Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Julie Andrews, Malibu and Me - 1973

During the time The Julie Andrews Hour was being taped, everyone knew that Julie and
One of my favorite photos of Julie
Andrews, taken in Malibu the summer
or fall of 1972.
her family were spending their weekends at the beach in Malibu. This was mentioned in Blake Edward’s documentary, Julie, and in every magazine interview. But Malibu is a big place. It includes the “Movie Colony,” a gated community where stars have spent time since the 1930s. So, no one really knew where the Edwards’ home was. Yet despite the fact that two of the fans I knew, Patty and Kelly, had followed Julie to the Movie Colony one weekend, I was pretty sure that was not where her home was.

Even before I was born, my maternal grandmother owned land in Malibu. As a teenager, my mother spent her summer weekends at the family’s small cottage on a large plot of land, where, in the mid-1950s, my grandmother built a lovely home on the hill over-looking the ocean. Much of my early childhood was spent there and movie actors were no strangers to me. In fact, one of my childhood pals was Allen Jenkins, a character actor who had worked in numerous films with Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson. Will Rogers Jr and his family were our neighbors.

... In this blog, the author discovers that, indeed, Julie Andrews and her family had been closer to her grandmother's home than she ever know.

This blog has been abbreviated toward re-writing this subject for a new book.

(c) Michelle Russell

Coming Next:   Beverly Hills Adventure

To find a listing of all The Julie Andrews Hour Blogs – with links back to this site, please visit

To request that The Julie Andrews Hour be released on DVD, please contact:    at ITV and let your voices heard!

Be sure to ask for the release of the music on CD as well!
All photos here for entertainment purposes only.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Julie Andrews Hour Magazine Covers 1972-1973

In 1972, Julie Andrews was one of Hollywood’s greatest female stars, rivaled only perhaps by Barbra Streisand. Although, years later, critics made much of the fact that Ms. Andrews’ films after The Sound of the Music did not do that well at the box office, I can tell you --as person who lived through that period-- the average person was not judging Ms. Andrews based on the box office. She was a great star and everyone knew it.

During late 1972 and the first half of 1973, because Ms. Andrews was a great star, there was a great deal of attention as to what took place in Studio C at ABC where The Julie Andrews Hour was being taped. Many a weekday afternoon, after leaving class at Los Angeles City College, I would head over to Thrifty Drug Store on Vermont, where they sold big ice cream cones for five cents. On those afternoons, while I indulged in my ice cream, I’d take a peek at the latest movie magazines, in hopes of finding some photos of Julie on the set. I remember reading stories of Julie screaming with frustration in the halls of the studio. I laughed at those stories, figuring they were just for publicity. I simply could not imagine the cool, calm and collected Julie, who was always pleasant and, frequently, full of fun, screaming. Looking back, I can’t imagine she would strain her voice in this way either.

During this period, quite a few mainstream magazines chose to put Julie Andrews on their cover and these were beautiful covers. Here is a little bit about the cover stories that I still possess.

TV Guide – December 9, 1972
Julie posed for this lovely photo on the set of The Julie Andrews Hour. This article, for which the writer interviewed Blake Edwards, gives something of the history of Julie’s career and the creation of The Julie Andrews Hour. At this point, it was hoped that the television series would continue for at least two years. In the article, producer Lew Grade states that if the show remains on the air just two years, he will earn about $15 million.

The TV Guide article also reveals that the show opened with a Nielsen rating of 17.3 and then descended to a rating of 11.4 the second week.  Unfortunately, the show had been given a 10pm weeknight slot, which, as producer Nick Vanoff noted, was obviously too late for a good portion of Julie’s fans.

Toward the end of the article, an interview with Cass Elliott is quoted. Ms. Elliott speaks of working until 4am with Julie, noting how even at that hour, Julie was pulling out everything she had to make the show work. “I was embarrassed to complain. I dunno, but there is something very special there, which you grow to love…”

This McCalls cover was one of my favorite.
The blue of the "McCalls" and Julie's eyes
were perfectly matched!

Only a week after The Julie Andrews Hour won seven Emmys, the McCall’s May 1973 issue, with a beautiful photo of Julie on the cover, appeared on the newsstand. The article was titled “Julie Andrews Fights Back.”
Author Chris Chase interviewed Julie and wrote this article before anyone knew publicly whether the show would be renewed or cancelled. The article features photos of Julie getting out of her car in front of her Beverly Hills home, standing by her pool in Beverly Hills, in the recording studio and by the ocean at the family’s beach house in Malibu. 

In response to the question about how she would feel if the show was cancelled, Julie says, “Off course I’ll be hurt, everyone wants to be accepted and loved, but all you can do is your best… I’ll feel sorry for all the people who’ve worked so hard…” To close our her statement, Ms. Andrews concludes that she’ll be rather glad to be home again, hinting that her daughter Emma has had a rather bad time with her being away from home so much.

