Spinout - MGM 1966
By: For Elvis Fans Only
Elvis' 22nd film was "Spinout" (MGM
in 1966), the tale of a race car
driver/entertainer who is chased by
three different women, all with marriage
on their mind. Elvis Presley plays Mike
McCoy, the leader of a small time combo
on the road. Millionaire Howard Foxhugh
played by Carl Betz wants McCoy to sing
solo for his daughter's birthday.
Daughter Cynthia is aptly played by
Shelley Fabares. Entering the plot
further, Foxhugh wants the singer to
drive his new race car in an up and
This film began with the working
title of "Never Say Yes." In January
1966 producer Joe Pasternak asked
Elvis's manager Tom Parker if he had any
suggestions for a better title. Parker
came up with "Jim Dandy" and "Clambake."
Other titles considered were "Never Say
No," "Never Say Yes" and "After
Midnight." In Britain it was finally
released as "California Holiday," while
in the U.S. they ended up using
"Spinout" and saving "Clambake" to use
for a later film.
On January 30, 1966 Elvis and his
entourage left Memphis in his Dodge
motor home and headed to California.
Soon after arriving Elvis gifted his new
toy, a Sony video camera and recorder,
to director Norman Taurog. Personal
video equipment was new on the market
and relatively hard to come by.
Shelley Fabares & Elvis Presley
Elvis reported for film pre-production
on February 11, 1966 and for soundtrack
recording on the 16th. Famed vehicle
customizer George Barris was almost
finished customizing Elvis's new bus. A
bit impatient to try it out, Elvis took
it on a trial spin to Las Vegas that
Principal photography for "Spinout"
began on February 21, 1966. During the
shooting of this film Elvis told a
reporter that he wanted to do another
gospel album. He had in fact been
working on new music at home with
entourage members Charlie Hodge and Red
West. His latest inspiration had come
from folk singers Peter, Paul and Mary
and Odetta singing songs written by Bob
Dylan. He also told the reporter that he
would always keep Graceland because of
the memory of his late mother.
Principal photography finished on April
8, 1966 and Elvis drove his new bus home
to Memphis. The movie opened on November
23, 1966. Theaters sponsored "The
Perfect American Male Essay Contest" as
a way to promote the movie. It was a
play on the character Diana St. Clair's
book and the best essays won Elvis
records as prizes. Radio stations
received promos of the "Spinout" single
and pre-recorded open-ended interviews
with Shelley Fabares, Deborah Walley and
Dian McBain. The film was the 57th
highest grossing film for the year.
Elvis was the tenth highest paid actor
Shelley Fabares was one
of Elvis's favourite leading ladies. This
film marked the second of three movies
that they made together. She went on to
receive two Emmy Award nominations for
her long-time role on the TV series
"Coach." "Spinout" reunited Ms. Fabares
with two of her previous co-stars from
the popular TV series "The Donna Reed
Show" - Carl Betz and Jimmy Hawkins.
Carl Betz had played Fabares's
character's father Dr. Alex Stone on
"The Donna Reed Show" and in this film
he played her character's father Howard
Foxhugh. Betz, a graduate of Carnegie
Tech. (today known Carnegie Mellon),
played in the 1938 Sugar Bowl football
game and made his acting debut on stage.
He received an Emmy Award in 1969 for
his TV series "Judd For The Defence."
Jimmy Hawkins, who played Larry in
"Spinout" and had played Doc in Elvis's
movie "Girl Happy," was also a co-star
of Fabares's on "The Donna Reed Show."
He began acting as a child and had the
role of Tagg Oakley on the "Annie
Oakley" TV series. He might be best
known as Tommy Bailey in the film "It's
A Wonderful Life."
Location shooting for "Spinout" took
place at the Los Angles Dodgers Baseball
Stadium as well as Ascot Motor Car
Racing Ground. Over 200 extras were used
for the Sante Fe Road Race scene.
Elvis's character drove a classic 1929
Duesenberg to tow his race car around.
