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Speedway

 

 

Shooting began June 12,  1967

Premiered in Charlotte, NC on  June 12,  1968

Character:  Steve Grayson

Producer: Douglas Laurence

Director: Norman Taurog

 

Plot:

Steve Grayson is a stock-car racer with a generous soul who is always sharing his winnings with people in need. Partly due to his generosity and partly because of his manager's love of gambling, Steve finds himself owing the government back taxes. Susan Jacks, IRS agent, attempts to put Steve on a budget that will allow him to pay off the government in installments. Steve tries to soften the all-business agent with romance and music, but she thinks him frivolous and irresponsible. But her tune changes when she realizes that Steve's latest charity case is a former stock=car driver with five daughters who has fallen on hard times. Eventually Susan is able to keep Steve on a budget, while Steve is able to keep Susan on his arm.

 

Songs:

"Speedway"-Sung over the opening credits.

"Let Yourself Go"-Sung in the Hangout Club.

"Your Time Hasn't Come Yet, Baby"-Sung to Victoria Meyerink near the station wagon.

"He's Your Uncle, Not Your Dad"-Sung in the IRS office. Bill Bixby and others joined in.

"Who Are You? (Who Am I?)"-Sung to Nancy Sinatra in the hotel coffee shop.

"There Ain't Nothing Like a Song"-Sung at the Hangout club after the World 600 race. Nancy Sinatra joined in a duet.

Nancy Sinatra had a solo with "Your Groovy Self" in the Hangout Club. "Five Sleep Heads" "Suppose" and "Western Union" were intended for the film but were cut. Reportedly, Malayan prints of Speedway include those three songs.

 

Cast:

Steve Grayson - Elvis Presley

Susan Jacks - Nancy Sinatra

Kenny Donford - Bill Bixby

R. W. Hepworth - Gale Gordon

Abel Esterlake - William Schallert

Ellie Esterlake - Victoria Meyerink

Paul Dado - Ross Hagen

Birdie Kabner - Carl Ballantine

Juan Medala - Poncie Ponce

The Cook - Harry Hickox

Billie Joe - Christopher West

Miss Charlotte Speedway 100 - Miss Beverly Hills (Mary Ann Ashman)

Ted Simmons - Harper Carter

Lloyd Meadows - Bob Harris

Debbie Esterlake - Michelle Newman

Carrie Esterlake - Courtney Brown

Billie Esterlake - Dana Brown

Annie Esterlake - Patti Jean Keith

Mike - Carl Reindel

Dumb Blonde - Gari Hardy

Lori - Charlotte Considine

Race Announcer - Sandy Reed

Mayor Fiergol - S. John Launer

1st Waitress - Sally Mills

2nd Waitress - Barbro Hedstrom

3rd Waitress - Dianne Stanley

Lori's Bridegroom - John McDonnell

Taxpayer - William Keene

Portly, Bald-Headed Man - George Cisar

Secretary - Dee Carroll

Mr. Tillman - Robert J. Stevenson

Willa - Karen Hamilton

Drunk - Claude Stroud

Janitor at the Coffee Shop - Burt Mustin

4th Waitress - Kathy Nelson

5th Waitress - Jamie Michaels

6th Waitress - Sheryl Ullman

Bit Girl - Rita Rogers

Go-Go Dancer - Sharon Garrett

Dado's Crew Chief - Ward Ramsey

Dado's Crew - Robert James, Ralph Adano, Tom McCauley, Gary Littlejohn

1st Guitarist's Girlfriend - Arlene Charles

2nd Guitarist's Girlfriend - Cassandra Lawton

3rd Guitarist's Girlfriend - Marilyn Jones

Guitarist - Charlie Hodge

1st Assistant - Hal Riddle

2nd Assistant - Morgan Hill

Stock-Car Racers - Richard Petty, Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough, Dick Hutcherson, Tiny Lund, G. C. Spencer, Roy Mayne

 

Production Notes:

Several titles were considered for Speedway, among them Guitar City, So I'll Go , and Pot Luck. On May 4, 1967 the title was changed from Pot Luck to Speedway.

Speedway's opening credits mentioned seven professional stock-car racers who played themselves: Richard Petty, Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough, Dick Hutcherson, Tiny Lund, G. C. Spencer and Roy Mayne.

Speedway was filmed on MGM's Culver City lot and on location at North Carolina's Charlotte Speedway. Ten cameras were used to film the Charlotte 500 race.

Sonny and Cher turned down roles in the film.

Petula Clark was originally offered the role of Susan Jacks, but she turned it down.

Speedway grossed $3 million in 1968, ranking #40 of all films released that year.

Trivia:

The number 6 was on the side of Steve Grayson's white Dodge Charger race car. His opponent Paul Dado was #43. Both cars were powered by 426 cubic-inch Chrysler Hemi engines.

The Charlotte 100 is the race won by Steve Grayson. For winning, he received $7,700 ($7,500 plus $200 lap money). He had finished in the money twenty times.

The racing-oriented discotheque where Steve Grayson and Susan Jacks performed was called the Hangout. The house band was Lance and the Spirits. Racing cars sawed in half were used as booths.

Nancy Sinatra sang "Your Groovy Self" in the Hangout. The song, is the only solo by an artist other than Elvis to appear on a regular RCA Elvis album.

For winning the Charlotte Speedway 250 race, Steve earned a total of $9,500.

The song "Five Sleepy Heads" was to have been sung in the scene in which Steve tucks the five Esterlake girls into bed, but it was cut from the film.

Paul Dao's qualifying speed for the world 600 was 153.44 MPH. In that race Steve Grayson came in third, earning $7,670 (including lap money).

After the IRS audit, Steve Grayson still owed $145,000. He was give a $100-a-week allowance by the IRS until his tax obligation was paid. Kenny was put on a $50-a-week allowance.

Kenny charged $35.50 for American Beauty roses to Steve's account to give to Susan. She, in turn, gave them to Steve and deducted them from his $100 weekly allowance.

 

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