Monday, February 23, 2015

Calendar* Clarification: Elvis Presley's New Movie Contract

You will notice several websites which report that on March 1, 1961, Elvis Presley signed a five-year movie contract with producer Hal Wallis, while others report that the contract was signed on January 18 or January 21.  Unlike most music history news, our extensive research was unable to definitively uncover the exact date of the contract.

Presley and Wallis had signed a seven-year movie deal on April 25, 1956  following a successful screen test by Presley.  Presley appeared in several movies before entering the United States Army.  On March 5, 1960, Presley was discharged from active duty, and Wallis no doubt wanted to ink Elvis to a new contract as soon as possible.  We researched possible dates in 1960 but could find no evidence that Presley signed that year. 
Although unfortunately no credible sources can be found as to the exact date, our best research indicates that Presley signed the contract on January 18, 1961.  Elvis fan sites are unfortunately our best source for this, and they indicate that the contract was signed on January 18.  There is a picture of Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, with Wallis at Paramount Studios on January 18, 1961 included in the book Colonel Tom Parker: The Curious Life of Elvis Presley's Eccentric Manager by James L. Dickerson. We do not know if the picture and its date led to speculation that the contract must have been signed then.   

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