There were, as usual for an Elvis
movie, a number of lovely actresses who
had bit parts in this film. Among them
was a very young Rita Wilson, who would
go on to be a movie star and a film
producer. She is married to actor Tom
Diane McBain, who played author Diana
St. Clair, started her career as a
teenage model. She has played in a
number of TV series including "Surfside
Six" and today continues to perform on
television and in films.
Elvis Presley & Deborah Walley
portrayed drummer Les. She was the
daughter of Ice Capades skating stars
and started her career skating with her
parents at the age of three. Known for
her perky roles as Gidget and other
beach movie characters, in the 1970s she
moved to Arizona to raise her family.
There she founded children's theater
companies and promoted the arts in
inner-city schools and among the local
Native Americans. She became an author
writing stories and scripts about the
Native American culture.
Will Hutchins, best
known for his lead role as Tom
"Surgarfoot" Brewster on television in
the late 1950s, played Lt. Tracy
Richards in "Spinout" and worked again
with Elvis in the 1967 film "Clambake."
He was at one time married to comedian
Carol Burnett's younger sister Chris.
For a while in the 1970s. Hutchins was a
professional clown and circus
Jack Mullaney, often cast as the goofy
sidekick, played musician Curly in
"Spinout." He had played Elvis's buddy
in the movie
Shelley Fabares & Elvis Presley
Milton Berle's nephew Warren Berlinger
played Phillip Short. His career as a
character actor began in 1956 with the
film "Teenager Rebel" and continues
Cecil Kellaway, who played Bernard
Ranley in "Spinout," was known for his
many character roles, two of which
garnered him Academy Award nominations.
One was for his role as a leprechaun in
the 1948 film "The Luck of the Irish"
and the other was for his part as the
monsignor in the 1967 film "Guess Who's
Coming to Dinner."
Una Merkel, who played Violet Ranley,
was a veteran character actor who began
her career as a stand-in for Lillian
Gish in the 1920s. She was nominated for
an Academy Award in 1962 for the film
"Summer and Smoke" and she won a Tony
Award in 1956 for the Broadway show "The
Ponder Heart." "Spinout" was her last
Dodie Marshall had a role in "Spinout"
as Susan and went on to be Elvis's
leading lady in the film
The story was written by Theodore J.
Flicker and George Kirgo.
Theodore J. Flicker was a director for
TV series such as "The Andy Griffith
Show", "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and "I
Dream of Jeannie" when he also began to
write scripts. He went on to be
nominated for Best Written American
Screenplay by the Writer's Guild for the
1968 work "The President's Analyst."
Co-writer George Kirgo was a TV writer
who was president of the Writer's Guild
from 1987 to 1991.
"Spinout" was produced by Joe Pasternak,
who had also produced Elvis's film "Girl
Happy." His credits include four Academy
Award nominations and ten Golden Laurel
The associate producer was Hank
Moonjean, who had been an assistant
director on the Elvis film "Jailhouse
Rock." He went on to receive a 1989
Oscar nomination for Best Picture for
producing "Dangerous Liaisons."
The director was Norman Taurog, who was
one of Elvis's favourites to work with.
Choreographer Jack Baker had worked with
Elvis on "It Happened At The World's
Fair" and later worked with him on "Live
A Little, Love A Little."
Look And Listen
- Adam And Evil
- All That I Am
- Never Say Yes
- Am I Ready
- Beach Shack
- I'll Be Back
Writing Credits Theodore J.
Flicker, George Kirgo
Producer Joe Pasaternak
Elvis Presley .... Mike McCoy, Shelley
Fabares .... Cynthia Foxhugh, Diane
McBain .... Diana St. Clair, Dodie
Marshall .... Susan, Deborah Walley ....
Les, Jack Mullaney .... Curly, Will
Hutchins .... Lt. Tracy Richards, Warren
Berlinger.... Philip Short, Jimmy
Hawkins .... Larry, Carl Betz ....
Howard Foxhugh, Cecil Kellaway ....
Bernard Ranley, Una Merkel .... Violet
Ranley, Frederick Worlock.... Blodgett,
Dave Barry .... Harry.