Saturday, September 27, 2014

Elvis the Actor

Elvis was king of rock 'n roll, but he also had the chops for acting.  He wanted to get beyond his teenage heart-throb fluff movies.  He wanted to sink his teeth into some serious roles.  It's just too bad that he never got that chance - or couldn't recognize it when it passed under his nose.  There were only a couple of times that he got to scratch at the surface with Love Me Tender (1956) and Charro (1969).

He had agreed to do Charro because he had read the script and it was a movie that he didn't have to sing.  He was disappointed when he got on the set the first day and found out that the script had been completely overhauled to his disliking.  It would've been interesting to see him in movies that didn't simply rely on his personality and presence.  I would've liked to have seen Elvis get that chance, with a good script and a good director.

Elvis might've let that chance slip from his fingers.  He was offered the role John Norman Howard in the 1976 remake of A Star is Born that eventually went to Kris Kristofferson.  Elvis didn't like the idea that he would have to portray such a weak man.  Hey Elvis, IT'S CALLED ACTING!   I really believe the part was written for him.  If he wanted to break out of the typecasting, the rut he had been wedged in all those years, he should've taken that part and play weak.  You also have to throw Colonel Tom Parker in the mix, making any possibility of accepting  or getting the role impossible.

Kristofferson played the part well, but I believe A Star Is Born could've been a Hollywood benchmark movie if Elvis Presley had taken that role.  Sure he would've had to have sung a little, but this wasn't going to be the same template of his past films.  I believe he would've taken the audience deeper by putting a little more flesh on that character.  I believe his personal appeal and connection with the audience down through the years would've played to his advantage in this story.  He really could've done something with that part, but let it go for a silly reason so as to not appear a vulnerable and flawed man.

But maybe, just maybe Elvis didn't want to take that role because the character was in fact a little too real for him, a little too close to home.  Looking at his life; what he'd just been through as an artist, surviving the British Invasion, his coming back, maybe he thought he might lose ground.  But maybe, just maybe his comeback to movies would've been even more a triumph if he'd thrown himself into that John Norman Howard character.  This is just my conjecture.

We'll never know.
  Elvis died in 1977.  He went out big even though he never made his imprint on film like he wanted to do.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Monkeemobile

It might have looked good on the drawing board, but it sure turned out to be one ugly rod when it actually rolled out of the shop.  Frankly, I don't think it looked good on the drawing board.  Dean Jeffries was hired to create two of these Monkeemobiles from Pontiac GTOs for the televisions show.  One Monkeemobile was made to be used on the show and the other for the road as a promotional vehicle.  Eventually, both were used on the show.

This car sold a lot of plastic models in it's day.  A little further down the road, the model resurfaced as Fonzy's dream rod.  I think the Fonz would've chosen differently, something really cool.

If I had my choice of one of Dean Jeffries' famous customs, I'd opt for The Green Hornet's Black Beauty.  My second choice would be The Batmobile!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

rock this world

Punk and New Wave hit the airwaves in the late seventies and early eighties, washing away remnants of disco.  At the time, I was enjoying to a degree a raw refreshing reprieve from the over-produced sounds of the day.  I was still lamenting the exit of the singer/songwriter era that lasted from the sixties to the seventies.

There was a band that came out from amid the punk, who's members looked punkish, but gave the audience something both retro and fresh.  The Stray Cats were born of punk, but their sound was more old school, reminiscent of the artists and sounds that once came from 1950's Sun Records.  I was floored by the dynamic of their distinct sound.  The punk infused rockabilly band resurrected an old familiar sound into new life, rocketing the music world toward a rockabilly revival.