Child Scene Stealers in Elvis Movies - Part I
by Claire J Rottenberg
Several of Elvis' films in the 1960s featured young talented children who always stole the scenes in which they appeared. The first Elvis film that co-starred a child was "It Happened at the World's Fair" in 1963. This was followed a few months later by "Fun in Acapulco," which again co-starred a talented child star. In this post, I'll give some information on the two young co-stars, Vicky Tiu and Larry Domasin, and briefly review "It Happened at the World's Fair" and "Fun in Acapulco."
It Happened at the World's Fair
Vicky Tiu, the adorable Sue-Lin in "It Happened at the World's Fair," came from a family with several talented children. Her sister Ginny was a successful child star and her brother, also, was a performer. Although Vicky was a very talented actress, she had a short film career, appearing only in the one Elvis movie.
In 1997, Vicky married the Governor of Hawaii, Ben Cayetano. As First Lady of Hawaii, Vicky joined forces with two other first ladies, Hope Taft of Ohio and Columba Bush of Florida, to plan education initiatives targeting youth alcoholism and drunk driving.
Vicky Tiu's excellent performance as a clever little girl who is being cared for by Elvis in the absence of her uncle, saves "It Happened at the World's Fair" from being a typical, boring film. The scenes with her are a joy to watch, especially when she devises a plan to get Elvis and his latest love together. Unlike the other Elvis films with child stars, in "It Happened at the World's Fair," the plot centers around the child rather than on Elvis' character or his love life.
With the exception of Vicky Tiu's part in the film, "It Happened at the World's Fair" has the characteristic elements of a typical Elvis film. He chases a female who resists his advances in a silly plot that is mostly unbelievable. Most of the songs in the film are, at best, adequate, with the exception of "One Broken Heart For Sale."
Fun in Acapulco
"Fun in Acapulco" is the only Elvis film with a male child as a co-star. The wise-cracking, Mexican street child, Raoul, was played by a talented young actor named Larry Domasin. Although Domasin convincingly played a young Mexican boy, he was actually born in California. He began acting at the age of 7, one year before appearing with Elvis in "Fun in Acapulco." Domasin's career lasted until 1967 and in the six years that he was acting, he appeared in six feature films and on numerous television shows.
Like the other children in Elvis' movies, Domasin's character, Raoul, is very intelligent and mature beyond his years. He wheels and deals like an adult and helps Elvis' character get a well-paying singing job in a nightclub. Domasin's portrayal of Raoul was excellent, and he even had the chance to sing with Elvis.
"Fun in Acapulco" had more of a plot than many of Elvis' other movies and the motivation and background of his character is better developed than in other films. The greatest weakness of "Fun in Acapulco" is probably its musical score. Many of the songs are terrible with no hits in the mixture. The acting of his main co-stars, Ursula Andress and Alejandro Rey, is fair at best. Another negative aspect of "Fun in Acapulco" is the less than favorable depiction of Mexicans in the film.
Both "It Happened at the World's Fair" and "Fun in Acapulco" would be fair to average Elvis films if it weren't for the acting of Elvis' child co-stars, Vicky Tiu and Larry Domasin. Both were extremely gifted and adorable children who provided enjoyable moments in the films.