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
Collection

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!

To see the complete listing of blog subjects for The Julie Andrews Hour with links, please go to:

http://www.JulieAndrewsHour1972.com

Coming Next: Events November 26 - 30th

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