Meredith Willson: The Man Behind "The Music Man"
“The Music Man” is one of America’s classic musicals, and Living in Iowa profiles the charming musical genius who wrote it, Mason City’s Meredith Willson.
Willson had a stellar career in music, starting young with the top band in the nation, the band of John Philip Sousa. From there, he performed with the New York Philharmonic under Toscanini.
He went on to become the music director of NBC for more than 20 years, where he was a familiar voice on such radio programs as "Burns and Allen" and "The Big Show."
He composed music as a sideline with great success, breaking into the top ten with a song called "You and I" sung by Bing Crosby in the '40's. Later, Bing also popularized a little Willson holiday song, "It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas."
The list of Willson's accomplishments is varied and long. He received commendations and awards from every realm, including three awards from American Presidents. But, Willson liked spending time with his friends in Mason City, Iowa, just as well as he liked hanging out with the rich and famous. He visited home often, and he's still fondly remembered by those Mason City friends.
Living in Iowa tells the story of this remarkable man who took his home town roots along with him to the top of the charts.