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Viva Las Vegas-Trivia

  • Elvis Presley’s fifteenth movie was ‘Viva Las Vegas’, which was filmed July 15 – September 11, 1963.
  • It opened nationwide on June 17, 1964 and became Elvis’ highest grossing film ever. It co-starred Ann-Margret.

  • This was the biggest grossing of all Elvis Presley’s movies, eclipsing his previous all-time top hit, Blue Hawaii (1961), by about $450,000.
  • Surprisingly, according to Variety, “Viva Las Vegas” earned more in distributors rentals than A Hard Day’s Night (1964) despite both films being released in 1964 at the height of Beatlemania. “Viva Las Vegas” grossed $9,442,967 compared to $6,165,000 for The Beatles’ debut feature.

  • Location filming took place in Las Vegas area locations including: the parking lot of the Sahara Hotel, Lake Mead Marina, a drag strip in the suburb of Henderson, the old Vegas Amusement Park in Henderson, a skeet shooting range at the Tropicana Hotel, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas gymnasium, McCarran Airport and the swimming pool at the Flamingo Hotel.
  • The wedding scene was shot at the Little Church of the West, which is a famous wedding chapel in Las Vegas listed on the U.S. National Registry of Historical Places as the oldest existing structure on the Las Vegas Strip. It has been the scene for many real celebrity weddings since the first one, the 1943 marriage of Betty Grable and Harry James.

  • Presley recorded the song “Viva Las Vegas” on July 10, 1963, for the film and it is commonly known as the unofficial theme song of the city of Las Vegas. In the film’s scene where Presley sings “Viva Las Vegas,” it was performed in a single unedited shot.
  • No soundtrack album was released from the movie at the time the film was in theatres. No official reason for this has been given.

  • Some theatres chose to bill Ann-Margret above Elvis Presley due to her popularity at the time.
  • In the dance/music scene on the “roulette wheel,” Lucky is playing an electric guitar that is not plugged in.

  • There’s a scene in the film where Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret marry. Tabloids of the day shared photos of the movie wedding, claiming the two had actually gotten married.
  • While they didn’t wed, Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret did begin an affair on the set of “Viva Las Vegas.” Ann-Margret later said Elvis sent her flowers in the shape of a guitar whenever she began a new Las Vegas engagement.

  • In the movie, Ann-Margret’s character was named Rusty Martin. Presley’s nickname for her was “Rusty Ammo.” He also called her “Scoobie” and “Thumper.”
  • During the filming of “Viva Las Vegas,” the movie’s director took heat because it seemed he was giving Ann-Margret favorable camera angles at The King’s expense. Presley’s manager, Colonel Parker, confronted the film’s producers to ensure Presley remained the movie’s featured performer.

  • Continuity mistake: Ann Margaret is seen dancing with high heeled shoes at the beginning of a dance routine and during the routine is seen in flat ballet shoes, then near the end she is seen wearing high heeled shoes again.
  • Continuity mistake: When Ann Margaret and Elvis are vying to win the big money prize, she is wearing a bathing suit under a white fur coat. Her hair is sleek. When she wins second prize (the pool table) she collects her prize in a pink dress and her hair is styled in curls on top of her head. This is the same dress and hairstyle she wore the night before in the bedroom dinner scene.

  • Factual error: Elvis and Ann Margaret take a trip in a helicopter over Hoover Dam and Lake Meade. They are flying in a small 2 seater copter with a bubble canopy and no doors. During the trip Elvis and Ann talk to each other without headphones or microphones in a normal tone of voice. In that type of helicopter, especially one with no doors, the sound would have been deafening and they wouldn’t have heard each other even while screaming.
  • It was during the filming that Elvis first heard of The Beatles when someone had their first English LP on the set. He took it into his room and listened to it for hours. He then banned their music from the set.

Information provided by Linda Zabriskie Johnson 

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