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He's played a water ski instructor, a ghetto doctor, a lifeguard, an underwater demolitions expert, a tuna fisherman and on at least three occasions, a race car driver so why shouldn't Elvis get to add another occupational hazard to his list of screen characters? In It Happened at the World's Fair (1963), he plays a freelance charter airplane pilot named Mike Edwards who travels to Seattle with his buddy Danny (Gary Lockwood) to check out the action. In no time flat, Danny's gambling debts force the duo to relinquish their plane and come up with another game plan - smuggling. Of course, the plot is secondary to the sights and sounds of the World's Fair. After all, who can compete with the Space Needle, the Skyride, the "Dream Car" exhibit, and the Floating City of Tomorrow? Elvis, that's who. He serenades his fans with "Cotton Candy Land," "Happy Ending," and "I'm Falling in Love Tonight." He also shares a duet - "How Would You Like to Be" - with tiny Vicky Tiu in her screen debut as Sue-Ling and if that number doesn't give you diabetes, nothing will.
During the filming of It Happened at the World's Fair in Seattle, MGM executives took extra security precautions and made sure the king was surrounded at all times off-camera by a group of Pinkerton plainclothes detectives. And speaking of kings, when Elvis returned to MGM after the location shooting, he was given Clark Gable's former dressing room at the studio.
Want some more trivia? Recognize that little boy who kicks Elvis in the film? Yes, that's Kurt Russell in his first film appearance. His first screen role, however, was in the television series Sugarfoot. Russell would go on to play the Tupelo wonderboy in John Carpenter's made-for-TV biopic, Elvis in 1979. And yes, Elvis did have an offscreen affair with co-star Yvonne Craig who also turned up in another Elvis film, Kissin' Cousins.
Producer: Ted Richmond
Director: Norman Taurog
Screenplay: Si Rose, Seaman Jacobs
Cinematography: Joseph Ruttenberg
Film Editing: Fredric Steinkamp
Art Direction: E. Preston Ames, George W. Davis
Music: Leith Stevens
Cast: Elvis Presley (Mike Edwards), Joan O'Brien (Diane Warren), Gary Lockwood (Danny Burke), Vicky Tiu (Sue-Lin), H.M. Wynant (Vince Bradley), Yvonne Craig (Dorothy Johnson).
C-106m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning.
by Jeff Stafford