Perhaps, Mr. Chase writes, ‘what they (the producers and Julie) were trying to do couldn’t be done.’ The article also reveals that the show cost approximately $240,000 an episode ($.... with today’s values).
Julie was given many compliments in this article:

“She’s an angel,” said Nelson Riddle.
“She has no temperament,” added Ian Fraser.
From Alice Ghostley we learn, “She’s so kind, so sensitive, so unwilling to see anyone embarrassed.”
The article, which began with some sadness and difficulty, concludes with Julie’s dreams and the sheer happiness of her present life. 

Women’s Homelife – June 1973
Summer 1973

The photo shoot for this cover can be seen in Blake Edwards’ documentary film, “Julie.”  The editors chose the brightest photo of the shoot and called the article, “The Trials and Triumphs of a Working Wife.” Although the article did not come out until a year after the interview and photos were taken, it does reveal much about Julie’s life at the time the television series was being created. There is an interesting photo of Julie seated on a chair, with Blake, holding cup and saucer, looking at her. Behind them on the wall is grand painting, which looks to be of the Rembrandt period.

The article reveals that Blake was very protective of Julie, to the point that when, at an introductory dinner before shooting of the series began, an ABC representative asked to take Julie from table to table to “meet the press individually,”  Blake told him he thought that was a bit much to expect and said he would not allow it. Julie, however, thought she should go around, and after speaking quietly to her husband about it and having it arranged, went from table to table and greeted everyone.

Interestingly, according to the article Julie loved to be silly and rowdy, but had to save that aspect of her personality for the times when Blake wasn’t around. Still, the author concludes, Blake was good for her.

So, the series was concluded. There were specials yet to come, but those would be done in Europe. Now, Julie Andrews, who had been so visible in Hollywood for nearly twelve months, was not gone from the U.S. And for all we knew, she would never return.

 © Michelle Russell

Coming Next: Julie, Malibu and me

To request that The Julie Andrews Hour be released on DVD, please contact:    at ITV and let your voices heard!
Be sure to ask for the release of the music on CD as well!

Photos appearing here are for entertainment purposes only!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The 1973 Emmy Awards - The Julie Andrews Hour Wins!

On April 20th, 1973, the 25th Annual Emmy Awards celebrated television’s best work for the previous season. That day The Los Angeles Times headlined the Emmy story with the fact that The Julie Andrews Hour and The Waltons were the leaders in this “Emmy Race.”

The Waltons, a wholesome series about a real family of the Depression area starring Richard Thomas, came in first with 12 nominations. The Waltons was a top rated show, so these nominations were no surprise. Meanwhile, The Julie Andrews Hour, which the LA Times referred to as a ratings “disaster,” came in second with an amazing 10 nominations.

No one involved with The Julie Andrews Hour was quite sure what to expect. The Times stated that while Julie’s show opened with “fanfare and critical favor,” it had never been able “to climb out of the bottom ratings.” As a result, the article noted, next year Julie would appear in a number of specials, rather than a weekly series.

Julie was not the country on April 20th. She and Blake Edwards were busy making a
Julie and Blake on the set of
Tamarind Seed
new film, The Tamarind Seed, which co-starred the very handsome Omar Shariff. Shariff was most famous for three unforgettable, classic films of the last decade: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965) and Funny Girl (1968).

Once Julie left Hollywood, she was happy to be working once again with her husband, Blake Edwards. Perhaps it helped her forget the unhappy cancellation of her television series, a cancellation she had learned of  rather rudely and without warning, in a meeting with the entire crew of the show.

From the author's personal scrap-
book, clippings from Variety
The Emmy Awards of 1973 held a great many surprises for the creative team on Julie’s show. Producers Nick Vanoff and Bill Harbach were there. One by one, as each category was announced, The Julie Andrews Hour was the winner. (bold are the categories that won)

-         Best Musicial Variety Series – The Julie Andrews Hour; Julie Andrews, Star; William O. Harbach, Producer; Nick Vanoff, Producer

-         Best New Series - Julie Andrews, Star; Nick Vanoff, Producer

-         Directorial Achievement in Variety or Music (A single program of a series with continued characters or theme) Bill Davis, The Julie Andrews Hour (first of the series) (Won over Sonny and Cher and  Flip:The Flip Wilson Show)

-         Writing for Achievement in Variety or Music – This Award did went to The Carol Burnett Show over The Julie Andrews Hour (nominated for first show); John Aylesworth, Writer; George Bloom, Writer; Jay Burton,Writer; Bob Ellison, Writer; Lila Garrett, Writer; Hal Goodman,Writer; Larry Klein, Writer; Frank Peppiatt, Writer

-         Choreography (a single program of a series or special) – Bob Fosse won for Liza with a Z over The Julie Andrews Hour episode with guest stars Joel Grey and Robert Goulet

-         Art Direction or Scenic Design – Brian Bartholomew and Keaton S. Walker won the award for the first episode of The Julie Andrews Hour

-         Lighting Direction – Truck Krone won for his work on The Julie Andrews Hour Christmas Show (over Sonny and Cher and The Oscars)

-         Costume Design – Jack Bear was the winner of this Award for his work on the Ken Berry/Jack Cassidy episode

-         Technical Direction and Electronic Camera Work The Julie Andrews Hour - Jim Angel, Cameraman; James Balden, Cameraman; Ernie Buttleman, Technical Director; Dave Hilmer, Cameraman; Robert A. Kemp, Cameraman

-         Video Tape Editing The Julie Andrews Hour (apologies I do not have the name now)

That night, as the awards for The Julie Andrews Hour began to pile up, producers  Nick Vanoff and Bill Harbach were estatic. Last year, Mr. Harbach sent me a copy of a photo he and Nick had taken after the awards ceremony. 

