When Seattle hosted the 1962 World’s Fair, Elvis Presley traveled to the Pacific Northwest to film “It Happened at the World’s Fair,” a musical about cropdusting buddies lost in gambling debt. Michael B. Druxman, a UW student at the time, wanted to be part of it.
Druxman went to the filming not for the experience as an extra, not for the $10 and a box lunch, but because he wanted to pick himself out on the big screen. Of course, the only way he could do that is if he got close enough to the film’s star. The director put him at the back of the scene, but young Druxman inched his way toward the front. As he sidled up next to Elvis and struck up a casual conversation, the assistant director stepped in and said, “You don’t talk to Elvis.” So to the back of the set he went. For the moment.
If you see the movie today, you can spot Druxman in the scene where a little boy (ironically, Kurt Russell) kicks Elvis in the shin. Druxman’s there in background, walking from one side to the other. Hi, Mom!
My Forty-Five Years in Hollywood and How I Escaped Alive is Druxman’s memoir. Beginning with his boyhood in Seattle, it follows him to Los Angeles where, without any show business contacts whatsoever, he creates a successful career for himself as a publicist, playwright, screenwriter, director and Hollywood historian. From Jimmy Durante and Elvis Presley to Jack Lemmon and Cary Grant, the book is filled with amusing stories of Druxman’s life in Hollywood.
Watch the book’s video trailer on YouTube.