Russell recalls Elvis Presley as being kind and approachable. Indeed, Russell recalled an incident wherein the King asked his father, Bing Russell, if he was allowed to wear his hat a certain way. Elvis had evidently seen Bing Russell on “Bonanza” — Bing Russell was also a professional actor — and wanted his permission to imitate his look. Kurt also recalled that his scene required multiple takes, saying: 

“He had to wear a pad. […] One time I got close to the edge of it and he looked at me, because he really trusted me, and went ‘ … stay on the pad’. What a nice guy he was. Yeah. He was 27 years old.”

Russell admits that he didn’t know who Elvis Presley was at the time, as he was more into baseball than movies. In a profile for TCM, Russell recalled that filming “It Happened at the World’s Fair” became increasingly strange and threatening as Elvis fans began to mob the set. Russell recalled crazed teens throwing themselves onto Elvis’ car. Russell could only wonder if Elvis even liked that. Is being that beloved enriching, or is it terrifying? 

Russell was also asked about his infamous kick on “The Graham Norton Show,” where he reiterated that he didn’t know how big Elvis was at the time.

It’s also worth noting that Kurt Russell would go on to play Elvis Presley for director John Carpenter in the 3-hour TV miniseries “Elvis” in 1979. It was the first time he was considered a proper actor as an adult and not just a cute kid or a teen sensation. Russell would go on to star in Carpenter’s films “Escape from New York,” “The Thing,” “Big Trouble in Little China,” and “Escape from L.A.” 

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