Sunday, August 12, 2012

Jailhouse Jive...featuring WHO?

Elvis Presley
Jailhouse Rock * November 1957

Hi everyone!  Here we are again, heading into Elvis week, 2012.  And, you know there are lots of events going on just to commemorate the life of this Rock N Roll 'King'!  If you can get to Memphis, you will be part of a great celebration all over'll be dancing in the streets, visiting various vendors with their displays of Elvis memorabilia, and, eating some fine southern foods!


I'm sure you noticed the picture above.  There he is showing his stuff in his movie "Jailhouse Rock".  This movie went public in November of 1957 to a social pounding of mixed reactions. However, the movie fared very well at the box office-afterall, it was Elvis, wasn't it?  The film was cut on a budget of $400,000.00, and grossed, well, add a few more zeros...$4,000,000.00 On the downside, some of the negative criticisms were:    "This is a 'blown-up tale', with cheap, human values."  Then we have, "Elvis' performance was dangerously near being repulsive."  Funny, I didn't notice that, haha!

As for 'kudos', Elvis' performance was praised-"He proved himself as a dramatic actor."  One publication stated that, "Elvis displays himself as an actor, top singer and dancer, making this film his first big dramatic role!"  One author wrote that the film contained the perfect balance of song and story, capturing Elvis' raw, sexy energy, and 'sneering' charisma on film!  Elvis' costars and the choreography were also praised.

* I still love to watch this movie! *

The song, 'Jailhouse Rock', was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, September 24, 1957 for this movie.  In the US, Jailhouse Rock reigned #1 for seven weeks, and in 1958, the song peaked at #1 in the UK for three weeks.  It reached the #2 spot on the R & B charts,  and was even at the top of the Country charts.  This song was a HUGE contribution to our rock and roll era!

And, how about that prison uniform?  I thought it was just designed for the movie...nah!  That style of prison attire has been around for quite some time.  Sometimes we watch Perry Mason and Dragnet from the 1950's and 1960's, and I've noticed that inmates are dressed very similar to Elvis in Jailhouse Rock.  It seems as though in the late 19th century and early 20th century, the striped prison uniform was phasing itself out.  It was thought that if prisoners were able to dress with a little more normality, they could be rehabilitated with more success.  The old, nasty, striped uniforms were used as a measure of punishment, a badge of shame, if you will.  Blue jeans and chambray work shirts eventually became significant in suggesting fair treatment toward the non-violent offenders in hopes that they would be able to return to society with improved attitudes.  Does that work?  I would like to believe so.  But, what about escapees?  The striped uniforms served as immediate flags to identify prisoners who escaped, whereas, blue jeans and chambray might lead us to think they're just 'law abiding' citizens!  But, of course, now we have the colored jumpsuits-are there certain colors for specific offenses, or, are they color coded according to state, county, or cell block?
 Oh well, I'll let the prison system handle all of that!

Elvis, just so you don't feel singled out in your jailhouse attire, I've invited some of my favorite 'jailbirds' by to model their jailhouse duds!
  I miss you 'E'!

David Janssen * 'The Fugitive' * 1963

Burt Lancaster and Karl Malden * Birdman of Alcatraz * 1962

Susan Hayward * 'I Want To Live' * 1958

Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman * 'Papillon' * 1973

Sean Connery * 'The Rock' * 1996

Paul Newman * 'Cool Hand Luke' * 1967

Johnny Depp * 'Cry-Baby' * 1990

Wow...a cagey group to be sure!  Do I like prison movies or what?  What is it about a man/or woman in uniform that strikes our fancy?  Well, a prison uniform certainly doesn't suggest authority, does it?

Seriously, sometime this week, please take a moment to remember Elvis and the driving force behind him that got us off our seats, and sent us careening onto the floor.  Haven't most of us, even you ladies, tried to sing and dance like Elvis at sometime in our life?  Ed Sullivan liked did my parents! And, believe it or not, we've passed his legacy down thru the decades to our children and theirs.  He still has that certain charisma, that makes us stop, look, listen, and, even try to curl our upper lip!

Thank you all for coming're the greatest!  Stop by anytime, everyone is welcome.  And don't be shy about saying hello...sometimes communication with others (even on a whim), is the best medicine!  Tell you makes my day!

I'm greatly obliged to the following sources:
Yahoo images

Elvis A. Presley
~ January 8, 1938 ~ August 16, 1977

"If I stand still while I'm singing, I'm a dead man."
Elvis Presley

And, in loving memory of Karo's father, my father-in-law
Benjamin W. Trammell
February 22, 1921 * August 16, 1995



  1. ((yay! i think i might be your first comment-er! i'm actually catching up!)

    wow!! has it been a YEAR already, susan?! i remember your elvis post from then! he sure was a one of a kind!! he really ROCKED!
    sam & i went to memphis a few years back...really liked it there. when we went through Tupelo, we saw the TINY house he was raised in.

    all the other movies you mentioned here are GREAT. all time favorites!! BUT there's one i never saw...'i want to live'...1958?! wow, that's an oldie!!

    take care susan! have a great rest of your weekend!

