State Fair was the only musical Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote
specifically for the screen. It was filmed twice in 1945 and again
in 1962. The original 1945 version starred the lovely Jeanne Crain (whose
songs were sung by Louanne Hogan), Dana Andrews, Vivian Blaine, crooner Dick
Haymes Charles Winniger, and Fay Bainton. I will confess to having seen it
on its first theatrical release (at the tender age of nine) and remembering
very well its lovely tunes. And how well they have stood the test of time:
It Might As Well Be Spring, Thats For Me;
Its A Grand Night For Singing and Isnt It Kinda
Fun. All these songs and others from the original soundtrack are here
together with a clutch of others; all delivered with sparkle and charm.
The 1962 remake of State Fair lost the simple charm of the original.
It was set in a much more modern and larger fair with a false gloss and
sophistication (and more modern musical backings). All this jarred with the
simplicity of the story of a family coming to the local rural State Fair;
mother to win a pie-making competition, father to win the prize pig contest,
while their teenage children find romance. The stars this time were Pamela
Tiffin (also requiring a voice Anita Gordon), Pat Boone, Bobby Darrin,
Ann Margaret and Tom Ewell. Still, restricting my observations to the music
on this CD, the 1962 artists equip themselves very well and it is a pleasure
to be reminded of the laid back style of Pat Boone as he sings
Thats For Me (even if one might deplore the blousy
instrumentals that ruin it). Bobby Darins singing of This Isnt
Heaven a new song with a lyric by Richard Rodgers charms too. More
than Just A Friend with a lugubrious vocal by Tom Ewell (serenading
his prize pig) is distinguished by a glittering orchestral backing that evokes
all the sounds of the Fairs merry-go-rounds and stalls. Another interesting
addition is Alice Faye singing the slyly amusing Never Say No To A
Man (simply avoid saying yes to him).
A lovely nostalgic trip.