Thursday, December 27, 2012

Alice Ghostley

Recording Cinderella l. to r. Alice Ghostley, Kay Ballard
and a very young Julie Andrews

Alice Ghostley first worked with Julie Andrews in 1957 on the television presentation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Of course, Julie was Cinderella and Alice played, Joy, one of the wicked step-sisters. The other step-sister was played by Kaye Ballard. In any case, Julie and Alice hit it off. Fourteen years later, when looking for a female side-kick on The Julie Andrews Hour, Alice Ghostley seemed the perfect choice.

***

She was born Alice Margaret Ghostley on August 14th, 1926, in Eve, Missouri, where her father worked as a telegraph operator. Later, the family moved to Henryetta, Oklahoma where Alice graduated from high school and then entered the University of Oklahoma.

Alice Ghostley did not last long in college. She wanted to be in theatre and left school to do so. In 1952, she appeared on Broadway in Leonard Sillman’s New Faces of 1952. In 1954, she appeared in the film version of the show along with Eartha Kitt and Carol Lawrence.

Although Alice Ghostley is mainly known for her work in televison, she continued to work in theatre throughout her career. In 1960, appeared in the revue, A Thurber Carnival, and, in 1962, received a Tony nomination for her role in The Beauty Part. Three years later, she won the Tony Award as Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window. In 1978, Ms. Ghostley appeared on Broadway again when she replaced Dorothy Loudon in the role of Miss Hannigan in the musical, Annie.

***

Alice Ghostley began working in television quite early. Perhaps her best known role was that of Esmerelda in Bewitched. On that show, which ran from 1968 – 1972, she played a shy witch who worked as a maid and babysitter. During this same time (1970 - 1971), she also appeared on  Mayberry R.F.D., playing Cousin Alice. Directly after the Bewitched series ended, Alice Ghostley went to work on The Julie Andrews Hour.

Julie and Alice seemed to have a similar sense of humor and played off each other well. In one series of sketches on the show, Alice played the disgruntled roommate, who watched Julie get all the men and achieve everything she tried without effort, including: learning scripts and foreign languages, sewing her own clothes and even making moosemeat dip. The difference between the tall, beautiful Julie and Alice, who was shorter and not the pretty one, made for a good contrast and allowed the audience to laugh at their antics, all in good fun.
Alice Ghostley (l) on The Julie Andrews Hour
with Carl Reiner, Julie and Cass Elliot

Alice Ghostley played a lot of comic scenes on the show, which she did brilliantly. It was difficult not to laugh when she said her lines. But Ms. Ghostley was also a fine dramatic actress with musical comedy ability as well. One of the most surprising scenes she performed on the show was with a completely serious Don Rickles; there was not one laugh in the scene. Together, the pair performed “Do You Love Me,” a song from Fiddler on the Roof in a way that was quite touching.

When Julie Andrews spoke of Alice Ghostley on the show, she often referred to her as “a dear, sweet lady.” Alice was a very nice, friendly person with no airs. She came to the studio, did her work and, during breaks, sat in the audience (when there was no audience) waiting patiently for the next scene.

During the 1980s and 90s, Alice Ghostley continued to work on various television shows. She also appeared in the films, Grease and Adams Family Reunion. In 1992, she received an Emmy nomination for her role in Designing Women.

Sadly, Alice Ghostley passed away on September 21st, 2007. She is greatly missed.

 More information on Alice Ghostley:



All photos show here are for entertainment purposes only.

To see a complete listing of Julie Andrews Hour blogs with links back to this site, please visit:

http://www.JulieAndrewsHour1972.com


If you think The Julie Andrews Hour should be released for the public on DVD, along with music releases of Julie and her guests, please e-mail a polite request: dan.gopal@itv.com
If you prefer, you may look up ITV in London or Los Angeles, and send a letter there. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Great Entertainer - RICH LITTLE


During the 1960s and into the 1980s, impersonators were very high on the list of entertainers. A combination of comedian and actor, they portrayed the unique aspects of well-loved celebrities. Among the popular impersonators of that time, there were two considered to be the best: Frank Gorshin and Rich Little.

Rich Little with Judy Garland
In 1964, Rich Little’s career took a new turn after his friend, singer-songwriter, Mel Torme got him an audition for The Judy Garland Show. Torme was writing special musical material for the show and asked Rich to make a recording of some of his work. Rich impersonated a number of people that few portrayed, including actors James Mason and Van Heflin, two of Judy Garland’s film co-stars.  Judy loved his work and he was hired. As a result of his work on the show, he received a great deal of attention.

In 1972 The Julie Andrews Hour boasted quite a few veterans from The Judy Garland Show, including musical director, Nelson Riddle, and writers, John Aylesworth and Frank Peppiatt. Although, it is not known how Little came to work on The Julie Andrews Hour, it is possible that the writers, Aylesworth and Peppiatt suggested him as a guest star for the show. It is also possible that Nick Vanoff , who was certainly aware of his work, brought him on board. Rich was one of quite a few Canadians working on the show. Others included the director, Bill Davis, and writers John Aylesworth and Frank  Peppiatt.

