Discussion of the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission’s new marketing tag-line (St. Lou Is . . . All Within Reach, etc.) has brought out a chorus of proponents for a venerable alternative: Meet Me In St. Louis. Since the movie (now a staple in community and dinner theaters around the country) first appeared in 1944, St. Louisans have had quite a crush on it — especially those given to nostalgia for the City’s heyday of World’s Fairs and streetcars.
I like the movie, too. What St. Louis mayor wouldn’t cheer for Attorney Smith and his family to eschew a New York law practice for St. Louis? But, because the movie and its title point so strongly to the past, instead of to the City’s increasingly compelling present, I don’t think “Meet Me In St. Louis” is as useful a marketing device as is the CVC’s new choice.
Still, discussion of the tag-line sharpened my eye for mentions of the movie and I recently read — to my mild surprise that one of the movie’s songwriters (“The Trolley Song,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “The Boy Next Door”) Hugh Martin, is still alive and living in California.
I’ve asked my staff to do a little research. If Mr. Martin (who is 93 years old) hasn’t ever gotten a key to this City, I plan to send him one. And, maybe, the CVC will send him one of those pins with the new marketing logo on it. It might be worth a song?