Friday, November 30, 2012

Episode 11 with Guest Harry Belafonte

On Wednesday, November 30th, 1972, at 10:00 pm, the 11th Episode of The Julie Andrews Hour was aired. Unlike the previous Disney show, this episode with guest artist Harry Belafonte was clearly a sophisticated show meant for late night audiences.

After saying hello from their onstage dressing rooms, Julie and Harry appear on a stage set of starry blue night and perform some fancy moves before launching into their high energy medley of “walking” songs:

“There’s the kind of walk you walk when the world’s undone you,
  There’s the kind of walk you walk when you’re feeling proud…”

The eight Tony Charmoli male dancers, who join the stars, dancing with abandon along a lighted walkway, add to the “hip” feel of the number. Julie Andrews and Harry Belafonte do some sharp period ballroom dancing, after which Belafonte takes off with some funk of his own, bringing a unique excitement to the piece. The medley concludes on a high note with an energy level usually reserved for show finales, yet in this case, it’s only the beginning.

The next scene opens with guest Sivuica playing guitar in the foreground and Harry Belafonte seated in darkness under a spot in the background. Belafonte sings “Suzanne,” a slow, folk song, with quiet intensity. This number is beautifully shot, as are all the numbers on the show. For this show, Belafonte’s solos have been carefully planned in terms of movement, lighting and camera angles, making it one of the over all finest of the series.

[Belafonte was born March 1, 1927 in Harlem, New York. From the age of five, until he was thirteen, he lived with his grandmother in Jamaica. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he returned to New York and pursued a career as an actor and studied alongside great actors Sidney Poitier and Marlon Brando.

To pay for his acting classes, Harry Belafonte began working as a club singer. Although he began as a pop singer, he had a keen interest in folk music and his careful and studied pursuit of this led him to great success. After an appearance at the Village Vanguard in NYC, he was given a recording contract with RCA. His 1956 album, Calyso, sold over a million copies in one year, the first LP in U.S. history to do so. “Matilda” was his first widely released single. In the next decade he earned six Gold Record.]    

There are many nice moments in Episode 1. Among those that stand out are the times where Julie, Harry and Sivuica (whom Julie describes as “Santa Claus”) get together and have some musical fun. Their first number together is Belafonte’s great hit, “Mary Ann.” Later in the show, Sivuica trades the guitar for the accordion and this time, the trio really goes wild. While Sivuica squeezes all kinds of wild sounds from his “box,” Harry starts dancing and encourages Julie to let go, which she does, first playing a whistle, then a gong, and finally pulling in some wild vocal sounds of her own. From here, the trio launch with great fun into one of Harry Belafonte’s top hits, “Matilda.”

At one point, adding to the fun, impersonator Rich Little enters the stage dressed like Belafonte and singing with his accent. It makes for a good laugh, especially when Julie tries to hit him.

One of the loveliest moments in the show occurs after Harry Belafonte suggests that Julie try singing with Sivuica’s playing. Standing against a lovely set, replicating European garden arches, she sings “Starry, Starry Night” to the gentle tones of Siviuca’s guitar. The song is about Vincent Van Gogh’s troubled life and, ultimately, his suicide. The quiet, intimacy of her performance is beautiful and deeply moving.

Belafonte follows this beautifully sad song with one of his hits, “Mr. Bojangles.” Set in a park with rows of benches and street lamps, Belafonte is dressed in ragged clothing and wearing shoes with holes in their soles. A bowler hat and cane add to the style of the piece.  It’s difficult to tear one’s eyes from the artist and the atmospheric scene. Director Bill Davis uses a number of unique shots to add to the artistry, including split screens with close-ups and full body shots and a still shot that captures the singer leaping through the air. It’s a great performance, captured with wonderful artistry by director Bill Davis and cameramen.


It is always a surprise to see how much is packed into an episode of The Julie Andrews Hour and this show is no exception. Indeed, the next number is a surprise. Dressed in a gorgeous gold weave caftan gown with Nehru collar, Julie Andrews sings a very intense rendition of “This Nearly Was Mine.” Once again, the director uses a split screen to show Julie’s beauty in this splendid gown, which must have cost a fortune. In the finale of this number, Julie is captured in slow motion as she twirls with joy to the music. This number simply has to be seen to be appreciated.

Then, suddenly, we are not in a musical land anymore. Julie and Harry appear, seated on a park bench. Almost immediately, we feel they are not themselves. In fact, Julie’s character seems completely different from her, a true testament to her acting ability. The characters Andrews and Belafonte are portraying seem almost playful in the beginning, yet, underneath, there is something tightly strung and not quite right. Though this scene lasts only a few minutes, it seems forever and we cannot turn away. We must find out what is going on with these two characters. Belafonte seems protective of Andrews, while she seems ready to snap at any moment. Again, realizing the brevity of the scene, it is amazing to realize how deeply we are pulled into it. In the end, after she tells him, “I wouldn’t talk to you if you were the last person on the earth...” the camera turns back and we discover that indeed, they are the last two persons on earth.

