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Harum Scarum

 

 

Shooting began March 15, 1965

Premiered in Los Angeles on November 24, 1965

Character:  Johnny Tyronne

Producer: Sam Katzman

Director: Gene Nelson

 

Plot:

Johnny Tyronne is a matinee idol. A take off on Elvis himself, Johnny is a famous movie and recording star who makes the women swoon and the men jealous. On a personal appearance tour in Lunarkand- a fictional country somewhere in the Middle East- Johnny is kidnapped by a gang of assassins and suddenly thrust into a plot to kill King Toranshah. Johnny escapes and falls in with a band of pickpockets and rogues, all the while rescuing damsels in distress and singing a variety of pop style tunes. Johnny falls in love with a beautiful handmaiden, unbeknownst to him, she is really Princess Shalimar, daughter of King Toranshah. Johnny thwarts the assassination attempt on the king, wins the heart of Princess Shalimar, and returns to America with a new act. He opens in Las Vegas with a middle Eastern dancing troupe, complete with exotic harem girls.

 

Songs:

"Harem Holiday"-Sung over the opening credits and at the Galaxy Hotel at the end of the film.

"My Desert Serenade"-Sung to an Arabian girl within Johnny Tyronne's movie Sand of the Desert, which was screened at the beginning of Harem Scarum.

"Go East, Young Man"-Sung to the audience immediately after the screening of Sands of the Desert.

"Mirage"-Sung to Sinan's slave girls in the Garden of Paradise.

"Kismet"-Sung to Mary Ann Mobley at the Pool of Omar.

"Shake That Tambourine"-Sung in a courtyard while Billy Barty picked the pockets of those in the crowd.

"Hey, Little Girl"-Sung to Vicki Malkin while performing a dance number with her in Zacha's palace.

"Golden Coins"-Sung to Mary Ann Mobley during her vision of Johnny Tyronne (Elvis) as she gazed into the pool in her palace.

"So Close, Yet so Far (from Paradise)"-Sung in a jail cell after being apprehended in King Toranshah's palace.

"Animal Instinct" and "Wisdom of the Ages" were both cut from the film.

 

Cast:

Johnny Tyronne - Elvis Presley

Princess Shalimar - Marry Ann Mobley

Aishah - Fran Jeffries

Prince Dragna of Lunarkand - Michael Ansara

Zacha - Jay Novello

King Toranshah, Ruler of Lunarkand - Philip Reed

Sinan, Lord of the Assassins - Theo Marcuse

Baba - Billy Barty

Mokar - Dirk Harvey

Julna - Jack Costanza

Captain Herat - Larry Chance

Leilah, Aide to Princess Shalimar - Barbara Werle

Emerald- Brenda Benet

Sapphire - Gail Gilmore

Amethyst - Wilda Taylor

Sari - Vicki Malkin

Mustapha - Ryck Rydon

Scarred Bedouin - Richard J. Reeves

Yussef - Joey Russo

Naja - Suzanna Covington

Heroine of Sands of the Desert film - Carolyn Carter

Princess - Maja Stewart

Noble - Ralph Lee

President of Babalstan - Robert Lamont

U. S. Ambassador McCord - Hugh Sanders

Cashier - Judy Durell

Assassin - Red West

 

Production Notes:

Harum Scarum went through several title changes and spellings before filming started. Titles announced were as follows: January 14-In My Harem; February 24-Harem Holiday; March 1-Harem Scarum; March 8- Harem Holiday; March 14-Harem Scarum; and finally March 14-Harum Scarum.

The temple set used in Harum Scarum was originally built by Cecil B. De Mille in 1925 at a cost of $3,800, for his film King of Kings. It cost MGM more than $40,000 to remodel the set for Elvis's film.

The costumes worn by one hundred extras were originally used in 1944's Kismet and later retailored for the 1955 remake.

The dagger Elvis carried in the film was previously used in 1939's Lady of the Tropics.

During the 1965 Thanksgiving holiday, MGM had more than 550 prints of the film playing nationwide.

Harum Scarum was shot in only eighteen days.

Trivia:

Sands of the Desert was the Johnny Tyronne film that premiered in the Near East country of Babalstan.

Lunarkand is the Arab kingdom to which Johnny Tyronne traveled as a guest of King Toranshah. Its capital city was Taj. Because it was surrounded by the Mountains of the Moon, Lunarkand had been isolated from the rest of the world for 2,000 years.

Sinan was known as "Lord of Assassins." He and his rebel gang took over Sheik El-Hussein's palace fortress.

Zacha said he was a member in good standing  of the Guild of Marketplace Thieves.

Pool of Omar is a small body of water near which Johnny Tyronne and Princess Shalimar rendezvoused with Zacha.

Upon first meeting Johnny Tyronne, Princess Shalimar told him she was a slave named Yani.

Bakir Oil Company is the petroleum corporation that wanted to drill for oil in Lunarkand's Valley of the Moon. When King Toranshah wouldn't allow it, his brother, Prince Dragna, decided to kill the king so that he could profit from the transaction.

Prince Dragna offered Sinan 50,000 gold dinars if he would kill King Toranshah.

The Galaxy Hotel is a Las Vegas casino at which Johnny Tyronne appeared with his "Harem of Dancing Jewels from the Near East."

 

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