It Happened At The World's Fair
Release Date: April 3, 1963

It Happened At The World's Fair
This musical drama opens with Mike Edwards (Elvis Presley)  and Danny Burke (Gary Lockwood) piloting a  crop duster over a field of potatoes. When the guys catch sight of two beauties in a convertible, Mike descends to fly parallel to the highway and just narrowly misses crashing into a hydro pole. They safely navigate the plane back to the airfield to collect their pay. Mike, aware of Danny's gambling habit, locks the money in the plane's safe box. Danny finds the key, takes all the cash and quickly loses it by playing cards. With no cash to make a payment, the sheriff confiscates the plane and orders the pair to come up with  $1200 in a week or else lose the plane permanently.  They need cash fast. But how will they get it? Simple. They decide to hitch-hike up the coast to the World's Fair  in Seattle and look for jobs. While there, Mike encounters a 6-year-old Chinese girl named Su-Lin (Vicky Tiu) whose father has gone missing. He takes her under his wing while Danny goes off to play poker. Of course, this is an Elvis film so it's not long before our hero meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman: in this case it's nurse Diane Warren (Joan O'Brien). He schemes to get her attention by paying a  young boy ( Kurt Russell) a quarter to kick him on the shin.   Ironically, Kurt Russell, who achieved movie stardom in films such as Tequila Sunrise, Backdraft, Escape from LA and Vanilla Sky, also played Presley himself in the 1979 TV movie, Elvis. Vicky Tiu, the little Chinese girl, later became the First Lady of Hawaii when her husband Ben Cayetano became Governor.

It Happened At The World's Fair was the fourth Presley film directed by  Norman Taurog whose previous credits with Elvis  were  G.I. Blues (1960), Blue Hawaii (1961) and Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962).  Elvis croons 10 songs including Take Me To The Fair, One Broken Heart For Sale, I'm Falling In Love Tonight and Cotton Candy Land. The film is definitely not one of Presley's finer efforts. His reactions seems slow and his singing lacks the sparkle of earlier performances.  A saving grace of this mediocre film are the scenes  filmed at the 1962 World Fair in Seattle.  The views of the fairgrounds and the Seattle Space Needle provide an interesting historical panorama. If you are a diehard Elvis fan and  must have the original VHS edition of  this film, then be prepared to pay big bucks. It's been out-of-print for quite awhile.  If you can temper your enthusiasm until the summer of 2004,  you'll probably be able to  purchase a  DVD version. Rumor is  that copyright issues have been resolved and a digital version is finally on the way.  


Copyright: Peter Fokes (2003)
Back to From Toronto With Love