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Elvis on the Rise

Hooray For Hollywood

Elvis had a screen test with Hal Wallis, who had made the Maltese Falcon and Casablanca. Elvis wanted to be a serious actor, like Marlon Brando or James Dean. He wasn't interested in just singing in the movies. However, his first screen test included him miming some songs with a toy guitar. Everyone at the studio was impressed with the energy that Elvis had when he was holding a guitar, even a toy one, in his hands: “The electricity just bounced off the walls of the sound stage,” screenwriter Alan Weiss said. Elvis was signed to a three-movie contract with 20th Century Fox.

Did You Know?

Elvis's style began to take shape early in his life. During his junior year of high school, Elvis was kicked off the football team for refusing to cut his hair! He wore dressy pants and shirts, snazzy shoes, and flashy sports jackets.

Elvis appeared on The Milton Berle Show in 1956 for the first time. He sang “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Blue Suede Shoes.” A comedy sketch featured Milton Berle in an outfit identical to Elvis's, with his pants rolled up like a hillybilly's and sporting enormous blue suede shoes. He introduced himself as Elvis's twin brother, Melvin. If Elvis was upset about the reference to a twin brother, he did not show it.

Additional topics

Musician BiographiesElvis PresleyElvis on the Rise - Good-bye To Sun, The Man Behind Elvis Presley: Colonel Tom Parker, Recording At Rca