Tag Archives: Joan Blackman

Kid Galahad

Kid Galahad is a 1962 musical film starring Elvis Presley as a boxer. The film was released by United Artists.

The movie was filmed on location in Idyllwild, California and is noted for having a strong supporting cast. Most critics rate it as one of Presley’s best performances.

The film is a remake of the 1937 original version starring Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, and Humphrey Bogart. UA had owned the original version at the time of the remake’s release.

Willy Grogan is a small-time boxing promoter, based in the Catskills resort region of New York. He has debts to pay and often pays too little attention to the woman who loves him, Dolly.

Into their midst comes Walter, a young man recently discharged from the Army who loves the peaceful setting almost as much as he loves working on old cars. Walter’s simple goal is to go into business as a mechanic at a nearby garage.

One day he intercedes on a lady’s behalf and decks one of Willy’s top fighters. Willy is persuaded to let this “Galahad” take a shot in a legitimate ring. Both men are reluctant, but each has a need for the money. Walter begins working out under the watchful eye of Willy’s top trainer, Lew.

The attractive Rose, younger sister of Willy, shows up unexpectedly. She and Walter almost immediately hit it off. The obsessively protective Willy doesn’t want his kid sister falling for some “grease monkey” mechanic and two-bit boxer. Dolly is envious of the young couple’s romance and resents Willy’s interference.

After several successes in the ring, Walter is readied for his biggest fight. Gangsters want him to take a dive so that Willy can pay off his debts to them, but “Galahad” throws his muscle behind Willy and saves the day. He wins the big fight as well as Willy’s approval, retiring undefeated to his vintage car and his new love.

Blue Hawaii

Blue Hawaii is a 1961 musical film set in the state of Hawaii and starring Elvis Presley.

Chadwick Gates (Presley) has just gotten out of the Army, and is happy to be back in Hawaii with his surfboard, his beach buddies, and his girlfriend. His mother wants him to go to work at the Great Southern Hawaiian Fruit Company, but Chad is reluctant. So Chad goes to work as a tour guide at his girlfriend’s agency.

Although it is mentioned in the film that Chad’s parents live in Kahala, one of the most expensive and exclusive areas of Honolulu as of 1961, the view from their lanai (porch or terrace) shows Diamond Head as it appears from Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. This is an error because Kahala is located on the other side of Diamond Head from Waikiki.

There were several scenes filmed in and around the famous Waikiki Beach, including the opening driving scenes as well as the office scene across the street from the “International Market”. The hotel scenes where Chad’s clients stayed and where he picked up his tour group were filmed on the property of what is now known as the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach. This is also where Chad and his girlfriend spent time on the beach.

“Blue Hawaii” was the first of three Elvis movies to be filmed in Hawaii, followed by “Girls! Girls! Girls!” in 1962 and “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” in 1965.

Angela Lansbury, who played the mother of Elvis, was not yet 36 years old in 1961 when the movie was released. Elvis was 26 years old. Lansbury would later comment that her appearance here was one of the worst in her career.

It could be argued that this film set the tone for Presley’s future film career: pretty locations, gorgeous girls, and mediocre songs. Almost all of these musical-comedy films performed well, whereas more “serious” films such as Flaming Star, Wild in the Country and Charro!, did poorly at the box office. Blue Hawaii on the other hand was one of Elvis’ most successful films.

While some of the songs on the soundtrack album can fairly be described as “inferior,” others compare favorably to his non-soundtrack recordings. Presley’s remake of the title song did justice to the Academy Award-winning song, while also introducing it to an audience too young to remember Bing Crosby’s original hit version. His recording of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” compares quite well to his other Top 10 hits, and his recordings of “Rock-A-Hula Baby” and “Ku-u-ipo (Hawaiian Sweetheart)” are notable as well.

The “Blue Hawaii” soundtrack album was on the Billboard Pop Albums chart for 79 weeks, spent 20 weeks at #1 on the Pop Albums chart, and sold more than 2-million copies.