Joan Blackman

Blue Hawaii, 1961

Kid Galahad, 1962

Born: May 18th, 1938.

We got our first look at Joan Blackman in Good Day For a Hanging (1958), a western with Fred MacMurray. In 1959, she appeared in the Dean Martin film, Career, which also boasts appearances by other Elvis costars, Carolyn Jones and Donna Douglas. Next came The Great Impostor, a Tony Curtis comedy. Visit to a Small Planet gave her a chance to get goofy with Jerry Lewis! And then, of course, she was ready to go Hawaiian with Elvis!
Joan played opposite Elvis in one of his most successful films, Blue Hawaii. Not only did the film set the formula for Elvis' films, but it's probably what got the whole "beach movie" thing started. (Frankie and Annette are eternally in debt!) Joan played Maile Duvall, whose dark good looks (half-Hawaiian & half-French according to the script) provide some competition for the Hawaiian scenery. Angela Lansbury, as Elvis' mom, disapproves of this "native" girl, but Dad doesn't (go figure!)... No red-blooded American male disapproves of Joan Blackman in a swimsuit (even if it's a one-piece)!
Joan joined forces with Elvis again a year later in Kid Galahad. Although a remake of a Humphrey Bogart classic, this one is strictly an Elvis showcase film. Joan turns up as the sister of Elvis' boss (played by Gig Young), who disapproves of Elvis dating his sister, but of course, Elvis is a "grease monkey who doesn't slide so easily" (whatever that means!). Along for the ride is a young Charles Bronson, playing Elvis' boxing coach! In spite of the fact that I'm a big Bogart fan, I haven't seen the original Kid Galahad (1937), but I've been told (thanks Eric!) that Bogie played the bad guy who wants the Kid to throw the fight. And in the original, the character played by Lola Albright was also romantically interested in the Kid. (Don't worry, folks, a Lola Albright page is coming soon!)
After the two Elvis outings, Joan made a few TV appearances, and a couple of films (notably the cult classic Macon County Line with Max "Jethro of Beverly Hillbillies" Baer!). Also, in 1985, Joan appeared in Ray Davies' mini-rock-opera, Return To Waterloo, in which the Kinks' lead singer-songwriter takes us on a very strange trip indeed! After that, Joan is pretty scarce!

I heard from Joan when she published the first of her books, containing stories and photos from her career. They're full of great photos, and Joan's stories of working with Elvis! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get in touch with Joan since then, and the "Joan and Elvis" webpage she had set up, advertising her photo books, seems to be gone now!

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Elvis & Joan slicin' sand!
Elvis & Joan slicin' some sand
in "Blue Hawaii"

Joan Photos

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from Blue Hawaii

from Kid Galahad

from The Daring Game

with Jerry Lewis

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