“Did you see my note,” he asked, when I called to thank him.
“Yes, you are in the photo with eight awards!”
“We only won seven.”
“What happened,” I asked.
“They goofed,” he said, and we had a good laugh.

These two men looked so happy in this wonderful photo that I’m saving it for the book.
Producer Lew Grade presenting Julie with her
Emmy Award for The Julie Andrews Hour

Months later, when Julie Andrews was in London, she met with Sir Lew Grade and was presented her with her well-deserved Emmy. A series of wonderful photos were taken at this event.

Meanwhile, each and every person associated with The Julie Andrews Hour carries fond memories of the show. Those who earned an Emmy for their work are terribly proud. All the long nights, all the hart work and struggle to produce the best was was rewarded. These incredibly talented persons poured every ounce of creative energy they had into their art.

“I’m not sure I could have gone on another year like that,” art director Brian Bartholomew confided in me. Music Arranger, Ian Fraser seemed to agree, adding that Julie herself was not sure she could do another season at this level of commitment. Yet, lucky for us, The Julie Andrews Hour – though yet to be officially released - has preserved the best of the best:  music, art direction, choreography, costumes, lighting, camera shots, and performers.

If you would like to see this wonderful show released on DVD, please contact:

© Michelle Russell

To request that The Julie Andrews Hour be released on DVD, please contact:    at ITV and let your voices heard!
Be sure to ask for the release of the music on CD as well!

Photos appearing here are for entertainment purposes only!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Trip to Beverly Hills

April 2nd, 1973
I arrived at school early to practice my acting scene with my partner. While I was there I saw a posting on the bulletin board that tomorrow there will be singing auditions for Hello Dolly. I knew I must try out. The audition song must be a ballad.

Tonight I practiced my singing exercises. I decided I would sing “Say a Prayer for Me Tonight,” the song Julie said was originally written for her to sing in My Fair Lady.

While I was practicing, I had some trouble with the song, so I called Vivian up and asked her to play the tape she made of Julie singing the song. It was so nice to hear Julie talking over the telephone. It made her seem near. She seemed to sing the song so easily. It was interesting to hear her phrasing, something she did in a way I had not imagines. Listening to her, I almost felt like I was having a telephone singing lesson.
I do miss Julie. So many times I want to ask her questions and tell her what I’m doing. I’d like to ask her advice, but now she’s gone. I’m so scared about this audition. I’ve never auditioned for anything before and I’ve never sung for an audience either—except when I was nine and sat on a piano and sang like Shirley Temple.
The next day, I went to ABC to apply for a job. It seemed sad that Julie was not there but I was glad to be back on the lot. Apparently, (from diary notes) I told them I wanted to act and the lady who interviewed me said I should go to a production company.  After my interview was over, I went back to practicing and then auditioned on the theatre department’s main stage. After that, I went to work and scrubbed the lady’s floor. I felt like Cinderella.

By the time I got back to my dorm, I was so exhausted I could barely eat dinner. Then I went straight to bed.

The following day, our professor Dr. Martin turned to me in the middle of acting class and said, “A couple of people went to the audition yesterday and to my shock, one was Michelle Russell. What that little mousey girl in my class…she must have said… “I’m going to do that” and she got up there like she knew what she was doing and did it. You two have a very good chance of being cast."

There was a dance audition after that, but sadly I didn’t make it into the show.

April 8th – Pablo Picasso died.

As the middle of the month arrived, as melancholy as I tended to be, I was counting my blessings:
So many dreams have come true. Once I dreamed of being a child in “The Sound of Music” and for a while, there I was under Julie’s watchful eye…
Most importantly, I can sing now. One day I’ll be able to sing for an audience. Remember when that seemed impossible dream? What do you do when dreams come true?

April 18th
When I was growing up, it had always been just me and my mother. We shared a lot. Even in high school we'd gone to see Katharine Hepburn in Coco, Sarah Miles in St. Joan and June Allyson in No, No Nannette, as well as some special films. However, since the birth of my little brothers, she’d had other responsibilities. I’d often begged her to come to see Julie because I wanted to share it with her, but with one two year-old child and a baby only a few months old, she was not going to leave home to sit in the studio with me.

with my oldest little brother,
John, a year later
Nevertheless, by April, with my brothers a bit older, she agreed to take a trip to Beverly Hills. We got up early that day, got the two babies packed in the car and headed for Beverly Hills. I really wanted to see Julie’s house again – in daylight. I’d only seen it in the middle of the night. Now that Julie was safely several thousand miles or more, I considered visiting her house a safe trip.

