Sammy takes all the chips in Elvis Trivialities #16

A trickily-worded question did not fool Sammy, and he became a first-time winner when he correctly answered Elvis Trivialities #16 yesterday.

And the answer is…

Elvis Presley included the song “What’d I Say” from Viva Las Vegas, his 1964 movie with Ann-Margret, in 1969 concerts at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.

Elvis’ take on the Ray Charles tune was the B-Side of “Viva Las Vegas.” As for the A-Side, Elvis never once performed “Viva Las Vegas” live in Las Vegas or anywhere else, as far as has been documented. He did reference the movie title on occasion during his career monologues in his 1969 shows.

Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley in VIVA LAS VEGAS (1964, MGM)

For whatever reason, “What’d I Say,” the B-Side of the 1964 single, got slightly more traction, though it was inferior to the A-Side, “Viva Las Vegas.” “What’d I Say” hit #21 and “Viva Las Vegas” unfortunately only made it to #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Viva Las Vegas” and “Blue Suede Shoes” are probably Elvis’ best-known songs that failed to become top ten hits upon initial release.

Sammy takes home a big bucket of chips from the bragging rights table. He also becomes a member of that esteemed group of certified Elvis trivia experts, The Mystery Train’s Night Riders. Congratulations to Sammy!

You never know when the next Elvis Trivialities question will arrive. Will it be in seven minutes? Seven days? Seven years? Hedge your bets now by subscribing to The Mystery Train Blog. Then, you will be notified whenever there is a new post. “All you need’s a strong heart and a nerve of steel” to win Elvis Trivialities.

The Mystery Train’s Night Riders

  • October 7, 2020: Sammy (3:18)
  • June 14, 2013: Alec (0:18) | Honorable Mention: Wellsy (3:01)
  • February 22, 2013: Thomas (13:36)
  • January 11, 2013: George Millar (4:19)
  • December 23, 2012: Thomas (0:36)
  • October 9, 2012: David (14:38) | Honorable Mention: John (22:06)
  • February 4, 2012: Thomas (13:52)
  • February 3, 2012: Thomas (2:18)
  • December 21, 2011: Wellsy (2:37)
  • October 31, 2011: Thomas (17:32)
  • October 1, 2011: Jimmy Cool (1:01)
  • September 9, 2011: Steve Brogdon (0:17)*
  • August 6, 2011: Thomas (2:26)
  • July 9, 2011: Thomas (5:26)
  • June 23, 2011: Fred Wolfe (0:18)
  • June 22, 2011: Ty stumps the train (no winner)

*Record time

“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”
Psalm 27:14

The Elvis Movie Awards (The Edge Of Reality #9)

What if the “Elvis movie” genre had its own awards show? Take a walk down the sepia carpet into. . . the edge of reality.

The Edge Of Reality

Below are the winners of the Elvis Movie Awards. Each winner takes home a prestigious Hal statuette.


“Jailhouse Rock” from Jailhouse Rock — Lyrics by Jerry Leiber; Music by Mike Stoller


Elvis—That’s The Way It Is — Herbert F. Solow and Dale Hutchinson, Producers


King Creole — Herbert Baker, Michael Vincente Gazzo

Actress In A Supporting Role

Dolores Hart in LOVING YOU

Dolores Hart in LOVING YOU

Dolores Hart — Loving You (“Susan Jessup”)

Actor In A Supporting Role

Walter Matthau in KING CREOLE

Walter Matthau in KING CREOLE

Walter Matthau — King Creole (“Maxie Fields”)


Ann-Margret in VIVA LAS VEGAS

Ann-Margret in VIVA LAS VEGAS

Ann-Margret — Viva Las Vegas (“Rusty Martin”)


Elvis Presley in CHANGE OF HABIT

Elvis Presley in CHANGE OF HABIT

Elvis Presley — Change of Habit (“Dr. John Carpenter”)


King Creole — Michael Curtiz

Best Motion Picture

Jailhouse Rock — Pandro S. Berman, Producer

Winners are now on their way to the most exclusive after party of them all, located somewhere deep in the heart of… the edge of reality.

[With apologies to Serling.]

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.

Shoppin’ Around: Elvis Presley 2010 Christmas Gift Guide

If you know and love an Elvis fan, here are some Christmas gift ideas to suit a wide variety of budgets. Price ranges listed are in US dollars, but most of these items are available around the world.

Under $10

Viva Elvis: The Album: Reactions from the Elvis fan community have been mixed on this CD, which features new backing music to Elvis’ vocals. While this tribute to his career obviously will never replace the original recordings, I love this retrospective. Viva Elvis is a fun and brilliant album that presents Elvis in a whole new light – how it might sound if he recorded today.

Under $20

On Stage (2010 Legacy Edition): This two-CD set contains both On Stage-February 1970 and Elvis In Person At The International Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, which capture his August 1969 and February 1970 Vegas engagements. Elvis is in top form here, and these recordings have never sounded better. A few bonus tracks are also included on each disc, from the same time period.

Under $30

Elvis Blu-ray Collection: Jailhouse Rock/Viva Las Vegas/Elvis On Tour: This three-disc Blu-ray set, currently retailing for less than $9 a movie, presents a well-chosen sampler of Elvis’ film career. Jailhouse Rock is the classic 1957 rocker that holds its own against King Creole (1958) and Flaming Star (1960) as Elvis’ best dramatic performance. 1964’s Viva Las Vegas is the highlight of his 1960s “formula” movies – aided, no doubt, by the talents of the beautiful Ann-Margret. Finally, 1972’s Elvis On Tour features Elvis on stage and behind-the-scenes during an April 1972 tour. While not as incredible as 1970’s Elvis-That’s The Way It Is (not yet available on Blu), Elvis On Tour is still a fantastic experience not to be missed.

Fair warning: This 2010 release of Elvis On Tour has been modified from the original version. Due to Warner Home Video’s inability to obtain permission to use “Johnny B. Goode,” the opening song of the movie is now an amateurishly looped, throwaway version of “Don’t Be Cruel.” This only affects the first two minutes of the otherwise unaltered film. The power of Elvis manages to save this release and make it worth recommending. Despite what you may read elsewhere, picture and sound quality for Elvis On Tour are terrific on Blu.

Elvis As Recorded At Boston Garden ’71: This Follow That Dream collectors label CD is a soundboard recording of Elvis’ one and only concert at Boston Garden. This is a must-have for fans of this era, for it provides the missing bridge between his 1970 and 1972 live concert sound. Great show! Find FTD releases at and other online Elvis stores.

$400 – $750

Elvis: The Complete Masters Collection (Franklin Mint); The Complete Elvis Presley Masters (Sony): These are two different but similarly themed CD releases. Both contain all 711 recordings that Sony identifies as masters released during Elvis’ lifetime. Sound quality is upgraded, but faithful to the original mixes (in most cases, anyway). The $400 Franklin Mint version also includes a 24-page booklet, a “record player” style display case, and a reproduction of Elvis’ first SUN record, “That’s All Right”/”Blue Moon Of Kentucky.” The $750 Sony version is aimed at higher-end collectors and includes another 103 songs (alternate masters, outtakes, home recordings, etc.), a 240-page book, and a fold-out case to hold everything. The first run of the Sony edition is sold out, but pre-orders for a January second run are now being accepted. To still have something to place under the tree, you could print out a photo of the set from the Sony site. The Franklin Mint version is still available.

Have fun, fellow Elvis fans, and thanks to all of those who love us!