Elvis's eleventh film was "Girls! Girls! Girls!" (Paramount, 1962). Elvis reported to the studio on March 26, 1962.
With the huge success of "Blue Hawaii" (Paramount 1961), producer Hal Wallis had decided to promote Elvis as an entertainer rather than the rebel actor, reminiscent of James Dean, as Elvis had been seen in "King Creole" (Paramount 1958). Thus another script was set in scenic Hawaii. The working titles for "Girls! Girls! Girls!" had been "A Girl In Every Port," "Welcome Aboard," "Jambalaya," and "Gumbo Ya-Ya,"which is said to be a Creole expression for "everybody talks at once."
The story was written by Allan Weiss, who also worked on the Elvis films "Blue Hawaii", "Fun In Acapulco", "Paradise, Hawaiian Style", "Easy Come, Easy Go" and "Roustabout." For "Roustabout" he received a 1965 nomination from the Writer's Guild of America for Best Written American Musical. Also working on the script was Edward Anhalt, who won Academy Awards for his screenplays for "Becket" and "Panic In the Streets." He received an Academy Award nomination for "The Sniper."
On March 26, 1962, Elvis began three days of soundtrack recording at Radio Recorders in Hollywood.
The title song "Girls! Girls! Girls" had been written in 1960 by Leiber and Stoller for The Coasters. Elvis was not pleased with the direction his career was headed and wasn't pleased with the prospect of singing to shrimp or any other sea creatures ("Song of the Shrimp" is a soundtrack song). However, one great classic Elvis song came from this film's soundtrack. It was the Otis Blackwell and Winfield Scott composition "Return To Sender." The song had not been written for this movie, but when Colonel Parker heard it he knew it would be perfect for Elvis and made sure he heard it as well. And in the scene of the movie when Elvis sings the song, you can see in his movements the influence of one of his favorite entertainers, Jackie Wilson.
Three of the songs Elvis recorded in the soundtrack sessions were not used in the film. It was the group The Amigos' version of "Mama" that was used instead of Elvis's rendition. The group consisted of Jose Vadiz, Pedro Berrios, Miguel Alcade and Felix Melendes. Another song cut was "I Don't Wanna Be Tied," which had been previously titled "Twist Me Loose." "Plantation Rock" was cut as well.
With the music recorded, it was time to go to Hawaii for the location portions of shooting the film. Elvis wanted to go to Hawaii by ship, however, a strike forced him to fly. The decision placed the production behind schedule. Later, when Paramount sent a check for two extra days of Elvis's time, Colonel Parker refused the payment as it had been Elvis's reluctance to fly that had caused the filming delay. The check was never cashed.
On April 7, 1962 , Elvis and his entourage arrived in Hawaii on Pan Am flight #817. Elvis then took a helicopter ride to the Hawaiian Village Hotel where he would stay. Approximately 8,000 fans were on hand for his arrival and in the 100-yard walk between the helicopter and the hotel he lost his yachting cap, his jewel-tipped tie clasp and a diamond ring that he especially liked. The next day, a young girl called the hotel and said that his ring had come off in her hand and that she wished to return it. She did leave the ring at the front desk of the hotel.
At this time Elvis was very much into karate and actively practicing - breaking up to 40 boards a night. Hal Wallis put an end to it for the druation of the production for fear that Elvis would break his hand and hold up the production schedule.
Principal photography began on April 9, 1962. Shooting in Hawaii included locations such as the Bumble Bee Tuna plant near Waikiki Beach and the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. On April 26, 1962 location shooting was finished. Elvis and the production team returned Hollywood where filming resumed on Stage 5 at the Paramount Studios on May 1, 1962 .
After location shooting in Hawaii was
finished, filming resumed on May 1, 1962 back in Hollywood at the Paramount
Studios. On weekends Elvis and the guys would play football in the local De Neve
Park with friends and other actors such as Ty Hardin, Bob Conrad, Ricky Nelson,
Pat Boone, Gary Crosby and Max Baer, Jr. Also during this time Elvis's name in
connection with the filming of "Girls! Girls! Girls!" was used without
authorization in a Coppertone suntan lotion ad in the June issue of "Ladies Home
Journal" magazine. Colonel Parker had Hal Wallis stop the ad.
One of Elvis's leading ladies in this film was Stella Stevens, born Estelle Eggleston in Mississippi in 1936. Ms. Stevens attended Memphis State College where she became interested in acting and modeling. Her film debut was in the 1959 "Say One For Me." It was the voluptuous beauty's role of Appassionata Von Climax in the film "Li'l Abner" that got her noticed and she was soon the Playboy Playmate of the Month for January 1960. She shared a Golden Globe win in 1960 with Tuesday Weld, Angie Dickinson and
Janet Munroe as Most Promising Newcomer-Female. In Elvis's movie "Girls! Girls! Girls!" she played a nightclub singer. However, her three solo songs in the movie, "Never Let Me Go," "The Nearness of You" and "Baby, Baby, Baby" were all sung by vocalist Gilda Maiken with Ms. Stevens lip-synching. Ms. Stevens would go on to play numerous roles in film and on television, working witsuch stars as Bobby Darin in "Too Late Blues," Glenn Ford in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father," Jerry Lewis in "The Nutty Professor," and Dean Martin in "The Silencers." Her son Andrew Stevens is also an actor.
Elvis's other leading lady was played by Laurel Goodwin and this film was her movie debut. She went on to have roles in the films "Papa's Delicate Condition," "Stage To Thunder Rock" and "The Glory Guys." Her roles on TV have included "Star Trek," "The Virginian," "Get Smart," "Mannix" and "The Beverly Hillbillies."
