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In his seventeenth film, Elvis plays Rusty Wells, leader of a nightclub combo. When the boss's daughter causes a family stir by asking to go to Ft. Lauderdale with her girl friends during spring break, Rusty hatches a plan. He volunteers the combo to travel (all expenses paid!) to the beach resort to keep a watchful eye on the lovely Valerie. A fun story and great songs abound, including "Spring Fever", "Wolf Call", and "Puppet on a String". The movie features Mary Ann Mobley, Gary Crosby, and Jimmy Hawkins in supporting roles.

Shelley Fabares
"Valerie Frank"

Michele "Shelley" Fabares was born on January 19, 1944 in Santa Monica, California. Shelley already had a touch of show business in her family, since her aunt was the well-known musical comedy star Nanette Fabray. Shelley's big break in Hollywood was in 1958 when she started playing Donna Reed's daughter on The Donna Reed Show. After this, Shelley made a small appearance in the 1964 movie Ride the Wild Surf with Barbara Eden. Fabares was already big in Hollywood, but now she was about to encounter the King. Shelley Fabares eventually made 3 movies with Elvis Presley and had a lot of fun making them. Elvis himself said that Shelley was his favorite of all the actresses he had worked with on screen.Fabares' first movie with Presley was the 1965's, Girl Happy. In this film Shelley's character is Valerie Frank, daughter of a tough nightclub owner. As the movie begins, "Big Frank" is concerned because Valerie wants to go to Fort Lauderdale with her friends for spring break. Big Frank appoints Elvis and his band ~ who just happen to be performing at his nightclub ~ to follow Valerie and (secretly) make sure she doesn't get into any trouble. As chaperoning mishaps ensue, Elvis "can't help falling in love" with his charge. He entertains with some great new songs, such as Puppet On a String and Do the Clam.

The Shelley / Elvis chemistry was such a success, that they paired again in 1966 for "Spinout. In Spinout Shelley plays "Cynthia", a rich, spoiled "Daddy's ". Shelley, Deborah Walley, and Diane McBain are all out to get Elvis as their husband, but he enjoys playing the field, saying he is not the marrying kind. Spinout comes equipped with a selection of rockin' Elvis songs.

Fabares' third and final film with Presley was the 1967 hit, Clambake. Here Elvis plays a rich guy who trades places with a water-skiing instructor in order to escape his controlling father. Shelley's character dumps boyfriend Bill Bixby to pair up with Elvis. A few of the featured songs are Clambake and Confidence.

Shelley Fabares went on to even greater fame and popularity by costarring on such television shows as The Brian Keith Show and the hit sitcom, Coach. She is happily married to M*A*S*H's Mike Farrell.

Click here to see my Shelley Fabares autograph.

Gary Crosby
"Andy"

Gary Crosby was born on June 27, 1934,the eldest son of the legendary crooner,Bing Crosby and his first wife, Dixie. Gary was named after his father’s good friend Gary Cooper. As a child, Gary and his three brothers began working on their father’s radio show. Gary made his film debut in 1942’s Star Spangled Rhythm in which he was kissed by Betty Grable.

Bing considered Gary to be the most talented of his boys, so he worked to boost his budding career. Bing teamed with Gary to produce nine duet recordings for commercial release. Their first two records were Playing a Simple Melody and Sam’s Song. This gave a push to Gary’s career and resulted in a few small roles in movies. In 1963 he was signed on to do The Bill Dana Show, which ran on television for two years. About this same time, Crosby was chosen to costar in the Elvis movie, Girl Happy. Gary played a musician named Andy, one of the guys in Elvis’ band. Gary's character was not unlike his off-screen persona... -happy, fun-loving and musically talented.

In 1968, Crosby joined the cast of the popular police drama, Adam 12as Officer Ed Wells. Another police role followed on the 1974 show Chase.

Unbeknownst to fans of both Gary and Bing, life in the Crosby family was not the idyllic situation portrayed in fan magazines. Gary had grown to adulthood with many personal problems, not the least of which were alcoholism and a raging temper. Shortly after Bing's death, Gary wrote a tell-all autobiography entitled Going My Own Way that told about his upbringing. Readers were shocked to learn that the actor who was so closely associated with his lovable and gentle "Father O'Malley" of Going My Way was in reality a cruel despot of a father (at least according to his eldest son). The Mommy Dearest-type book turned many fans against Gary. Incidentally, Gary's younger brother later committed suicide in a state of depression, while watching their Dad's movie, White Christmas.

