State Fair (1976 film)

State Fair is a 1976 American made-for-television drama film loosely based on the 1932 novel of the same title by Phil Stong. It was broadcast on CBS on May 14, 1976, and starred Vera Miles as Melissa Bryant, the matriarch of the family.[3][4]

State Fair
Based onState Fair by Phil Stong
Written byRichard Fielder
Directed byDavid Lowell Rich
StarringVera Miles
Tim O'Connor
Mitch Vogel
Julie Cobb
Jeff Cotler
Dennis Redfield
Linda Purl
Joel Stedman[1]
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)M.J. Frankovich
William Self
Producer(s)Robert L. Jacks
CinematographyCharles F. Wheeler
Editor(s)Stanford Tischler
Running time55 minutes[1]
Production company(s)20th Century Fox Television
Original networkCBS
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono (RCA Sound Recording)
Original releaseMay 14, 1976 [2]

It is the fourth film adaptation of the novel, the previous three having been released to theaters in 1933, 1945, and 1962. As in Stong's novel and previous film adaptations, the story involves an Iowa farm family who travel to the Iowa State Fair, where the son and daughter of the family each find romance. However, in the 1976 film, most of the character names were changed (the "Frakes" of the original novel became the "Bryants"), new son and grandson characters were added, and other aspects of the story were changed and updated to reflect the 1970s.[1][4]

The 1976 version was made as a pilot episode for a television series,[5] but the series was never produced. It has been included as a special feature on the DVD release of the 1945 film.[6]


Melissa and Jim Bryant live on an Iowa farm with their adult son Chuck, their adult daughter Karen, and their teenage son Wayne, who is a high school sophomore. Wayne is a talented singer and guitarist who dreams of country music stardom. Karen, newly separated from her husband, has recently rejoined the family with her own young son Tommy, who misses his father.

The Bryants attend the Iowa State Fair, where Wayne enters the "Stars of Tomorrow" talent contest and falls in love with fellow competitor Bobbie Jean Shaw, who also aspires to a country music career in Nashville. Bobbie Jean, who may be using Wayne to further her own ambitions, pressures him to run away with her so they can pursue their musical dreams together. Meanwhile, Karen begins a new romance with her former classmate, David, after they run into each other at the fair.[3][4][5]




  1. "State Fair (1976)". Turner Classic Movies. 2015. Archived from the original on 6 November 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  2. Encyclopedia of Television Pilots, 1937-2012 Terrace, Vincent.
  3. "Vera Miles Will Star In 'State Fair'". The Schenectady Gazette. Schenectady, New York. May 15, 1976. p. TV Section 24. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  4. "'State Fair' Comes to TV as Musical Drama". High Point Enterprise. High Point, North Carolina. 8 May 1976. p. TV Spotlight 1. Retrieved 6 November 2015 via
  5. Fulkerson, Perry (14 May 1976). "'State Fair' Pilot Has Potential". Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Florida. p. 3-B. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  6. "Reviews and ratings for State Fair". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
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