***

Born Richard Caruthers Little in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on November 18th, 1938. Rich first discovered his ability to imitate others when he was in school; when the teachers called him, he answered using their voices. Later, while working as an usher at the Eglin Movie Theatre in Ottawa, Rich stood at the back of the theatre during the films and worked on his impressions of the various movie actors on the screen. Because of his continuous work and his amazing ability, in time Rich Little would come to be known as “the Man of a 1000 Voices.”

In his early twenties, Little became a successful disc jockey. While on the job, he found time to incorporate his impressions into his work. After he began working on The Judy Garland Show, his popularity grew quickly.

Being able to impersonate Johnny Carson’s voice and mannerisms made him a popular guest on The Tonight Show. Over the years, Little hosted the show twelve times. Rich Little’s impression of Richard Nixon was also a favorite with audiences. His ability to capture the voice and personality of so many well-loved personalities made him popular with the performers and audience members alike. As a result, he was frequently asked to appear on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, The Ed Sullivan Show and at other public events. During the 1980s, Little became well-known for his starring part in the continuing series on The ABC Comedy Hour segment, The Kopycats which began in 1972.

***

Rich Little was a great addition to The Julie Andrews Hour. He could play any celebrity in any situation, and he did. He could also play any character. Take Julie’s middle-eastern date, Rasshmiss (sp).  Little is unrecognizable in the role and his take on the foreign language, as well as his interaction with Julie and Alice Ghostley is hysterically funny.

In many segments of the series, Rich plays from 8 – 15 different parts: Jack Benny, W.C. Fields, George Burns, James Mason, Truman Capote, John Wayne, Rod Steiger and Richard Nixon, among others. Amazingly, he is also able to hold his own as imitates some of the most famous performers singing. In one segment, he plays Bing Crosby singing with Julie Andrews; in another he plays Johnny Cash.

Another unique aspect of Rich Little’s work on the show, is watching him play a particular celebrity with that celebrity in the scene. On Episode 13, (guest starring Harry Belafonte) Little enters the stage wearing an open shirt in the style of Belafonte, and imitates him singing about a commercial break. In the Christmas episode, he plays a scene with Jimmy Stewart as Rich Stewart, Jimmy Stewart’s nephew, while he imitates the star’s mannerisms and voice to a ‘T.’

One of Rich Little’s most amazing feats occurred when he impersonated Robert Goulet’s singing, while singing with him! That had to take some nerve. If there is one question that might be asked of Little, it would be how he felt impersonating a celebrity, while working with them.

Rich Little is a brilliant actor. During the run of The Julie Andrews Hour, he often appeared in scenes with Alice Ghostley and other stars, like Phyllis Diller. In one sketch on the episode with Diller, he played Cary Grant to her Bette Davis. But of all the scenes performed on the show by Mr. Little, perhaps none was more brilliant than his portrayal of Humphrey Bogart in a scene from The Caine Mutiny Court Marshall. His portrayal of Bogie in that role is so true, so emotionally raw, one forgets that he is impersonating Bogart, or even that he is acting. It is a riveting moment and Rich Little’s performance here is pure genius.  

Three years after The Julie Andrews Hour, Rich Little had his own television variety show, The Rich Little Show. Today, Mr. Little continues to entertain the public at events all over the country. In October of 2012, he performed his tribute show to Jimmy Stewart in Stewart’s hometown, Indiana, Pennsylvania.

Rich Little’s work on The Julie Andrews Hour added a great deal to the show. But along with his impersonations, there was something else he did that made the show wonderful - he made Julie laugh.

Rich Little today

Note – All photos shown on this blog are for entertainment purposes only.


For more information on Rich Little, please visit:

Coming next: Alice Ghostley


If you think The Julie Andrews Hour should be released for the public on DVD, along with music releases of Julie and her guests, please e-mail a polite request: dan.gopal@itv.com
If you prefer, you may look up ITV in London or Los Angeles, and send a letter there. 


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Memories - Closing Out 1972


***

On Episode 15, Julie
presented Keith Michell
with his Emmy Award
In the days following the taping of Episode 15, little memories that I had not written down in my diary kept popping into my head. One memory was of Julie coming to producer, Nick Vanoff, at two in the morning and asking,
“Is the air conditioning on?”
I wrote in quotes: “At two in the morning, in winter?”
I don’t know if Nick said that, but I tend to doubt it. It may have been my thought because we were already freezing in the studio.
“Yes, Julie,” said Nick.
“Well, can you turn it up?”
Nobody complained. She was the star. We just pulled our coats over us and put our hats on.
Then, Julie got her hair dryer out and started blow drying herself.
“Isn’t she going to catch cold?” someone asked.
I imagine she was very hot under the lights in her wig and Shakespearean costume. Plus the scene from Taming of the Shrew involved a lot of physical work.

In another note, I described Julie and Keith discussing what kind of kiss the king in The King’s Breakfast would give the queen. Keith said,
“How shall we kiss?”
Julie wanted to do one kind of kiss and Keith another, so they tried a lot of different kisses. Keith kept kissing Julie over and over again. Although getting this little detail just right shows the seriousness of these two actors about their craft, in my eighteen year old vision of things, I couldn’t help noting, “It seemed as if Keith liked kissing Julie!”

