Sing, Boy, Sing

Sing, Boy, Sing is a 1958 musical-drama film, released by 20th Century Fox. The film starred two newcomers, Tommy Sands and Lili Gentle.

Sing, Boy, Sing
Directed byHenry Ephron
Produced byHenry Ephron
Written byClaude Binyon
Based onteleplay The Singin' Idol by Paul Monash
StarringTommy Sands
Lili Gentle
CinematographyWilliam Mellor
Edited byWilliam Mace
20th Century Fox
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
February 21, 1958
Running time
90 minutes

The film was an expansion of the January 1957 Kraft Television Theatre episode "The Singin' Idol", also starring Sands. Sands, billed by the studio as a potential new teen idol, played an Elvis Presley-type singer.

The film was Gentle's only starring role, and her penultimate film appearance. 20th Century Fox had plans to promote Gentle as its new dashing red-head, but the right type of roles to offer her did not materialize.

Sing, Boy, Sing was released in the United States in February 1958, to positive reviews, but did rather poorly at the box-office, despite being somewhat popular with teenage audiences.

Sand's soundtrack of songs from the film was released in 1958[2] and produced a # 24 hit on the US charts wight he title song.[3]


Virgil Walker is a popular singing star who is managed by Joseph Sharkey. Sharkey is very controlling of Walker's life.


The Singing Idol

"The Singing Idol"
NBC Kraft Television Theatre episode
Episode no.Season 10
Episode 20
Directed byPaul Bogart
Written byPaul Monash
Cinematography byLesley Barrett
Original air date30 January 1957
Guest appearance(s)

Tommy Sands

The movie was based on the TV program "The Singing Idol". This episode in turn drew heavily on The Jazz Singer.[4]


Elwell Walker is a singing star under the control of his manager. He visits his hometown where his father, a reverend, is ill. His father dies after pleading for Elwell to take up his job of preaching for the Lord. Elwell is tempted to return home and do this, especially after reconnecting with a childhood sweetheart, Leora. His manager talks him out of it.


  • Tommy Sands as Elwell Walker
  • Joe Helgesen as newspaperman
  • Maurice Wells as Reverend Easton
  • Ray Boyle as Newman
  • Don Briggs as Spiro
  • Doreen Young as Aunt Caroline
  • Leora Easton as Jane McArthur
  • Jamie Smith as Arnold Finley
  • Vaughan Taylor as Farley Walker
  • Fred Clark as Joseph Sharkey


The script was an original by Paul Monash but very much based on the Elvis Presley story. Tommy Sands had been discovered by Colonel Tom Parker who also managed Elvis Presley. Sands and Presley had toured together and Sands had sung on Louisiana Hayride on the night Presley was discovered.[5]

Parker got Sands cast in the lead role on the show, which turned him into a star overnight.[6] Sands later said that because of this "Colonel Parker was the best thing that ever happened to me."[7]

"I prefer the school of realism," said Sands. "I'd like to play dramatic teenage parts because I feel I know this kind of boy. Like him, I have many inhibitions and I'm not exactly sure what makes me tick."[8]

Songs on the show included "Teen-Age Crush" and "Hep Dee Hootie" as well as "Rock of Ages".


The show was well received and turned Sands into a teen idol.[8][9] He received eight times more fan mail than any other actor who had appeared on a Kraft show.[10]

A song from the episode, "Teen-Age Crush", went to number two on the charts and sold over a million copies.[11]

Production of Film

20th Century Fox had enjoyed success with films starring Elvis Presley and Pat Boone. In February 1957 they bought the film rights to the television play[12] and in July they signed a contract with Sands to appear in the film. Henry Ephron was assigned to produce.[13]

Ephron said Claude Binyon had written "a first rate script" which "could be made at a price". He wanted Orson Welles to play the manager and approached him. Welles was enthusiastic and also wanted to direct the movie. He explained his ideas to Ephron who thought they were "electric" and pitched the idea of Welles directing to the executives at Fox. Spyros Skouras said Ephron could have Welles if he personally guaranteed any cost over-runs incurred by the director.[14] Ephron ended up directing the movie himself

Filming started in September 1957.[15] Sands' co star was Lili Gentle, a Fox contract player who had been in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?.[16]

Sands co wrote some musical numbers in the film.[17]


Buddy Adler head of Fox was reportedly so excited by a preview of the film he signed a new contract with Sands which tripled his salary.[18]

The Los Angeles Times said the film was "several cuts above average" and said the "real surprise package" was Sands... "he's going to be a very competent actor; he already has verve, presence."[19]


  1. Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p251
  2. "Tommy Sands - Sing Boy Sing at Discogs". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  3. Whitburn, Joel The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, Billboard Books, New York, 1992 p. 404
  4. Thomas Doherty, Teenagers And Teenpics: Juvenilization Of American Movies, Temple University Press, 2010 p 168 accessed 18 January 2014
  5. Wolters, L. (1957, Jan 27). CHICAGO BORN TOMMY SANDS TO PLAY ELVIS. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  6. Wolters, L. (1957, Jan 17). WHERE TO DIAL TODAY. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  7. Interview with Tommy Sands at Elvis 2001 site accessed 18 January 2014
  8. Gould, G. (1957, Apr 13). TOMMY SANDS: Newest rock'n' roll rage. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  9. Sands, T. (1957, Jul 13). I've got so far to go! Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  10. Ames, W. (1957, Mar 05). Trouble brewing in hollywood; danny looks for spouse. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  11. Tommy Sands biography accessed 18 January 2014
  12. Of local origin. (1957, Feb 02). New York Times
  13. By THOMAS M PRYOR Special to The New York Times. (1957, Jul 22). STAGE DIRECTOR SIGNS FILM PACT. New York Times
  14. Ephron, Henry (1977). We thought we could do anything : the life of screenwriters Phoebe and Henry Ephron. Norton. p. 172-173.
  15. Special to The New York Times. (1957, Sep 07). FILM TO BE MADE OF ALGREN NOVEL. New York Times
  16. By THOMAS M PRYOR Special to The New York Times. (1957, Nov 12). WALD CONFIDENT OF FILMS' FUTURE. New York Times
  17. Hopper, H. (1957, Sep 28). Looking at hollywood. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  18. HEDDA HOPPER'S, S. (1957, Dec 23). Looking at hollywood. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  19. Stinson, C. (1958, May 01). "Sing, boy' well-made teen film. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
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