‘Live a Little, Love a Little’ at 50

This blog could have been called “Kiss My Firm But Pliant Lips” at 50, but thank goodness, it’s not. That was the original title to Elvis Presley’s 28th movie, “Live a Little, Love a Little.” Released in October 1968, the comedy just turned 50. In addition to plenty of laughs, the movie gave us one of Elvis’ biggest hits, “A Little Less Conversation.” Let’s take a look back at this comedy, and say farewell to one of the king’s co-stars, on this week’s Graceland Blog. “Live a Little, Love a Little” is based on the novel “Kiss My Firm But Pliant Lips” by Dan Greenburg. Greenburg became a best-selling writer with his 1964 book “How to Be a Jewish Mother.” He adapted “Kiss My Firm But Pliant Lips” into a screenplay with Michael A. Hoey. Other working titles for the film include “Bumblebee Oh Bumblebee” and “Born Rich.” Greenburg also wrote for the TV show “Adam’s Rib.” Hoey grew up around Hollywood movie studios, as his father was character actor Dennis Hoey. He worked with director Norman Taurog on several Elvis movies, including “Spinout,” “Stay Away Joe,” “Tickle Me” and “Live a Little, Love a Little.” He received two Emmy Award nods for his work on “Fame,” the TV show, and he produced several Emmy Award-winning shows. “Live a Little, Love a Little” was directed by Norman Taurog, who directed nine Presley pictures – more than any other director. He directed “G.I. Blues,” “Blue Hawaii,” “Girls!Girls!Girls!” “It Happened at the World’s Fair,” “Tickle Me,” “Spinout,” “Double Trouble” and “Speedway.” “Live a Little, Love a Little” was not only his last Elvis movie to direct, but the last movie he directed at all – he retired from directing after making this film. He later taught at the University of California School of Cinema and remained a board member of the Director’s Guild. Elvis reported to MGM Studios on March 4, 1968, to begin pre-production. He worked with musical conductor and writer Billy Strange – who he collaborated with on several films and on the ’68 Special – and recorded the soundtrack on March 7. Filming began on March 13, and locations included the Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, Marineland, the Hollywood Citizen News building, Los Angeles Music Center and the streets of Hollywood Hills. In “Live a Little, Love a Little,” Elvis stars as photographer Greg Nolan. He’s working for two employers...
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