When the Christmas show was finally aired on December 20th, I wrote in my diary:

“Julie proved herself to be a warm and beautiful Christmas companion, even on television. Merry Christmas always, Julie, wherever you are.”

Meanwhile, life went on. 
December 19th:  My mother and I drove over to visit my Grandfather, who is finally out of the hospital after having had a kidney removed. He looked very thin and tired and, suddenly, very old. It seemed so strange that Nana wasn’t there. Grandpa had us look through her clothes; many were brand new. I took some beaded sweaters, a turquoise silk Chinese jacket and a beautiful silk embroidered robe, along with some 1950s sling backs.

                                         ***
Around 1973, Hollywood
December 21st - Second Singing Lesson

I was up at 5:30 am and at 6:00 am my step dad took me to catch the bus for Los Angeles where I caught another bus to Hollywood. Everything was dark as night when I left the house.

Despite California’s bad public transportation, I arrived for my lesson at ten to nine. That was the only time Mr. Loring had for me and I wasn’t going to turn it down. He told me he doesn’t want any more pupils and said he wouldn’t have taken me if I didn’t have talent.  (See Blog 35 - First Singing Lesson)

Eugene Loring, unbeknownst to me
was a famous choreographer
Mr. Loring said that for the first two lessons, we would spend most of the time talking. He wants me to forget about listening to my voice. He explained that expression, concentration and emotion are the most important things.

When he asked me who my favorite singer was, I said, “Judy Garland.” I could have brought Julie up too, but I didn’t.

Mr. Loring told me I had picked a "good one" with Judy—"no, a great one." He said he had worked at the Palace when Judy did, and told me a story. 

One night--the night his parents came to the show--he was backstage afterwards and introduced them to Judy.  Then two of his friends, who were also working on the bill, said,
“It would be fun to have breakfast together in our hotel room tomorrow.”
Just then they heard this little voice say, “Well, am I invited too?”
It was Judy and they were all so surprised that Judy Garland wanted to have breakfast with them, but they told her, “Yes, of course.” So she came to breakfast and they had a wonderful time.

Backstage, his mother asked Judy, “How do you know you are going to cry every night on that certain line of “Over the Rainbow?”
“But I don’t know I’m going to cry,” said Judy, “until I do.”

Then, Mr. Loring asked me to sing, “You Made Me Love You.”
When the lesson was over, he told me he thought in some ways I sounded a like Judy. When he played back the tape of my singing, I was surprised at how much I did sound like her. Not that much, but I never thought our voices would have anything in common.

Today, I also found that I am broken... When listening to the recording Mr. Loring made of me at my lesson, I could hear all the failings that my teachers at school have said I have. I could actually see how I act in class just by listening to myself.

In the afternoon, I had to usher at Los Angeles City College. I got back to West Covina after dark, and tried to get a lot of homework done that night.

                                                      ****

As the year wound down to a close, I spent my spare time studying music and being inspired by my wonderful Christmas present, “Judy at Carnegie Hall,” which I listened to in the family room after every one had gone to bed. I wanted to listen quietly in the dark with my eyes closed, so I could pretend I was really there; I wanted the experience of being at one of her live performances.

****
From the concert style show with Robert Goulet
when Julie lost her earring.
Courtesy Ruth and Vannie Schaufelberger

December 27th - ABC repeated the concert style show with Julie and Robert Goulet. I was delighted to see it again but, in doing so, I realized how much had changed for me in the last months. I was in love with the theater and considered anyone who inspired me to be my friend. And while I was not in any way fooling myself that Julie Andrews was a personal friend or ever would be, the inspiration I received from her had not come to me off a movie screen or even a theater show. It came from being present for hours and hours of work, breaks, discussions about the work - it was real. 

As I watched Julie at work, I never thought I was seeing "Maria" or someone famous; she was just Julie, the person I came to watch on Friday afternoons. Over time, I had grown rather fond of her; I grew to like her from being around her, more than any image I had prior to that time. I suppose that is why I noted in my diary while watching the re-run of the Goulet show, “It is a shock to see her on television.” There were movie stars and there were the persons in my life. It was difficult to put the two together in my mind. 

Now, as the year drew to a close, with all the sad and difficult things that had occurred, I had to count the happy things and look to them as a sign that the future was indeed going to be bright. I was looking forward to 1973!

You can find a list of all blogs on this site and links to them at:


Coming in the next few weeks: Articles on Rich Little, Alice Ghostley, some of the behind the scene talents.... and more!


If you think The Julie Andrews Hour should be released for the public on DVD, along with music releases of Julie and her guests, please e-mail a polite request: dan.gopal@itv.com
If you prefer, you may look up ITV in London or Los Angeles, and send a letter there. 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Episode 14 - The Christmas Show with Jimmy Stewart


The Julie Andrews Hour Christmas Show is a work of art. It also has as a very special guest, Jimmy Stewart. Stewart is perhaps best known for his work in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” a film, which over time, became a beloved Christmas classic. Each year, it inspires people to remember what truly matters. In light of these facts, it is rather amazing that this beautiful episode of The Julie Andrews Hour, which first aired December 20th, 1972, has not become a seasonal tradition, but remains hidden in a vault somewhere.

