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Elvis Presley Movies

Stay Away, Joe

Elvis Presley played a Native American for the second time in his career in the musical comedy Stay Away, Joe, based on a best-selling book by Dan Cushman. This time, however, instead of being a relevant commentary on prejudice -- as was the superior Flaming Star -- the film stereotypes American Indians as shiftless and irresponsible.

Elvis stars as rodeo rider Joe Lightcloud, a Navajo whose family still lives on the reservation. Joe persuades his congressman to give him 20 heifers and a prize bull so he and his father, played by Burgess Meredith, can prove that the Navajos can successfully raise cattle on the reservation. If their experiment is successful, then the government will help all the Navajo people. But Joe’s buddy accidentally barbecues the prize bull, while Joe sells the heifers to buy plumbing and other home improvements for his stepmother, portrayed by Katy Jurado. Former leading lady Joan Blondell appears as tavern owner Glenda Callahan, whose daughter, played by Quentin Dean, can’t seem to stay away from the girl-chasing Joe.

Elvis in Stay Away, Joe
Elvis and Quentin Dean in Stay Away, Joe.

Behind the Scenes of Stay Away, Joe

Stay Away, Joe provides another example of a Presley vehicle bolstered by a supporting cast of talented veterans. One of these veterans was Katy Jurado, who had built her career around playing sensuous exotic leads or juicy supporting roles. Her role as Elvis’ stepmother in Stay Away, Joe represented her first major appearance in a comedy.

Jurado brought a great deal more to the character of Annie Lightcloud than the producers had requested. The dedicated actress gained over 20 pounds to make her appearance more believable. Just prior to shooting, Jurado broke some bones in her foot. Unbeknown to the producer or director, she removed the cast before clearing it with her doctor. Consequently, her character walked with a limp. When asked, Jurado declared that the limp was part of her characterization. No one questioned her about it!

Cast of Stay Away, Joe
Joe Lightcloud
Elvis Presley
Charlie LightcloudBurgess Meredith
Glenda CallahanJoan Blondell
Annie LightcloudKaty Jurado
Grandpa (Chief Lightcloud)Thomas Gomez
Hy SlagerHenry Jones
Bronc HovertyL.Q. Jones
Mamie CallahanQuentin Dean
Mrs. HawkinsAnne Seymour
Congressman MorrisseyDouglas Henderson
Lorne HawkinsAngus Duncan
Frank HawkMichael Lane
Mary LightcloudSusan Trustman
Hike BowersWarren Vanders
Bull ShortgunBuck Kartalian
Connie ShortgunMaurishka
Marlene Standing RattleCaitlin Wyles
Billie Jo HumpMarya Christen
Car SalesmanDick Wilson
WorkmanJoe Esposito

Songs Featured in Stay Away, Joe

  • Stay Away
  • Stay Away, Joe
  • Dominick
  • All I Needed Was the Rain

Credits for Stay Away, Joe

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
  • Produced by Douglas Lawrence
  • Directed by Peter Tewksbury
  • Screenplay by Michael A. Hoey
  • Based on the novel by Dan Cushman
  • Photographed in Metrocolor and Panavision by Fred Koenekamp
  • Music by Jack Marshall
  • Vocal accompaniment by The Jordanaires
  • Released March 8, 1968

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