as part of his preparations for the role of Danny Fisher.

Producer Hal Wallis had been trying to get the film version of A Stone For Danny Fisher off the ground since 1955, long before Elvis was attached to the project. At that time, A Stone For Danny Fisher was also playing as an off-Broadway production.

James Dean was even rumored to have been in the running for the movie’s lead at one point. This was Wallis’ second Elvis movie. He would go on to produce nine Elvis movies in all.

Hal Wallis: “Michael Curtiz directed the film and he has a very sharp but romantic instinct. Walter Matthau made an excellent heavy and we had marvelous locations in New Orleans” (1).

Controversy swirled around King Creole before shooting even began. In late 1957, Elvis received his draft notice ordering him into the US Army as of January 1958.

With production slated to begin in Hollywood that same month, Paramount requested a deferment from the Memphis draft board, citing $300,000 it had already pumped into the movie during pre-production. Milton Bowers of the draft board replied that a deferment might be possible under the circumstances, but that Elvis would have to be the one to request it.

On Christmas Eve, 1957, Elvis wrote a letter requesting extra time before reporting to the Army in order to make King Creole. He completed the letter by wishing a “Merry Christmas” to the draft board members. Bowers and the draft board indeed granted his extension request, but soon received heat from other organizations – including the national chapter of the American Legion – calling for the immediate induction of Elvis.

Milton Bowers: “You know what made me angry about the entire thing is that he would have automatically gotten the extension if he hadn’t been Elvis Presley the superstar” (2).

Elvis Presley: “I’m glad they were nice enough to let me make this picture because I think it will be the best one I’ve made” (3).

On January 10, 1958, just two days after celebrating his 23rd birthday, Elvis departed Memphis on a train for Los Angeles. He brought along several friends, including Alan Fortas.

Alan Fortas: “Every town we passed through, no matter what time of morning or night, the whole station was jam-packed. These people knew as soon as Elvis finished this movie, he was going in the Army, so most of them considered it the last time to see him. […] People knew and they were lined up along the tracks all the way across America” (4).

Elvis arrived in Hollywood on January 13 and reported for pre-production. During the week, he also began work on the soundtrack at Radio Recorders.

During pre-production, the movie was titled Sing, You Sinners. This title was changed to Danny, and finally King Creole, based on the strength of the rock ‘n’ roll tune Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote for the soundtrack.

Filming began on January 20. Many of Elvis’ early scenes were with Jan Shepard, who played his sister, Mimi.

Jan Shepard: “[W]e worked together alone for about a week, because we did the opening of the show. He was […] just a lot of fun and buoyant, not guarded at all. There was a five-and-dime store on our set, and in the morning I would find earrings and little bracelets, little five-and-dime stuff on my dressing room table. I used to call him the last of the big-time spenders!” (5)

Because of his character’s name, Elvis often sang “Danny Boy” on set. He would return to the folk song many times over the years, including a 1959 home recording captured while he was stationed in Germany (available on the posthumous release A Golden Celebration). He formally recorded the song in 1976 at Graceland for the album From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee. An organist played the song at the beginning of Elvis’ funeral in 1977.

Dolores Hart appeared as Nellie, one of Danny’s love interests. She had previously appeared with Elvis in 1957’s Loving You, also a Hal Wallis production.

Elvis Presley: “[King Creole] was quite a challenge for me because it was written for a more experienced actor” (6).

Dolores Hart: “Elvis, no matter what anyone says, deserves credit as a person of talent. There is no reason he shouldn’t soar to the heights the kings [of the screen] occupy now” (7).

Jan Shepard: “[Elvis] was very concentrated, very focused on playing Danny. For a kid coming in and just beginning his career he had a great sense of timing; there was great honesty in his acting. He was a very good listener, and he just became the young boy […]. Just like in his music, he really got involved in his acting” (5).

Walter Matthau played Fisher’s antagonist, Maxie Fields. It was his sixth film.

Walter Matthau, 1958

Walter Matthau in King Creole

Walter Matthau: “I almost hesitate, I creep up to the sentence, [Elvis] was an instinctive actor. Because that is almost a derogation of his talents. That’s saying, ‘Well, you know, he’s just a dumb animal who does it well by instinct.’ No, he was quite bright, too. He was very intelligent. Also, he was intelligent enough to understand what a character was and how to play the character simply by being himself through the means of the story” (8).

