Elvis Presley’s 1962 Film ‘Follow That Dream’ Almost Went By a Different Title

by Matthew Wilson

Elvis Presley didn’t just have a dynamic stage presence and sell millions of albums. He also had a successful career in Hollywood as an actor. In 1962, the King of Rock ‘n Roll starred in the film “Follow That Dream” but it almost had a different title.

According to the Graceland website, the film almost had a much less catchy title. The production originally titled the picture “Here Come the Kwimpers.”

The title was named after the main characters of the film, the Kwimper family. “Follow That Dream” ended up being Presley’s ninth film in Hollywood and released in April 1962. The film kept Presley’s Hollywood streak alive, as he followed his dream of being an actor.

The Original Title

The 1962 film “Follow That Dream” actually had an entirely different name in written form. It was based on a 1957 novel called “Pioneer, Go Home,” by Richard Powell. Originally, the film kept Powell’s original title during early production.

But producers faced a snag when it came to the title. The film’s composers tried to make a title track for the film. But they couldn’t come up with an adequate word that rhymed with pioneer. Several other titles were suggested such as “What a Wonderful Life” for instance. But that title was too similar to “It’s a Wonderful Life,” a 1946 classic. Instead, production came up with “Here Come the Kwimpers” and “It’s a Beautiful Life” instead.

Finally they agreed on “Follow That Dream.”

Elvis Presley in ‘Follow That Dream’

Presley played one of the family members, Toby, in the film. The movie explored the Kwimpers trying to start their own business while facing trouble with both the mob and social workers. The family had to dig deep to sort out their problems and try to make a living.

Presley filmed “Follow That Dream” in Hollywood and on location in Florida. Due to gambling being illegal in the state, production had to sneak in the necessary props and equipment needed for the film. They recruited real-life gamblers to lend them the equipment. Gordon Douglas directed Presley in the film.

Douglas was known for films like the Frank Sinatra-led “Robin and the 7 Hoods” and for his work on “The Little Rascals” as well. The film also featured a few of Presley’s collaborators such as Roland Winters and Howard McNear. Both actors also starred with Presley in “Blue Hawaii” as well.