We didn’t have much trouble finding it. Somehow I remembered how to get there. As we drove up in front of the house, I looked at the driveway and saw some purple and yellow pansies. Seeing them, something struck me and I heard myself say, “Oh, Julie planted those,” and then, “I think I’m going to cry.”

Then I took a couple of photos from the window of the car, feeling very afraid that someone would come by, someone like the police patrol. A man came out of the house next door with a little dog and I saw him bend down, as if to pull a weed out of his garden. Little did I know he was an old movie star – Randolph Scott, I believe.

Julie and Blake Edwards' home in Beverly Hills during
the early 1970s
Finally, my mother insisted that I get out of the car and take a photo of the house. I didn’t want to, but she insisted, so finally I got out and walked to the edge of the drive and took a photo. The house looked so huge. “I bet they really ran around in there,” said my mother.

After that, we went over to Roxbury Drive. My mother had grown up on Roxbury Road in San Marino and told me that they were always getting deliveries for a house on Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills. I wonder who lived there.

We parked in front of the Oscar Levant’s house. Levant, a famous pianist and wit died in June of 1972. I was reading his autobiography at the time and was deeply sad about his passing. My mother put my little brother, Michael, in his stroller, and we took a walk up and down Roxbury Drive, past Lucille Ball’s house and other. 

While we were there a tour bus went by. The driver was pointing out various houses and everyone stared at us, wondering if we were anyone famous. It was lovely to be in Beverly Hills. Everyone has such lovely flowers blooming. We saw one lady come home with her children. It’s a lovely place to live, not just a “starry” place as some people picture.

One day after our visit to Beverly Hills, my friend Alice called to tell me that there was a cover article on Julie in McCall’s. Mommy bought it for me and inside we found all kinds of photos of the house, including a photo of Julie getting into a car, right there in the front driveway.

© Michelle Russell

Coming Next:  Julie Andrews in Magazines 1972 – 1973

More on The Sound of Music and The Academy Awards of 1973

In my last blog, I spoke about The Sound of Music benefit, which celebrated the re-release of that picture in theaters all over the country. This benefit was also the public reunion of Julie Andrews and the young actors who played the Von Trapp children in the film. The year 1973 was approximately eight years after the film was made. A week after the benefit, to advertise the re-release of the film, portions of this event were televised, along with an interview Julie Andrews gave on the “Getting to Know You” set of The Julie Andrews Hour. At that time, I commented:

 They interviewed the “children.” Charmian Carr (Liesl) has a three year-old and another child coming in a few months. When the youngest girl, Kym Karath (Gretl) spoke, sometimes I could see the little girl she once was in her facial expression and her voice. She said she liked making the movie, singing “Do-Re-Me,” dancing and playing for three months in the Alps.

Then, they interviewed Julie. She seemed a bit nervous and uncomfortable being interviewed outside the planned acting of the show. She rested her head on her hand and stared off into space, her eyes moving as she thought about the answers to the questions. She seldom looked at the interviewer. When he asked her why she thought the movie was such a big success, she said she thought it had something to do with the fact that there were children in the film. She also thought it was because of the singing and that the film was surrounded by such a happy feeling. They didn’t know they would have such a big hit when they made the film, Julie explained.

Julie told the interviewer that for a while she had written to a couple of the girls, but then, suddenly things had changed and the correspondence dropped off. She said she was afraid to see how tall the littlest girl (Kym) would be now.  Finally, she commented that she was looking forward to seeing the movie again and hoped it would seem as good as it had when it came out.

Julie looked lovely, though her face seemed much thinner than when I last saw her. She did seem happy about The Sound of Music coming out again, but unsure as to whether she wanted to watch herself.  In the interview after the premiere, the “children” said the film seemed much better now than when they first saw it. They also said that they often had picnics and parties to get together.

I also learned that Julie’s new book will be out in September (1973). She said she likes to work when she’s not working. It’s good discipline for her every day.

March 27th was the date for the Academy Awards and most important to me, Liza Minnelli was up for an Oscar for her role as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. I also hoped I might see Julie Andrews on the show. 

That evening, a bunch of girls from International house piled into our small kitchen/ where there was a sofa, table and chairs and most importantly a little 12 inch black and white television on which we would watch the Academy Awards. Everyone was rooting for Liza, which was exciting for me as well. All my life I’d loved old stars and music, things many of my peers were not interested in, but almost everyone was interested in Liza and Cabaret.

After the ceremony began, at one point someone was reading cue cards with jokes. Apparently, there was a joke about Noel Coward and the star said, “I hope you won’t mind if I leave that out, because Noel Coward died yesterday.”

