ELVIS PRESLEY’S OWN CONFESSIONSElvis Presley debunks the rumors about his dates ... and tells the truth about his life in Hollywood ... in this exclusive interview ...
SO Elvis Presley is in love – again! That’s what I kept hearing. That certain feeling for Natalie Wood turned out to be just a passing fancy. Now rumor had it, Elvis was seriously in love with Dotty Harmony,” the pretty Las Vegas dancer. Tracking down rumors is my business, so I went after this latest “love tip” in a businesslike manner. There were many things I wanted to talk to Elvis about aside from his headlined romances ... things like his future plans, his life in Hollywood.
First person I came across as I strolled around the Paramount lot where Hal Wallis is shooting “Loving You,” starring Presley, was Mr. Wallis. “How’s the boy doing?” I asked the astute executive who was the first to spot Presley’s potentials and lost no time in signing him up to a seven-year contract. “Even if Elvis didn’t sing a single note he would be a great star in films,” Mr. Wallis said with all the pride of a parent. And Mr. Wallis should know. Not only because of Elvis’ work in “Loving You,” but because he shot a non-singing screen test of Elvis way back in early 1956. According to Mr. Wallis, the test was sensational.
“I had high hopes for him, back then,” said Wallis. “And he’s developed even beyond expectations. This handsome young man is one of the most exciting personalities to come along in a long, long time.
“When I got my first glimpse of him, on a small TV spot, why, he just about jumped outta my set. But wait till you see him in color in this film; it’s really going to be exciting!”
The look on the faces of the girls around the Paramount lot seemed familiar. I had seen that look en masse on the girls over at 20th during the filming of Elvis’ first film, “Love Me Tender.” The girls were going around in a daze. They were breathing the same air as Elvis Presley which apparently had a dreamy effect on these females. The men were prepared, for some reason, to dislike Elvis. This in spite of the fact their cohorts in the movie business, over on the 20th lot, had told them the truth about the boy. And just as it happened over there, reaction was the same on the Paramount lot. Men and women were completely charmed by Presley; they were charmed with his manner, his modesty and sincerity.
Before heading toward the set where Elvis was singing “Gotta Lotta Livin’ To Do,” I stopped and chatted with the various girls who seem to swoon at the mere mention of the lad’s name. And as these girls talked we could hear his voice over the playback, which gave the girls added thrills as they talked about the wonders, the talent, the charm, the handsomeness of Elvis Presley.
Elvis spotted me as I made my rounds and caught up with me. I was quite surprised to see the change in him. He’d lost a lot of weight since the start of the film. I had seen him when he first was introduced around at Paramount and he had the look about him of youthful chubbiness. His face was quite thin, but becoming. He looked more sophisticated, more grown-up in just a matter of weeks. I asked him if he went on a strenuous diet. “No,” he said, “Been working hard.” Elvis gave me a big grin. “I’m glad it shows.”
There were other visible changes in Elvis. He seemed more at ease, more poised. The hustle and the bustle of a busy set did not bother him; he ignored all the activity about him and concentrated on answering my questions. Of course the talk got around to girls, especially his favourites, if any. Elvis laughed when I reeled off the names of the cuties he was rumoured to have fallen for.
Elvis is young, likes to date girls, but since the start of “Loving You” he hasn’t had time for girls. He debunked the story that he had every intention of marrying Dotty Harmony. He admitted that she was sweet and attractive, but that he wasn’t ready to settle down. He said she was fun to be with, but that any kind of dating was out of the question while he had “Loving You” on his mind. He explained about Dotty, “She’s no special gal to me, ‘cause I’m not ready for just one special gal.”
He told me that he hits the sack at nine every night. At the moment his career as a screen star is the most important thing in the world to him. He’s determined to give “Loving You” everything he’s got. When Elvis isn’t working, he told me, he likes to take in a movie, to study the film, really study. “I saw ‘The Ten Commandments’ twice and ‘Giant’ three times. Jimmy Dean’s performance was great, just great. ‘Baby Doll’ is another great picture.” According to Elvis there is always something to learn from watching a film.
Since I wanted to concentrate on the “love angle” in this exclusive interview, I brought the subject back to girls. “What’s with you and Natalie Wood these days?” I asked. “Are you seeing her again now that you’re back on the coast?” “No,” Elvis said. “I haven’t seen Natalie. I been busy with ‘Loving You,’ but gave her a buzz when I got here. After all, there was no romance between us. We made no pretence about being in love. We do not have too many things in common, though I must say she’s about the prettiest, nicest and most talented girl I know. She’s as bright as they come. In fact, I haven’t even had time to more than talk to my pal Nick Adams on the phone. He’s all wound up making ‘No Time For Sergeants.’ It’s a big break for Nick. He deserves it.
Elvis Presley has a lot on his mind these days; he’s trying to get in as much work as he possible before he gets that call from Uncle Sam. He’s not wasting a minute between now and then. In the meantime, his dating is down to a minimum while he works at maximum speed to cut records, make personal appearances and, he hopes, to star in another movie after “Loving You” is completed for Paramount.
What will happen after Elvis is out of the limelight for two years? Will the girls who skyrocketed him to fame forget him? If you saw the sacks of mail from his fans you’d know there could be only one answer: it’ll take more, much more than two years in the service to make the girls forget.
Armand Archerd, from a 1957 movie magazinehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXKQbITPrTQ