Tag Archives: Robert Strauss

Frankie and Johnny

Frankie and Johnny is a 1966 musical starring Elvis Presley as a riverboat gambler. The role of “Frankie” was played by Donna Douglas, star of the hit television series, The Beverly Hillbillies. Elvis gambles with his luck as he goes for a lucky redhead, Nellie Bly, instead of his beautiful blonde, Frankie.

Johnny and girlfriend Frankie are singers on a Mississippi riverboat, which also has a casino. Johnny is a gambler who is down on his luck and in debt.

Johnny and his friend Cully, a musician and composer, visit a gypsy camp to get his fortune told. A lady reads tea leaves and tells Johnny that he will soon meet a red-haired woman who will bring him luck.

Back on the boat, Johnny and Cully meet Nellie Bly, their boss Clint Braden’s on-again, off-again girlfriend. Nellie catches Braden seducing another singer, Mitzi. Since she has red hair, Johnny persuades Nellie to touch his chips for luck. After he wins, Johnny is convinced that the gypsy must be correct.

Frankie finds out and becomes jealous, as is Johnny’s boss. In a bit of musical theatre, Frankie shoots Johnny for dancing with Nellie Bly, while singing Cully’s new song. A Broadway recruiter sees the riverboat show and buys the rights to this new song, suggesting that Frankie and Johnny should work together in New York.

Landing in New Orleans, the musical cast and riverboat crew attend a masked ball. Frankie, Nellie and Mitzi all rent the same Madame Pompadour costume.

Johnny wants the luck of redhead Nellie to win more money, contrary to Frankie’s expressed wishes. Being masked and in costume, Frankie and Nellie switch places. Johnny wins ten thousand dollars at a roulette wheel, but when he kisses the woman he believes to be Nellie, he discovers the switch. Frankie is furious. She throws the ten thousand dollars out the window.

Blackie, who works for the boss, hears Braden drunkenly complain about how he has lost Nellie, so Blackie switches the blank in Frankie’s stage gun for a real bullet. The boss tries to prevent the impending disaster, but arrives at the theatre too late. Frankie has shot Johnny for real. Frankie forgives his gambling as he lies on stage. Johnny then stands up, apparently unhurt. Johnny was saved because he was wearing a lucky medallion that Frankie had given him, which the bullet struck.

Girls! Girls! Girls!

Girls! Girls! Girls! is a 1962 musical comedy film starring Elvis Presley as a penniless fisherman who loves his life on the sea and dreams of owning his own boat.

The film was shot on location in Hawaii.

Elvis plays Ross Carpenter, a fishing guide/sailor who loves his life out on the sea. When he finds out his boss is retiring to Arizona, he has to find a way to buy the Westwind, a boat that he and his father built. He is also caught between two women: insensitive club singer Robin and sweet Laurel.

With the huge success of Blue Hawaii, producer Hal Wallis had decided to promote Elvis as an entertainer rather than the rebel actor, reminiscent of James Dean, as Elvis had been seen in King Creole. Thus another script was set in scenic Hawaii. The working titles for ‘Girls! Girls! Girls!’ had been ‘A Girl In Every Port’, ‘Welcome Aboard’, ‘Jambalaya’, and ‘Gumbo Ya-Ya’,which is said to be a Creole expression for ‘everybody talks at once’.

Ross Carpenter, Elvis Presley’s character in Girls! Girls! Girls! epitomizes the type of role Elvis is most associated with – the handsome, carefree bachelor with a colorful occupation. Ross works as a charter boat pilot who moonlights as a nightclub singer to buy a sailboat that once belonged to his father. Wealthy Laurel Dodge, played by Laurel Goodwin, falls hard for Ross and secretly buys the sailboat for him.

When Ross discovers that Laurel has purchased the boat, his pride is damaged, and he sails off by himself. Laurel quickly follows in a boat piloted by wealthy Wesley Johnson, portrayed by Jeremy Slate, who turns out to be a wolf in tailored clothing. Ross rescues Laurel from Wesley’s clutches, realizing that he loves her. Ross asks Laurel to sell the sailboat so that he can feel free to marry her and build a new boat.