That was sad. My roommate Lynn had given me the news earlier in the day and I had to leave the room because I felt so sad and tearful. I couldn’t help remembering the show where Julie paid tribute to his music. He was born with “a talent to amuse” as he wrote in a song.

This was also the year that Marlon Brando won the Oscar for Best Actor. But instead of accepting the award, he sent a young Native American woman to refuse it. The audience booed as the woman read his statement, announcing that he wouldn’t accept the award because of the way the American Indian has been treated. The woman was ready to cry, but delivered the message anyway.

When it came time for Best Actress, they showed a short bio of each actress. For Liza, they began by showing her three year-old debut in The Good Old Summertime. Just as it was time for them to announce the winner, Liza, who was sitting between her father, director Vincente Minnelli, and her then fiancé, Desi Arnaz, Jr, smoothed the back of her hair, with a sort of nervous movement. Then, the announcement was made,

“And the winner is…..”

We all waited breathlessly until we heard, “… Liza Minnelli!”

I don’t know what happened, but suddenly I was aware that everyone in the room was screaming, clapping and jumping up and down. “She won!”

I was crying. Liza kissed her father and then went up to accept her award.  She thanked Bob Fosse and said, “I want to thank the Academy for giving this award to me.”

I had never really thought she would get it and now the room was filled with joy. We watched the end of the show as everyone, including Liza and Joel, got on stage and sang, “You Ought to Be in Pictures.” Then, suddenly, I saw Julie walk right into the camera. She stood in such a way that just the end of her gown showed on the television screen until the end of the show. I screamed and jumped up and down! What a night!

As it turned out, I later learned that Julie, who presented the director’s award, had trouble with this gown. It had a long white ruffled train (almost a bustle) which made it almost impossible for her to sit down during the show.

The next day when I went to my singing lesson with Mr. Loring, we spoke about Liza. He thought she was the best dressed woman there. Then, he told me, “You should have more authority in your attitude, as if to say: “You’re going to like me” rather than, “I hope you like me.” 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Story Behind the Story - Fans at The JAH

This blog will detail more information about what happened on the closed sets with people I have previously written about.

On April 14th, 1973 I’d attended a benefit showing of The Sound of Music with Julie
Andrews and the “children” from the film. Now The Julie Andrews Hour tapings were finished and soon Julie would be headed to the West Indies to make a new movie with Omar Shariff. It was over, but there were a few more episodes of the series to be aired.

A few days after the benefit, I went over to Hollywood Boulevard. Although I had planned on buying the musical recording of  Darling Lili, I changed my mind when I found the record for Thoroughly Modern Millie and got that instead.  In my diary I wrote:
          “Modern Millie brings back so many memories-- breakfast on the redwood                       picnic table and benches in North Hollywood1967, when Mommy and I were very poor...” That year, Thoroughly Modern Millie was on the radio at least three times a day.

Watching episodes of The Julie Andrews Hour, I had mixed feelings. Sometimes I felt sad, but then I was always glad to see Julie. About Episode 22, I said:

              “Julie had one beautiful solo about England. She looked so beautiful and sad. She made one feel the sadness and love for England during the war.”

Meanwhile, watching each of the last episodes, I commented on how thin and tired Julie looked. Watching the shows now, I don’t see this, but I suppose after spending so much time with her, I recognized it then. I also commented,

             “I feel sad that we couldn’t be there when she was working so hard. It always seemed as though she know that we cared…Something in her voice is so light; it has joy, as if there was never any sorrow in her life. This is her art.”

March 21
It’s now a week since the benefit. My cold is worse and the food here (at International House) is awful. It is ancient, not fit for dogs! My roommate Lynn and I ordered Chicken Delight. We were starving!

March 23rd
Fridays hurt.  As I leave school, all I can think of on Friday afternoons is how I used to leave school in such a hurry, my heart beating fast, rushing to the studio to see the show and to hear the sound of Julie’s singing. Fridays aren’t Fridays without her. It was a special treat – like a holiday; “a jolly holiday with Julie!”

On Saturday, March 24th, the next to the last episode was aired. I didn’t want to the show to end. The next day, Emma’s father, Tony Walton won a Tony Award for best Scenic Design on Broadway.

That same evening my friend Vivian called to let me know that Julie was giving up her U.S. residency for good. Poor Vivian was ready to cry. She told me the lady who handles Julie’s finances was the one who told her. I just couldn’t believe it.

The next day, I was back at school. After class I went to the library to do some research. While I was there, I tried to find a quote of Julie’s that I had seen once before. It said something like:

                “Never give up or stop working, no matter what anyone says.”

Now I kept thinking about Julie giving up her U.S. residency. Vivian’s words had hit me hard. “How can Julie give up and leave like that?” I wondered.

Later in that evening, I called Vivian to see if she was planning to go to the Academy Awards. If she was going to sit outside and wait to see Julie, I thought I might join her. She told me she wasn’t going, but, she was thinking of going to Julie’s house to see Jenny. “A bad idea,” I wrote in my diary, and I told her so. She had advised me not to try to speak to Julie at the benefit and now she was planning to go to her house!