Michael Curtiz’s directing credits extended back to 1912. In addition to 1942’s Casablanca, for which he won an Oscar, his other work, from among nearly 200 films, included the 1937 original version of Kid Galahad, Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), and White Christmas (1954). Curtiz was attached to King Creole before it was transformed into an Elvis movie.

Jan Shepard: “Curtiz said he thought Elvis was going to be a very conceited boy, but when he started working with him, he said, ‘No, this is a lovely boy, and he’s going to be a wonderful actor'” (5).

Walter Matthau: “Michael Curtiz used to call him Elvy and he’d call me Valty. He’d say, ‘Now Elvy and Valty, come here, now Valty, this is not Academy Award scene. Don’t act so much. You are high-price actor. Make believe you are low-price actor. Let Elvy act.’ But Elvy didn’t overact. He was not a punk. He was very elegant, sedate . . . refined and sophisticated” (8).

Jan Shepard: “You just didn’t have a lot of fooling around with Curtiz […]. But no matter what Curtiz would ask of Elvis, he would say, ‘Okay, you’re the boss'” (5).

Elvis at a party in 1958

Elvis performing at Jan Shepard’s birthday party on February 22, 1958. Also pictured is Dolores Hart on clarinet.

Hart threw a birthday party for Shepard on February 22. Elvis showed up with a stuffed tiger that he named “Danny Boy.” His birthday gift for Shepard was a movie camera, definitely not from the five-and-dime store. He also played guitar and sang at the party.

King Creole was the first Elvis movie to include location shooting. On March 1, the film’s cast and crew headed for New Orleans by train. At this point, Red West, Elvis’ friend since his high school days, and actor Nick Adams, who Elvis had befriended in 1956, joined up with the rest of his entourage for the trip.

Carolyn Jones played Ronnie, Danny’s other love interest. She brought her husband, actor Aaron Spelling, along for the train ride to New Orleans. The couple would divorce in 1964. Spelling later went on to produce dozens of television series, including Charlie’s Angels and Beverly Hills 90210.

Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager, expressed concerns about security on the location shoot to Wallis. Wallis assured Parker that they could handle it. After all, he had worked with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis at the peak of the duo’s popularity.

Alan Fortas: “There were thousands of people. Hal Wallis couldn’t believe it. […] I never saw so many people in my life. They declared it Elvis Presley Day and let the kids out of school and it took us two hours to get back to the hotel no matter where we were, even from across the street” (9).

In the French Quarter, the car carrying Elvis was almost overturned by the massive crowd.

Carolyn Jones: “[Elvis] had to ride in an old sedan, lying on the floor in the back, so his fans couldn’t mob him” (10).

Elvis took over the tenth floor of the Roosevelt Hotel, one block from where they were filming in the French Quarter. Hotel security was so tight that no one was admitted to the tenth floor. As a joke, Hart, Jones, and Adams armed themselves with toy guns and held up the elevator operator to force their way to Elvis’ floor. The elevator operator was not in on the joke and was apparently still shaken the next day.

Alan Fortas: “[W]e got on the elevator and we said, ‘Tenth floor, please.’ The elevator operator said, ‘No, sir, I can’t stop on the tenth floor. Mr. Presley is up there and we just can’t stop.’ Elvis was on the elevator with us and he said, ‘Yeah, I know. I’m Elvis.’ The elevator operator looked straight at him and said, ‘I’m sorry, sir, I can’t stop on that floor for anybody.’ We had to go to the eleventh floor and walk down” (9).

The film’s climax was shot at a house on stilts at Lake Pontchartrain. Elvis and Jones shared scenes there.

Carolyn Jones: “[Elvis] was always asking a lot of questions. God, he was young! I didn’t think anyone could be that young. He was always talking about his folks and about the house [Graceland] he’d just bought them” (8).

When onlookers at Lake Pontchartrain became unmanageable, Elvis had to escape through the back of the house to a motorboat that whisked him away.

Though Memphis was tantalizingly close, the group had to return by train to Hollywood to be released from King Creole. Elvis attended a wrap party on March 12, and then he and his friends were on yet another train. Destination: Memphis.

Alan Fortas: “We’d just sit and talk [on the train], try to write songs, try to sing. You know, just typical ol’ boys. But it got to us by the time we got to Dallas. We couldn’t take it any longer. So we got off that train and rented some Cadillacs and drove the rest of the way home” (11).

Elvis arrived home on March 14 and was inducted into the Army on March 24.