The Christmas show opens with Julie Andrews standing on a bare stage. Dressed for winter in an elegant fur hat and long, white coat, she begins singing “We Need A Little Christmas.” Dancers appear, carrying and pushing large and small evergreen trees onto the stage. A gentle snow begins to fall and soon the stage is transformed to a winter wonderland.

With Christmas in the air, Julie’s numerous guest stars ‘Wish us a Merry Christmas.” Rich Little and Alice Ghostley also appear. Then, Julie announces her very special guest, Jimmy Stewart, and the pair reveal their plan. Julie is going to take us back to Jolly Old England for “an old fashioned English Christmas” with all the fixings we Americans know nothing of. After that, Jimmy is going to take us to small town America for an old fashioned American Christmas.

In the next scene, two finely dressed gentlemen open a set of doors and we enter another world –Dickens’ England. There, ladies and gentlemen wander the streets of an old English town singing carols, and old friends appear as well. Sergio Franchi sings “O Come All Ye Faithful” with a glorious voice. Carl Reiner sings “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” with a vibrato and vocal quality that reminiscent of the past. Dan Daily renders his solo, “God Rest You Merry Gentlemen” with fine feeling.

Julie with Jimmy Stewart and Cass Elliot
The beautiful music and enchanting sets make us feel that we have stepped into an old painting or old film. The set is the work of award winning designer, Brian Bartholomew. Praise is due director Bill Davis as well for the fine staging and camera work. The cast move through the scenes beautifully; no one seems out of place on this period set.

As the scene progresses, we follow Julie Andrews and Jimmy Stewart around the square with a sense of wonder. Carolers are singing, and the atmosphere—the holiness of Christ’s birth bringing love to the world-- pervades the set. Some of the loveliest tones ever sung by Miss Andrews live in these sweet moments. One special moment is the one in which she and Jimmy look through a window at the statue of Baby Jesus lying in the manger. Here, Julie sings a song called “Rocking.” (This song may be found on the album, Christmas with Julie Andrews). Even Stewart, who is not much of a singer (and at this age has lost much of his ability to sustain a note), sings a touching version of “Away in the Manger.”

From the square, Julie takes Jimmy into an old English home where the room filled with friends and long table filled with food await. The room is list by candlelight, a fireplace and Christmas tree. The guests include Alice Ghostley, Rich Little, Dan Daily, Sergio Franchi, Carl Reiner, Steve Lawrence, Cass Elliott and Joel Grey. Joel has a lovely little solo, but for some reason (perhaps editing) Cass Elliot is never introduced and does not sing a solo.

After a very lively scene where everyone skips around the table singing “Consider Yourself” from Oliver, Julie stands at the head of the table and, lit only by candle light, gives a short speech about love and peace.

Of course, along with these sacred and sentimental moments, there are comic moments. One of these is when Julie tries to explain to Jimmy what they are going to have for their English Christmas dinner. Their conversation is really quite funny. Another is comic segment occurs when Rich Little, as Jack Benny, plays Scrooge, and Alice Ghostley, ably plays Bob Crachitt.

Later, during the American Christmas segment, Jimmy Stewart introduces Julie to his nephew, Rich Stewart, played, of course, by Rich Little. It’s an interesting site to watch Stewart watching Little playing him. One gets the sense he wants to laugh but is not quite sure how to react. At one point, Rich says that he’s always wanted to go to England but he just doesn’t speak the language. Jimmy tells him,
“Rich, they speak the same way we do.”
Rich turns to him and says,
“Uncle Jimmy, nobody speaks the way we do.”

In a fun interim break between the old English Christmas and the American one, Julie takes a flying sleigh ride and sings “Jingle Bells.” It’s lovely. There’s also a fun dance with Julie and eight Santas, choreographed by Tony Charmoli. It’s such a delightful piece; you can’t help but laugh for the joy of it.
In small town America, many of the 20th century Christmas songs, with which we celebrate the season every year, are sung: “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “The Christmas Song,” “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Chistmas.” This time the pair visit an American home and Stewart says a beautiful prayer for peace over the meal. It should not be forgotten that at the time this program was taped, America was in the midst of the Viet Nam War, which did not end until April of 1975.

Also of note on this program is a poem written by Julie’s daughter, ten year old Emma Walton. In 1972, one might assume that Ms. Andrews was merely a proud mother wishing to share her daughter’s work. In 2012, we can see that this poem by a ten year-old school girl is quite a remarkable work. Of course, Julie reads it beautifully.

For the final segment of the show, Julie Andrews, standing before three large stained glass windows, sings traditional carols, both English and American. Her beaded maroon gown matches the set and adds to the sense of quiet celebration. “Silent Night” concludes this lovely show which seems to embody a feeling of the true meaning of Christmas.

On the break and final screen, we see written,

Merry Christmas,

    With love,

              Julie

That is the final statement. The credits follow over Ms. Andrews and chorus rendition of “Sing a Christmas Carol.”

