On December 4, 1962, a brief United Press wire service report from Mexico City began appearing in American newspapers. He stated that “Elvis Presley will travel incognito to Mexico to film ‘Fiesta en México’”.
The misinformation from Mexico was the first public indication that Hal Wallis was in the pre-production phase of his next Elvis Presley movie.
Within days, the producer began providing updates to Hollywood columnists.
On December 6, Louella Parsons revealed in her column that the upcoming film’s title was actually “Fun in Acapulco“, and that its setting would not be Mexico City, but rather the Mexican coastal city of Acapulco.
Presley’s ability to work undercover anywhere in Mexico would have been virtually impossible, not only because of his worldwide fame, but also because of the bad press the singer had received in Mexico over the years before.
It began in January 1957, when the Mexican Ministry of Education prohibited Presley from appearing at any official venue in the country because the singer’s Rock ‘n ‘Roll style “lacks aesthetic values and is markedly pornographic.”
A month later, a Hollywood columnist reported that “Elvis Presley was offered $12,000 for a television appearance in Mexico City, but he turned it down because he’s too busy making movies in Hollywood.”
Barely a week later, on March 4, 1957, an article on a cable service in the Mexican capital noted that “feelings toward Presley have been on the rise in Mexico ever since a Mexico City columnist claimed that the singer verbally insulted to Mexican women. ”
Presley denied making any statements about Mexican women, and a check where the statement was allegedly made turned up no reports of it.
In 1963, the rumor was still widely believed in Mexico, and even Hollywood columnist Sheilah Graham reported it as fact in her December 1962 column.
“Elvis Presley made some disparaging comments about Mexican women in a fan magazine article about two years ago. In Mexico, they are only now beginning to forgive him.”
The cunning Wallis devised a strategy to avoid the interruptions in production that Presley’s presence in Mexico could cause. Your movie star wouldn’t set foot south of the border.
Background photography would be done in Acapulco, but all scenes with Presley would be filmed in Hollywood.
In late 1962 and early 1963, Hal Wallis kept the Hollywood press informed when he cast Elvis’ co-stars and supporting cast for “Fun in Acapulco.”
International actress Ursula Andress was signed to play the lead Elvis, and as this was to be his first American-made film, it is doubtful that Elvis knew who she was when he got the part.
Of course, she became known internationally as the first “Bond Girl” after the British-born “Dr. No:” was released in the US later in 1963.
Some in the Hollywood press suspected that Wallis hired Elsa Cárdenas, the “queen of cinema in Mexico,” to assuage some of the resentment toward Elvis in his country.
In a Hollywood interview, Elsa revealed that she gave up a fortune to become an actress. Her millionaire grandfather disinherited her, she said, because he didn’t approve of acting. “But it was worth it,” he professed.
“…look at me now. I’m co-starring in a movie with Elvis Presley. That’s worth a fortune to a lot of girls.
In “Fun In Acapulco“, the green-eyed Cárdenas played Dolores Gómez, a famous bullfighter who competes with Úrsula Andress for Elvis’ affection.
Information provided by Elvis Shop Argentina. https://www.facebook.com/elvis.shop.argentina
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