Grease, and in particular Danny from Travolta, is full of tribute to The King’s style and music, but it also extends to some of the scenes exclusively for girls. The iconic Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee snapshot in Grease would not be complete without Rizzo’s sarcastic spirit. One of the most beloved lines of the song is when the leader of the Pink Lady, played by Stockard Channing, shouts at Elvis Presley himself. He playfully refers to the King of Rock and Roll as he sings: “Elvis, Elvis, let me be. Keep this basin away from me.” Creepily the cast later revealed their horror as they filmed the scene and the catastrophic news spread around the world. Even more disturbing, Elvis’s name had been changed in the song to replace another famous star who had died.
Sal Mineo was an American actor best known for starring opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. However, in 1976, he was assassinated. The writers of Grease decided to remove the name of the tragic star from the song.
After that, they put Elvis, knowing full well that when they were shooting the scene for the film, they would hear on the radio the horrible news of Elvis’s death.
Randall Kleiser – the director of Grease – later described the “creepy” atmosphere on set that day and everyone’s disturbed reactions.
The filmmakers approached Elvis to appear in Frances’s dream sequence at dinner. In the film, Frenchy, played by Deedee Conn, is not sure what to do with her life. She then sees the real Frankie Avalon singing the Beauty School Dropout to help her decide.
Initially, the role of Frankie Avalon was to be played by Elvis with a doo wop band from the 1950s. It was a perfect timing because Elvis was working on a comeback. He had recently returned to the stage and desperately wanted to return to acting in Hollywood after the end of his film career in the late 1960s.
A few years earlier, Elvis had been offered the lead role in Barbara Streisand’s 1976 version of A Star Is Born. He always dreamed of proving his acting ability and the role of John Norman Howard, the troubled rock star of the film, excited him.
An official offer was made. It could have changed Elvis’s career and possibly his life. But there was a problem: Colonel Tom Parker.
Elvis’s manager has demanded a staggering $ 1 million salary for his role as John Norman Howard. Memphis Mafia member Jerry Schilling said at the time: “There was no way the movie’s budget could afford two superstar salaries and Elvis did not care about the money. He was smart enough to know that this second role could be is his way back to the movies. “
A Star Is Born finally cast Kris Kristofferson. There was a big box office crash and he won the Streisand and Christofferson Golden Balls.
Shortly afterwards, the King was offered the position of dream dreamer at Grease. But even there things did not work out. Elvis turned down the role in Grease. The producers then approached Frankie, who fortunately took over.
GREASE IN CHANNEL 4 AT 16.20 TODAY