For questions and comments, please e-mail catsong2@netzero.net

A list of blogs and links may be found at http://www.JulieAndrewsHour1972.com

Merry Christmas!

Jimmy Stewart was born May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania. He enrolled in Princeton University in 1928, where he became interested in the school’s drama club. He was invited to join the University Players, an intercollegiate theater company. While working with the University Players of Cape Cod, Jimmy became friends with another young actor, Henry Fonda. Eventually, the pair decided to move to Hollywood. He began his film career in 1934 and, as they said, the rest is history.

Jimmy Stewart was 64 when he appeared on The Julie Andrews Hour. He passed away in 1997 at the age of 89.

For further information, please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Stewart


If you would like to see The Julie Andrews Hour back on television and released on DVD, along with music releases of Julie and her guests, please e-mail a polite request: dan.gopal@itv.com
If you prefer, you may look up ITV in London or Los Angeles, and send a letter there. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

18 Hours with Julie - Part 5 - Goodbyes


continued from previous blog....

This time when Julie came out she was dressed as a dairy maid with a little cap. She was so very tired, but still lively. She walked with her toes turned in, hands on hips and elbows turned in so it looked like her arms were on the wrong way.  As she walked, she watched the monitor so she could trip at the right moment on the cartoon path. She was in such a funny mood, and spoke with a high cockney accent. It was perfect. In one night I have never seen, nor could I have imagined Julie, or any actress for that matter, playing so many different characters for which a complete change was necessary. She is quite amazing.

While they waited for the next scene to be shot, Julie stood on the side talking to one of the cameramen. She was telling him about a navy blue jacket in Emma’s closet and wondering what she should do about sleeping on the plane. She wanted to be awake for the family, but she was so tired, she was thinking of taking a sleeping pill and sleeping all the way to Gstaad. She said they would be gone a full three weeks, not two. The plane would fly as far as Lake Geneva, and then…

When Julie looked up and saw Keith coming in with huge horns out of his head, she burst into her bubbly laughter. She was bent over laughing.  She was the only one left with enough energy to laugh!

For this part, Keith had to bend over because he was going to play the cow. He wanted to rest on a stool, but he couldn’t – I guess because they’d see it on camera.
“Couldn’t they get a real low stool for this?” he asked.
“I offered to,” said Julie, “but they wouldn’t take me.”
Nobody laughed and the scene went fast.
Julie was finished and left to change, so we got up to go. Kelly was going to drive both myself and Elizabeth home.  
“Oh, no!” said the camera men, “We’re going to loose our audience.”
“We’ve got a lot more to do. You’re not giving up and leaving us!”
“We’re leaving when Julie does,” said Elizabeth.

Yes, truly, we had been staying there so she’d have an audience. We would have felt we had deserted her had we left earlier.
As we walked out, we got a chorus of goodbyes.

When we got outside, I learned that Kelly had decided that we should go talk to Julie.  Elizabeth was agreeable to that as, even though Julie had spoken about a blanket onstage, she wondered if she had really gotten it. The two girls discussed whether or not they should go see Julie for about fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, someone pulled a big, black car up to the stage door exit.

Melinda had a long, black cloak and twirled it around herself.
“I’ve worked with famous people, but now I’m so nervous,” she said.

We went and stood by the car to wait. I felt so dumb. It was 5:30 in the morning and I was holding the cue cards in one hand and holding a pile of school books on my other arm. I felt very out of place.

“I hear someone coming,” one of the girls said. 
Julie was way down the passage, but talking away in her stage voice, I don’t know about what.  I was so tired and I afraid she’d be angry seeing us standing there.

A man walked by to open the car door for us and said, “This is not the right time.”
Julie had her arms full, but I was even afraid to look at her. I crossed over to the other side of the car, but stayed aloof while the other two girls went right up to her.
“May we speak to you,” asked Kelly.
“Why certainly,” said Julie.
“Did you see your blanket?” asked Melinda.
“Oh, yes! It was lovely.”  Now, Julie was getting into the car.
“Well, have a good time and be careful. Merry Christmas,” said the girls.
Expressions like that were exchanged between them, but it is all a blur now, but for the remembrance of sounds and feelings in the air. The car door slammed, the motor was on.

“Oh, it’s so impossible,” said Elizabeth. I could tell she was in shock.
As the car passed us, we ran and waved.
“Julie is so aloof,” Elizabeth exclaimed. “I used to go to the Judy Garland Show and Judy would come out and wave and wink at those of us that came every week. Julie never does!”

For a moment I felt cheated, and even a little angry, but when I woke up the next morning I thought of the twenty hours or more of work Julie had done that day. I could not be angry with Julie. She was exhausted, but still she had been willing to talk to us. What star or person would be willing to talk to strangers after twenty hours of hard work? More than anything, I was worried that she wouldn’t like me because I had been there. As we left ABC, it crossed my mind--
“Maybe, I’ll never be able to go back again.”

When I got back, to International House I was shocked when I looked at the clock. It was six am! People would be getting up. My roommate, Lynn, woke up when I came into the room.
“What are you doing? I thought you went home.”
“No, I’ve been with Julie all this time?”
“What?” she said, “You’re kidding.”
I showed her the cue cards. Of course, she couldn’t help noticing my English accent, but I didn’t want to talk; I was exhausted. I took a shower, got into bed and went to sleep.

