Q : Did you have a favorite film to work on with Elvis?
A : Well, we had a lot of fun on a lot of films. I mean, in between Elvis being in a scene or something, again, we'd have water battles. And we'd do things in order to shoot firecrackers, something like that. I remember once when Elvis was doing some movie, and we started this water battle and everything. And I was standing around the end of the trailer. Elvis had a dressing room trailer that they pull from different locations. And I was standing there waiting for somebody to come out. Well, Red West had taken two buckets of water and crawled to the top of that studio. And I'm sitting there waiting. And all of the sudden, a bucket of water hit me right all over my head. And when I looked up, the second one got me right in the face. And then I went to wardrobe and got a dry shirt. And I hung my shirt up. And I went over there about 30 minutes later, it was still ringing wet. And we broke for lunch. And when we come back after lunch, it was still soaking wet. Well, I went around. About an hour later I come, it's still soaking wet. Well, this time I shot around the trailer, and I stopped and looked back where my shirt was hanging. And Elvis had one of these pumps, you know, that they use to keep the greenery looking good on the set. They keep it wet so it looks real and everything. Every time I'd walk away, he's go pump it up and drown my shirt again. So, it was him keeping it wet all the time. But that's the type of thing we'd do just for fun.
Q : When was the pie fight?
A : Yeah. We were doing something and on a picture one time. And we had this director that Elvis didn't really care for. Because he could sit and do his jokes with his cronies, so to speak. But Elvis would be cutting up and come over, You know, we're trying to do a picture here. And I think that's when Elvis said, "Look, the only reason I do these pictures, as silly as they are, is to have some fun. The day I can't have any fun, You won't be working". Because Elvis, in the 60's, honest to God, kept Hollywood alive. Everyone else was shooting their pictures outside this country in different locations and everything. And Hollywood was hurting. They had movies. And Elvis was the only one that wasn't leaving town. He was doing movies right in Hollywood.
Q : What were Elvis's favorite co-stars like Ann-Margret and Shelley Fabares?
A : Shelley Fabares I think was probably his favorite star. I mean, I seen them just start a scene sometime, and Elvis would be singing. And there would be a P in the song (Puppet On A String). And when he'd say the P in the song, her hair would go... And they got to laughing. And Norman Taurog, Elvis's favorite director, by the way, just sent them home. He said, "We'll shoot around you. Go home". And they came back the next day and finally got it shot. But loved doing things with Shelley. He loved, like when we did the movie with Frank Sinatra's daughter, Nancy, Elvis was a lot of fun. Yeah. That was a lot of fun. He did with Bill Bixby, you know, we did the country movies with him. And that was so much fun, you know, because Bixby said that what he did on 'My Favorite Martian', used to, like as soon as the scenes over, they grabbed their bicycles and just leave the set and get away from it, you know. and the things we were doing were the things that were break to relax you while you're waiting for them to set up. Because sometimes it would be 45 minutes or an hour before they'd get the scene set to shoot again. It's only three minutes long.
Q : What about 'Stay Away, Joe'?
A : We used to get like $29 a day being an extra. But if one of the stars touch you, you got $100 that day. And not only that, they pushed me of to the thing, and then one of them poured a beer over me. So, I got a wet check on top of that. I want to tell you this though. Because all the guys had become extras except me. And Elvis said you got to get you an extra card. And this is when I'd come back full time after I'd stopped working with Wakely. So, I go down, join the union, get my extra card and everything.
And I'm in this scene. And I'm playing piano. And Elvis sings (We'll Be Together) in Spanish. Which, by the way, he had me go learn it phonetically. And then when he was in make-up in the mornings, I would do everything phonetically for him to learn it for the picture. So then, I started cutting up because my backs to the camera. And I'm playing... And Elvis is singing, Un dos des remos siempre por siempre. And I'm singing like Louis Armstrong, Un dos des remos... And if you watch that scene, they cut it all to pieces. Because Elvis would be doing something, and they had bust out laughing. Well then, they'd have to cut and set it up for another angle. And the same thing, he never did tell them... And he'd bust out laughing again. He never did tell the director what was causing him to break up. But it was me just sitting there having fun, you know. At the end of that scene, he stood up and he went ha-ha, but you can't hear it. Because I stood up, and I said, "My, my, Mr. Elvis, that certainly was nice".