After we hung up, I decided to call Kelly. When I saw her at the benefit, she’d mentioned something about what had happened at the studio in the weeks after we were put out. I wanted to find out more.

I reached Kelly on the first try. At first, we talked about The Sound of Music benefit. Kelly told me that after the black limo with Julie arrived, she’d gotten out and all the “children” from the film gathered around her. Then, Julie looked at the youngest girl, Kym, who by now was about fifteen, and said, “Who are you?”  

Inside the theater, Elizabeth had saved some seats up front for Kelly and Patty. Actually, the seats were only a few rows in front of Julie. Kelly told me that the children laughed throughout the film and Julie kept leaning forward, whispering things back and forth with them. Then, just before the end of the film, Julie got up and ran out. Patty followed her, and saw her get into the limo, which was waiting for her. Once she jumped into the car, the crowd, which had been waiting for her to come out, gathered around the car and just, as Kelly put it, “stared in at Julie like she was an animal.” It was odd to hear that, thinking of how much “normal” time we had spent with her.

When Julie saw the oldest boy, Nicholas Hammond, standing outside, she motioned for him to come and get in the car. He got in the front seat and they talked for a while. Then, the car drove off.

Kelly also told me that the boy who played Rolf was there, but no one recognized or spoke to him. Charmian Carr, who played Liesl, was also there. I was sorry I hadn’t seen or recognized any of them. I would have liked to meet them.

After that, we spoke about the studio. Kelly then told me how she and Patty were put out the last time. She admitted that they had gone back again after we were all put out and, according to her, they had “caused a lot of trouble.”

I’m not sure which show it was, perhaps one of the shows before we returned. Anyway, for this show, Kelly went in and sat on the far side of the camera, away from the producer’s station. She was sitting there quietly by herself, but Shari (Julie’s stand-in) recognized her and went over and said,  

“How did you get in?”

The truth was, Kelly had used a made-up name. Actually, it was the name of a lady who visited the studio earlier that day, and then had to leave. Kelly had spoken to her, and then used her name to get in. I'm not sure she told Shari that. Shari said to her,

“Let me go back and tell them (the pages). You can stay for the rest of this number.” (Julie was on stage at the time and they probably didn’t want any disruptions.)

 “No I’ll leave now,” Kelly told her.
“No, stay,” said Shari.

They argued back and forth about this for a few minutes.

“Don’t go now,” said Shari, but after she went back to talk to the pages, Kelly sneaked out.

Meanwhile, Patty had called Carol, Nick Vanoff’s secretary, and given her a fake name.

“I’m from Idaho and I really wanted to see the show. I have to leave tomorrow,” she told Carol.

So Carol left the name Patty had given her at the gate.

That day, Patty taped her teeth, changed her face with makeup and wore a wig. She also wore a different style of clothes than she usually wore. Kelly said that no one recognized Patty the whole time she was at the studio.

These events must have taken place for the shows in January, after we had been asked to leave for the first time. Then, there were two shows with audiences, the show with Angela Lansbury and Steve Lawrence, and the show with Sergio Franchi, Sandy Duncan the Muppets.

 The show following that was the show with Sammy Davis Jr. For that show, Kelly decided to do what Patty had done. She wore a wig and changed her clothes. Meanwhile, either Kelly wasn’t good at disguising herself or she made a mistake by sitting next to Elizabeth, bringing attention to herself. In any case, Shari recognized Kelly right away and went to tell Don Corvan, who I believe was one of the stage managers. He came down off the stage and walked right up to where Kelly was sitting.

“We have to ask you to leave.  You don’t belong here,” he said.

Kelly refused. Meanwhile, Julie was on stage, working.

Then, one of the studio officials told Kelly,
“If you’re not out of here in three minutes, we’ll have security guards take you out by bodily force.”

“I’m not leaving,” Kelly told them, so they sent Shari down to talk to her. When Shari came down, Kelly told me, she was really angry.

“Let’s go outside and talk,” she said. “You’re making a big scene and all these people are listening.”

I can only imagine how bad it was, recalling how it was the first time. I would not have wanted to go through that, but Kelly told them,

“They should hear what’s happening.” She seemed to feel she had a right to be there.

Finally, she agreed to go out. Once they were outside, Shari moved some big thing over so that they could sit down and talk. (She had been having trouble with her feet.)
“ABC doesn’t want you here, and if they say that, it doesn’t matter what anyone else wants,” Shari told her.

According to Kelly, Shari really bawled her out. It was a surprise to her as prior to this time, Shari had been very friendly with the girls. Now, she was mad. In response to Shari’s criticism of her, Kelly told her that Patty had gotten in, wearing a disguise, and since no one recognized her, she’d been able to stay. “I won’t leave no matter what,” she told Shari.

Finally, Shari turned to her and said,

“It’s no use. I can’t talk to you.”

Then, she got up and walked away.