                                       ****

December 16th -
I got up at ten am and went downtown to look for the building where the music store is – the one where Julie and Liza buy their music. Elizabeth had told me where it was and I was hoping to find some special sheet music.  Meanwhile, I was still stuck with the British accent and a little embarrassed about it so when the guard there asked me what I was looking for, I mumbled, “The music store…”
“What?” he said.
“The music store,” I said in my best British accent.
“Oh!” he said.
From there, I caught a bus back to Vermont. Walking down the street, I was very conscious of last night, as if I had just stepped out of the studio. I almost felt as if Julie was still beside me, and I couldn’t help wondering how she felt this morning.

I had to usher at the college in the early afternoon, and my English accent was still there. People looked at me rather oddly. “Oh, a girl from England” I thought they must be saying to themselves. After I finished ushering, I hurried back to International House to pack for West Covina.

All day I could hear Julie’s polished voice speaking. When I got on the bus, when I ordered a hamburger; whatever I did, I found myself pronouncing things like her. But by late afternoon, that sense of being in the studio had begun to fade and so did my accent. At three o’clock, I knew that Julie and her family were on the plane to Switzerland.

Then, my step dad arrived and drove me back home. I couldn’t sleep much, and I told no one how late I had been up.

A few nights later I had a dream that I was at ABC Studio, sitting in the audience with Joan, Julie’s secretary. When Julie came down into the audience to speak with Joan, I asked her what time it was and her eyes changed from blue to green. Considering how late she had been at the studio, I’m not surprised!

  
Next: A commentary on The Julie Andrews Hour Christmas Show – December 20th.


If you would like to see The Julie Andrews Hour back on television and released on DVD, along with music releases of Julie and her guests, please e-mail a polite request: dan.gopal@itv.com
If you prefer, you may look up ITV in London or Los Angeles, and send a letter there. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

18 Hours with Julie - Part 4 - 4:00am-


4:00 am
As the hour grew later, the crew paid more attention to us. Besides the producer, director, stars and crew, we were the only ones there. The attention we got made us feel pretty special, like part of the family.

During this time, a man came to ask us why we were there.
“Are you all fans of Julie’s? Why do you come?” he asked.
It seemed like everyone was talking about our little group in the first two rows. Even producer, Nick Vanoff, came to inspect us. 
“What are those kids doing here?” he asked.
Another man said, “You’re not even getting paid. You know we ought to charge you rent for your seats—same ones every night.”

Now, Julie came back on stage. They did the scene a couple more times and got it good enough. I couldn’t help feeling a little sorry to see this girl in the wig go. She looked so enchanting.

Now, the men started taking the big camera apart. Two crews were dismissed. It felt sad. This enchanted day and our time there was really ending.

I was starving with the worse hunger pains I have ever had. I went out and bought a can of hot spaghetti in the vending machine, but I was so hungry it didn’t do any good. A man, who I thought was a camera man, came out and spoke to each one of us individually.
“Why are you here?” he asked me.
“Well, because I like it and because this is what I want to do,” I told him.
“What?” he asked.
“This is what I want to do—act.”
“Do you realize only one out of 2,000 make it?”
“Yes,” I said, smiling as sweetly as I could in the face of his negativity.
“Well, maybe it’s not so bad,” he said.

Now, they were going to do the chromokey. It took half-an-hour for them to set up. A long blue roll, like a carpet, was rolled down in a frame from the ceiling. It made a curve down to floor. Only one special camera would be in use with the chromokey, and  the actors had to look into a monitor to see where they were in the scene. With the chromokey, the actors would be transported from where they were into a cartooned background. It was strange, and difficult to do. Keith Michell walked through the furniture in the scene many times.

Julie came out for the scene, “The King’s Breakfast,” dressed as “the Queen.” She wore a white dress and a red crown over her curly-haired wig. She was the exact picture of an A.A. Milne illustration. Keith Michell came out in red and white pyjamas with a King’s mantle.

They rehearsed their lines. Julie was so wonderful. She said the queen’s lines in a deep, matronly voice, sounding every bit a Queen. It made me laugh.

Then, Julie came to sit down near us. She was very, very tired. It was four in the morning.

“Mum, Mum, dear, would you do something for me?” she called. (I’m not sure if it was Lorraine or Joan that she called.) A few minutes later, the woman returned with a cup of tea and a peanut butter sandwich. Julie put her legs to the side, almost over the arm of the chair and tried to relax.

After her snack, she had to climb over the roll of “carpet” (chromokey blue roll) to get back onto the set.

“Walk as though you’ve never seen the floor,” director, Bill Davis instructed her about the scene, and she did. I laughed again at that (quietly) and to my surprise I was the only one laughing. Everyone else was so sleepy, but I felt as if I was just waking up. Kneeling on the floor, and then bouncing a little on the seat of  my chair helped.
“Please move the monitor over a bit,” said Julie.
She and Keith were constantly looking at the monitor in order to know where they were in the scene.
“Thank you,” she said, after one of the crew moved it so she could see.
Then, he moved it a bit more and, suddenly, she said,
“Oh no! Not in front of the people sitting there.”
She was very excited about them not blocking our view. By now, there were only four of us left: Vivian, Elizabeth, Kelly and me. Around 3am, Patty had either called her parents or heard from them somehow. They were very angry about her being there that late and she had to leave.