Elvis's nemesis Wesley Johnson was played by Jeremy Slate, who had also played in the Elvis movie "G.I. Blues." Mr. Slate has had roles in films such as "Wives and Lovers," "The Sons of Katie Elder" and "True Grit," as well as numerous television roles in such series as "Police Story", "Petrocelli", "The Rookies" and "Wonder Woman."
Robert Strauss played Sam, the owner of the Pirate's Den. You might recognize him as Blackie in the Elvis movie "Frankie and Johnny." He also had roles in "Stage To Thunder Rock" with Laurel Goodwin and in "Li'l Abner" with Stella Stevens. This gravelly voiced actor was the son of a theatrical costume designer and started his career on Broadway, where, among other productions, he played in "Stalag 17." He reprised his Broadway role of Stanislas 'Animal' Kasava in the 1953 film production of "Stalag 17" and earned a 1954 Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor.
Papa Stavros was played by Frank Puglia. The Sicilian born actor's career started at age 13 when he began to appear in Italian opera. He moved to the U.S. in 1907 at age 15 and joined an Italian theater group in New York. In his career he played character roles in over 200 movies and TV shows. One such role was the rug merchant in the movie "Casablanca."
Polish born actress Lili Valenty played Mama Stavros. This character actress was often cast as a gypsy or a grandma in movies and TV series.
Twins Barbara and Betty Beall played the Stavros twins Leona and Linda. Their career had few roles. They were always cast together as twins.
Elvis's eleventh movie was the story of
Ross Carpenter and his dream to own the sailboat his late father had built. In
this quest to buy the boat, Ross is busy by day working on a fishing boat and by
night as a nightclub singer, leaving little time for the "girls" who are
pursuing him. He does manage a brief trip to visit his adopted family, the Yungs
of Paradise Cove.
Kin Yung, the wise family patriarch, was played by Benson Fong. Mr. Fong, a native of California may be best remembered for his long running role as Tommy Chan, son of the famous detective Charlie Chan, in the popular movie series made in the 1940s. He also had roles in films such as "Flower Drum Song," "Our Man Flint," and "The Love Bug," as well as in TV series such as "Kung Fu." The son of a wealthy Sacramento merchant who had lost everything in the Depression, Mr. Fong had no plans to become an actor. He had planned to open a grocery store. But, one night while he was out to dinner, a talent scout approached him and his thirty-year career as an actor soon was underway. He also owned a chain of popular California restaurants called Ah Fong's.
Beulah Quo played the even wiser Yung matriarch. Ms. Quo's career garnered her an 1978 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress for "Meeting of Minds." She had many roles on TV, including a long-running role on the TV series "General Hospital." Her movie career included films such as "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," "Flower Drum Song," "The Sand Pebbles" and "Chinatown."
Guy Lee played Chen Yung. Mr. Lee also had roles in the films "Gidget Goes Hawaiian" and "Flower Drum Song," among others. He appeared in guest roles on a number of TV series, including "Bonanza," "Honey West," "The Wild, Wild West" and the "The Odd Couple."
The Ling children that Elvis's character sings to in this film were played by the Tiu siblings. Ginny Tiu played Mai Ling, Elizabeth Tiu played Tai Ling and their brother Alexander Tiu played the unnamed little brother. Their sister Vicky Tiu would play a leading role in the next Elvis movie "It Happened at The World's Fair." Their father William was a teacher from Hong Kong. The children were musically gifted and appeared on stage and in a number of variety shows on television.
Mary Treen played Mrs. Figgot and Marjorie Bennet played Mrs. Dicks, the two women customers in the hat store. Both ladies were long-time character actresses with hundreds of roles between them. Mary Treen had roles in films like "It's A Wonderful Life" and "The Errand Boy" as well as roles in the Elvis films "Fun In Acapulco" and "Paradise Hawaiian Style." Marjorie Bennett's career included parts on many TV series, as well as in movies such as "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?," "Sail A Crooked Ship" and "My Fair Lady." She was also the voice of Duchess in the original version of the animated film "101 Dalmatians."
Gavin Gordon played the hat shop manager. He was near the end of a three-decade career in films, having had roles in such movies as "White Christmas," "High Society," "The Ten Commandments," "The Matchmaker" and "The Nutty Professor," among many others.
Linda Rand played a village woman in "Girls! Girls! Girls!" and also can be seen in the Elvis films "Fun In Acapulco" and "Roustabout".
Kenneth Becker was Mack, the drunk in the Pirate's Den. You can also spot him in the Elvis films "G.I. Blues" and "Roustabout."
While Frank Atienza (Ito in the Elvis film "Blue Hawaii's") plays an uncredited role.
Look closely and you'll see Red West from Elvis's entourage as a bongo playing crewman on the tuna boat. And entourage member Alan Fortas catches a tuna that Elvis's character throws his way. Elvis's recording session drummer Hal Blaine is seen as a drummer in the lounge band, Elvis's stand-in Lance LeGault is playing the bass.
Principal photography wrapped by June 8, 1962 and Elvis was done with looping and his publicity stills by June 12th. The movie premiered in Honolulu on October 31st. and opened nationwide on Nov. 21st., peaking at #6 on the Variety National Box Office Survey. Even though it only came out a few weeks before the year's end, it was #31 for the year on the list of the 50 Top Grossing Films of 1962. Elvis was voted that year as "Top Box Office Draw" by the movie industry of America, having three of the top grossing films that year. Besides "Girls! Girls! Girls!" at #31, "Kid Galahad" was #37 and "Blue Hawaii" was #14.