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Roustabout

 

 

Shooting began March 9, 1964 and completed April 20, 1964

Opened nationally November 11, 1964

Character:  Charlie Rogers

Producer: Hal B. Wallis

Director: John Rich

 

Plot:

Charlie Rodgers is a drifter who lands a job as a handyman, known among the carnies as a roustabout, with a carnival which has fallen on hard times. When Charlie breaks into a song while on the midway, the owner soon learns that her fortune with the roustabout is with his singing. As the news spreads about her recent discovery, the profits begin to soar for the Carney. Charlie also takes a shine with one of the female carnival workers. After a misunderstanding about a stolen wallet, Charlie leaves to work for a rival carnival. When the truth is discovered, Charlie is forgiven and Maggie begs to have him come back. He returns with enough money to pay off her debts, and wins the heart of the young lady.

 

Songs:

"Roustabout"-Sung over the opening credits.

"Poison Ivy League"-Sung in Mother's Tea House.

"Wheels on My Heels"-Sung while riding a motorcycle after being bailed out of jail.

"It's a Wonderful World"-Sung while riding on a Ferris wheel with Joan Freeman.

"It's Carnival Time"-Sung at the Cat Rack while encouraging people to throw. It was later sung in front of the girlie show.

"Carney Town"-Sung in front of the girlie show.

"One Track Heart"-Sung on stage at the girlie show.

"Hard Knocks"-Sung on stage at the girlie show.

"Little Egypt"-Sung at Carver's Combined Shows during Little Egypt's dance.

"Big Love, Little Heartache"-sung at Carver's Combined Shows.

 

Cast:

Charlie Rogers - Elvis Presley

Maggie Morgan - Barbara Stanwyck

Cathy Lean - Joan Freeman

Joe Lean - Leif Erickson

Madame Mijanou - Sue Ann Langdon

Harry Carver - Pat Buttram

Marge - Joan Staley

Arthur Nielsen - Dabbs Greer

Freddie - Steve Brodie 

Sam, a College Student - Norman Grabowski

Lou - Jack Albertson

Hazel - Jane Dulo

Cody Marsh - Joe Fluellen

Little Egypt - Wilda Taylor

Gus, a Motorcyclist in the Wall of Death - Arthur Levy

Ernie, a  Motorcyclist in the Wall of Death - Ray Kellogg

Dick - Toby Reed

Gregg, Employee at Bill's Motorcycle Repairs - Ken Becker

Viola - Marianna Hill

B. J. Lewis - Lester Miller

Cora - Beverly Adams

Craig - Glen R. Wilder

Dancer - Mercedes G. Ford

Barkers - Eddie Marr, Bob Matthews, Buddy Lewis, Jack Whalen, Lance Legault

Sheriff - K. L. Smith

Deputies - Mike Mahoney, Roger V. Creed

Billy, the Midget - Billy Barty

Stage Manager - Jerry James

Fat Lady - Barbara Hemingway

Strong Man - Richard Kel

Juggler - Max Manning

Elephant Girl - Dianne Simpson

Carnival Worker - Red West

Volcano Man - John Turk

Clown - Chester Hayes

Concessionaire - Joe Forte

College Students - Lynn Borden, Linda Foster, Teri Hope, Raquel Welch

Boys with Balloons - Steve Condit, Dean Moray

Sexy Girl - Dianne Libby 

Man - Owen Bush

Boy - Jimmy Gaines

1st Farmer - Richard Di Paolo

2nd Farmer - Theodore E. Lehmann

Harry Carver's Secretary - Maugene H. Gannon

Little Girl - Katie Sweet

 

Production Notes:

Roustabout was first announced in May 1961, but took three years to go to production.

The original title was Right This Way Folks.

Charlie Rogers original name was Charlie Main, the original name for Maggie Morgan was Maggie Moore.

Exteriors for Roustabout were filmed near Thousand Oaks, CA. Producer Hal Wallis had one of the large traveling carnivals in the West erect tents and build a midway on some land there. For the big-tent interiors, the giant doors of stages #12, #14, and #15 on the Paramount lot were opened to combine the three stages for the first time in the history of the studio.

On February 15, 1965, in the New York Supreme court, professional dancer Little Egypt sued Paramount Pictures, RCA Victor, and Elvis Presley Music, Inc., for $2.5 million in damages. She also sought an injunction restraining exhibitions of Roustabout and stopping sales of the Roustabout LP, which contained the song "Little Egypt." Her contention was that the tune and the use of the Little Egypt name in the film was done without her authorization, causing her irreparable harm and holding her up to public ridicule. She lost the case. The original Little Egypt, Catherine Devine, caused a sensation when she danced at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.

Roustabout was ranked #28 on Variety's list of top-grossing films for the year 1965. By the end of that year, it had grossed $3 million. Roustabout reached as high as #8 on Variety's weekly list.

Trivia:

Mother's Tea House is an Espresso cafe owned by Lou at which Charlie Rogers sang at the beginning of the film.

Charlie Rogers rode a 1964 Honda 350 motorcycle, California license plate number 204843.

Charlie lived near Shreveport, LA.

Restroom name in carnival language is Donniker.

Harry Carver was the owner of Carver's Combined Shows, and was nicknamed "Harry the Undertaker" because he waited for small shows to die and then bought them.

Blooper: On a blackboard outside the girlie show, it was indicated that the next show was at 9:30. A few minutes later, the same blackboard had the next show listed at 8:30.

Bill's Motorcycle Repairs was the shop that repaired Charlie's motorcycle and the cost was $150 which was paid by Joe.

For the motorcycles to perform in the "Wall of Death" stunt, a speed of 40 miles per hour had to be attained.

Charlie earned $1,050 for three weeks work at Carver's Combine Shows. When he left to go back to Morgan's Shows, Charlie gave Carver $50 as partial payment on his contract and $1,000 to Arthur Nielsen as partial payment on Maggie Morgan's overdue loan payment.

"There's a Brand New Day on the Horizon"-Sung on the midway at the end of the film

 

Click here for movie clips

 

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