Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper  Mersey Beat

Sixties City: It Happened At The World's Fair - Bill Harry's Sixties

Elvis’ 12th film was the 1963 MGM release ‘It Happened At The World’s Fair', which originally had the working titles ‘Mister, Will You Marry Me', ‘Take Me Out To The Fair’ and ‘Take Me to The Fair’. Directed by Norman Taurog and produced by Ted Richmond, the script was penned by Si Rose and Seaman Jacobs and it was premiered in Los Angeles, America. on 3rd April 1963.

In the story Mike Edwards (Elvis) and Danny Burke (Gary Lockwood) fly a crop duster, but because Danny has gambled away the $1,200 that Mike had saved to pay their debts the local sheriff confiscates their plane, Bessie. If they can’t come up with the money within 12 days, Bessie will be sold at auction. The couple then hitch-hike to the Seattle World Fair, being picked up by apple farmer Walter Ling (Kam Tong) and his young niece Sue-Lin (Vicky Tiu).

When Walter goes off to do some business, Danny persuades Mike to look after the seven year old girl while he tries to raise some money by gambling. When Walter fails to reappear Mike ends up having to nurse-maid little Sue-Lin. A nurse, Diane Warren (Joan O’ Brien) hears about it and Mike is attracted to her, although she proves to be quite a stubborn woman who wants to contact the Welfare Board.

While the child welfare officers are taking Sue-Lin away from Mike, Danny finds himself inadvertently involved in a smuggling operation. Eventually Mike, together with Danny and some law officials, help to bring the smugglers to justice, Sue-Lin is reunited with her Uncle and Mike and Diane realise they love each other.
Sixties City: It Happened At The World's Fair - Bill Harry's Sixties

Sixties City: It Happened At The World's Fair - Bill Harry's Sixties Of interest is a scene featuring a 10 year old Kurt Russell in his first film role in which he actually kicks Elvis. In the scene Mike Edwards turns to him and says, “Hey kid, how would you like to kick me in the shin?” The boy queries, “How would I like to kick you in the shin?” “Uhuh” says Mike. “Mister, Are you drunk?” asks the kid, “No”, says Mike, “I’ll tell you what. If you kick me in the shin I’ll give you a quarter. Here.” He hands the kid the quarter, gets the kick in the shin, says “Oww!, that’s good. Thanks Kid” and limps away. The kid shakes his head and says, “Adults, they are all nuts!”

Who was to know that, years later, Russell was to play Elvis in the John Carpenter television film, ‘Elvis’ for which he received an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Lead Actor and he was also to portray an Elvis impersonator in the movie ‘3000 Miles to Graceland.’
St. Devore was hired to dress Elvis for the movie. He said that the wardrobe he created for Elvis cost $9,300 and comprised ten suits, two cashmere coats, four sports coats, 15 pairs of slacks, 30 shirts and 55 ties. He said that he was surprised to find that the star never wore underpants!

Titles in the soundtrack were:

‘Beyond the Bend’ (written by Fred Wise, Ben Wiseman and Dolores Fuller); ‘Relax’ (written by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett); ‘Take Me To The Fair’ (written by Sid Tepper and Roy C Bennett); ‘They Remind Me Too Much Of You’ (written by Don Robertson); ‘One Broken Heart For Sale’ (written by Otis Blackwell and Winfield Scott); ‘I’m Falling In Love Tonight’ (written by Otis Blackwell and Winfield Scott); ‘Cotton Candy Land’ (written by Ruth Bachelor and Bob Roberts); ‘A World of Our Own’ (written by Bill Grant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye); ‘How Would You Like To Be’ (written by Ben Raleigh and Mark Barkan; ‘Happy Ending’ (written by Ben Weisman and Sid Wayne).

The soundtrack was recorded at Radio Recorders Studio in Hollywood during September 1962. The musicians were: Elvis, vocals; Sonny Moore, Tiny Timbrell and Barney Kessell, guitars; Ray Sieger, bass; D.J.Fontana, Hal Blaine and Bernie Mattinson, drums; Don Robertson, piano; Boots Randolph, sax; The Jordanaires and The Mello Men (Thurl Ravenscroft, Bill Lee, Bill Cole, Max Smith), backing vocals. The album, containing all ten songs from the movie, was issued on RCA LPM-2697 in April 1963. It reached No.4 in the Billboard album chart and remained in the chart for 26 weeks.

Incidentally, Ben Weisman wrote more songs for Elvis than any other songwriter, almost 60 numbers, many of them becoming gold or platinum hits. Weisman was born on 16th November 1921 and wrote songs for Elvis’ movie and stage appearances including ‘Crawfish’, ‘Rock-a-Hula Baby’, ‘Wooden Heart’ and ‘Got a Lot of Living To Do.’ He also wrote a lot of turkeys, including ‘Do the Clam’ and ‘He’s Your Uncle, Not Your Dad’.

He said that he didn’t set out to write daft songs, he was simply following instructions for film scenes and was often unhappy with the results. He commented, “’Summer Kisses, Winter Tears’ was a beautiful love song, but they put it in a scene in ‘Flaming Star’ with Elvis and some American Indians smoking the peace pipe!”

Weisman, who Elvis nicknamed ‘the mad professor’, died of Alzheimer’s disease and a stroke on Sunday 20th May 2007. He was 85 years old.
Sixties City: It Happened At The World's Fair - Bill Harry's Sixties

Sixties City: It Happened At The World's Fair - Bill Harry's Sixties
Sixties City: It Happened At The World's Fair - Bill Harry's Sixties
Sixties City: It Happened At The World's Fair - Bill Harry's Sixties

Also see Sixties City pages: Elvis Films

Mersey Beat Magazine Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

Article Text Bill Harry               Original Graphics SixtiesCity     Other individual owner copyrights may apply to Photographic Images

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