Following That Dream with Elvis PresleyPosted by Elvis Presley's Graceland on Apr 6, 2017 | 13 comments
Look out – here come the Kwimpers!
Did you know that “Here Come the Kwimpers” was almost the title of Elvis’ ninth movie, “Follow That Dream”? The movie premiered in April 1962, followed by a nationwide release on May 23 – so this year marks the movie’s 55th anniversary.
In “Follow That Dream,” Elvis plays Toby, a member of the rag-tag Kwimper family. There’s his dad, Pop (Arthur O’Connell), and several kids they’ve taken in – the wise-beyond-her-years Holly (Anne Helm), the adorable twins, Eddy and Teddy (Gavin and Robin Koon, respectively), and the baby, Adriane. The Kwimpers find success when they start their own business on a roadside in Florida, but trouble arises when the mob sets up a gambling business next door and a social worker threatens to take away the youngest Kwimpers.
“Follow That Dream” is based on the 1957 novel “Pioneer, Go Home,” by Richard Powell. The original title of the film was the same as the novel, but composers couldn’t come up with a rhyme for “Pioneer” for the title song. The movie’s title was then changed to “What a Wonderful Life.” Producers also considered the “Here Come the Kwimpers” title, as well as “It’s a Beautiful Life,” but “Follow That Dream” won in the end.
Elvis and the crew filmed “Follow That Dream” from July 11-August 28, 1961. They filmed the movie in Florida and Hollywood.
The film was directed by Gordon Douglas, who also directed movies such as “Robin and the 7 Hoods,” and “Them!,” as well as the TV show “The Little Rascals.” Douglas is the only director who worked with both Elvis and Frank Sinatra, as Sinatra starred in “Robin and the 7 Hoods.”
During filming, gambling was illegal in Florida. The gambling equipment needed for filming was brought in by a member of the Chamber of Commerce of a Florida city and a few anonymous gamblers.
If you’ve seen “Follow That Dream,” you’ve seen a few actors who also starred in other Elvis films. The judge was played by Roland Winters, who also played Elvis’ father in “Blue Hawaii.” Actor Howard McNear starred in “Follow That Dream” as the bank loan officer, George, and he also starred in “Blue Hawaii.”
During the 2017 Elvis’ Birthday Celebration, twins Gavin and Robin Koon spoke to fans about their work with Elvis in the movie. Check out a part of their interview on the latest episode of our Starring Elvis Presley Podcast about “Follow That Dream” – click here to tune in.
Don’t forget – you can see artifacts from Elvis’ movie career in our all-new Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum at Elvis Presley’s Memphis in Graceland. Click here to learn more about the experience and to get your tickets.
What are your favorite scenes and songs from this comedy?