Rusty Wells (Elvis Presley) and his combo – Wilbur (Joby Baker), Doc (Jimmy Hawkins) and Andy (Bing’s son, Gary) – hit the beaches of sunny Fort Lauderdale to babysit the beautiful, brainy daughter of their mobster nightclub-owner boss, Big Frank (Harold J Stone) in exchange for a booking. Naturally, a springtime romance blossoms between the King and his ward, Valerie (Shelley Fabares).
Rusty and his band go down a treat at the Florida resort but have their work cut out for them keeping tabs on Valerie, especially when Latin lover Romano (Fabrizio Mioni) goes to work on her.
Dating girls, playing at the club and watching Valerie produce a series of riotous situations which culminate in Big Frank arriving in Fort Lauderdale to find his beloved daughter in jail.
Presley displays his customary charm and gives those remarkable tonsils a real work-out on generally unworthy material, notably Puppet On A String and Do Not Disturb. One of the better Elvis comedies, Girl Happy featured his only (public) screen appearance in drag.
This was the first of Fabares’ three Elvis films and her lifelong friendship with Elvis. There were better things in store for director Boris Sagal as he went on to make apocalyptic sci-fi drama The Omega Man (1971).
Although the film is set in Florida, all filming took place at the MGM studios in Hollywood and on beaches in southern California. Only second unit filming was done in Fort Lauderdale.
Harold J Stone
Mary Ann Mobley