It was 61 years ago today that Elvis Presley started filming Loving You, which was to go on to be one of his liveliest and most entertaining films.
Loving You was the scene of plenty of firsts for the then-22-year-old singer, who’d started his music career just three years earlier. Although it was his second film (following his debut in a supporting role in Love Me Tender), it was his first lead role. It was also his first colour picture, and it featured his first on-screen kiss in character.
In the 1957 film, which was based on the short story A Call from Mitch Miller by Mary Agnes Thompson, Elvis plays Deke Rivers, a young deliveryman and singer who is scouted and groomed for stardom. The 1957 motion picture co-starred Wendell Corey (Tex) and Lizabeth Scott (Glenda), as well as Dolores Hart (Susan) as Elvis’ love interest. The first kiss wasn’t with Hart, however, but with actress Jana Lund, who plays a young fan.
Loving You features seven Elvis songs including ‘(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear’, which became an US number one hit during the summer of 1957, staying on top for seven weeks, ‘Loving You’, ‘Lonesome Cowboy’, ‘Hot Dog’, ‘Got a Lot o’ Livin’ to Do’, ‘Party’ and ‘Mean Woman Blues’.
Elvis didn’t attend the premiere of the film, but took his girlfriend at the time, Anita Wood, and his parents to an exclusive midnight screening. And although his acting skills were questioned by plenty of critics, the public enjoyed the singer’s first star vehicle.
Many Elvis movie fans believe that Loving You was the unofficial autobiography of his life. Like his character Deke, Elvis was also a delivery man before launching his career, both Deke and Elvis created controversial music and just like Elvis, Deke often breaks his guitar strings.
Of course, Elvis went on to appear in many other films, including Jailhouse Rock (1957), G.I. Blues (1960), Wild in the Country (1961), Blue Hawaii (1961),Viva Las Vegas (1964) and Charro! (1969). He had good looks, charisma and talent, and is now regarded as one of the most important figures in music history, having sold more than one billion albums.