On the 11th episode, “Look to the Stars” is devoted to those born under the sign Gemini. Among those paid tribute to are Bob Dylan, (Belafonte sings “Blowing in the Wind), Beatrice Lillie (Julie sings a hilarious “Fairies at the Bottom of our Garden”), and Paul McCartney (Julie sings “Yesterday.”)  There are also some scenes and vignettes with Alice Ghostley and Rich Little portraying the characteristics of Geminis, but it is the tribute to one of the show’s creative men, Nelson Riddle, that steals this segment.

 “Fever,” an arrangement which Riddle wrote for Peggy Lee, is sung by Julie Andrews. Although she’s wearing a high collared pantsuit, a costume which seems odd for this particular song, what she is wearing soon matters little as Tony Charmoli’s choreography comes into play. The number begins with Julie surrounded by eight male dancers, who are standing on huge drums. We, the viewer, only see the dancers’ legs as they beat out the rhythm of this very seductive song. As Julie sings, she moves provocatively from place to place, sometimes taking hold of dancer’s leg, sometimes leaning against them. It’s a great number.

As the segment on Gemini concludes, we find that the show is over. It was a great show. Thank you, Julie Andrews, Harry Belafonte and all associated with this show. Bravo!

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Coming Soon:-December 6th - Episode 12 – Tom and Dick Smothers & Jack Cassidy
                       -December 8th – Christmas with Julie

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November 26th - December 1st 1972; Life Changes

As stated in my earlier blog, the day after Thanksgiving, 1972 I had gone to Hollywood and watched Julie Andrews tape her show with guests: Jack Cassidy and The Smothers Brothers. That evening, I returned to West Covina, and the following day babysat my little brothers, twenty-one month old, John, and four month-old Michael.
 The next day, November 26th, I slept late. It was nearly noon when my mother opened the door to my bedroom.
“Nana died,” she said.
“What? Not really,” was all I could reply.
My mother closed the door without another word and left.
It never occurred to me at the time that she was hurting too, or that she feared my grief. I wrote in my diary:

“It still has not sunk in and I don’t want it to because I don’t want to cry.  I let my feelings out in music (playing piano) and stayed alone in my room most of the day.

"Nana" Delores Russell, Christmas, 1965
Hollywood, California,
She was fighting throat cancer, but loved children,
 and often took care of me when my mother was on tour.
When I went out to talk to my mother she told me that Grandpa (who was in the hospital) had tried to call Nana for a whole day. The next day, their friends Pat and Alex went over to the house and found her dead. She died from complications of emphysema and diabetes.”

After my mother’s announcement, I couldn’t help remembering the last time I spoke to Nana. Grandpa had had a kidney removed, and everyone was worried about him. No one thought Nana was in danger. She told me she had a cold.

When I called her from the ABC lot and told her I was seeing Julie Andrews, she’d said, “Oh, good. She’s brilliant… learn all you can from her.” Now, she was gone and she was only forty-eight years old.

That evening, my mother took me back to Hollywood. I had acting class early the next morning.

 Wednesday, November 29th  - Mommy called me last night to say that today (Wednesday) would be Nana’s funeral.  She came and picked me up and we drove to North Hollywood.

At the funeral everyone tried to talk happy but my mother’s voice broke when she said, that VuVu (her mother) and Nana were the two closest people to me, and now –less than a year apart-- they were both gone.

At the service a strange minister talked about life and happy memories left by the “loved person,” and suddenly visions of the past came before my eyes and I could hear Nana say, “Come on, Shelly.” Her voice was so real and they were saying ‘she is gone and will no longer be on this earth.’ I cried, not even bothering to wipe the tears.

Nana and Grandpa’s good friend, Roy Clark, who visited every summer with his daughers, had flown down from San Francisco. When he saw Mommy and me he came over and said to me, “She really loved you, kid.”

After the funeral, I came back to my dorm. I didn’t go to sewing class. I laughed when I was with people, but when I was finally alone, I sobbed long and hard. It seems as if the past was only a dream. Now, it is all gone.

Tonight I watched The Julie Andrews Hour with Harry Belafonte. What a great show—everyone watching at International House agreed. Harry’s numbers, especially Mr. Bojangles, were wonderful. Great expression. Beautiful job filming. And what a devastating little scene they acted out together, especially for a variety show!

Julie was too beautiful (really) in “This Nearly Was Mine.” The build of the song, expression, costume, close-up… just her eyes was on the black and white screen (we didn’t have color TV). As for “Vincente,” I am still haunted by Julie’s beauty singing this song. That little good night was too short. Julie was right. They should have re-shot the end. I hope not many people missed this show because it was really special.

Friday, December 1st – The Julie Andrews Hour is on hiatus this week.
A girl at International House gave me the name of the vocal coach she is studying with and tonight I decided it's time. I called him and he had such a handsome voice over the telephone, I almost swooned. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Nov 24th Part 2 - On the Set with Julie Andrews and Jack Cassidy


Late in the afternoon, Vivien finally arrived. Jenny Edwards, Blake Edward’s daughter and Julie’s step-daughter, was there. It was the first time I’d ever seen her. She is about sixteen and rather small. She said ‘hello’ to Vivien when she came in and asked her how she was. “Patty,” however, thought Jenny was talking to her, so she answered, “I’m fine.” Then Jenny had to say, “Hello, how are you” to Vivien all over again.