Paramount released King Creole throughout the United States on July 2. It peaked at #5 on the Variety charts. At this time, Private Presley was still stationed at Fort Hood in Texas.

Hal Wallis: “Now, although I don’t have all the figures, I believe that one of the least successful of Elvis’s films was King Creole. But that was my favorite!” (1)

Dolores Hart and Elvis Presley in King Creole

Dolores Hart and Elvis in King Creole

Dolores Hart: “Elvis is a young man with an enormous capacity of love . . . but I don’t think he has found his happiness. I think he is terribly lonely” (12).

According to longtime friend Sonny West, if Elvis had his way, he would have reunited with director Michael Curtiz when Elvis was cast in a remake of Kid Galahad, which filmed in late 1961 (13). This time, Elvis actually played a boxer, albeit a singing one. Despite Elvis’ campaign, Phil Karlson received the directing nod instead. Curtiz passed away in April 1962 at the age of 74.

Elvis later reunited with Jan Shepard in 1966’s Paradise, Hawaiian Style, in which she played Betty Kohana. Shepard had maintained a friendship with Hart after King Creole. By this time, the quality of Elvis’ movies had declined. While King Creole is a contender for Elvis’ best movie, Paradise, Hawaiian Style is a contender for his worst.

Jan Shepard: “One time [Elvis] asked about Dolores Hart, and we had a little bit of a conversation. In the quiet moments, he was still very sweet. When we reminisced about Creole, he said, ‘Honey, that was my favorite picture'” (14).


Bibliography

  • Careless Love: The Unmaking Of Elvis Presley by Peter Guralnick, Little, Brown And Company, Boston, 1999.
  • Down At The End Of Lonely Street: The Life And Death Of Elvis Presley by Peter Harry Brown and Pat H. Broeske, Dutton, New York, 1997.
  • ELVIS: The Biography by Jerry Hopkins, Plexus, London, 2007.
  • Elvis Commemorative Edition, compiled by Bill DeNight, Sharon Fox, and Ger Rijff, Publications International, Lincolnwood, IL, 2002.
  • Elvis Day By Day: The Definitive Record Of His Life And Music by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen, Ballantine Books, New York, 1999.
  • The Elvis Encyclopedia by Adam Victor, Overlook Duckworth, New York, 2008.
  • Elvis: The Great Performances, dir. Andrew Solt, perf. Elvis Presley, 1989, DVD, SOFA, 2011.
  • Elvis: His Life From A To Z by Fred L. Worth and Steve D. Tamerius, Wings Books, New York, 1990.
  • Elvis In Private, edited by Peter Haining, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1987.
  • Elvis: Still Taking Care Of Business by Sonny West with Marshall Terrill, Triumph Books, Chicago, 2007.
  • Good Rockin’ Tonight: Twenty Years On The Road And On The Town With Elvis by Joe Esposito and Elena Oumano, Avon Books, New York, 1994.
  • Internet Movie Database, accessed March 23, 2013.
  • King Creole, dir. Michael Curtiz, perf. Elvis Presley, Carolyn Jones, and Walter Matthau, 1958, DVD, Paramount, 2000.
  • Last Train To Memphis: The Rise Of Elvis Presley by Peter Guralnick, Little, Brown And Company, Boston, 1994.
  • Viva Las Elvis: Celebrating The King, compiled by Peggy Thompson, Arsenal Pulp Press, Vancouver, 1994.

References

(1) Elvis In Private, p. 92
(2) Down At The End Of Lonely Street, p. 137
(3) Last Train To Memphis, p. 446
(4) ELVIS: The Biography, p. 129
(5) Last Train To Memphis, p. 450
(6) Last Train To Memphis, p. 456
(7) Elvis Commemorative Edition, p. 112
(8) Last Train To Memphis, p. 451
(9) ELVIS: The Biography, p. 130
(10) Down At The End Of Lonely Street, p. 139
(11) ELVIS: The Biography, p. 131
(12) Elvis: His Life From A To Z, p. 85
(13) Elvis: Still Taking Care Of Business, p. 120
(14) Careless Love, p. 209


My grandmother worked in the ticket booth of a theater for decades. I dedicate this series of movie posts to her, who would have turned 103 this month. I often remember her when I watch movies.

Spotlight: King Creole

Elvis Presley in King Creole (1958)

Elvis Presley in King Creole (1958)

Filmed and released in 1958, King Creole was Elvis Presley’s fourth film. Elvis’ induction into the US Army was postponed so that he could complete this movie, and by the time it hit theaters, he was already a soldier.

