Elvis (Rock 'n' Roll) Presley Signed To Long Film Pact

By: James Bacon
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram | FECC
May 31, 2024

HOLLYWOOD, April 10 (AP) -- Elvis Presley a rock 'n' roller who looks a little like Marlon Brando and sings like Johnny Ray with the St. Vitus Dance was signed Tuesday to a long-term movie contract. Presley a 21-year-old Memphis blues singer with long sideburns and black denim trousers is the current swooner among bobby soxers.

Hal Wallis Productions had screen tested Presley a few weeks ago after his RCA recording of 'Heartbreak Hotel' soared near the million-copy mark.

However, the producer didn't sign Presley until he made three appearances in San Diego last week. The first was on the Milton Berle television show from the flight deck of the Navy carrier Hancock. The next two were in the San Diego arena where turnaway audiences of 5,000, mostly teen-aged girls, paid $15,000 gross to hear him sing eight songs.

Presley sings with sensual movements not unlike those of a burlesque queen. The effect on Bobby Soxers is such that the arena manager had to call out police and a platoon of shore patrol to help quell the mob who pursued Presley to a barricaded dressing room.

He also has been the subject of two acid takeoffs by television comics Steve Allen and Sid Caesar. This hasn't hurt his jet-propelled climb to fame.

Elvis plays a savage guitar as part of his act and averages about three broken strings a performance. Before he took up the 'gee-tar' he was a $35-a-week truck driver in Memphis.

His climb has been so rapid that only last week a Midwestern newspaper called Paramount Studios to check a report that Presley had died. It seems that girls in the local high school were so upset by the rumor that they were not going to classes.

The publicity man who took the call could only utter one comment: 'Who the hell is Elvis Presley?'

This week Elvis Presley is Paramount's newest contractee.

Comments Elvis: 'I'm afraid to wake up each morning I can't believe all this has happened to me - I just hope it lasts'.

With unknown, actor Jack Carson and actor/director Gregory Ratoff at Paramount - (maybe) Monday, April 2, 1956.
With unknown, actor Jack Carson and actor/director Gregory Ratoff at Paramount - (maybe) Monday, April 2, 1956.

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