Elvis’ co-star attends screening

TUPELO – Elvis’ co-star in “The Trouble with Girls” wasn’t a fan of his music when she met him.
“I was always into show tunes,” said Marlyn Mason, who portrayed Charlene in 1969’s “The Trouble with Girls.”
Mason was in town Wednesday for a screening of the movie at the Lyric Theatre. She shared some of her memories, like the day she became an Elvis fan.
“His special, the one with him all in black leather, came on TV when we were making the movie,” Mason said. “I saw that, and I went to work the next day and said, ‘You’re talented. You’re good.’ That was an amazing special.”
Mason, 70, said the 10 weeks she spent making “The Trouble with Girls” were among the most enjoyable of her career. She thinks Elvis had fun, too.
“He came on the set during his day off. That showed me another side of him. Nobody ever came to work on their day off,” she said. “We were kind of like a family to him, I think.”
For about a 12-year span, Mason was on every television show known to Hollywood “except ‘Gunsmoke’ and ‘Love Boat,’” she said.
Her credits include appearances on “Bonanza,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” “Ben Casey,” “Perry Mason,” “Dynasty,” “Newhart” and many more.
These days, she’s writing, producing and starring in short films. She won Best Screenplay for 2008’s “Model Rules” at the Rhode Island Film Festival. She recently took the Director’s Choice Award at the same festival for “The Bag,” which deals with end-of-life issues for seniors.
Mason served as a judge during the 2010 Tupelo Film Festival, but she viewed the films at home in Medford, Ore.
“I watched them all twice,” she said.
This was her first visit to Tupelo. It provided a chance to visit the Elvis Presley Birthplace. It also let her meet people like herself, otherwise known as Elvis fans.
“His brilliance was he was always natural. He never acted,” she said. “He always gave 110 percent of himself and was never phony. Whatever he was that day, that’s what you got, and he was great.”

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal