Rodgers and Hammerstein Make State Fair Sing

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After the success of Oklahoma!, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were wooed by several studios to create the next big hit. It was 20th Century Fox though who sealed the deal, allowing the pair to remain in New York while they worked, rather than having to relocate to California.

Their project was a musical adaption of State Fair, which had been a big hit in the 1930s. With a budget of approximately $2 million, it would be the only film musical they wrote directly for the screen.

1. Craig was only 19!

The first adaptation of State Fair was a vehicle for Janet Gaynor, most remembered for her Oscar-nominated role in A Star is Born. Seen as a Gaynor-type, Jeanne Craig was cast in the musical. However, she did not do her own singing, but was instead dubbed by Lou Ann Hogan. Her voice matched so well with Jeanne’s that the studio kept her on so she could dub the actress in two other films, Centennial Summer and Margie. Interestingly, Alice Faye was originally sought for the lead, but she surprised everyone by retiring from acting instead.

2. Andrews had a secret.

Dana Andrews came to Hollywood to be…an opera singer! However, the studio didn’t know this and hired Ben Gage to dub him. Dana Andrews didn’t mind though and didn’t say anything. He assumed Gage needed the work.

3. Bing Crosby appears. Sort of.

“It Might as Well Be Spring” poked fun at the popular singers at the time, including Bing Crosby, Charles Boyer, and Ronald Colman. To make sure that they wouldn’t get in any legal trouble, the studio got written permission to do impressions of the three.