Easy Come, Easy Go

A look at the movie "Easy Come, Easy Go" - Part 1 of 3:

Elvis's twenty-third film was "Easy Come, Easy Go."  Other titles that were considered for this film were "Port of Call," "A Girl In Every Port," "Nice and Easy" and "Easy Does It."  The story was written by Allan Weiss, who had written the scripts for five other Elvis movies.  This film centered around Elvis's character Ted Jackson, a former Navy diver who helps a free-spirited woman find a lost sunken treasure.

It was directed by Emmy Award winner John Rich, who had directed Elvis in the film "Roustabout."  Mr. Rich has had an highly successful career producing and directing numerous TV series such as "Our Miss Brooks," "Gunsmoke," "The Rifleman," "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Gilligan's Island," "I Spy," "The Brady Bunch," "All In The Family," "Maude," "Good Times," "The Jeffersons," "Barney Miller," "Newhart" and "Murphy Brown."

"Easy Come, Easy Go" was Elvis's last film for Paramount and producer Hal Wallis as the business relationship Elvis and his manager Colonel Tom Parker had with Wallis and Paramount drew to a close.  Elvis no longer had his heart in his movie career or the music soundtracks he had to record for them.    Colonel's associate Freddy Bienstock was in charge of gathering the material for recording and even Colonel Parker, not known for worrying about artistic matters, was not impressed with the selection.  He was aware of Elvis's disillusionment and became concerned about record sales given the lack of usable material.  Colonel Parker pushed Mr. Bienstock to come up with better songs.  Wallis was no longer anxious to please Elvis and he demanded that Elvis record at Paramount Studio's cavernous soundstage, even setting up daytime sessions - both factors uncomfortable to Elvis with his preference to have the intimacy of a recording studio and to record in the evening.

On September 28, 1966, Elvis reported late for wardrobe fittings and then was late to the recording session that day and the one the next day.  Although this annoyed the Paramount executives and Elvis was making his point, he still was recording much earlier in the day than normal and the material was still less than desirable.  He detested the song "She's A Machine" and it eventually was dropped from the movie.  He got entourage member Red West, who had done some song writing,  to change the lyrics of "Stop, You're Wrong" and it became "You Gotta Stop," which was used in the film.  Backing tracks were laid down for "Leave My Woman Alone," but Elvis never recorded the vocal for it.  Two instrumentals also were used in the movie - "Freak Out" and "Go-Go Jo."  The resulting six-song extened-play single never charted and sold only 30,000 units.  It was the last extended-play as that format was phased out and it was the least successful soundtrack of Elvis's career.

Principal photography began for Elvis's twenty-third film "Easy Come, Easy Go" on October 3, 1966.  The production began location shooting on October 10th at such sites as the Long Beach Naval Station, the Santa Monica pier and harbor and at a home in the Hollywood hills.  The Navy ship used in the opening scenes was the U.S.S. Gallant, a mine sweeper.

Dodie Marshall played Elvis's love interest Jo Symington.  You might remember her brief appearance at the end of the Elvis movie "Spinout" when she becomes the band's new drummer.  She retired in the late 1960s.  Watch for a continuity blooper with Marshall in "Easy Come, Easy Go" - a scene in which she gets into Elvis's car wearing an orange blouse and then gets out wearing a white top and striped jacket.

Pat Priest played the lovely villainous Dina Bishop.  This Utah native, the daughter of Ivy Baker Priest who served as United States Treasurer (1953-1961) and California State Treasurer (1966-1974), won beauty titles while living in Washington, DC.  She then became a model and actress in California, winning her most famous role as Marilyn Munster, the beautiful "normal looking" member of an eerie family on the television series "The Munsters."  She retired from acting and lives in Idaho.

Pat Harrington, Jr. played nightclub owner Judd, a buddy of Ted Jackson (Elvis).  Among the better known roles in Mr. Harrington's is providing the voice for Inspector Sergeant Deux-Deux in the animated "Pink Panther" series.  Surely, he is best known for his Emmy Award winning and Golden Globe winning portrayal of Dwayne F. Schneider on the hit TV series "One Day At A Time."

Frank McHugh played Captain Jack and this was the last film of his very long career as a character actor.  His parents had been performers and Mr. McHugh was a child actor, first appearing in vaudeville and then on Broadway.  Ironically, his movie career included a role in the 1947 movie "Easy Come, Easy Go," which had a totally different plot line about gambling and horse racing.

In this film Elsa Lanchester played Madame Neherina, a 1960s yoga practitioner.  Twice nominated for Academy Awards, Ms. Lanchester won a Golden Globe Award in 1958 for her role in the movie "Witness for the Prosecution."  She also had roles in such films as "Alice In Wonderland," "Bell Book and Candle," "Mary Poppins" and "That Darn Cat!"  She also is remembered for her TV role as Aunt Henrietta on the series "Nanny and The Professor."  Another interesting tie to Elvis is that it was her husband Charles Laughton who introduced Elvis on his first "Ed Sullivan Show" appearance in 1956.  Mr. Laughton was substitute host for the show while Ed Sullivan was recovering from an automobile accident the month before.

Skip Ward played the villain Gil Carey.  He went on to become the producer of the TV series "The Dukes of Hazzard" and recently produced their reunion show and TV movie.  You might watch for the continuity blooper with him in "Easy Come, Easy Go" -  after fighting underwater with Ted (Elvis), he surfaces, changes out of his wet suit into dry clothes and has his hair dried and styled before Ted has time to surface from the sea.

Tom Hatten had an uncredited role as a Navy officer.  Baby boomers who grew up in Los Angeles might remember him as the picture-drawing host of the afternoon cartoon show "Popeye."  Today he is still a radio personality in the Los Angles area.

Principal photography for "Easy Come, Easy Go" was finished by November 7, 1966.  However, producer Hal Wallis in another show of power wouldn't release Elvis until November 22, 1966.   "Easy Come, Easy Go" opened nationwide on March 22, 1967 and was #50 on "Variety" magazine's list for the year 1967.  "Variety" wrote in their review, "Elvis looks great and ageless."  The "Los Angeles Herald-Examiner" called Elvis "a darn good actor."

Despite the end of Elvis's association with Wallis and Paramount, Elvis remained the tenth highest paid movie star in 1966 and would go on to make eight more feature films as an actor and two theatrically released concert documentaries.