It Happened at the Worlds Fair has a thin plot - the
pace laborious, the tunes largely uncatchy and the
scenery rather flat. But it was only the fourth known
studio movie to be made in Seattle and it put us on the
cinematic screen much the way the fair put us on the
For the few weeks that Elvis was in Seattle, the
then-27-year-old heartthrob gave the city a case of
Elvismania a year before we first tasted Beatlemania.
Dave Jessup, then a police lieutenant in charge of most
security details at the World's Fair, arranged for
Jessup had a phalanx of 40 to 60 off-duty police officers
shadow Presley, who also had his own tribe of black-clad
bodyguards. Presley also was followed by his impresario
manager, Col. Tom Parker.
David Jessup: "He was a very pleasant young person. I
enjoyed dealing with him," said Jessup, now 78. "He scared
his makeup person to death because he loved to play touch
That didn't stop him from having four dates with a Seattle
girl, an 18-year-old blonde named Sue Wouters, according
to the book "Meet Me at the Center," by Don Duncan.
Duncan's account says that Presley spotted Wouters in a
crowd and had one of his bodyguards ask her out on the
Wouters was driven by limousine to the New Washington
Hotel, where she and Presley and his bodyguards listened
to records, watched TV and drank Cokes. Wouters told a
reporter at the time that she let Presley kiss her on each
date, and that her boyfriend was less than pleased about
Everywhere Presley went, there were girls, girls, girls!
They'd pretend to be reporters for their high-school
newspapers; they'd climb his downtown hotel's fire escape;
they'd run around his human shields.
"They were a little more determined than we had first
thought," Jessup recalled with a laugh. "One of them
managed to make an end run around our police officers and
grabbed a scarf that was part of his costume."
Though not as exciting as Presley's days in Seattle, the
movie has its moments.
In his pre-star, pre-Goldie Hawn days, Kurt Russell, then
11, made an uncredited appearance in this MGM production.
Russell, who coincidentally portrayed Presley on screen
long after the King's death, plays a kid wandering the
fair. He's approached by Presley, who asks the youngster
to kick him in the shin for a quarter.
Why? Because Presley is trying to woo a hot nurse with a
frosty exterior and he needs a legitimate injury to go see
Mike (Elvis Presley) admires Sue Lin's (Vicky Tiu)
ravenous appetite after he is called upon to watch over
the youngster during a day at the fair. The San Francisco
tot turned out to be a scene stealer.
Presley plays bum crop-dusting pilot Mike Edwards, who
can't find steady work or rein in his partner, habitual
gambler Danny Burke. He's looking to make enough dough to
start his own mini-airline when his partner blows it all
in a card game and gets their plane confiscated by the
So, off they hitchhike to Seattle to scrounge up some work
at the World's Fair. In the meantime, nurse Diane fights
off Mike's practiced come-ons as he tries to change her
mind with food, drink, a guitar and a little girl in
Things are complicated by the pint-size and adorable Sue
Lin, a local Chinese girl whom Mike takes to the fair
after her uncle is called away for work. When Uncle Walter
goes missing, little Sue Lin has nowhere to go but with
Mike to his temporary quarters at the "Century 21
Estates," a spruced-up mobile home park somewhere on "Lake
Little Sue Lin (Vicky Tiu), is a scene stealer, with her
big saucer eyes, hearty appetite and sweetly scheming
She wasn't the first choice. However her sister, Ginny
Tiu, who'd appeared with Elvis in the movie "Girls! Girls!
Girls!" had another invitation she couldn't refuse:
to play piano for President Kennedy in the White House.
So, little sister Vicky Tiu was offered the role.
It was the only film Tiu ever made.
Sue-Lin plays another prominent role: as Vicky Cayetano,
first lady of the state of Hawaii. Cayetano, who was 6 1/2
at the time, remembers being homesick much of the time she
was here. With her family in San Francisco, the little
girl had a governess during the filming of the movie.
Vicky (Tiu) Cayetano today is first lady of Hawaii. She
remembers that Presley even had a way with girls as young
One day she was nervous and struggling with one scene that
stretched into about 30 takes, and could see the director
getting frustrated. She started stuttering.
"Finally, Elvis said, 'That's it, it's a wrap, the little
lady and I are going to have something to eat,'" she
recalled over the phone recently.
The King took her to dinner and the next day she nailed
the scene immediately.
"At that age, I didn't understand the magnitude of his
fame and popularity. But he was a gentleman," said
Cayetano, now in her late 40s.
She also remembers meeting Kurt Russell on the set.
"I recall Kurt Russell telling me how much he enjoyed it.
He said, 'When I get out of school, this is what I want to
do.' And I thought, well, this is not what I want to do,"
said Cayetano, who went on to Stanford University and is
now the chief executive officer of a commercial laundry
service in Honolulu.
Cayetano has a few remnants from her moviemaking days: a
copy of the script and a big red teddy bear. In the movie,
she shows Presley up at a carnival game, knocking down
some bottles with a softball after he has missed.
She got the teddy bear prize. Naturally, Presley got the