Despite some outward similarities, King Creole is not just any Elvis movie. All discussions of his best performances as an actor have to include this film. Directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca), King Creole is probably the most artistic film in Elvis’ body of work.

Elvis stars as Danny Fisher, a high school student in New Orleans on the verge of graduating. After a chance encounter with Ronnie (Carolyn Jones), a woman tied to crime boss Maxie Fields (Walter Matthau), Danny’s life turns upside down as he is lured into a dark world and ensnared by Fields.

Along the way, Danny does indeed become a singer as well as the object of the affections of Nellie (Dolores Hart). He also proves to be great with his fists, for King Creole is perhaps Elvis’ most violent movie. Sure, there are fistfights in many Elvis movies, but the King Creole fights are at a different intensity.

When I went to pull out the DVD of King Creole a couple weeks ago, I found it still in its original shrink wrap. I’ve had the movie long enough to not even remember how I obtained it, yet in all those years, I had not once opened and watched it.

This meant that it had been over ten years since I had watched King Creole, as my previous copy was a VHS tape. Thinking back, it was probably more like 14 years ago. I know, I know, time to turn in my Elvis fan card.

Among his four 1950s movies, Jailhouse Rock and Loving You seem to be the ones I gravitate towards. I enjoy watching most Elvis movies, though, so why had I neglected King Creole – undeniably one of his best – all these years?

When I watched the DVD of King Creole that night, I began to remember my impressions of it as a 23-year-old and understand why I did not revisit it often. There were really two reasons I did not connect with King Creole very well back then.

The first was that I found it really frustrating to watch Fields manipulate good-hearted Danny. I kept wanting Danny to see through the ruse. Of course, that would have made for a much shorter movie.

Dolores Hart as Nellie in King Creole

Dolores Hart as Nellie in King Creole

The second reason was that I just could not understand why Danny found the broken Ronnie so compelling compared to the innocent Nellie – who he treated rather coldly at times.

After watching the movie twice last month, however, I realized that this actually has much more to do with the fact that I find Dolores Hart (Nellie) to be one of his most attractive co-stars (right up there with Ann-Margret and Shelly Fabares) rather than anything the movie actually presents.

Plus, since Hart also appeared in a larger role in Loving You, I was really combining her two characters into one. While I view some aspects of Danny’s conflict differently than I did when I was 23 (more on that in a future post), I still love Dolores Hart. I would not have been torn. (As it turned out, Hart had a higher calling and left Hollywood a few years later to become a nun.)

While I’ve not seen the movie often, I’ve listened to the soundtrack countless times. It was fun to see Elvis perform the songs I’ve been listening to for so long.

I have at least a dozen ideas for posts around King Creole. I’ll try to squeeze in as many as I can over the next few months.


My grandmother worked in the ticket booth of a theater for decades. I dedicate this series of movie posts to her, who would have turned 103 this month. I often remember her when I watch movies.

Sweet Inspirations documentary now available on DVD

This Time-A Music Documentary was released May 31 on DVD. Along with other performers, the independent film includes a look at the Sweet Inspirations – the vocal group that backed Elvis on stage from 1969 through his death in 1977.

This looks like a potential must-have for fellow fans of the Sweet Inspirations.

Visit the official site: This Time – A Music Documentary.

Watch the trailer:

See “Documentary on DVD review: ‘This Time’ A Musical Documentary” — Examiner.com for a review.

In 2010, the world lost two members of the Sweet Inspirations, Sylvia Shemwell and Myrna Smith.

I originally found this item courtesy of elvis4life’s post on the For Elvis CD Collectors forum.

Go behind-the-scenes with Old Yeller in Viva Las Vegas

Filming Viva Las Vegas

Filming Viva Las Vegas

Because it linked to my “Victory in Vegas for Elvis the Jedi Master” post, I recently came across an incredible webpage containing 19 behind-the-scenes photos of Viva Las Vegas. The photos are from the collection of two-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler. Wexler owned the “Old Yeller III,” a car featured in the Las Vegas Grand Prix race sequence.

One of those images from Tam’s Old Race Car Site is above. The site describes it as, “Three of the most interesting cars involved in the production await instructions at a staging point in the mountains. Old Yeller III and the ‘Vinegaroon’ are joined by a beautiful Ferrari 250GT ‘Tour de France’.”