Now Julie came out dressed like one of the chorus boys. She sat in her chair on the side while Rich Little did a George Burns impression. Then, Julie and the boys danced to “Japanese Sandman.” Choreographer Tony Charmoli danced in front of Julie so she could watch. I paid close attention and caught some of the steps they were doing.

During this time Julie’s stand-in—who actually has black hair, but often wears a wig to look like Julie—came over to talk to us. She was wearing a beautiful 1920s dress, but underneath she had to wear a heavy corset to make her flat. She pulled up the dress and showed us the corset. It was so tight, she could barely breathe.
 “She’s available for about everything,” said the lady next to me, Ruth, about all the things Sherri does.
“Everything?” giggled the girls in front, and they made a couple of remarks I won’t repeat.
 Ruth and Vannie Schaufelberger had been at the studio the previous week. They are from Florida, but Ruth told me her husband knows someone at the studio. She told me she got into the closed set because she writes little verses and sends them to the studio. She also told me that Mrs. Priest has been so nice to them. She even had them to Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.

After the Japanese Sandman number, Julie came out dressed in a beautiful lavender colored dress. Too bad the color looked kind of white on the monitor. Wearing this costume, Julie and Jack Cassidy performed “You Can Dance with Anyone” from No, No Nannette

At first they practiced the dance very lightly, going over the steps. Then Julie sat drinking tea and Jack lay back in his chair, while Tony went through the dance for them. After that they had to do it. Part of the music was already pre-recorded, so they only had to mouth the words. While they were rehearsing it, I learned the dance too.

As they prepared to shoot the number, Julie asked how she was supposed to feel about the song and the fact that the character Jack Cassidy was playing was dancing with other girls. “Angry?” she asked.  She performed it in a rather comedic way. They danced again, and while it was filmed, the choreographer yelled what they were supposed to do. The audience will never know that’s how they did it.

After finishing all their dancing, Julie asked, “Does anybody…” (she took a breath) “know—where-- the nearest intensive care unit is?” Her hair was so wet, she had to comb it. She combs it up and then down, helping it under with her hands. While she was combing it, I saw for the first time that her face was all wet with sweat. If she is wearing a corset anything like what Sherri had on under her dress, I’m not surprised she’s ready to faint.

Just then, one of the acrobats from the earlier scene came over and asked if Julie would pose with her for a picture. “Why certainly, darling,” said Julie. They posed with their arms around each other.

Jack Cassidy and Julie Andrews taping
"I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plans"
from the Ruth and Vannie Schaufelberger
Collection - You can see part of a camera
and monitor showing. A much better
photo exists but will be saved for the book
While I was there, Jack and Julie also performed a soft shoe to their pre-recording of  "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plans." I was thrilled as only a few years before my mother had choreographed a dance to this. I loved the lyrics: 
"I guess I'll have to change my plans, 
 I should have realized there'd be another man. 
 I'm glad I bought those blue pyjamas 
 Before the big affair began...."
(They did a beautiful job on this number and it was and is a joy to watch.)

Jack Cassidy performed a sketch, “Brother Can You Spare a Dime” which was very good. He rocked back and forth, and went down on one knee, holding his arms wide like Al Jolsen. Even so, he had to do so many takes of that number.

About the atmosphere in the studio the day after Thanksgiving I noted: "Somehow today  everyone looked heavier and acted like children who are made to come to school on a holiday."

After Jack Cassidy finished his number, Rich Little performed a W.C. Fields impression. As he did it, he so became W.C. Fields that I nearly forgot it was Rich!

Now Julie came out in another dress – a 20s-30s style of dress with many colors. She also had one of those ribbon scarves around her head. When she came on the side of the stage, she went over to mirrors that are all along the walls and combed her hair.
“What have you got on?” yelled a man, a stranger or visitor – someone I hadn’t seen before. Silence!  Julie did not respond. Then, she said, “Oh, just a little something…” but she didn’t seem to like the comment.

They were doing a sketch with segments about each year in the 1920s decade. At one point Julie had to squat and jump (Not sure what this refers to)
“I’m tired of jumping up and down,” she said.
I wondered to myself, ‘why does the director always say, “Once more, Julie and Rich… this time, try this.’
They did a scene with Julie in an old red car and actually drove the car onto the stage.

From l. to r. Sherri, Tony Charmoli, Julie, Jack Cassidy and Bill Harbach
on the final set for this show. From the Ruth & Vannie Schaufelberger

By now it was late and I had to leave.  I ran out and caught the bus. As it happened, I met a lady on the bus who knew Judy Garland’s grandmother. 

That night I was back in  West Covina for dinner. My mother told me the "Shimmy" is not a nice dance, but she can do it!