Just about this time, Claire Priest (Julie’s fan mail secretary) and Marie (Julie’s personal secretary’s au pair girl with whom Kelly was friends) came out, so Kelly got up and left. That was the last time she was inside Studio C.

Patty went to the taping of the show with Harve Presnell, the next to the last show, with her friends. While they were sitting there, Shari came over and told her to leave. Then, it seems, she changed her mind and said they could stay as long as no one recognized her.

Around the time of the last show, Kelly and Patty went to the studio and waited for Julie to arrive. They actually were able to see her land in the helicopter. Then, as she came through the gate, they met her and gave her a card. “She said, ‘Thank you’ and gave us one of her looks,” Kelly told me. That was the last time they saw Julie on the studio lot.  
So now I knew why, even though I was not under age and had never caused a problem, I was never allowed back on the set.

Kelly also told me that she found out around this same time Shari, Don Corvan and someone else began questioning Elizabeth as well.

“Who are these girls? Where are they from? What are their names? What are their 
addresses?” they asked.

Elizabeth lied and told them that she had only spoken to the girls at the studio; she said she didn’t know anything about them, or “us,” as Kelly put it. 

Sensitive as I was to other people’s opinions, this made me extremely nervous. I wanted to be liked, I wanted to work in Hollywood, to be seen as talented and worthwhile. The behavior of these girls and the anger they had stirred up at ABC was not something I wanted any part of. This would be the last time I ever spoke to Kelly.

“Oh! Don’t be silly. You’re not blacklisted,” my mother said when I told her my fears. But I wasn’t so sure. For a long time, I walked around feeling I had a black mark against me.

(c) Michelle Russell

To request that The Julie Andrews Hour be released on DVD, please contact:    at ITV and let your voices heard!
Be sure to ask for the release of the music on CD as well!
Photos appearing here are for entertainment purposes only!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Episode 24 - The Final Show with Henry Mancini

Please make your voices heard!
Write ITV and request that
The Julie Andrews Hour be released on DVD.
Don’t forget to ask that the music be released on CD!

The final episode of The Julie Andrews Hour, which aired on March 31st, 1973 was met with great anticipation and sorrow by fans who loved seeing Julie on their television every week. It had been a great adventure. Now it was over.

The show opened with a wide, seemingly vacant set, expect for the grand piano at the back of the stage. Julie stood next to it, wrapped in what appeared to be a grand cloak, ruffled about the neck and wrists, a style popular at the time.

Then, “Whistling in the Dark,” a song Henry Mancini wrote the film, Darling Lili, is heard and Julie begins to sing. The camera follows her as she walks through light and shadow. This is one of Julie Andrews’ finest performances, a melding of grand music, beautiful singing and subtle emotions which pass across her face, wrapping the audience into the experience.

At one point, Julie opens her cloak and we see that it is really a lightly made wrap under which she is wearing a sparkling bronze body-suit. Loosening the cloak, she waltzes to the soaring music. It is perfection.

Now the lights come up, revealing that a full orchestra is onstage. At the close of the number, the musicians are all on their feet, applauding. A true tribute.
Julie and Henry Mancini
Julie introduces us to Henry Mancini, by 1972 (as Julie tells us) winner of three Academy Awards and twenty Grammy Awards. Quite amazing. On entering, Henry, who seems to have a dry sense of humor, announces that he has been practicing his jokes and bird calls for the show.

Meanwhile, Julie asks if he recognizes one of the trumpet players in the orchestra, saying he looked slightly familiar. The camera turns to the orchestra and we see, it’s the Pink Panther sitting there.

After that, Julie, who has lost her clock and is now dressed only in her bronze halter pant suit, tries to track the Pink Panther down. Soon he has multiplied to four Pink Panthers, and a dance with comic moves follows. At one point, the Panthers indicate that Julie should jump in their arms. When she tries, they all vanish!

Following the Pink Panther segment, Julie comes to the piano where Henry Mancini is conducting a group of singers. She joins them, with no background music other than the chorus, to sing “The Days of Wine and Roses.” Needless to say, it’s lovely.
Then, we see Henry Mancini seated at the piano, half in dark, half in light. Julie appears, dressed in a trench coat, holding a gun. This is the Peter Gunn segment, no doubt a tribute to Blake Edwards as well as Mancini.

At one point, Julie tells Henry she’s looking for Blake Edwards. When he tells her that Blake is married to Julie Andrews, she says, “Mary Poppins? Oh, well, whatever turns him on.”

In the midst of all this, Julie shoots Henry and he falls on the piano, apparently dead. Then a chase begins, to find the killer backed by the music from Peter Gunn. Excitement and suspense are fill the scene as the dancers appear in spots of light. There is running and movement throughout the entire studio, including the audience area. Julie, in a trenchcoat is on the trail and at one point a woman passes clues in an envelope to her, taking it from her dress. Later, she has clues hidden in her garter. 

