State Fair (1945)

state fair 1945 musical movieBecause when you have a clump of artificial cherries hanging on your dress, the world is your oyster.


This Rodgers & Hammerstein musical was a family favorite growing up. Not because the acting is anything special, or that the ending is even remotely satisfying, or even that is has a brief appearance by Colonel Potter from the 1970s sitcom M*A*S*H.

No, the music is what makes this movie worth watching. I think “It Might as Well Be Spring” even won an Academy Award for Best Song, but I could be wrong. Either way, just some classic show tune goodness from Rodgers & Hammerstein.

It’s got four main stars:

  • Dana Andrews — Decent actor. The only other movie I’ve seen him in was an old mystery called Laura (worth seeing).
  • Vivian Blaine — Her other big movie was probably Guys and Dolls. Apparently she was a popular singer, but not my cup of tea.
  • Dick Haymes — Very well-known singer at the time. I downloaded several of his songs on iTunes. He acts like a grown-up version of Wally from Leave it to Beaver.
  • Jeanne Crain — I never saw her in anything else, but apparently she had a career after this movie. Her singing was dubbed, but that’s ok, because again, when you have a clump of fake cherries hanging on your dress, nothing in the world can kill your confidence.

state fair musical movieOH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: I won’t spoil the ending, but if you come to this state fair expecting prime rib, I’m afraid all you’ll get is a nasty pickle and a questionable jar of mincemeat.

This film isn’t exactly what you’d call a deep-thinker, but it does show the power of optimism.

At the beginning, Father Abel bets his neighbor five dollars that his pig will win the prize at the state fair and that the whole family will have a fantastic time. I won’t tell you how the bet turns out, but either way, that took some gutsy optimism.

If you’re going to gamble, bet on your own happiness. God didn’t send us here to doubt or wallow in self-pity. He wants us to be happy and find joy in whatever our circumstances might be.

Orson F. Whitney once said, “The spirit of the gospel is optimistic; it trusts in God and looks on the bright side of things. The opposite or pessimistic spirit drags men down and away from God, looks on the dark side, murmurs, complains, and is slow to yield obedience.”

When I served as a missionary, there was a quote from Gordon B. Hinckley that always filled me with faith and optimism when I was discouraged, and it still brings me happiness today:

“It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. … If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.”

 “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” — Psalm 30:5

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