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Coming Next: Events November 26 - 30th

Nov 24th Part 1 - On the Set with Julie, The Smothers Brothers and Jack Cassidy

     Arriving at ABC this Friday was a completely new experience, as it always is. Today they had a circus ring set up onstage and Julie, who was wearing a bright red jacket, was standing in the middle of the ring. It seemed rather funny because today, not having school, I had dressed up a bit, and was wearing my new red jacket, which was exactly the same color as Julie’s. The only difference was hers had tails. She was playing the circus ring master and singing “If We Could Talk to the Animals” with great verve. She seemed quite different from the 1920s girl I saw last week.

The dancers came out dressed in animal costumes and began running around the ring. This week’s guests were also dressed as animals; The Smothers Brothers were wearing lion costumes, Jack Cassidy was a panther and Rich Little, a chicken. When Julie introduced Alice Ghostley, who was dressed as a rabbit, she called her “Alice Margaret Ghostley” just as she had a week ago.

In opening number, Julie had a big bull whip and, in between takes, she came to the front of the stage waving it around and hitting the floor with it, “cracking the whip” so to speak. “Alright! Let’s get on with it!” she said as she flicked it at the stagehands, who pretended they were shocked. It was rather funny to see how much she enjoyed cracking that whip.

The Smothers Brothers kept ad libbing their lines and they were very funny, so the director left the lines as they said them and the scene was finished quickly.

The next thing they worked on was the opening section with the acrobats. They were doing leaps and jumps without a net and it made me so nervous, I couldn’t look at them or applaud. The teeter totter they jumped on creaked! I’m sure it was taped without sound and later they will add music. (In the final version, they had Julie jumping and, then, tossed from one side of the stage to the other, but I made no notes on this and honestly have no memory of how it was done. I imagine on part of it she had a double, but not for everything.)

After the “Talk to the Animals” scene, they called "lunch," so I went home to get some school books to study during the breaks between scenes. That morning, I got into the studio easily, but I was surprised to find that Vivian was not there yet.


When I got back, Julie and Alice were dressed in “shimmy” dresses (1920s dresses with rows of fringe from top to bottom that move when the dancer shakes).  They performed “If I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate.” The set looked gorgeous with lights running two ways around a small stage set. The music was very fast and Julie and Alice were singing and shaking as hard and as fast as they could. In the middle of one take Julie stopped and said,
“Shit! That’s too fast!”
We all laughed. They did it again.
“It has to be slower,” she said.
“It was slower, Julie,” said the director.
They did it again and at the final pose, Julie almost fell over.
“That was good,” said Julie.
“Too slow,” said the director.
After that, Julie made her voice go high and fast, and they finally got what the director wanted. (The final take appears to be the lower, slower version.)

After they finished that scene, Alice Ghostley wheeled a baby buggy onstage, smiled, posed, and then wheeled it off. Directly after that, Rich Little came out in a sleeper suit, made up like a woman. He was going to play Carol Channing as a baby. They strapped him to a board, made to look like the inside of a baby buggy with pink blankets and he sang, “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” as Carol.
Speaking to Nick Vanoff, the producer, Rich said,
“Have you ever felt just plain ridiculous?”
“What’s that, Rich?” asked Nick, pretending he didn’t hear him.
“Have you ever felt ridiculous?”
“Yah, I feel ridiculous just looking at you.”
Rich got a lot of laughs for that number.

When they finished that scene, everyone went to change. Alice Ghostly came out into the audience wearing her terry robe and sat down. I hoped she would sit by me, but she didn’t.

The Swedish girl, “Katrina,” who lives with Julie’s secretary, Joan, was sitting in the front row with “Patty” today. They were acting very silly, making a big commotion the whole day, right into the evening, spraying Binaca at each other, pushing one another, yelling, and laughing. It was embarrassing.

Every once in a while, Nick Vanoff, who was seated in his director’s chair, intently watching the scenes, would turn around and look at them. Then, he’d look away. Once in a while, he yell to the studio in general,
“Quiet! Quiet everyone on the set!”

I always assumed that anyone who was in the audience must be associated with someone important on the show. After all, it was a closed set. I figured although their behavior was wrong, somehow they had immunity or he would have put them out.  Later I wrote in my diary, “I know the director and producer have to work to tighten the show up and make it move more quickly. The other girls don’t understand this. They goof off in the audience an awful lot.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Episode 10 - A Tribute to Walt Disney

On Wednesday, November 22nd, 1972, the day before Thanksgiving, The Julie Andrews Hour was moved from 10:00pm to 8:00 in order to allow Julie’s young fans the opportunity to see her holiday special. The producers of the show had a grand treat planner for the viewers -- a tribute to Walt Disney and the songs from his films. Weaving the original Disney film clips into the live performances of Miss Andrews and her guests, the creative team created a timeless treasure. It is surprising that it has not been shown again during the holidays.

