"Live A Little, Love A Little". An In-Depth Look at the Movie

On March 4, 1968 Elvis reported to MGM to begin pre-production on the film "Kiss My Firm But Pliant Lips" based on the novel of the same name by Dan Greenburg.

Greenburg was born and educated in Illinois. He received his Masters Degree at UCLA and became an award-winning ad copywriter. Later he was managing editor of "Eros" magazine. He became a best-selling writer with his 1964 book "How To Be A Jewish Mother." He along with Michael A. Hoey adapted his novel "Kiss My Firm But Pliant Lips" into the screenplay for Elvis's movie which would become entitled "Live A Little, Love A Little," although other titles also considered including "Bumblebee Oh Bumblebee" and "Born Rich." Greenburg went on to write other productions including "Oh! Calcutta!" and the TV series "Adam's Rib."

Writer, director and producer Michael A. Hoey was born in London and came to the U.S. as a child. Son of character actor Dennis Hoey, he grew up around the Hollywood movie studios. He worked with director Norman Taurog on several Elvis movies: "Tickle Me", "Spinout", "Stay Away Joe" and "Live a Little, Love A Little." He received two Emmy Award nominations for his work on the TV series "Fame." Among his credits is having produced several Emmy Award shows.

Working with musical conductor and writer Billy Strange, Elvis recorded the soundtrack at Western Recorders on 3/7/68. Strange's method of using written charts was foreign to Elvis's more casual style of recording.

Principal photography began on 3/13/68. Locations included the Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, Marineland, the Hollywood Citizen News building, the Los Angeles Music Center and the streets of the Hollywood Hills.

Elvis's somewhat kooky love interest Bernice/ Betty/Suzie/Alice was played by actress Michele Carey who had been a top model for the Powers Agency. Her film credits include "El Dorado" and "Dirty Dingus Magee" among others. She was also the voice of "Effie" the computer on the Robert Conrad TV series "A Man Called Sloane."

There has been a long-held myth that Elvis and Priscilla's dog Brutus was used in this movie as Albert the Great Dane. Not believing this to be true, we checked with Priscilla herself. She said it was not their dog but a professionally trained "working dog that was hired for the film."

Elvis's twenty-eighth movie was the 1968 MGM film "Live A Little, Love A Little" in which he plays photographer Greg Nolan. Greg juggles working for two very different employers played by Don Porter and Rudy Vallee.

Don Porter began his career in the 1940s on stage and in films, but he may be best remembered for his TV roles as Ann Sothern's boss on both "Private Secretary" and "The Ann Sothern Show" as well as playing Sally Field's father on the "Gidget" TV series.

Rudy Vallee was a popular singer and band leader in the 1920s and 30s known for his trademark of singing through a megaphone. He became an actor on stage, screen and TV often playing comedic roles in a career that spanned over sixty years.

The late Dick Sargent played Harry Baby in this film. He was born Richard Cox, the son of actress Ruth McNaughton and Hollywood business manager Elmer Cox. He had roles in a number of movies and TV series, the most memorable playing Darrin Stephens on the TV series "Bewitched." Although he replaced an ailing Dick York in the part , it was Sargent who was first offered the role when the series began. Being already under contract for something else, Sargent was unable to take the part at that time. Sargent had a bit part in Elvis's first movie "Love Me Tender" (1956).

Georgia-born Sterling Holloway had the role of the Milkman in "Live A Little, Love A Little." Ironically he began his career in silent films, however, he went on to be the voice of many animated movie characters. Perhaps his most famous voice was that of the beloved character Winnie the Pooh.

Eddie Hodges played the delivery boy Woodrow. Hodges stage credits include in "The Music Man" and "Critic's Choice." He has appeared in movies and television and he had several hit records in the 1960s. Outside of a guest appearance on "Law & Order" in 1996, the Mississippi native gave up performing in 1969 to become a rehabilitation counselor in his home state.

Among the many models who appear in this film you might spot Susan Henning as dressed as a mermaid in one of Greg (Elvis) Nolan's photo sessions. She dated Elvis for a brief time and appeared in the in the bordello scene of the big production of his 1968 TV special - she's the blonde in the pink dress to whom he sings "Let Yourself Go."

During this film Elvis's father Vernon drove Elvis's Lincoln out to California for him. While visiting with Elvis, Vernon was given a small nonspeaking part in the movie. He can be spotted as part of the scene in which Elvis's character Greg is shooting a photograph of a man sitting in an ornate chair at a table. That man was Vernon Presley.

Actress Celeste Yarnall also had a role in the film as a model whom Greg dates. A native Californian, Ms. Yarnall has a successful career in movies and television, having acted with many stars such as Paul Newman, Jack Lemmon, Jerry Lewis, Charles Bronson, Melanie Griffith and of course Elvis Presley. A lady of many talents she has also owned a commercial real estate business, managed screenwriters, bred and shown champion cats, and having earned a Ph.D. in nutrition, has written several books on animal nutrition. Today she still works in commercials and lectures on nutrition. She has appeared as a very special guest at several Elvis Week Events in Memphis in the past few years.

It was Celeste Yarnall to whom Elvis sang the Mac Davis/Billy Strange song "A Little Less Conversation" in this film. He recorded another version in June of 1968 that was to be used in his 1968 TV special. It was not used in the special, however, in 2002 RCA/BMG and EPE granted a license to Nike to use it in their televised World Cup Soccer related promotions in Europe and elsewhere. For the commercial Dutch producer/dee-jay JXL was engaged to produce a remix, the first Elvis remix ever authorized by the record company and EPE. The Nike promos started airing and the remix caught fire. A single release had not been planned, but public demand prompted RCA/BMG to rush-release a single in June 2002. It topped singles airplay and sales charts in the U.K. and other territories and topped Billboard's singles sales chart in the U.S. It has since become the theme song for the TV series "Las Vegas."

Principal photography for "Live A Little, Love A Little" ended on May 1, 1968 which was also Elvis and Priscilla's first wedding anniversary. The film opened nationwide on October 23, 1968.

While Elvis was making this movie, Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. Elvis took the news very hard. He was known to commit famous speeches to memory and would often quote from or recite them thereafter. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech was one of Elvis's favorites to recite. Just two months later in June, while working on his 1968 TV special, Elvis expressed his deep feelings about the loss of the Kennedy brothers and Dr. King to producer Steve Binder. Binder who was so moved by Elvis's comments said, "I wanted to let the world know that here was a guy who was not prejudiced, who was raised in the heart of prejudice, but who was really above all that." It was then that Binder resolved to have a song written expressly for Elvis to close his show with. "If I Can Dream" was born of this conversation. "If I can dream--of a better land, Where all my brothers work hand in hand, Tell me why, oh why, can't my dream come true, Oh why?"