Filming for "Blue Hawaii", Elvis' eighth
movie, began on March 27, 1961 in the lush islands of Hawaii. Location shooting
took place on the islands of Oahu and Kauai and was finished by April 17th. The
cast and crew then returned to Hollywood where filming continued until May 23rd.
The famous wedding scene was shot on Kauai at the Coco Palms Resort Hotel which had been in operation since 1953. Unfortunately, the resort closed after Kauai was hit with devastating Hurricane Iniki in September 1992. In the 1800s, the land where the Coco Palms is located was the ancestral home of Kauai's last reigning queen, Queen Deborah Kapule. The "Call to Feast" featured in the film with its ceremonial torch lighting had taken place there every night at 7:30 PM for 40 years until Iniki hit.
The original working title of the film was "Hawaiian Beach Boy" and the screenplay was written by Allan Weiss, who later wrote five other Elvis movies: "Easy Come, Easy Go, "Fun In Acapulco", "Girls! Girls! Girls!, "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" and "Roustabout".
Elvis' leading lady in "Blue Hawaii" was Joan Blackman, who played Maile Duval. The following year she played Elvis' love interest in "Kid Galahad". Elvis had dated the actress when he first came to Hollywood in 1956.
Angela Lansbury played the role of Elvis' ditzy mother even though she was only 35 years old at the time and Elvis was 26. She began her career in 1944 in a movie called "Gaslight", which quickly earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She would go on to achieve great fame and numerous accolades in film and television and on Broadway. She has starred in such films as "National Velvet", "The Picture of Dorian Gray", "The Harvey Girls", "The Manchurian Candidate", "The Greatest Story Ever Told", "Harlow", "Bedknobs and Broomsticks", "Mrs. Santa Claus" and "Beauty and the Beast" (voice for animation). She is probably best known for her role as mystery writer and sleuth Jessica Fletcher in the "Murder, She Wrote" television series. To name just a few of her accolades, she has received three Academy Award nominations, thirteen Emmy nominations, six Golden Globe wins out of fourteen nominations, four Tony Awards and the Screen Act!
ors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2000, she was a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Center Honors.
Roland Winters played Elvis' father Fred Gates. Like Lansbury, he was a respected character actor with many films to his credit. One career highlight was his portrayal of detective Charlie Chan in several of the"Charlie Chan" movies from 1947 to 1950, the third actor to take on that role in these films. He can also be seen portraying a judge in Elvis' 1962 movie "Follow That Dream". You might also recognize him from the 1973 remake of the movie "Miracle on 34th. Street" in which he played Mr. Gimbel.
Elvis' eighth film was "Blue Hawaii", filmed
in the tropical paradise of the Hawaiian islands of Oahu and Kauai. With
fourteen songs, more than any other Elvis film, the soundtrack album spent a
total of 79 weeks on Billboard's pop album chart, with 20 of those weeks at #1.
Nancy Walters played the role of schoolteacher Abigail Prentice. Other credits include the 1966 movie "The Singing Nun".
Jenny Maxwell played Ellie Corbett. She also appeared in the 1963 movie "Take Her She's Mine" and a number of television roles in such series as "My Three Sons", "Bonanza", "Dr. Kildare", "Wagon Train" and "Death Valley Days".
Darlene Thompkins played Patsy Simon. She worked on another Elvis film playing Ms. Stevers in "Fun In Acapulco". Other career credits include working as stunt double for Cheryl Ladd in the TV series "Charlie's Angels".
Christian Kay played Beverly Martin. Among her credits is the TV series "My Three Sons".
Pamela Austin played Sandy Emerson. She later worked on another Elvis movie playing Selena Tatum in "Kissin' Cousins". She also appeared in numerous TV series including "Columbo", "It Takes A Thief", "Laugh In", "The Wild, Wild, West", "Hawaiian Eye", "My Three Sons" and "Wagon Train". She and Elvis dated for a short time.
John Archer played Jack Kelman. Father of actress Anne Archer, he may be best known for his radio announcer days when he would voice the following line, "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"
Howard McNear played Mr. Chapman in "Blue Hawaii", the first of three Elvis movies he appeared in. The two other Elvis movie roles were a bank vice president in "Follow That Dream" and Dr. John Stevers in "Fun In Acapulco". The veteran character actor was the original voice of Doc Adams in the radio version of "Gunsmoke" and he appeared in many roles for television. His most famous role was that of Floyd the barber on television's "The Andy Griffith Show". You might notice in watching him in this role that, after the second year, he was usually filmed sitting down. This was due to the effects of having suffered a stroke that impaired his left side.
Steve Brodie played troublemaker Tucker Garvey in "Blue Hawaii". His two other Elvis movie roles were Freddie in "Roustabout" and an uncredited role in "Paradise, Hawaiian Style". He too has had a long career as a character actor. Among his credits are the films "The Story of Will Rogers", "The Treasure of Monte Cristo", "Anchors Aweigh", and "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo". His numerous television credits include the series "Rawhide", "CHiPs", "Bonanza" and "Burke's Law".
Veteran character actress Iris Adrian played Enid Garvey in "Blue Hawaii". Her notable credits are too many to list as she played hundreds of roles in films and on television.
Frank Atienza played Ito O'Hara in "Blue Hawaii". His other Elvis movie appearance was in "Girls! Girls! Girls!". He also had a recurring part as a policeman in the Hawaii-based television series "Magnum P.I."
Guy Lee played Ping Pong the houseboy in "Blue Hawaii" and he played Chen Young in the Elvis movie "Girls! Girls! Girls! His career credits include the films "Flower Drum Song" and "Gidget Goes Hawaiian" and the television series "Bachelor Father", "Wild, Wild West" and "Bonanza".
Richard Reeves had the role of the harmonica playing jailhouse inmate in "Blue Hawaii". His four other Elvis movie roles were Officer Wilkins in "Girl Happy", a bartender in "Tickle Me", a Bedouin in "Harum Scarum" and a man on the street in "Frankie and Johnny". He also had roles in numerous television series including "Man From Uncle", "Superman", "Loredo", "Batman", "Gunsmoke", "Rawhide", and "Perry Mason" to name just a few.
Elvis loved Hawaii. It was one of his favorite places to vacation. This movie, which is now available on DVD, provides us with a glimpse into the beauty of these islands. That combined with the romantic tropical music Elvis sings creates within us all the desire to visit "Blue Hawaii".