What happened to turn the red-hot romance into a wet firecracker?

WHILE Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret were shooting the location footage for MGM’s spectacular Love In Las Vegas, they were “seen together” doing everything from holding hands to rubbing noses. When the company returned to Hollywood to do the interiors and finish the film, once again the “couple” were “seen together” at movies, restaurants, etc., etc., etc. But the very first thing that Elvis Presley did when Love In Las Vegas was completed was to pick up the phone and call a beautiful chorus girl he’d met in Vegas, book her date-book solid for a week and take off (with several of his good Memphis buddies) to do some frolicking and have fun in the Nevada sun!

This not only surprised the lovely Ann-M. somewhat but also left her slightly on the high and dry side. But the press and publicity conscious young actress snapped back like “Gang Busters,” and soon was boasting (in a Hollywood trade paper) of the long-distance phone call she got from Ringo Starr and (a little later) was posing with herself and her new Siamese cat literally drenched in diamonds (for a publicity shot for Universal’s forthcoming Kitten With A Whip). And as the “red-hot romance” rumors began to subside, no one seemed to care or to be the worse for wear?

The subtle implications of the whole affair are really not quite to subtle. It has never been Mr. Presley’s style to embarrass or put down a lady in any way. If she does things that do not jibe with his way of thinking, he just quietly disappears from the scene. But when you’re shooting a very important movie with a top star like Ann-M., quietly slipping away is impossible. Smiling and bearing up is the order of the day – until disappearing time finally does come around.

It all probably began to turn sour when Ann-Margret announced at the Command Performance of Bye Bye Birdie in London that she was very serious about Mr. Presley and hoped to marry him. He said nothing! And later there was that bed episode. Ann proudly announced that Elvis had presented her with a huge round bed for her new digs. He never said a word. A series of seemingly small events of this nature popped up as the film shooting progressed and Elvis kept mum and remained the gentleman he always has been. Meanwhile, he was making the night spots in Vegas in the company of the fellows and getting a good look at the local attractions.

When Elvis spotted a certain adorable chorus girl, he arranged to meet her and made it clear enough to her that he was slightly indisposed at the moment, but that shooting Love In Las Vegas couldn’t go on for a lifetime – and maybe the real thing could come to pass after the movie version was in the can! Sure enough, when the work was over, Elvis got right down to some serious playing – and it was back in Vegas and not with leading lady Ann-M.

Maybe Ann-Margret couldn’t care less. Maybe she likes Elvis just as a friend – and that is that. But if she was serious about the marriage bit, and if she did have her beautiful cap set for America’s most eligible and desirable bachelor, then she did a large number of all the wrong things. Maybe there will be another chance, another time around for these two dynamic and talented stars. And if there is a second time, and Ann plays her cards right – then maybe Elvis won’t kiss her goodby again!