Our film opens up at the Bradford Center, Iowa train station, where a throng of people have gathered to greet the latest arrival. Then, a narrator chimes in and gets us up to speed by letting us know that Lindbergh just crossed the Atlantic, and while Babe Ruth was threatening to hit sixty home-runs folks were openly wondering if Calvin Coolidge would run for a second term, which makes this, I believe, 1927 or thereabouts. Regardless, those are concerns for another time, because today, the Chautauqua is rolling into town.
What's a Chautauqua? Glad you asked. A Chautauqua is kind of like a circus -- only without the clowns, trapeze artists or animal acts. Okay, that's not really fair -- it's more of a revival meeting meets a renaissance festival with forums, symposiums and speakers on all matters of subjects, topped off with several musical revues. Now, this particular Chautauqua has been around before but it's now under new management, namely Walter Hale (Elvis Presley), the son of the former owner, and there's trouble brewing already. Seems the City Fathers are already haggling over the attraction's guaranteed payment, with the main point of contention being the Mayor, who wants a solemn pledge that his daughter will get the lead in the Chautauqua's annual Children's Pageant to help grease the wheels. After assuring his Honor that all will be well an impromptu parade erupts, and Hale, playing the Pied Piper, leads the march from the train station to the fairgrounds. But as the music swells and the credits roll, we suddenly realize that our leading man isn't singing. Hmmmnnn ... that seems strange. And if you also find that odd, click here to read more.