    1. Hey! You are first today...I know, I get behind on my reading, but it's fun to catchup. Yes, one year since the last Elvis week. I really liked Memphis too, the food, and the music. We didn't get a chance to go to Tupelo, I would like to see that little house.

      The movie 'I want to live' is really good, even for 1958. It is based on a true story. I've gotten to see it several times and, it's one I would watch again. You know, they had such suspenseful music with those old movies too, and Susan Hayward was the best. She really made it look real.

      I'm excited to hear from you...glad you stopped by Laura. You have a great week! Hugs to Milo!♥ (Well, you and Sam too, lol!)

  2. Howdy, Susan! Your father-in-law was a great looking man and a dapper dresser. It's quite a coincidence that he died on the same date as Elvis. I vividly recall the day Elvis died. I was at work at the television station editing news film for the 6 o'clock report. Suddenly 5 bells rang out on both the AP and UPI wire service machines which were located right behind me. 5 bells calls attention to a news flash crossing the wires. I jumped up and read in shocked disbelief the bulletin announcing that the King had died.

    Jailhouse Rock was certainly one of the best Elvis movies and a tremendously popular rock 'n' roll record. The choreographed production number in the film in which Elvis slides down the pole while performing the song is one of the most electrifying moments in the history of movie musicals. Tragic events surround Jailhouse Rock. Judy Tyler, Elvis' beautiful co-star, was killed in an auto crash shortly after filming wrapped on the picture. (I remembered Judy in the earlier role of Princess Summerfall Winterspring on the Howdy Doody Show.) Elvis was reportedly so devastated by Judy's tragic death that he refused to watch Jailhouse Rock when it was released.

    Thank you for remembering Elvis and have a wonderful week ahead, dear friend Susan!

    1. Hi Shady! I did read very favorable reviews on the choreography for this film. It was remarked that we finally got to see Elvis' dancing talents along with his 'out of this world' voice! I'm with of the best Elvis movies. Karo had told me some years ago about the death of Elvis co-star Judy Tyler. He said that they had been great friends, and Elvis was pretty devastated by her death. I don't remember her on the Howdy Doody show-we watched it as kids. Maybe I can come across some old episodes where she appeared.

      I really like this photo of Karo's dad-makes me think of the 'Great Gatsby' times. He was a much loved man, and still talked about in the town where Karo grew up. Also, his date of birth is the same day as George Washington. All so memorable.

      I can't pass up Elvis events. No need for a biography, but, there's always something of historic interest to write about him. Thank you so much for stopping by. Hope you're week is starting off well. See you soon, good friend!♫

  3. Hi Susan. I can't believe that a year has gone by since the last Elvis week. Oh, I will certainly remember him my friend. I adored him and still do. His voice was just so special and he certainly was 'smouldering' wasn't he?! Just look at that last photo that you have put in your post. I prefer to remember him in his younger days, rather than the bloated person that he became. I'm certainly a big fan, and thank you for this post and reminding us just how great he was! I used to love Burt Lancaster in those old films, and, of course, David Jansen in The Fugitive. Happy days! X

    1. Hello Dear Thisisme. I know how time flies when we're having fun, lol! I would rather look at Elvis' younger photos too...he was such a looker! There are so many photos of him, I found this one that I hadn't seen before. I wish his life could have been different, so he could stick around for a while longer.

      Burt Lancaster was really a good actor, I always liked his films. He could take on almost any role. And, David Janssen was good too. They still show his 'Fugitive' episodes, and, we watch them some. I always liked that show, and he was such a good guy! Thank you for stopping by and for your comments! I don't think we'll forget Elvis ever!

  4. I'm sorry for having published comments and replies so late. Sunday evening we had a 60mph storm come through, and it rendered us unelectrified! The wrecking crew didn't get us up and running until 6:00am this morning, and, it's off again 2 hours later for another 6 hours! Thank you all for stopping by...hope you have a wonderful week!♥

  5. Hi Susan, wow that was a storm all right - glad you're electricity is sorted out now.
    I loved the memories your Elvis post brought with it. He had such an impact on so many of us didn't he and, oh boy, how he stirred us up. Great times. I enjoyed the dancing in Jailhouse Rock.
    A beautiful tribute to Karo's Dad too.
    Cheerio - enjoy the rest of your week. Hope your garden is growing well too :D)

    1. Hi Susan, sorry I'm so late. We had another bout of storms the other nite, so I shut down early. This time we got more rain, but it is so steamy out, phew!

      I really liked Jailhouse Rock, but my favorite Elvis movie is King Creole-just love it! He really did contribute to our music industry. I never got to meet Karo's dad, but have enjoyed hearing about him and seeing his photos. He was dearly loved and respected, and, Karo misses him very much.

      Thank you so much for stopping by. We're staying in where it's cool. My poor flowers are starting to get lanky, need to cut some of them back. Have a beautifuly weekend Susan!♥


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