Donald O'Connor
The show opens with Julie Andrews looking lovely in a pink chiffon evening gown. Guest stars Donald O’Connor, Alice Ghostley, and the Walt Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Dumbo, The Three Little Pigs, the Wolf, Goofy and many more join her for the opening, "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah"

As Julie explains, Mickey Mouse, who made his first appearance at the Colony Theater in New York in 1938, turned 44 that year. Clips of Mickey’s early films are cleverly woven into the dialog and music here. This same method of weaving film clips into the action throughout the show, holds our attention and makes the show move along quickly. The quality of Walt Disney's films are such that no matter the age, they are a pleasure to watch.

This espisode of The Julie Andrews Hour includes a very talented group of performers known as The Young Americans, a choral group, founded by Milton C. Anderson in 1962. What made The Young Americans unique is that they were the first choir in the United States to combine choral singing with dancing and movement. Naturally, the young men and women (between the ages of sixteen and eighteen) were multi-talented. In their segment of the show, The Young Americans perform a great medley of songs from Walt Disney pictures, including “Second Star from the Right.”
Carol McCluer had recently joined The Young Americans when they received the offer to appear on The Julie Andrews Hour. Of course, she was thrilled to appear on the same stage as Julie Andrews. Looking back now she says, “I remember being so impressed with how professional she was.”
One of the most charming segments of the show is the scene in which Donald O’Connor (who reveals himself to be a fine character actor on this show) plays Geppetto, the toy maker who created the puppet, Pinocchio. Julie Andrews plays the wooden puppet who becomes a real boy. Her charming portrayal of Pinocchio is a testament to her acting ability. Julie captures the sweet simplicity of a child and even sings the sing "I've Got No Strings" in a child's voice, not the Julie Andrews voice that we are accustomed to.
The scene also boasts a real fluffy grey kitten and a goldfish. In some out-takes that recently surfaced on the internet, the kitten crawls down, and, in an effort to hide tries to crawl up Julie’s pant leg. Ever the disciplined performer, she attempts not to break character until the laughter in the studio is so loud, she can’t help but laugh too.
Adriana Caselotti circa 1938
 One of the truly special moments on this show is the guest appearance of Adriana Caselotti. In 1937, Adriana was hired by Walt Disney to be the voice of Snow White  in the first feature animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. On the show, Casselotti (1916-1997) tells the story of how Walt Disney was looking for a particular kind of voice for his film. He asked her father, a voice teacher, if he had any students who might play the role. Finding no one who pleased him, Disney discovered in Adriana the perfect combination of vocal ability and childlike innocence. 

During her appearance on the show, Adriana sings “I’m Wishing” and “Someday My Prince will Come" during which clips from the original film are shown. Vocally, it seems she has not changed in the last 34 years. When she and Julie Andrews join together in a duet of these songs, it is truly lovely.
Other special moments on the show include a comic sketch with Donald O’Connor as Donald Duck, and Alice Ghostley as Cinderella’s wicked step- sister, his wife. (Of course, Alice Ghostley was one of the step-sisters in the original musical television production of Cinderella, starring Julie Andrews.) Another special moment is the musical number, “He’s a Tramp” from the film Lady and the Tramp. In it, Julie takes a break from fairy tales. Dressed in a sophisticated gown with feather boa, she moves through the back alley singing. We soon discover, the object of her affection is “Goofy.”
During a good portion of the show, Julie Andrews wears a beautiful pink, chiffon gown. She has never looked lovelier, and seems completely at ease and filled with happiness. Toward the end of the hour, Julie and Donald O’Connor join together to recall some of the songs from Walt Disney’s films. When Donald mentions “Mary Poppins,” Julie looks at the camera and says “Who?” It’s a very funny moment. Then they proceed to have a wonderful time singing and dancing “Chim-Chim Cheree,” “A Spoon Full of Sugar,” “Jolly Holiday with Mary,” “Step In Time” (with clips from the film), and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidosis.” Julie also sings the lovely solo, “Feed the Birds.”
A friend who attended the taping told me that during Julie and Donald's dance numbers there was some difficulty. The beautiful “scarves,” designed to flow from Julie’s shoulders, were very long and touched the floor, and when hoofer O’Connor was dancing, he kept stepping on them. Apparently, because of this, they had to stop a lot during the taping. The problem seems to have been solved for the most part by having Julie Andrews hold the scarves, or grab them, and make them part of the dance, however, here and there--something you probably wouldn’t notice it unless you were looking for it--Donald steps on Julie’s dress. It’s just one of those problems performers run into and overcome to make “the show go on.” It’s a shame they had this problem because the gown is truly one of the loveliest Jack Bear designed for Julie.
As someone on the crew explained to me, in 1972, technology was far less advanced than it is now. Everything they did with the chromo key-- a kind of blue screen of the period-- was far more difficult and time intensive than it is now. Watching this show, however, you would never guess how difficult it was to produce. The result is flawless. The artistry of Walt Disney and the artistry of those working on The Julie Andrews Hour is seamless and enchanting.
Speaking of enchantment, one of the most wonderful segments on this show is the one in which Julie is put into the Fantasia film. Dressed in leotard, tights and a filmy sort of fairy or flower costume, Julie floats, twirls and drifts through scenes of flowers, leaves and snowflakes. Likely, it took hours of rehearsal, shooting and editing to create this lovely scene, but it is all well worth it. This scene is another treasure which has been too long forgotten with time.
From the author's 1972 Collection

