On the Road with Elvis
Elvis Presley would have turned 81 today, his still-celebrated body of musical, movie and concert work looming large in our cultural history. His name also adorns some well-traveled thoroughfares, including Elvis Presley Blvd. in Memphis, Tennessee (home of Graceland), Elvis Presley Avenue in Shreveport, Louisiana, and Elvis Presley Drive in his birthplace of Tupelo, Mississippi. In 1961, the actor-singer went to Florida to film the breezy and family-friendly lark Follow That Dream (1962), which Paul Mavis of DVD Talk considered “one of Elvis’s best films, featuring a quietly astute, relaxed comedic performance by Presley that may surprise viewers who’ve only seen his more popular roles.” Adorning a shaggy plot the concerns a vagabond family homesteading some unincorporated land when their car breaks down, triggering the comic interference of haughty government officials, buttinsky child welfare workers and bumbling gangsters, The King warbles the catchy title tune, What a Wonderful Life, I’m Not the Marrying Kind, Sound Advice and Angel, while showing some choice judo moves and extricating his close-knit orphan clan out of its troubles. The results were not only a box-office success that employed a number of extras from the area and provided a boost for the local economy but the 1996 dedication of a section of County Road 40 now designated the Follow That Dream Parkway, commemorating the filming that took place in Inglis, Yankeetown and nearby areas. Available on Twilight Time hi-def Blu-ray as well as Presley’s dramatic Western Flaming Star (1960), Follow That Dream will take you on an entertaining ride with the show-business giant who always transported audiences down soulfully melodic roads.