It Happened at the World's Fair
|It Happened at the World's Fair|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Norman Taurog|
|Produced by||Ted Richmond|
|Music by||Leith Stevens|
|Edited by||Fredric Steinkamp
Don Guidice (uncredited)
Ted Richmond Productions
|Running time||105 minutes|
|Box office||$2,500,000 (US/ Canada)|
The motion picture was filmed in Seattle, Washington, site of the Century 21 Exposition, the 1962 World's Fair. The governor of Washington at the time, Albert Rosellini, suggested the setting to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer executives. The film made $2.25 million at the box office.
Pilot Mike Edwards (Elvis Presley) finds himself in a dilemma. His partner and friend Danny (Gary Lockwood, Wild in the Country, 2001: A Space Odyssey) has gambled away the money Mike had set aside to pay their debts. Since they now have no money and a $1,200 debt, the local sheriff takes possession of their plane, Bessie, a cropduster. If they cannot come up with the money in twelve days, Bessie will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Mike and Danny become reluctant hitchhikers, looking for a lift to anywhere. They are picked up by apple farmer Walter Ling (Kam Tong, Across the Pacific, Soldier of Fortune) and his niece Sue-Lin (Vicky Tiu). They end up in Seattle, Washington, location of the 1962 World's Fair. When the uncle is called away on business, Danny persuades Mike to take Sue-Lin to the World's Fair. It is during a visit to the doctor that Mike falls for Diane Warren (Joan O'Brien, Operation Petticoat), an attractive but stubborn nurse who resists Mike's advances. He pays a boy (Kurt Russell) to kick him in the shin so that he can be treated by her. Mike also courts Dorothy Johnson (Yvonne Craig, Kissin' Cousins, who later became Batgirl in the third season of Batman).
Complications then arise. Walter suddenly disappears, leaving Mike with Sue-Lin. Diane discovers what has happened and wants to inform the Welfare Board about it. There is a mysterious nightfall plane delivery for Mike's and Danny's friend Vince (H.M. Wynant, The Twilight Zone, who later became Frosty, one of Mr. Freeze's henchmen, in at least one episode of Batman).
- Elvis Presley as Mike Edwards, cropduster pilot
- Joan O'Brien as Diane Warren, World's Fair nurse and eventual love interest of Edwards
- Gary Lockwood as Danny Burke, Mike's gambling-addicted business partner
- Vicky Tiu as Sue-Lin, a young girl befriended by Mike
- Yvonne Craig as Dorothy Johnson, a love interest of Mike's
- H. M. Wynant as Vince Bradley, Danny's crooked associate
- Kam Tong as Walter Ling, Sue-Lin's uncle
- Edith Atwater as Miss Steuben
- Guy Raymond as Barney Thatcher
- Dorothy Green as Miss Ettinger
- Red West as Fred (uncredited)
- Joe Esposito as Carnival Man (uncredited)
Kurt Russell had an uncredited speaking role as a boy who Mike Edwards pays 25¢ to kick him, thus giving him a chance to visit Nurse Warren. Russell would go on to play Elvis in the made-for-television film Elvis, provide the voice for Elvis in Forrest Gump, and portray an Elvis impersonator in 3000 Miles to Graceland.
The Seattle Center, including the Seattle Center Monorail and the Space Needle, serve as backdrops for several scenes in the film. Security officers pursue Presley and the girl through the fountains at what is now the Pacific Science Center. The hitchhiking scene with Elvis and Gary Lockwood was filmed near Camarillo, California, as were some of the flying scenes. The entire hitchhiking scene to the point where they are both picked up by Kam Tong and Vicky Tiu Cayetano in the truck is easily recognizable as 5th Street near Pleasant Valley Road on the South side of Camarillo.
While The Elvis Encyclopedia believes that the Wilburton Trestle was shown in the movie, further evidence points to a different location. It is actually a trestle over the White River between Enumclaw and Buckley, now demolished. The view in the movie was taken at the intersection of Mud Mountain Road and Highway 410, looking southeasterly. You can see Mount Rainier in the background, which you can't see at this angle from the Wilburton Trestle. The Wilburton Trestle is actually bigger than the White River Trestle, at six sections high. The trestle pictured in the movie is only four sections high at the road crossing.
- "Top Rental Features of 1963", Variety, 8 January 1964 p. 71. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
- Adam Victor. The Elvis Encyclopedia. Overlook, 2008.
- Victor 2008.
- Key to the City's profile of Buckley The history blurb on this page was written before the trestle was demolished.
- Google Street View of Mud Mountain Road and Highway 410 You can still see the bend in the road and a guard rail in the same place as in the movie
- White River Journal, January 2002 White River History Museum. Includes a photo of the trestle, but not the part shown in the movie
- Guralnick, Peter, and Ernst Jorgensen (1999). Elvis Day by Day: The Definitive Record of His Life and Music. Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-42089-6.
- Kirchberg, Connie, and Marc Hendrickx (1999). Elvis Presley, Richard Nixon, and the American Dream. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company. ISBN 0-7864-0716-6.
- Lisanti, Tom (2000). Fantasy Femmes of 60's Cinema: Interviews with 20 Actresses from Biker, Beach, and Elvis Movies. McFarland and Company. ISBN 0-7864-0868-5.
- Marcus, Greil (1980). "Rock Films," The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll, second edition. Random House. ISBN 0-394-73938-8.
- Ponce de Leon, Charles L. (2007). Fortunate Son: The Life of Elvis Presley. Macmillan. ISBN 0-8090-1641-9.
- Presley, Priscilla (1985). Elvis and Me. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. ISBN 0-399-12984-7.
- Thomson, David (1998). A Biographical Dictionary of Film (3d ed.). Knopf. ISBN 0-679-75564-0.
- Victor, Adam (2008). The Elvis Encyclopedia. Overlook Duckworth. ISBN 1-58567-598-9
- It Happened at the World's Fair at the Internet Movie Database
- It Happened at the World's Fair at the TCM Movie Database
- It Happened at the World's Fair at AllMovie
- DVD reviews
- "What Happened At The World’s Fair: Elvis And The Future In Seattle" by Jim Demetre at The Monarch Review, October 18, 2012.
- Review by Bill Treadway at DVD Verdict, August 12, 2004.
- Review by Mark Zimmer at digitallyOBSESSED!, August 4, 2004.