"The Trouble With Girls". An In-depth Look at the Movie


Elvis' thirtieth movie was shot in 1968 and was called "The Trouble With Girls (And How To Get Into It)". It was the only Elvis movie to have a subtitle in its name.

The story for the film was based on the Chautauqua, which was founded in 1874 by Lewis Miller, an Akron, Ohio inventor and the father-in-law of inventor Thomas Edison; and John H. Vincent, a Methodist minister and eventual bishop. Their original goal was to provide adult education in the summer for Sunday school teachers. With the success of the program it evolved to include academic subjects, music, art and physical education. From the very start it included many religious denominations. The home base for Chautauqua is the southwest corner of New York State near Lake Chautauqua, where the institute still thrives today. In the early 1900's the Chautauqua program traveled by train across the country bringing its lectures to the people. (This is the era of Chatauqua depicted in "The Trouble with Girls". ) With the advent of film and radio programs the traveling stopped. Today the Chautauqua Institution is a 750-acre educational center with an average visitorship of 150,000!
each summer. It has been visited by nine U.S. Presidents, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, who delivered his "I Hate War" speech from there in 1936, and Ronald Reagan, who addressed a conference on U.S.-Soviet relations there via satellite in 1987. And George Gershwin composed his "Concerto in F" while visiting in 1925. The Athenaeum Hotel on the grounds was one of the first hotels to have electric lights.

The story had a long road to production as a movie. As early as December 1960, Glenn Ford was set to star in the film. By February 1961, Elvis was to join as Ford's co-star along with Hope Lange and Arthur O'Connell. Screenwriters changed over and over and, by July 1961, Glenn Ford was out and Elvis was in as the star. In August 1964, Elvis was out and Dick Van Dyke was chosen to star. After more screenwriter changes MGM sold its rights to Columbia Pictures. In April 1968 MGM bought back the rights to the film and Elvis was back in as the star. Production finally began in October 1968 and was finished by December 18, 1968. Filming took place at the MGM studios. Among the film's working titles had been "Big America" (during the Columbia possession) and "Chautauqa" (including the time of production with Elvis). Ultimately, it was released as "The Trouble with Girls (And How to Get Into It)".

It was directed by Peter Tewksbury, who also directed the Elvis film "Stay Away Joe". Mr. Tewksbury received three Emmy Award nominations for his work in television, winning one in 1959 for directing an episode of "Father Knows Best". Upon his retirement from show busines he relocated to Vermont. There he became known as "Henry The Cheeseman", having become the manager of the cheese department at the Brattleboro, Vermont Food Co-Op and writing a book called "The Cheeses of Vermont". Tewksbury died in February 2003.

Unique camera angles were used by cinematographer Jacques R. Marquette, who also worked on the Elvis movie "Frankie & Johnny". Mr. Marquette began his career in newsreel photography and served in World War II as an Air Force photographer. He has worked on numerous movie and television projects.

Elvis' thirtieth movie "The Trouble With Girls" is set in the traveling show known as Chautauqua. And like the eclectic offerings of the Chautauqua, the movie has its share of colorful characters matched with the equally colorful actors playing them.

Elvis played Walter Hale, manager of the traveling show.

Maryln Mason played Charlene, the performers' union representative. Ms. Mason has worked in such films as "Brigadoon" and "Carousel" as well as in TV shows such as "Charles In Charge".

Sheree North played Nita Bix. Ms. North has had roles in such films as "Madigan", "Charley Varrick" and "The Shootist" and has guest performed on such TV series as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Golden Girls". She is also be remembered for playing Kramer's mother on the "Seinfeld" TV series, a character who reveals to the other characters that Kramer's first name is Cosmo. She was nominated twice for an Emmy Award, one for her role on "Archie Bunker's Place" and one for "Marcus Welby, M.D.".

The innkeeper's daughter Betty was played by Nicole Jaffe, who also worked in the Disney movie "The Love Bug". She might be best known for her voice. From 1969 to 1973, she was the voice of Velma in the "Scooby-Doo" cartoon series. Since 1974, she has been an agent for the William Morris Agency.

John Carradine played Mr. Drewcolt and is well known for his deep voice. He acted in over 70 TV shows and in over 260 films, such as "Bluebeard", "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Captains Courageous". His roles varied from the numerous times he played Dracula in horror films to his portrayal of Aaron, brother of Moses, in the movie "The Ten Commandments".

Vincent Price was Mr. Morality in the "Trouble With Girls". He played many types of roles in movies, including playing Baka in "The Ten Commandments". Eventually, Price became best known for his work in the horror genre - his character Dr. Phibes being one of the most memorable. His inimitable voice can be heard as the macabre narrator in Michael Jackson's music video "Thriller". Shortly before his death in 1993, he said that one of his favorite roles was the voice of Professor Ratigan in the Disney cartoon "The Great Mouse Detective". A gourmet cook, Price concentrated a big part the 1970's on cooking programs for television and he and his wife, the actress Coral Brown, wrote a cookbook. His last film role was in the 1990 film "Edward Scissorhands".

Dabney Coleman played the villain Harrison Wilby in "The Trouble with Girls". Over the years, Mr. Coleman has became known for his roles as a smarmy, selfish type. You might remember him for his role as the oppressive boss in the movie "Nine To Five". He also played memorable roles of a similar nature on the comedic television series "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman", "Buffalo Bill" and "The Slap Maxwell Story". Today, he can be seen weekly in the TV drama series "The Guardian". He has been nominated three times for a Golden Globe Award, winning one in 1988 for "The Slap Maxwell Story". He received a 1991 Emmy nomination for a guest role on "Columbo".

Child actress Anissa Jones had the role of Carol Bix. She was also Buffy in the TV series "Family Affair".

If you look closely, you can catch Susan Olsen trying out for the children's program at the Chautauqua. The next year she became known for her role as Cindy on the television series "The Brady Bunch".

Brett Parker was Chowderhead in "The Trouble with Girls". Earlier, he played the deputy sheriff in the Elvis film "Stay Away Joe".

Frank Welker was the young college man wearing the Rutgers sweater. Mr. Welker became known as the "voice God" in Hollywood performing in nearly 400 animated movies and cartoons. He was the gopher in "Caddyshack II", Stripe in the "Gremlins", Heckle in "Heckle and Jeckle", Abu in "Aladdin", Flit in "Pocahontas", Khan the horse in "Mulan", Pegasus in "Hercules", and the list goes on. If you listen closely, you will recognize his as the voice of Fred for many years in the in the "Scooby-Doo, Where are You?" animated television series.

The very small role simply called "The Cranker", a character who cranks a motor car in the movie, was played by Duke Snider. Also known as "The Silver Fox" and the "Duke of Flatbush", Mr. Snider held several baseball records and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980.

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