Elvis Presley stars in trailer for Double Trouble in 1967
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Imagine being a regular London teenager working on your mother’s market stall in Portobello market. One day a film producer spots you and comes back weeks later to announce that they would like you to fly to Los Angeles and star in Elvis Presley’s next movie. It sounds like a fantastical Hollywood plot but that is what happened to Annette Day. Decades later she looked back on their time together: “I had a ball, it was tremendous fun.” She described The King’s playful games and extraordinary generosity and why she decided to give up Hollywood and come home. SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH ANNETTE DAY TALK ABOUT WORKING WITH ELVIS
Day, who had no previous acting experience, remembered when she was offered the part of a runaway heiress in 1967’s Double Trouble: “You either take your chance or you don’t. I thought, yes, I am going to do that.”
She was understandably nervous on her first day on set but recalled how her experienced co-star took the time to help her.
She said: “I thought ‘My goodness, what have I let myself in for here’, but he had tremendous patience with me. He very kindly took me through it. He said ‘It’s no problem, just take it easy’.”
Although some moments were easier than others. Describing shooting a scene where he has been gassed unconscious, she said: “Elvis comes in and picks me up and rescues me. The only trouble was it was a four-poster bed and I really whacked my head on the wood. And afterward he was most concerned!”
Despite his increasing unhappiness with his film career, Day described how the superstar’s famous playfulness kept the atmosphere light on set: “Elvis had a terrific sense of humour, he was always playing games.
“There were a couple of times, off-stage, when the light came on for me to go through the door onto the set, and he would grab my coat so I couldn’t walk, and the crew would be calling for me. I had a ball, it was tremendous fun.”
Elvis also displayed his infamous generosity when a casual remark from Day prompted a spectacular gift.
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In a 2017 interview Day remembered the moment: “After a day on set we were talking about how youngsters have to save every penny to buy a car after their graduation. In the US, most youngsters were given a car, not so in the UK.
Soon after Elvis took her outside and told her to close her eyes: “At that moment I knew he had a surprise waiting for me, but never in my wildest dreams could I have thought of a sports car.
“It was a white Mustang convertible. Elvis handed me the keys and said ‘It’s yours.’
“I couldn’t believe it, but I think he did things like that quite often. I think if he was able to help somebody, he liked to do that.”
By the late 1960s Elvis was disillusioned with the repetitive and shallow roles he was repeatedly offered in his film career. He (rightly) believed it was also damaging to his credibility as a recording artist.
Although Double Trouble was better received than some of his previous offerings, he apparently screamed “It’s come to this?” when he was told he would be singing Old MacDonald Had A Farm.
Day recalled: “I think, more than anything, he wanted to be back out on stage to his fans. I think he was quite pleased when the musicals had stopped. I think he would like to have got a more serious picture, he wanted to do more than just musicals. I think he could have been a very good actor, but the films he was in were all the same sort of thing, family films with a few more songs in between.”
Double Trouble finished 58th on the US box office for the year but Elvis would have to make another seven movies before the decade ended and with it his film career.
Day herself also had to decide whether she wanted to pursue a life and career in Hollywood: “I had to decide whether I wanted to continue acting. I had to have a good hard look at myself. I went in at the top, you can’t go higher than that. I asked myself, ‘Have I really got the ambition and the hunger and dedication that most actors have?’ And I hadn’t. So I went back to normal working life.”
Soon after, Day married husband Mike and settled in Shropshire. They had two children and she worked as a secretary at Telford-based SMP Security until she retired.
Happily out of the limelight, she very occasionally agrees to interview but admits she still watched Double Trouble and looks back happily on her adventure with Elvis.
She said: “It brings back lots of happy memories… I can still remember every little bit about it. The fun I had, the enjoyment.”
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