Ok ok I fuckin accept this sonny takes tourists on rides
through the everglades and amazes them all with how he can get so close to a
wild alligator but really they’ve just been roomies for like the past 20 years
and he flicks the water and throws hardboiled eggs (???) for a snack this is
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELVIS AARON PRESLEY ♛ Jan. 8, 1935 – Aug. 16, 1977.
I guess everyone wonders what he’d do if he got lucky and got in front of the public and got real well-known. I remember I used to think about that, when I was driving a pickup truck in Memphis I used to dream about being a success and wondered how my life would change if it should ever happen.
I just get kinda in rhythm with the music, I jump around to it because I enjoy what I’m doin’, I’m not tryin’ to be vulgar, I’m not tryin’ to sell any sex, I’m not tryin’ to look vulgar and nasty. I just enjoy what I’m doin’ and tryin’ to make the best of it. – Elvis Presley, 1956.
As production began on Jailhouse Rock, there was one piece of work that Elvis was dreading: the dance sequence that accompanied the title song. As athletically as Elvis could move on stage, he was nervous about trying to execute some real Hollywood dance moves. The choreographer on the film, Alex Romero, was given a day to teach Elvis the steps, and I was with Elvis on that rehearsal day, in one of those classic dancestudio rooms with dance barres and mirrors along the walls.
Romero got right to work. He put on an acetate recording of “Jailhouse Rock” and went through the dance sequence, moving in a smooth, powerful style. When he finished, he looked to Elvis—who looked like his worst fears about dancing had come true. “Alex,” he said, “I can’t do that. It’s just not me. I’m a rock ’n’ roll guy—I can’t move like Gene Kelly.”“Will you try it?” asked Alex. “Sure, I can try, but I don’t think it’ll be worth a damn.” Alex cued up the record again and led Elvis through the steps. And Elvis was right: It wasn’t worth a damn. He just couldn’t make Alex’s moves seem natural for him. It looked like all of Romero’s work was going to have to be scrapped, leaving a hole where the dance sequence should be. Then the choreographer had a flash of inspiration. “Elvis—do you have some of your records over in your dressing room?” “Yeah.”
Romero sent me to get the records, which included Elvis’s latest number one, “All Shook Up.” While I was on that errand, the choreographer called the MGM sound department and had a speaker system and a microphone on a stand sent over to the dance studio. When the gear was set up, Romero turned back to us. “Okay, Elvis, here’s what I want you to do. George is going to play the music, and you get up like you’re onstage. Use the microphone, and show me what you do in concert.”
I played “Don’t Be Cruel” and “All Shook Up” and Elvis went through all the best moves he’d been using onstage while he was on tour—wind-milling his arms, working his hips and shaking his legs, snapping into dramatic poses in time with the music, and cutting loose with some knee slides on the floor. “I’ve got it,” said Romero, as the music came to an end. “Meet me back here tomorrow.” Elvis and I went back to that dance studio the next day, and I know he was still nervous about what to expect. But when Romero cued up “Jailhouse Rock” again and went through a new dance sequence, what we saw was a stroke of brilliance. Romero had taken all of Elvis’s natural stage moves and turned them into a routine that fit what needed to be done in the scene. Now when the choreographer stopped dancing, Elvis looked ready for action. “That’s me, man,” he said.“I can do that all day long.”