At that conclusion of the show, Julie tells us that Walt Disney’s dream was to make every child in the world happy and to make their dreams come true. After all these years, it is amazing to realize the extent to which Walt Disney succeeded with his dream. It continues, even now.
To close the show, Julie is joined by Donald O’Connor, the Disney characters and The Young Americans, singing “When You Wish Upon a Star. "

As the credits role up, we see children of many ages coming up on stage. Of course, they are more impressed by Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse (one little girl kisses Mickey’s nose) than Julie Andrews. My friend, Vivian, would later tell me that after the show, a little boy and his little sister came up onstage to greet Julie. The little girl gave Julie a flower and the boy, her brother, took it away from Julie saying, “You can’t have that!” Of course, children know nothing about movie stars.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Coming soon: Behind the scenes with Julie and The Smothers Brothers and Jack Cassidy

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Thank You, Julie

The morning after the events in my last blog, I was so exhausted, I wrote in my diary I was surprised when I woke up alive. My step-dad, Ralph Prefontaine, came to Hollywood and took me back to West Covina for the Thanksgiving holidays.

During this time, my thoughts turned to the good things in my life, the things I had to be grateful for, and many of them were a result of being around Julie Andrews. On November 19th I wrote:

Being around Julie is doing marvelous things for me. I walk down the street looking up, rather than down as I used to do. I don’t spend so much time in day dreams either. I feel more confident in myself, for who I am.

I relate to Julie in the way that she is very dignified, proper and polite, but she also has a child underneath that likes to play, laugh and be silly. She is serious, and they say she is very sensitive. I like her laugh. Sometimes she laughs in a very low, bawdy way. It’s funny.

My teachers have said that my sense of drama and how I portray things is improving. In the last month I have come to one realization. I always thought that I had to be naturally talented or nothing at all. Watching Julie, I have come to realize that even with talent and experience one must work very hard. She works very hard on her voice. She is always warming up and doing scales. In the New Year, I am going to find a vocal coach. I always thought that I should be able to sing wonderfully without training, but seeing how hard Julie works to take care of what she has, I now know what I must do. Oh, thank you, Julie!


November 20th – I bought some Binaca. It’s from Switzerland. Julie sang beautifully after using it, but I lost my voice!

Today I made up the time in costuming class that I missed while attending The Julie Andrews Hour taping. I worked from 6:30 until after 9:00pm.  Then my teacher, Mr. Ryan, drove me back to my dormitory.

November 21st – I worked six hours straight today on costuming. Then, I left to go to Hollywood for the Santa Claus Lane Parade. My mother and I have been watching it on television for years!  I saw George Jessel, Jane Withers and the General Hospital cast, who got a big laugh. After a while, I walked down towards the end of the parade and saw an army truck with the guys from MASH.

(Gary Burghoff, who played Radar on MASH, rented a house on my grandmother’s property in Malibu. We saw him often, especially since his pet raccoon was always escaping its cage. The summer before my grandmother passed away, she invited Gary to dinner and the three of us sat out on the porch, watching the sun set on the ocean as we ate. Gary told us about his early acting training in New York that night. Although my  grandmother had passed away the previous December,Gary was still living in the house.)

When I saw the guys from MASH, I ran out into the street calling, “Gary, Gary Burghoff!” One of the guys said, “If you want to talk to anyone on the truck, you better jump on,” so I did. Gary was surprised to see me. “What are you doing in this part of town?” he asked. I had to explain I was "living in Hollywood,” but the noise of the parade was so intense, we couldn’t talk. Gary told me to say ‘hello’ to "the folks” and I jumped down, but it had been pretty exciting to ride down Hollywood Boulevard with the guys from MASH!

November 23rd – Thanksgiving

Despite the holiday, there was no break the day after Thanksgiving for the cast and crew of The Julie Andrews Hour. Even though I had no classes that day, I left West Covina early and headed to the studio.

Coming Next: November 22nd – The Julie Andrews Hour Tribute to Walt Disney

You can always find direct links to the subjects of this blog by visiting

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Nov 17th - Part 3 Tony Randall, Finale & The Ride Home


It was late now. Everyone took a rest. Bill Harbach was practically falling asleep in his chair. One of the chorus girls was huddled under her coat in the front seat of the audience. Harbach sat up and said,
“You could hang meat in this room!”


Around this time, Julie meets a woman at the front of the stage who is bringing her a cup of something to drink, probably tea.
“Ummm. That is delicious,” says Julie as she gulps it down. Then, she sprays something in her throat. I learn that it’s something called “Binaca.” I must get some.
Julie’s husband, Blake Edwards arrives. Julie talks to him for a while. He is different than I pictured.
Julie on the set in her chair.

I notice that Julie comes to the front of the house a lot. A few times it has almost seemed as if she was coming to where we girls are sitting, but someone always takes  her away, just at that moment. 