In the end, Julie arrives at a door, thinking she will find what she’s looking for. Behind the door is a man with his back to us. It turns out to be Nelson Riddle. He is the one who shot Mancini because, he says, Mancini was moving in on his orchestra.  The two men then join together for a short duet, Nelson on his trombone and Mancini on his piccolo. Julie joins them, vocalizing, and together they create another famous piece of music (Elephant Walk?)


After a break, Julie and Henry Mancini are seated on the “Getting to Know You” set, having tea and speaking about Mancini’s family. He has twin girls who are now grown and a son. One of his daughters had written him a note in a card, which he then wrote music for and which became “Sometimes,” a song recorded by the Carpenters. Julie loves the song asks to sing it. It is a song of gratitude to those we love and with Henry Mancini playing and Julie singing, it is a special moment.

When Henry Mancini compliments Julie on her television series, he says that her work is always so “perfect.”  In response, Julie asks him not to call her perfect. Somehow, she comments, that word is always used about her, but she is far from perfect. She thinks the reason this work is used about her may be because of Mary Poppins’ “practically perfect in every way.” To prove how imperfect she is, she says they have some clips which will show all her mistakes, and we get to see some of these delightful bloopers.

There is also a very beautiful song included on this show. Julie tells us it was recorded some time ago but never seemed to fit in any show, so they are putting it on this show. It’s called “Once Upon a Time,” and in this lovely song, we also get to see Julie standing beneath the dazzling crystal tree.

When the cameras once again return to Julie and Henry on the set, Mancini comments that there are some people waiting to see her. The people are the eight male Tony Charmoli Dancers and Julie says she wants to see them as well because there’s something she’s been wanting to do for a long time.

When the dancers enter dancing to “This Guy’s In Love with You,” the camera pulls back to show Julie standing downstage, back to us, watching them. She says she wants to introduce the guys who have been dancers, singers and friends on the show. Performer Ken Berry later commented on Julie’s desire to introduce the dancers, saying that it was so kind of her because dancers work so hard and get very little in return, other than the joy of their art.

Julie introduced each dancer as they sang a phrase from “This Guy…” to her. They are introduced in this order:

Joe Kyle, Jerry Trent, Wayne Dugger, Walter Stratton, Gary Crabbe, Gary Menteer, Tom Anthony and Garrett Lewis.

This is the last time the dancers appear on the show. From here, we turn to a conversation between Julie and Henry about the importance of music in film; how it brings out the drama, comedy or whatever is in a scene. To illustrate this, they perform a scene from Gaslight (or what appears to be). For the first run-thru of this scene, Julie enters as a distraught wife, hearing things and fearing she is going mad, or that her husband is trying to drive her mad. The scene takes place in the late 1800s, and Julie and Henry are wearing period costume on a period set. Mancini is not a bad actor and looks like cold and forbidding at the beginning of the scene. The intensity of the music adds to the suspense.

For the second run-thru of the scene, there is rinky-dink piano playing in the background. There is also a laugh track, but the music alone is enough to make you laugh. Julie and Henry Mancini’s reactions only heighten the comic effect. When Mancini goes to take a drink of wine, attempting to ignore his wife’s (Julie) worry that he is driving her insane, he can’t help laughing. The director have left this uncut and it’s funny to watch his laughs.

Julie plays along. Standing at the back of the set, unable to see the laugh we do on camera, but obviously aware he’s loosing it, Julie asks, “Are you alright?” which makes it even funnier.

At the end, Mancini, attempting to push Julie out the window, falls out himself, only on the second time around, when she calls his name he answers. Going to the phone, she orders sandwiches and asks the restaurant to call the police (rather than calling herself) as there’s been an accident. What makes it even funnier is the fact that the old fashioned phone she’s talking on is not screwed tightly together and keeps falling apart, however, Julie, pro that she is, moves the parts around and just keeps going!


For the final segment of the show, we are back on the stage with a full orchestra. Henry Mancini is seated at the piano, and in the background we see Julie seated with the orchestra.  Mancini plays “A Time for Us” from Romeo and Juliet. Then, playing a phrase from Whistling in the Dark, he launches into Charade. Julie stands in the back among the musicians and sings, Charade, Sweetheart Tree and Dear Heart. Then, walking to the piano, she and Mancini conclude this wonderful musical performance with his most famous song, “Moon River.”

After this grand performance, there is no sentimentality about the ending of the series; in fact, no word is mentioned that this is the final show. After a break, Julie concludes the show with a few bars of her song, “Time is My Friend” while Henry Mancini does bird calls, making Julie laugh. Then, she says, “Goodnight,” and the two turn and walk to the back where Nelson Riddle is standing. The three can be seen, through the credits, talking and, at one point, Julie appears to be demonstrating a bird call of her own.

Thus ends this grand series

© Michelle Russell

Special Note: Unfortunately, due to computer problems I have not been able to do much including uploading photos. Some photos may be added later.

Note: Although this is the last episode of the series, there is more story to tell, so please check in again!

Photos appearing here are for entertainment purposes only!