|ELVIS KILLS EVIL ARAB TERRORIST
Elvis film has him in the Middle East out to kill an Arabian king in Harum Scarum
By Dave Masko (Huliq.com)
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Elvis Presley spent his final Thanksgiving in Eugene, and the “King” is much loved in this town that
still shows his old movies, to include “Harum Scarum,” that’s now been re-released in a special
DVD with Elvis wearing an Arab headdress in this 1965 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film that promotes
Elvis’s “fighting finesse to kill a desert king” in the Middle East.
Elvis Presley was a well-trained, highly-disciplined martial artist and a 8th degree black belt, states
his official website in Memphis. In turn, Elvis trivia from “The Internet Movie Database,” notes that
Elvis made 33 films as an actor between the late 1950’s and 1969, with the 1965 film “Harum
Scarum” viewed as ''his worst and strangest film'', according to the Elvis Tribute web site.
Harum Scarum features “the King” as martial arts wiz “Johnny Tyronne” whose kidnapped by a
Middle East terrorist group that whisks him to a remote Arabian realm where – along with former
Miss America Mary Ann Mobley – he must use his fighting finesse to kill a desert king. The film
opens with Tyronne (Elvis) killing a leopard with a karate chop.
Elvis “takes care of business” while killing evil Arab terrorists
While there’s no film of the U.S. Navy SEAL teams that took out Osama bin Laden earlier this
month, there’s Elvis starring in “Harum Scarum” that the web site “Elvis Australia” calls a film with
“an odd setting where Elvis is an American actor who gets kidnapped while singing on a tour in the
Middle East. The capturers try to get Elvis to kill an Arabian king. Elvis falls in love with the princess
(played by Mary Ann Mobley), and manages to get out of the trouble and set things right."
According to The Internet Movie Database, Harum Scarum was shoot in only 18 days, and features
the songs in "Harum Scarum" are "Golden Coins", "Harem Holiday", "Shake That
Tambourine", "So Close But Yet So Far", "Mirage", "Hey, Little Girl", "My Desert
Serenade", "Go East, Young Man", and "Kismet."
Also, because European and Asian audiences were sensitive to negative terms about Arab culture
at the time of the film’s release in 1965, trivia from the Internet Movie Database notes that the film’s name was changed to “Harem Holiday” and dubbed “a
musical film and comedy,” so not to upset fans in the Middle East who may have been alarmed at the sight of Elvis killing Arabs, as he does in the film with a
mission to take out an evil Arabian king in Baghdad, Iraq.
Elvis kicks terrorist butt in vintage Sixties film
While there’s a lot of trivia surrounding the filming of Harum Scarum -- that’s regarded by many Elvis fans as one of his worst – it’s interesting to note that the
re-release of the film on DVD conincides with the 90th anniversary this year of another movie icon, Rudolph Valentino, who also wore an Arab headdress in
“The Sheik” released in 1921.
Local reaction to Harum Scarum – that was recently featured at a local grange hall outside of Eugene where fans play old Elvis films – was “I liked the way
Elvis kicks terrorist butt,” even while the “terrorists” in the film are called “the Assassins.”
Thus, there’s a sort of an “appreciation of what Elvis achieved in his movies,” that fans today say they are finding each and every time they view “the King” on
screen. For instance, Harum Scarum is listed among "The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made" in Golden Raspberry Award founder John
Wilson's book “THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE.”
Other trivia from Harum Scarum notes that “Elvis liked the Arab costumes so much that he used those
at home too.” In fact, the official Elvis web site features photos of Elvis at Graceland wearing an Arab
headdress near his swimming pool.
Also, the accompanying record album from the 1965 release of Harum Scarum gives fans a “deluxe
gatefold sleeve packaging contains some excellent photos and rare publicity stills. "It was during this
period in his life that Elvis had considered becoming a monk and started visiting the spiritual 'Self-
Realization Fellowship'. If you had seen the pre-production script of 'Harum Scarum' you would have
probably done the same,” stated a review of the film on the Elvis web site.
Eugene region pays homage to Elvis each year
Paying homage to Elvis on this 75th anniversary of his birth -- and the 33rd anniversary of his passing
in 2010 -- was more than difficult for Jill Silverman of Eugene who made the journey to nearby Florence
last August for what’s been dubbed the first official Elvis Tribute in Oregon this year to celebrate his
Opening the door on a lot of memories, Silverman noted that she couldn’t hold back the tears as she
watched Elvis in concert on the big screen at the Florence Events Center for this special tribute.
“The thought of Elvis being dead opened the door on so many memories for both myself and others in
Eugene who had the opportunity to see the King in concert way back in November 1976 when he
played Mac Court,” Silverman said. “I remember Kennedy being shot and other than what I was doing
on 9/11, it’s the news that Elvis had died that I will never forget. I was at the University of Oregon
bookstore when the news came over the radio that he had passed,” added the fan that was filled with
remembering when it comes to Elvis.
For Betty Stier of nearby Seal Rock, this “Elvis Tribute” in Florence was a kin to a spiritual experience.
''Nobody knows that when my aunt was very ill in the hospital, Elvis came to be with us. This was back
home when my husband helped produced some of Elvis’ records,” said Stier.
At the same time, Mapleton businessman Darrel Dixon – dressed in a full 1970’s era Elvis costume – listened intently to Stier tell her story. “I’ve heard so many
wonderful and personal stories about Elvis that I’ve become his biggest fan and that feeling for this special man just continues as the years wear on,” said
Dixon who drives a black Caddie with “Elvis” on the license plate.
While it was more than a bit heart rending for the hundred or so fans who attended this Elvis Tribute event in Florence, there was a lot of joy as well with many
of these baby-boomers rocking in their seats as they watched Elvis grind his body to some of the songs that they will never forget.
“The music that one grows up with in high school sort of stays with you. For us, it’s Elvis music. It’s Elvis for us forever and it’s big-time,” said 67-year-old Mark
Rosen of Eugene.
Moreover, Rosen noted that when he was last at Elvis’ Graceland Mansion last year “they reported more than 800,000 people visit his home every year''. In
fact, Graceland was placed on the National Register of Historic Places back in 1991.
As for “Harum Scarum,” local Eugene area fans say “it’s just cool seeing Elvis wearing that Arab headdress and taking care of business -- killing those bad
|Poster: "Elvis brings the big beat to Bagdad"