Today, the front of the house seems to be the most private place on the set. Julie talks a lot up on stage. She also looks at us. I try not to stare too much, but smile if I do look. I hope she remembers me....


They were ready to film the final song of the show. For this number, Julie came out dressed in an old fashioned wedding gown.
“Oh, doesn’t she make a beautiful bride!” Vivien exclaimed quietly...


For future publication purposes, the story of my ride home with the girls following Julie home has been removed.

Please note: Portions of this story have been removed and will be included in a new book on The Julie Andrews Hour.

Coming Next …. Thanksgiving and A Tribute to Walt Disney!

ALL Photos used in this blog are for Entertainment Purposes only.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nov 17th - English Music Hall - Closed Set, PART 2

     ... continued

A little while later, Julie came back to her chair in the production area and sat down to rest. There were quite a few guests in the audience that evening and someone who works on the show brought his daughter up to meet her. When some of the people in the audience saw this, they followed, and began asking Julie for her autograph. At that point, one of the pages came down and bawled people out.
“You are not allowed on the stage!” he told them.

Vivian had to explain to him that she had only been speaking to Lorraine, but a few minutes later Julie’s private secretary, Joan, came out. She was very angry and said that someone had used her name to get onstage.
“No one is EVER allowed onstage,” she said, repeating what the page had said.

Even though it was all a big mistake, Vivien started to cry. When Julie saw her, she came to the front of the stage and looked down at Vivian.
“Is there something the matter?” she half-whispered to a stagehand, “Why is she crying?”

Just at that point, I had to leave again! But the show tonight was so good (also having so many songs from the 20s and 30s, a period I love), that I made up my mind to come back again. I just needed to find a ride. I ran back to International House and got a key to the front door so I could get in if the taping continued after midnight. Then, I went to my room and put some cookies in a bag....

Ruth and Vannie Schaufelberger at ABC Studio
November 1972.
You can see the edge of the patio that leads into the
studio, and the parking lot where some of the
opening of the first show was filmed. 
When I arrived, Julie was working on a new scene, but a few minutes later, they took a dinner break and the crew turned on all the lights in the studio. 

Someone pointed out Julie’s fan mail secretary, Claire Priest, so I went over to sit and talk with her. She introduced to a mother and daughter who were visiting from Florida. Ruth Schaufelberger was a retired school teacher, and her daughter, Vannie, was just about my same age. They were big Julie Andrews fans, not fancy people, but as the old expression goes, “salt of earth,” decent, kind people. Ruth and Vannie were so thrilled to be at the studio. It was a lifetime dream come true for them to watch Julie Andrews at work. They were very respectful as well...

During this time the lighting and camera crew were testing the lights. There was orange lighting that turned yellow and then gray, but on the monitor it appeared to be orange against total blackness – a wonder to see the difference of effect!

The entraance to the studio that I
passed through so many times.
I just don't remember all the ironwork.
To the right was the area with the food
machines. To the left, going down
the walk, is the area where Ruth
and Vannie took their photo.

By now, I was very hungry so I stopped at the covered patio outside the studio door and bought a small can of hot spaghetti from the vending machine that had hot meals. It cost $1.00. I also bought some corn chips and a Butterfinger bar....


For the next scene, the audience was supposed to smoke, making the place look like an old English Music Hall. When Rich Little came on stage and looked around he said, “That smoke looks great on the screen. It looks like the theater is on fire.” It did!

Julie peeked out of the curtains. “Hello!” she giggled.  When she came out from behind the curtains, she was dressed all in pink lace, with pantaloons and a hooped skirt. She had flowers on her head and little curls on either side of her face. She curtseyed like a little girl (and seemed to feel like one).
“Aaaaahhhh,” said the audience.... 

From the Ruth and Vannie Schaufelberger Collection

Finally, Bill Davis said, “Come on, now. We want to get finished and go home tonight.”
I was surprised by how quickly everyone settled down. Julie and Alice did the number again. We laughed, but it wasn’t nearly as funny as it had been.

                                            To be continued...
Please note: This article has been edited down. The complete account will be included in a new book presently in the works.

All Photos here are for entertainment purposes only. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tribute to Noel Coward - Closed Set with Julie Andrews

     Today I was off to Julie’s again, but before that, I went to my theatre class and did a pantomime scene... After that I had speech class. Our teacher, Mrs. Baker, gave us different vocal qualities to practice. Some of the voices sounded like Alice Ghostley and some like Katherine Hepburn. It was amazing.

Then, I hurried to the studio. At the gate, the guard on duty questioned me, and I almost didn’t get in. I arrived at Studio E at quarter to twelve. It appeared they were  beginning the taping late today.

When the girl I met last time, Vivian, came in, she asked me to sit next to her, but she was sitting in the front row and I didn’t want to sit that close. Instead, I sat one row back. Vivian introduced me to “Patty," a young girl with has red hair and freckles whom she'd told me about last time. Like Vivian,  "Patty" was only fifteen. Patty liked to laugh and watched everything with eagle eyes. There were a couple of other girls there as well, but I didn’t meet them.