That night, as the evening had gone on, Vivian and I, to entertain ourselves during the breaks, started speaking to one another with an English accent. We were surrounded by English accents. There was Julie, Keith (though he was really Australian) and Elizabeth. But besides those three, at least one of the cameramen was also British. 

Now, about three or four in the morning, I found myself stuck with the accent. Although I tried, I could not speak with an American accent. Actually, I found I didn’t know how to speak with an American accent. Prior to this time, I had just accepted that I had one! But I wasn’t the only one speaking like a person from England; it seemed to me that even the director and another camera man were catching it as well. Words I’d never said with an accent, I was pronouncing the way Julie would say them.
One of several cue cards I got this night. This one had
been doodled on. The "Do Not Sit Here" signs were often
used to put on Julie's chair or a guest star's chair so that
no one else sat there.

Meanwhile, I had been keeping my eye on some of the cue cards all night. When the cue card man came by, I asked him,
“May I have these or do you need them?” I really wanted a souvenir of this long night!
To my surprise, my English accent was stronger than ever. He told me after the show, I could have them and I was thrilled.

The King’s Breakfast – 5am
Julie was watching and moved her chair down closer in front of us (usually, she turns her back to us).  It may have been the only way she could see the set. Now, she turned and facing us directly said, “If somebody doesn’t do something, I’m going to fall asleep.”
I would have liked to pop up and do something crazy, like singing “On the Good Ship Lollipop” to make her laugh, but it didn’t seem a good idea. I think we were all so tired and then in shock that she actually seemed to be talking to us.

Meanwhile, a man on the crew said he had lost his diamond ring and we all started searching for it, looking under the seats, etc.
One of the cameramen, the one who owns the dogs, told us,
“Julie is so tired, but she’s very healthy. She doesn’t eat greasy food, but cooks…”
He went on to describe how she cooks, but I was watching Julie so I really didn’t hear what he said. He told us that every day now she asks,
“Is your puppy as big as Crystal Klutz?”
A short time later, Julie had to go change her costume again. While she changed, I went outside to see if the sun was rising yet. It was almost five am
When I came back, Keith Michel was lying on the floor with a blanket.  He was doing that for the scene. On the screen, it looked like he was in a bed. “We need blankets,” he said.
“I have a beautiful blanket,” said Julie. That was the blanket Elizabeth had given her.

The camera men complimented us on our staying power. 


If you would like to see The Julie Andrews Hour back on television and released on DVD, along with music releases of Julie and her guests, please e-mail a polite request: dan.gopal@itv.com
If you prefer, you may look up ITV in London or Los Angeles, and send a letter there. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

18 Hours Part 3 - Julie Andrews and Shakespeare at 3am

Close Call
There was a break while the director, producer and others watched the rushes and decided what was left to do on this number. By now, it was late in the evening, Finally, I decided to go out and get something to eat from the machines outside.

I was looking down as I edged along the row, and just about to step out in the aisle, when for some reason, some sense of force, I stepped back. Looking up, I saw that Julie had come off the stage and was RUNNING, no, FLYING up the aisle to Blake and her in-laws. If I had not stepped back, we would have crashed on the stairs! As it was, I came to a quick halt just in the nick of time, and I lost my breath because she was a living being, who had coming out of that heaven on the stage – the kind of beauty I’d dreamed of since I was eight years old.

As she passed, I stepped into the aisle and followed her up the stairs, walking in the wake of that beautiful gown and the chiffon floating around her.

Outside I had to breathe a sigh of relief. I dared not think of what would have happened had we crashed. She was running with such force, I thought we both would have been hurt, but along with that, I was sure I would have been thrown out. In the future, I would look before I stepped into the aisle.

I bought a quick snack and did not stay outside long. My curiosity about Julie and her family got the better of me. When I returned, she was still in the back, talking to Blake and Jenny. Later, Emma came rushing into the audience and jumped about. Then, in a flash, she ran back onstage.  A few minutes later, she ran up to her mother and kissed her. Julie returned the kiss, and then Emma was off again. She’s never still for a moment. Emma is a little round (more than I picture Julie being at that age) and looks more grown-up now then when I first saw her two months ago.

Julie and Keith practiced the “Dancing in the Dark” number over and over again, but every time they got to that last spiral turn and drop onto the floor (if that’s what you call it), Julie would break, saying, “no good.” It was a very difficult move. They stopped and started so many times, and I saw it so many times, I’m not even sure I ever saw them complete the dance.

Oh! At the end, they brought in two extremely large two mirrors. They were very wide and about eight feet tall. I couldn’t actually see Julie when they taped this part, but I could see her in the mirror so clearly that I thought she was actually there. Gorgeous! Wonderful!


