Music Man, The (1962): Making of Classic Musical Movie


The members of the original Broadway cast who also appeared in the film are Robert Preston (Harold Hill), Pert Kelton (Mrs. Paroo), The Buffalo Bills (The School Board), Peggy Mondo (Ethel Toffelmier), and Adina Rice (Alma Hix).

Paul Ford (Mayor Shinn) was a replacement during the original run.

Susan Luckey (Zaneeta Shinn) and Harry Hickox (Charlie Cowell) both reprise their roles from the first national tour while Monique Vermont (Amaryllis) was a replacement.

Although Preston scored a great success in the original stage version of the show, he was not the first choice for the film version, mostly because he was not a major box office star.

Jack L. Warner was known for wanting to film stage musicals with bigger stars than the ones who played the roles onstage. Bing Crosby was offered the role of Harold Hill, but turned it down.

Warner also offered the part to Cary Grant, but he declined, saying “nobody could do that role as well as Bob Preston.” Grant also reportedly told Warner that he would not bother to see the film unless Preston was in it.

Warner wanted Frank Sinatra for the role of Professor Hill, but Meredith Willson insisted on casting Preston.