The scene they were going to tape was already set up when I arrived. It was a party scene. The set contained a room with walls that slid in and out for the camera. The room had a sofa, white grand piano, and other furniture.

Sitting down in the second row, I leaned over the front row to Vivien and said, “I’m so glad to be here!” I didn’t realize that Julie was standing on the stage, directly in front of us, wearing “roaring 20s” flapper dress. Just then, she looked down at us, struck a pose and said, “Hi there!”
(What she said sounded like, “Hi-o theh” –a sort of 20s Brooklyn accent.) She was goofing off. The girls in front of me got very excited that she had spoken to them, and said “Hi” back to her, one after the other.

The scene they were about to film was a tribute to the music of British playwright and songwriter, Noel Coward.

Noel Coward, born December 16th, 1899 in a suburb of London made his professional debut at the age of eleven. As a teenager, he began writing both plays and songs. During his lifetime he published over fifty plays and was revered for his work. He was also a very good friend of Gertrude Lawrence, whom Julie Andrews played in the film Star! On March 26, 1973, only four months after this show was taped, Coward passed away at his home in Jamaica.

For more information on Noel Coward, please visit:

The taping began with the most beautiful music, “I’ll See You Again,” a song written by Noel Coward in 1928 for the light opera Bittersweet.  Julie sang the song, and she was in wonderful form; the music just flowed from her. I wished she would sing it all night.

From Ruth Schaufelberger's collection.
Ruth often took pictures off the television.
Some came out quite well.
Later, Alice Ghostly sang, “Mad About the Boy.” She started the song by the piano and ended up sitting on a sofa next to Rich Little, who was dressed in a white suit and spoke like Truman Capote. When Rich said his lines, we were hysterical, laughing. Later, when he came offstage and sat in the audience with us...

Today, I especially loved watching Alice Ghostly. She looked so good and sang so well.  After her performance, she came down and sat two seats from me.
“Hi girls, how are you?” she asked. “Did you like the scene?” 

There was a point during this Noel Coward scene where Julie had to act dizzy and fall on a sofa. Then, one of the guest stars (not sure which) sang “Poor Little Rich Girl” to her.  After that, Julie had to fall down and then get up with a carnation in her mouth....  But she was in great form today and hit her high notes so easily.

After the Noel Coward scene, I had to leave for class...


I rushed back to The Julie Andrews Hour where they were working on a new scene. In this scene, Julie had to say: “I’m bored. Do something to entertain me.”

Tony Randall and Keith Michell were there. 

Julie Andrews and Keith Michell
from the Ruth and Vannie Schaufelberger Collection
In the scene they were taping when I arrived, Keith was supposed to take his handkerchief out and lean Julie down against a bar or something. As he did this, director Bill Davis called, “Hold!”
Julie and Keith were mouth to mouth. They held. But Julie’s back hurt and she was slipping!....

At one point during this part of the taping, Julie had to squat down on the ground to avoid having the camera see her. Then, she danced with a pink carnation in her mouth. Afterwards, she had to take a bite of the carnation and eat it!
Once again, they did take after take of the scene.
“One more take, Julie,” called the director.
“Oh no! Not another,” cried Julie, “I despise carnations, I prefer geraniums.”
“Alright,” said the director, sternly, “Settle down!!!”
This was directed at Julie.
“What?!” asked Julie, innocently.
“Settle down!”
She giggled, and we all laughed as she skipped across the stage. How could anyone be mad at this delightful star!

Please note: Toward the release of a book on The Julie Andrews Hour and the author's experiences there, we are only including excerpts here.

                                                To be continued …


Tony Randall was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on February 26th, 1920. He attended Northwestern University and then moved to New York where he studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse under Sandford Meisner and choreographer Martha Graham.

During the 1930s and 40s, Randall appeared onstage in many minor roles, working with such legendary actresses as Jane Cowl, Ethel Barrymore, and Katharine Cornell. In the 1950s, he began working in television. Two years before his appearance on The Julie Andrews Hour, Tony Randall had taken the role of Felix Unger in the television adaption of the Broadway play, The Odd Couple. He starred opposite Jack Klugman.

For more information, please visit:

Keith Michell was born December 1, 1926 in Adelaide, Australia. He made his stage debut there in 1947 and by 1951 was appearing in London. During his career, he appeared in several musicals, most notably Man of La Mancha. Michell starred in the first London production of the musical.

Keith Michell is a renowned Shakespearean actor, having worked at the Shakespeare Memorial Theater. He is also known for his television work, including Henry VIII in The Six Wives of Henry the VIII and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.

For more information, please visit:

                 You may find a complete list of The Julie Andrews Hour blogs and links at:

If you would like to see The Julie Andrews Hour released on DVD, as well as the music from the show with Julie and her guests, please send a respectful e-mail to Dan Gopal, Global Products ITV:

Please Note:  All photos used here are for Entertainment Purposes ONLY.
In some cases, the names of persons written about here who were not in the show have been changed. The story of this day will be told in three parts