Gary Crosby continued to make guest appearances on shows and in movies. He had received counseling for his problems and alcoholism and seemed to be happier than ever, but on August 24, 1995, in Burbank, California, he died of lung cancer.

Mary Ann Mobley
"Deena Shepherd"

Mary Ann Mobley was born on February 17, 1939 in Brandon, Mississippi. Mary Ann first became popular when she won the Miss America title in 1959. This success was followed by co-starring in 2 Elvis films: Girl Happy and Harum Scarum, both made in 1965. In Girl Happy, Mary Ann plays Deena, whom Elvis is attracted to until he starts to care for Shelley Fabares. Even though Mary Ann isn't the main love interest in Girl Happy, she provides strong competition is serenaded in songs, Do Not Disturb and Wolf Call. As for Harum Scarum, Mobley plays the beautiful Princess Shalimar, who is the damsel-in-distress.

After her Elvis films, Mary Ann guest-starred on a variety of TV shows such as General Hospital and, more recently, Sabrina, The Teenage . She also contributes to many charitable organizations such as The March of Dimes. Mary Ann has been married to Gary Collins for 31 happy years and are the parents of a grown daughter.

Click here to see my Mary Ann Mobley autograph.

Jimmy Hawkins
"Doc"

Jimmy Hawkins was born on November 13, 1941, in Los Angeles, California. Jimmy’s acting career began when he was only two years of age with the 1944 Spencer Tracy film, The Seventh Cross. Following another role in Marriage is a Private Affair, Hawkins was chosen to co-star in the Frank Capra Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. He played the role of Tommy Bailey, James Stewart and Donna Reed’s youngest son. For the rest of the 40’s and early 50’s, Jimmy was in many films and television shows including The Annie Oakley Series and Leave it to Beaver. In 1958, Hawkins teamed up with Donna Reed again, this time to co-star on her TV Show The Donna Reed Show For 8 seasons he played Shelley Fabares’ boyfriend. This was followed by playing various characters in nine episodes of the long-running sitcom, Petticoat Junction.

Jimmy Hawkins had grown up in TV and movies and become quite a familiar face - but then something happened that would bring him the most recognition yet. Director Boris Sagal had seen Hawkins’ work and thought he would be just right to play Elvis Presley’s sidekick in his upcoming film, Girl Happy. The movie would feature three bandmembers - and Sagal realized that Jimmy’s personality would make him a good choice for any one of the three. The director gave Jimmy the privlege of picking whether he would rather play Andy, Doc, or Wilbur. After reading the script, Hawkins chose the character of Doc, because he thought he could probably play him best. Doc played guitar and sax in the band - the latter of which Hawkins did not really know how to play. To get an idea of the technique needed to portray a sax player, the actor visited night clubs to observe other saxophone players in action. After his work in Girl Happy, Jimmy was suggested for another Elvis film Tickle Me, but he lost the role to Jack Mullaney. Meanwhile, he appeared on the television series Gidget.

In 1966, Jimmy again got the opportunity to co-star in a Presley film. This time it was the racing flick, Spinout ,in which he played Larry. Coincidentally, Jack Mullaney played Elvis’ other sidekick. After working with the King and co-starring in 2 of his movies, Jimmy remembers he had a good time making both films, but enjoyed doing Girl Happy more and that “Elvis was a great guy who was very talented.”

In the 70’s and 80’s, Hawkins tried his hand at producing motion pictures. His projects included Evel Knievel, Love Leads the Way, and Don’t Look Back: The Story of Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige. He also created The 50th Anniversary Motown Returns to the Apollo - a television special based on the famed Black theatre. This accomplishment garnered an Emmy Award.

Jimmy Hawkins - who, today , has over 80 motion picture credits - has come a long way since he charmed war-weary movie audiences as little Tommy Bailey. In the meantime, It’s a Wonderful Life, which was only a moderate success when it was originally released in 1946, became a classic by way of television in the 1980s and 90s. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the beloved film, Hawkins compiled a beautiful coffee table book, entitled The It’s a Wonderful Life 50th Anniversary Scrapbook. He also delighted fans of the movie by authoring the It’s a Wonderful Life Trivia Book. The actor/author/producer’s most recent production was 1997’s “Merry Christmas, George Bailey” ( PBS Television’s all-star radio version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”). He also serves on the Board of The Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Chris Noel
"Betsy"

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