Elvis Presley starred in some critically-panned movies, however, one in particular caused him distress. The making of this movie upset the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll so much that he gained 30 pounds. Priscilla Presley gave fans some insight into the emotional turmoil he was going through at the time.
Why Elvis Presley starred in a movie even though he hated its script
According to Priscilla’s book Elvis and Me, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll spent a lot of money on his ranch. This created a cash-flow problem for him. Because of this, Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley, asked Colonel Tom Parker to find a way to divert his son from spending more money.
“The Colonel promptly made arrangements for another movie, Clambake,” Priscilla recalled. “Elvis read the script, yet another beach-and-bikini story, and hated it. Vernon convinced him he didn’t have much choice. ‘We need the money, Son.” Elvis starred in the film despite his reservations about it.
What Elvis Presley did after he gained 30 pounds
Making Clambake really upset the “Can’t Help Falling in Love” singer. “Elvis was so despondent over Clambake that his weight ballooned from his usual 170 to 200 pounds by the time he reported for work,” Priscilla revealed. “The studio ordered him to take the weight off-and fast. Enter the diet pills, the only way he could curb his appetite and reduce his weight in the short time allowed. Colonel managed to deal with the inpatient studio brass.”
The injury Elvis Presley sustained that delayed ‘Clambake’
That wasn’t the end of his troubles making the film. Elvis tripped on a television cord and got a lump on his head. After going to a doctor with Colonel Parker at his side, Elvis learned he had a severe brain concussion. The production of Clambake had to be delayed indefinitely to accommodate this incident.
How the world reacted to ‘Clambake’ and its soundtrack
Audience reaction to Clambake was not stellar. The book Elvis Presley: Silver Screen icon says the film was ranked No. 15 on Variety’s list of the top-grossing films. However, it only stayed on the list for one week. While some of Elvis’ movies are remembered as classics, Clambake is often remembered for the odd factoid that Elvis plays a swimming instructor in the film but never removes his shirt.
The soundtrack for Clambake wasn’t particularly popular, either. It reached No. 40 on the Billboard 200. From an artist who released multiple No. 1 albums, this was not a huge deal.
However, one song from the soundtrack became a hit. The Clambake soundtrack includes a cover of Jerry Reed’s “Guitar Man.” Elvis performed the track during an iconic sequence from the ‘68 Comeback Special, which was released the year after Clambake. His cover of “Guitar Man” reached No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. The singer didn’t enjoy making Clambake, but one of its songs went on to have relevance beyond the movie.
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