Midnight
They had a break for a while. Julie sat in her chair drinking a ginger ale, and Blake’s mother and father came up to talk to her. I noticed they didn’t kiss her goodbye. Maybe they were afraid they’d ruin her makeup. I also noticed that the makeup man came over and put darker powder on either side of her nose.

By now, it was almost one o’ clock in the morning. I’m not really sure what time they finished, but finally, that scene was finished. I was sorry to see the set flying up into the ceiling, but it was fascinating to watch.

Vivien went over to talk to Julie’s hairdresser, Lorraine, and she told her there was a lot more to do. 

The Break and Questions
Earlier in the day – actually that morning (by now that seemed a long time ago) -- Vivian and I had walked over to the backstage entrance. She wanted to show me where it was. She told me she had seen Julie arrive that morning and she also saw that Julie’s dressing room was in the back of the building. She told me that the hall back there was lined with green doors.

While the crew was changing the set, I stood up for a while. Then, I went outside to buy a drink and some candy from the vending machines. Vivian joined me and showed me the exercises she had seen Julie doing in the morning. She made me laugh.

Then we went back inside. During this same break, a man came down to talk to us. He asked us all our ages. When I told him I was eighteen, he said he though I was twenty-two. I think he must have been joking because most people think I’m only sixteen. Then the man said,
“If anything would happen to you in the parking lot or on the way home, how would it look for Julie’s image that you stayed out all night to be with her?”
I think we were all kind of shocked by this comment. We felt safe at the studio.

Earlier in the evening, Julie’s fan mail secretary, Mrs. Priest, came in and sat by me for a while. She said she was not going backstage tonight, but finally she did. She didn’t return for over an hour. When the girls all wondered what had happened to her, I cracked in a silly way, “Crystal Klutz (Julie’s dog) ate her!” which got a laugh. I asked Vivian if Crystal Klutz was going to Switzerland or could she get a passport? Vivien explained that dogs have to live in one country so long before they are allowed in. I thought that sounded funny. “So, she couldn’t get a passport,” I said.

The man who owns Crystal Klutz’s mother brought her mother and sister into the studio wearing red sweaters. Jenny was in the back of the studio with them and they looked so adorable. They are black, silky spaniel dogs. Vivien told me she was going to get the last puppy but the owners’ wife decided to keep it.

3am – The Taming of the Shrew
After what seemed a long time, Julie reappeared, and I could hardly believe it was her. She was wearing a Shakespearean style low-cut, gold gown with rhinestones down the front, but that was not the shock. It was the wig she wore with the tiara. From where we sat, she looked so young and beautiful and different, like a real princess. It was then we learned that Julie and Keith were going to perform a scene from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

The scene opened with Keith’s monologue. Then, before entering, Julie stamped her feet and projected her voice from outside a window on the set.
The latter part of the scene was very physical as Petruchio struggles to conquer Kate. Julie and Keith practiced the fight and the struggle part the scene. They were on a table and he was on top of her. Then, they rolled off the table, onto the floor. When they decided to do the fight for real, Julie told Keith,
“I’ll try not to slap you too hard, alright?”

During the scene, Keith blew his lines quite a bit, causing them to do many retakes. I don’t recall that Julie missed a single line. They finally got a good take and we watched the tape replay. They even taped Keith’s blowing-up with the director saying “go right on!” It was fascinating, but compared to seeing their performance live on the stage, the taped version looked like a TV melodrama. Watching it from our vantage point in the audience, we felt we had seen the great acting of a great play. Keith and Julie’s Shakespearean acting was quite interesting; they seemed to go about it so naturally, and I know from experience that acting Shakespeare is not easy.

Finally, it was decided that Julie and Keith should take a rest. Then, they would do another take of the ending where Keith has to kiss Julie hard. He did kiss her hard, so much so that as he ran offstage, she was actually panting and sat down, panting with her head bowed. (I’m not sure if that was acting, but don’t think it was.)

Meanwhile, everyone in the studio was extremely tired. While the men checked the lights, Julie was sitting there, eyes closed, falling asleep. The girls were curled up in their chairs, some with their coats over them. Even the producer was falling asleep in his chair. I could only imagine if someone came into this studio, (were it not for the lighting and camera men) they might imagine that they had come upon Sleeping Beauty’s castle with everyone under a spell and there, in the midst of it all, the beautiful sleeping princess.

After a while, Julie got up and sat in her own chair, and Keith came over and sat beside her, while the cue card man held the cue cards for them to run over their lines. While they were sitting here, they discussed how they wanted to change the way they said their lines, their reactions to the lines and other business in the scene.

For almost twenty minutes nothing happened. It was now nearing three am. Julie watched us and we watched her. We couldn’t help wondering what she thought of us. When it was time for them to shoot the scene again, she got up and rushed out to have some powder (or paint) put on her teeth. The powder takes the shininess out of the teeth. On camera, shiny teeth look like they have gray shadows.

To be continued…


If you would like to see The Julie Andrews Hour back on television and released on DVD, along with music releases of Julie and her guests, please e-mail a polite request: dan.gopal@itv.com
If you prefer, you may look up ITV in London or Los Angeles, and send a letter there.