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Rodgers and Hammerstein Movie Musical State Fair Marks 75th Anniversary

The film was released in cinemas this week in 1945.

Dick Haymes and Jeanne Crain in State Fair.
(© 20th Century Fox)

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the film State Fair, directed by Walter Lang and featuring songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

State Fair, released in 1945, was the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical written directly for the screen. The film, with a script by Hammerstein, Sonya Levien, and Paul Green, is an adaptation of the 1933 film of the same title, written by Levien and Green, who used the similarly titled 1932 novel by Phil Strong as their source material. The musicalized version introduced songs like "It Might as Well Be Spring," which won an Oscar, "It's a Grand Night for Singing," and "Our State Fair."

The film stars Jeanne Crain, Dana Andrews, Dick Haymes, Vivian Blaine, Fay Bainter, and Charles Winninger. It was remade in 1962, with a cast led by Ann-Margret and Pat Boone.

State Fair was adapted for the stage in 1969, in a production at St. Louis's Muny that starred Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. A new adaptation by Tom Briggs and Louis Mattioli premiered regionally in 1992, before moving to Broadway in 1996. Co-directed by James Hammerstein and Randy Skinner, it starred John Davidson, Andrea McArdle, and Donna McKechnie and ran 110 performances.

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