54 Years Ago….
Viva Las Vegas opened starring Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret. Some feel (not me) this is the King’s best sixties movie and a lot of the credit went to sex kitten Ann-Margret who more than held her own singing and dancing opposite him. Their chemistry lit up the screen and continued once the cameras stopped rolling as Elvis famously romanced the redhead throughout the entire shoot only to fade out once production wrapped.
Elvis played Lucky Jackson a racecar driver in town to compete in the Vegas Grand Prix. Lucky is immediately attracted to Rusty Martin (Ann-Margret) a red-headed stunner who wiggles her way into his garage with car trouble. Lucky’s racing rival Count Elmo Mancini (Cesare Danova) also flips for her charms. Guess who wins the big race and the girl?
Christopher Riordan recalled making the movie in my book Talking Sixties Drive-In Movies:
“Elvis was delightful—right from the very beginning. He was the kind of man that if he saw that you had some kind of talent or had dedication or what have you, he’d zero in on that immediately…Ann-Margret is shy, but a sweet, sweet lady and not at all pretentious. She was having a grand time on Viva Las Vegas even though she worked really hard on this. I wound up working with Ann-Margret two more times.”