Lorne Bell, Special to The Enterprise-Bulletin
Sunday, July 27, 2014
On Saturday, July 26th Cynthia Pepper went back in time 50 years, and showed still had the moves.
“The outfit is a replica of my old uniform from the movie (Kissin’ Cousins),” said Pepper, “And it was so much fun to be in that uniform again.”
The actress who played Midge in the classic Elvis movie, Kissin’ Cousins (1964) was in Collingwood over the weekend for her fourth Elvis Festival, and also to promote her new book, Pigtails, Presley, and Pepper. It was written with the help of Victor J. Hanson, of Alliston.
“It’s not just about Elvis, but also a story about my life in show business,” said Pepper. “It was a long distance effort to put this book together. Victor was in Canada, and I was in Las Vegas. So we worked thru e-mail and phone calls. We really worked well together.”
Pepper enjoys meeting her fans, and she has traveled all over the world. For her, Elvis has a universal appeal.
“I do a lot of festivals,” said Pepper, “I was in Australia in January, and in Denmark four months ago. I have also met Elvis fans in England and Ireland. I love that Elvis fans are all over the place”.
Pepper met Victor J. Hanson at the Elvis Festival in 2007, and they talked about one day putting a book together with all her stories.
“She told me all these great stories, and I was sitting there listening to this lady that had an extraordinary life,” said Hanson. “And my wife and I got to know her and her husband. My wife suggested I help her put her story on paper, and she (Pepper) said okay.”
The first role Cynthia played was at age 10, as an unbilled part in the 1950 movie Cheaper By The Dozen. In 1960, Cynthia landed a major role on the all-male cast of My Three Sons. She was then offered to do her own series, called Margie in 1961. In 1963, she did a movie with Sandra Dee called Take Her, She’s Mine. Finally, in 1964 she played Midge Riley opposite “The King” in Kissin’ Cousins.
“She (Pepper) had some amazing stories. The stories go back to the ‘60s, when she could walk the streets without being recognized,” said Hanson. “And it takes you backstage to all these different studios, such as Fox and Desilu.
She was working with many fine actors, including William Frawley (I Love Lucy), as well as Stanley Livingston and Fred McMurray (My Three Sons),” said Hanson. “It takes the reader on a journey, and it explains the ups and downs of her show business life.”
Pepper was at the Elvis Festival attending an event called A Salute To Kissin’ Cousins, a 50th anniversary celebration at the Olde Town Tavern, hosted by veteran tribute artist Roy LeBlanc. He was the 2001 Grand Champion, and in 2008 he won the Gospel competition.
The pair sang the title theme song to Kissin’ Cousins.
“She has not done that since she filmed the movie with Elvis,” said LeBlanc.