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Roustabout - Recording Sessions
Recording Information
Original Soundtrack LP
(LPM/LSP 2999)
Roustabout - LP (thanks to 'elvisrecords.com')
Extended Soundtrack CD
(Follow That Dream - CD)
Roustabout - Extended Soundtrack

Movie Synopsis

Charlie Rogers is a handsome swinger with a tough exterior, a voice of silver, heart of gold, a barbed tongue and a special aptitude for karate. These qualifications spell nothing but trouble and Charlie meets it more than halfway in a roaring opening to his story at Mrs. Jones's Tea House. The name of the place is misleading since Mrs. Jones is never seen, the proprietor's name is Lou and the customers usually choose Espresso.

Charlie sings at this well-patronised spot which is just off the campus in a mid-western State University town and exercises his hospitalities by directing well researched lyrics at student customers to expose their vulnerabilities. Observing that several young male patrons are taking exception to his satirical singing, Charlie is warned to lay off by pretty waitress, Marge, who has somewhat of a crush on him. Refusing to stop, Charlie is met outside en route to his motor-cycle by Harry, Craig and Dick, bent on revenge. Charlie plays it cool until one of them makes the first move, then he brings some expert karate into play with murderous results. Lou is afraid of losing his licence over the trouble so calls the police and Charlie winds up in a not-so-cosy jail cell with some motor cycle magazines for reading matter. It's love's labour lost for Marge, who bails him out the next morning, because Charlie takes off for the hinterland on a motor-cycle built for one.

Charlie meets his future in the persons of Maggie Moore, Cathy Lean and Cathy's rugged and vindictive father, Joe Lean. But Joe runs him off the road because he hates motor-cycles. Cathy helps Charlie pick up the pieces since his motor is wrecked. Charlie doesn't know it yet but he is about to make his first acquaintance with a group of "carnies".

He discovers that Maggie is the owner of a travelling carnival that is deeply in debt. Joe is a mean, bitter man who has a yen for Maggie, but whose life is chiefly concerned with bossing the carnival and keeping an over-watchful eye on his daughter.

Despite Joe's violent objections, Maggie invites Charlie to join the carnival as a roustabout or handyman, until his motor-bike is repaired. An instant attraction to Cathy influences Charlie to accept, but the friction between Joe and Charlie promises plenty of fireworks for the future.

Charlie is not long making acquaintance with the carnie ladies and a few other star performers, such as the fascinating sword swallower and the exotic palmist, Madame Mijanou, who turns on the heat for the good looking lad with no time lost. A pal roustabout, Cody Marsh tries to keep Charlie in line, but can't prevent Joe from catching him in the act as he takes Cathy for a fast turn on the Ferris Wheel. This serves to breed more ill-will between them.

Business is practically nil, so between odd jobs, Charlie goes into an impromptu song. News gets around and suddenly the young people flock to the Carnival in droves. Maggie's sharp eye notes the transformation and a new career is launched for Charlie, much to Joe's disgust. Charlie's progress with Cathy isn't so hot. She caught him romancing with the palmist and noted his flirtations with other carnie girls.

About this time a rival carnival owner, Harry Carver, shows up, sizes up Charlie's talent and offers him a star job with him if and when he decides to leave Maggie. Charlie really has a heart of gold under his rough exterior, and decides to remain with his present benefactors, besides, there's Cathy to consider. And by this time things are going well in a business way. The bank loan man, Arthur Nielson, hasn't been around with a threat of foreclosure for some time!

Then things suddenly go wrong for Charlie. There's a fight with an obnoxious customer who loses his wallet and blames Joe for stealing it. The police arrive and cart Joe away to Jail. Charlie finds the wallet wedged in between two boards later on. This is observed by Madame Mijanou, the palmist, who feels like the lady scorned and wants revenge. Charlie plans to take the wallet into town and exonerate Joe so he can get out of jail, but instead makes a stop at a motor-drome where dare-devil cyclists race at high speeds on the walls. Charlie takes a dare and risks his neck duplicating the feat as Cathy and Madame Mijanou hear the racket and drop by.

Charlie has a close call and Cathy catches her breath, but he finally spills at the bottom of the pit. In the fall the wallet drops out. The palmist sees him pick it up and Charlie is forced to try to explain in front of Cathy. This makes him pretty much of a heel for not getting Joe out of jail, and now he appears guilty of actually stealing the wallet. He's all washed up and he's lost Cathy for good. He's also let Maggie down. Charlie decides to head for Harry's carnival to accept that star-spot offer.

He is warming up his motor-cycle for a quick take off when Joe appears on the scene. Violently mad for needlessly spending the night in jail, Joe turns off the motor's ignition and orders Charlie off his bike.

Joe knocks Charlie down and Charlie guiltily allows him to do it, then takes off.

Charlie is a sensation with the rival carnival when Cathy shows up. She not only still likes Charlie, but she hopes to woo him back, since Maggie is about to lose her show. Harry tries to prevent Charlie from leaving, holding him to his contract, but Cathy wins. Charlie will pay for his release later on.

When Charlie returns to save Maggie's carnival, Joe intercepts him to prevent his re-joining the troupe. A furious fight ensues and this time Charlie uses every trick in his book to defeat his adversary. Joe gets a good licking once and for all.

Nielson has already arrived on the scene to foreclose on Maggie's carnival, but when he sees that Charlie has returned he changes his mind. He's right in his decision, for the last we see of Charlie, Maggie and Cathy, is when they occupy the centre stage surrounded by screaming young folk who are cheering Charlie on to a rousing musical finale.

(Movie overview by Elvis Monthly - Issue 85, February 1967)