Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

It Happened at the World's Fair

As mentioned in earlier posts, I Netflixed this DVD after seeing an amusing MST3K clip promoting the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. Elvis plays a pilot of a 2-seater barnstormer era plan called Betsy. His co-pilot and drunken, gambling no-good partner is played by Gary Lockwood, better known for his co-starring role in 2001 A Space Odyssey (He played Frank, co-pilot of a much bigger ship, the guy HAL kills with an errant repair vehicle).

Joan O'Brien plays the obligatory Ice Queen (a nurse at the fair's dispensary) and is about as Not His Type as you can get. Think Doris Day meets Rosemary Clooney. If those names are too old for you to remember, how about the Mom in Leave It To Beaver? And thrown into the mix is the terminally cute Vicky Tiu, as the little girl who is apparently abandoned at the Fair by her only relative, her uncle. Elvis "adopts" her till her uncle can be found.

Since this is an Elvis vehicle, of course The King sings many solos, but disappointing is the fact that Vicky and Joan, both by this time well known singers, only get tiny chime-in bits at the end of one song each. At least two songs each could have been arranged as duets. Boo, hiss.

There are a couple of poorly choreographed fist fight scenes, one with a bunch of gamblers and another with the Bad Guy who hires the fliers to take a special cargo to Canada. Elvis is suspicious, opens one of the burlap bags. Inside are a bunch of unidentifiable fur pelts - maybe ermine, maybe mink, more likely rabbit. Smuggling furs to Canada? Can you say "Plot sanitizing"?

Mildly enjoyable mindless entertainment, Kurt Russel debuts on film here as the kid Elvis pays a quarter to, to kick him in the shins (so he can get close to the nurse, who had given him frostbite during their last encounter).

Vicky Tiu was so cute and sang so well, I figured she would have gone on to bigger and better things, so I looked her up on IMDB, and instead of masses of film credits, this was her only one. Apparently she took off with her sister Ginny on tour. Ginny now owns both film and sound studios. Vicky has been married twice, her current hubby is Gov. Ben Cayetano of Hawaii. And here's some interesting info about her:

Since becoming the First Lady of Hawaii, Vicky has joined with Ohio First Lady Hope Taft and Florida First Lady Columba Bush to undertake a public awareness initiative to reduce drunk driving and youth alcoholism. Targeting the age groups of ages 9 through 15, Vicky has worked with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) to focus the attention of educators and policy makers on the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption by young bodies. Trustee of the State Library Foundation, she also directs the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council.

The real reason I got this flick was to see what the World's Fair looked like. We didn't move to Seattle till 1965, and by that time the site was re-purposed as the Seattle Center. Oddly enough, there were not too many major changes I could see. The carnival section is about the same, and one wonders how tacky the Fair administration must have been to have a run-of-the-mill carny area at a World's Fair (stuff like this is usually at county fairs). They didn't show any of the north end of the fair grounds, which had the hockey arena, theater and opera house. There was a row of small country pavilions (Greece, China, Thailand, etc) which I think were completely torn down after the fair, but one of the biggest exhibits, AT&T, became the food court building, and the US Science exhibit (where the dream car and Really Stupid Rent-a-cop chase scene takes place) became the Pacific Science Center, whose first head was Dr. Dixie Lee Ray, who went on to become one of the worst governors the State of Washington ever had.

But I digress.

There is one thing about this movie which makes it totally unbelievable. bridget_coila, mistymarshall and skydancer, are you sitting down?  Good. During the entire movie, it never rains. And Mt. Rainier is always visible when they point the camera in that direction.

And one amusing technical mistake: Throughout the entire scene in the Space Needle restaurant, which lasts from mid-afternoon to after sunset, the view out the windows never changes. It looks like they built a mock-up on a sound stage, and pasted photos in place of the windows. A neat trick for a restaurant which rotates 360° each hour.

Tags: review

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