Love Stories Countdown to Valentine’s Day #7:
If you truly knew me, would you stay?

The Music Man is obviously not a love story of a friend, but too compelling to forego. It’s a musical by Meredith Wilson set in 1912 River City, Iowa about a charismatic conman, Harold Hill, who poses as a boys’ band organizer in order to swindle naive Midwestern townsfolk into buying musical instruments and band uniforms. He intends to skip town without giving musical lessons before the town gets wise to his scheme.

The only one who stands between him and his latest swindle is the town’s prim and straight-laced librarian and piano teach, Marian Paroo. He attempts to seduce her in order to keep his cover, but fails. Finally Marian finds evidence to expose Harold as a conman, but just then the band instruments arrive. Amongst the children excited for the instruments’ arrival is Marian’s own younger brother, Wintrop, who has become silent and withdrawn into himself after the death of his father. Suddenly full of joy and loquaciousness, Wintrop is wholly transformed, and Marian notices that the entire town has come alive with excitement, kindness and unity over the promised band.

But, why is this a compelling love story? Well, partially because Marian, despite her misgivings about Harold Hill, is able to recognise the good that came through even with his lies. He gave the town something fun to look forward to, to rally around, to be proud of – to dream. But, I think it’s more of a love story for Harold. He had spent his entire life conning people into believing he was someone he was not. He was charming, effervescent, and accepted – so long as they believed his facade. When Marian confesses not only that she loves him but that she knew all along he was a conman, he’s stunned.

Here was the one person who was never fooled by him, yet chose to love him for who he truly was – both good and bad. He’s still in shock when the town finally figures out he’s a swindler, but rather than run away he decides to stay and stand trial. I won’t give a way the ending for any of you who haven’t watched it. But, I highly recommend watching, especially Marian’s defense of him at the climax.

The YouTube excerpt is when the band instruments arrive with the Wells Fargo wagon, and shows the excitement of the whole town:

Love, February