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By Elvis. El Chico de Tupelo.

Rosa García Mora

In 1961 Elvis filming of the movie “Follow That Dream” took place in Yankeetown, Florida.
In the weeks before shooting began, the filmmakers had turned a portion of a small swampy island into a paradise for Elvis.


All dense brush was removed in the Pumpkin Island area, near the bridge over Bird Creek. Tons of earth were dumped to fill it in, and white sand was thrown at the edge of the island to create a paradise beach.

Palm trees were planted. A thatched hut and boat dock were built. A portion of State Highway 40 was painted black, to make it look like a newly completed highway.

“They were changing the land, and the actors and crew were coming in and out in their big limousines,” said Pat Langley, an English teacher at Dunnellon High School. ”It was a great emotion.”

Two high school students, Johnny Jones and his twin brother Tommy, were hired to build the beach: “Every day, they would pick us up in a white limousine to shovel the dirt. When we finished the limo took us home. It was so big you couldn’t touch the front seat from the back seat,” said Johnny Jones.


“We built a beach for the beach scene and they didn’t like it, so we had to build them another one…”

Pumpkin Island was partially owned by Ollie Lynch, who became the local talent scout for the film company.

“Half the people in town were in the movie,” Lynch said. “It was something new and exciting for a small town like this. No one here had ever seen a movie being filmed. I would say it was the most exciting time this town ever seen…”

“What impressed the townspeople the most was the sheer number of film crew limousines. Lynch said he was in awe to see limousines taking Elvis and the other actors from the film set to the backstage trailers.”


Without a doubt, the filming of the movie and the presence of Elvis, was the most exciting moment that the small town of Yankeetow ever lived, and it was an experience that would leave a mark on him forever.


Information provided by ELVIS. El Chico De Tupelo
Rosa Garcia Mora



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