Really cool stuff! View the full set of images at the “Filming ‘Viva Las Vegas'” page. If you’re a car buff, the entire Tam’s Old Race Car Site is definitely worth checking out as well.

* * *

Image Source
Original image is from the Haskell Wexler Collection, provided by Tam’s Old Race Car Site. Thank you to Jeff Wexler and Tam McPartland for allowing use of this photograph on The Mystery Train Elvis Blog. Please do not reproduce this image without obtaining permission.

Victory in Vegas for Elvis the Jedi Master

And now, one from the archives. This is a vintage 2008 post that I wrote for my sci-fi blog, long before The Mystery Train Elvis blog first rolled out of the station.


“I’m the only human who can do it.”
–Anakin Skywalker (on podracing), Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace

Could Elvis have been a Jedi Master? We may never know, but he sure raced like one. When I first saw Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace back in 1999, I remember thinking that the podracing sequence on the planet Tatooine seemed a little familiar. At the time, there were rumors that it was based on the chariot race in Ben-Hur, so I chalked it up to that.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure out why the race seemed so familiar. It didn’t hit me until I was watching Viva Las Vegas one day. Though some of these connections are admittedly a stretch, several of the similarities between the two races are quite striking.

In Viva Las Vegas, Elvis stars as Lucky Jackson, a down-on-his-luck racecar driver who enters the Las Vegas Grand Prix race. The event takes place in the Nevada desert. Much of the Las Vegas economy is based on gambling.

In Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace, Jake Lloyd appears as Anakin Skywalker, a young slave who enters the Boonta Eve Classic podrace. The event takes place in the Tatooine desert. Much of the Tatooine economy is based on gambling.

The beautiful Ann-Margret appears as Elvis’ co-star and love interest, Rusty Martin.

The beautiful Natalie Portman co-stars as Anakin’s eventual love interest, Padmé Amidala. I say “eventual” because Anakin is only nine-years-old in Episode I. The real romance for them doesn’t start until Episode II.

As a variety of cars take their places on the starting grid, Elvis is a late entry.

As a variety of podracers take their places on the starting grid, Anakin is a late entry.

Elvis’ main rival, who is favored to win the race, drives a red-orange racecar.

Anakin’s main rival, who is favored to win the podrace, pilots an orange-red podracer.

Elvis’ supporters take a helicopter to watch the race from the air above the desert.

Anakin’s supporters take a viewing platform to watch the podrace from the air above the desert.

In his silver and blue racecar, Elvis concentrates as the race across the desert begins.

In his silver and blue podracer, Anakin concentrates as the race across the desert begins.

Elvis tries to catch up to the leader.

Anakin tries to catch up to the leader.

Elvis checks to the right, wearing a lightning bolt on his helmet. (This actually looks a lot like the TCB lightning bolt that Elvis would later use as a personal emblem.)

Anakin checks to the right, while a lightning bolt helps power his podracer.

Elvis’ supporters watch the race with mounting dread.

Anakin’s supporters watch the podrace with mounting dread.

Elvis finally begins to close in on the leader.

Anakin finally begins to close in on the leader.

Elvis pulls alongside the leader, who has a much bigger racecar than he does.

Anakin pulls alongside the leader, who has a much bigger podracer than he does.

Elvis’ supporters can’t watch, for they fear he will crash out of the race.

Anakin’s supporters can’t watch, for they fear he will crash out of the podrace.

Elvis’ rival crashes and the rest of the field passes by.

Anakin’s rival crashes and the rest of the field passes by.

Elvis’ supporters celebrate as he takes the lead.

Anakin’s supporters celebrate as he takes the lead.

Elvis wins the race!

Anakin wins the race!

And Elvis gets the girl! (Lucky marries Rusty.)

It takes another ten years, but Anakin eventually gets the girl, too! Anakin (Hayden Christensen) marries Padmé in Episode II.

So, there you have it. Evidence that the Force was with Elvis Presley. As for Anakin Skywalker, sure, he may have been one of the most powerful Jedi ever, but could he belt out songs like “Viva Las Vegas” and “What’d I Say”? I don’t think so.


Star Wars and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Lucasfilm Ltd. For official Star Wars information, visit Lucasfilm Ltd.’s Star Wars site.

Viva Las Vegas film content © Turner Entertainment Company and Warner Home Video. For official information on the Viva Las Vegas film, visit Warner Brothers’ Viva Las Vegas page.

The Mystery Train believes that everything included in this post falls within the fair use clause of trademark and copyright. No infringement is intended.