Monday, January 28, 2013

Episode 17 - Guests Peggy Lee and Robert Goulet

    On January 27th, 1973, ABC broadcast the 17th episode of The Julie Andrews Hour. The show opened with a scene that would appeal to children: Dressed as a little girl in a short, blue dress, Julie enters through a magical door, singing “The Candy Man." Everything on the set, including a big chair, is larger than life. As she dances around, she is joined by the eight Tony Charmoli Dancers, dressed in short pants and knee socks.

     A moment after the conclusion of the first scene, Julie enters through a new door wearing an elegant, sexy, low-cut gown. She continues to sing “The Candy Man” and is soon joined by her guests: Peggy Lee and Robert Goulet. Ms. Andrews introduces them as the “sultry” Peggy Lee and the “handsome” Robert Goulet, which sets off a charming and humorous argument. Peggy asks that she not to call her “sultry” and Goulet requests that he not be called “handsome.”

     In short order, the scene changes and we hear Julie’s voice announce, “Miss Alice Ghostley.” Ms. Ghostley is seen lying in bed, next to a lump that we assume is her husband. She is watching Robert Goulet is on television and, in a hilarious monologue, Ms. Ghostley tells her husband to wake up because maybe he could learn a thing or two. “I’m on fire,” she says, “and you’re raining on my parade... You never even give me a chance to say I’ve got a headache.” It’s difficult not to laugh at Alice Ghostley, and the laughter from the studio crew verifies it.

     As the scene continues, Alice speaks to the television screen, telling Robert Goulet, “You’re even prettier than Julie.” Before long, she has daydreamed herself into the Mounties television scene. Still wearing her pajamas, robe and slippers, rather than melting into Goulet’s arms, she yells at him for singing in her face and for grabbing her. The double standard of appearing to criticize Goulet, while getting what she wants (having him grab her) makes for some great humor.

     Julie Andrews comes on to introduce Peggy Lee. Informing the audience how she has long admired Miss Lee, Miss Andrews tells us that one advantage of having your own show is that you can meet people “without having to wait for someone to introduce them to you.” She concludes, “Here is one of the truly great ladies of show business.”

     For her solo, "You’re Gonna Love Me,” the entire set and Miss Lee’s costume are all in shades of white. Shot in soft focus with prisms of light, the scene seems strangely mystical and washed out by today’s standards. Likely at the time, it was considered quite edgy.

     Miss Lee is a great stylist, who was known for her low-key style, but for most of this song, her energy seems to lag. Toward the end of the number, it is interesting to watch as she bridges her relaxed, intimate manner with a modern rock and roll style.

     Born Norma Deloris Egstrom in North Dakota, 1920, Peggy Lee knew when she was quite young that she wanted to be a singer. Raised by a father who, due to his job, was seldom home and a step-mother who was not always kind, Peggy Lee left home by the age of fifteen to follow her dreams. Eventually, she was discovered by bandleader Benny Goodman. In 1941, their recording of “Why Don’t You Do Right,” brought Peggy great success. After her marriage to guitarist Dave Barbour, Peggy and Dave wrote and recorded many hit songs, including “It’s a Good Day” and “Manana,” which sold over a million records.

     Although Peggy appeared in a few films, including The Jazz Singer, her greatest  work was in her recordings and her club and television appearances. During the 1950s, she built a new career. Ahead of her time, she created a style that included blues and jazz with popular music. Her greatest hit of this period was “Fever,” which caused a sensation. In the 1960s, Peggy Lee worked for Walt Disney, writing songs for the film, Lady and the Tramp. During this time, she also created a new look and style style for herself, once again adapting to the times. Like many great singers, Peggy Lee had worked with Nelson Riddle in the past. Nelson had written some great arrangements for her and they recorded an album together.

     As successful as the 1960s were for Peggy Lee, she also suffered some great setbacks in terms of her health. She had a double pneumonia which nearly destroyed one of her lungs. She also had heart problems. The change in her appearance and manner at the time she appeared on The Julie Andrews Hour is so different from nine years earlier when she appeared on The Judy Garland Show, it's startling. Still, Peggy was a strong lady and would continue with her career for another twenty-three, during which she would have many more hit recordings and successes.

     The Look to the Stars segment was next, celebrating those persons who were born under the sign of Sagittarius. While many names are mentioned, including Sammy Davis Jr and Maria Callas, few of these people are included in the performance. Julie opens the tribute with Mary Martin’s “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Out of My Hair” from South Pacific. The song is set in quite a low key, and Miss Andrews belts it out with greater fervor than usual. Joined by the Tony Charmoli dancers, they do a sort of rock and roll dance and then lift Julie up in the air and down while she continues to sing the song.

      Rich Little appears frequently during this segment, first as Kirk Douglas, then as Jean Stapleton singing as Edith Bunker, interspersed with cuts of him as Archie Bunker. Along with some short appearances by Peggy Lee and Robert Goulet, Julie Andrews’ lovely tribute to Ira Gershwin, “How Long Has This Been Going On” is the most memorable portion of this celebration. Turquoise blue is the interwoven color for the Sagittarian tribute, and for this song, the photography of Julie in a blue gown is quite stunning.

     Rich Little, playing Norton on The Honeymooners as the closeout for the first half of the show, should not go without mention. It’s a brilliant few seconds.


      The second half of Episode 17 takes on a new atmosphere. Now, we are definitely watching an evening show; one that’s glamorous and just plain classy. Julie and Peggy appear, dressed in white chiffon, and together, they make a beautiful pair. They are the bright spots on a set that is mostly dark, except the kaleidoscope lighting which appears on portions of the backdrop. Both ladies are gorgeous and look happy to be singing together.

     Peggy Lee’s vocal range allows Julie to take the high voice in their harmony and her intimate style compliments Julie’s naturally delicate tones. The medley is lovely group of songs about singing, and includes: “Sing a Song,” “Sing a Rainbow,” “My Beautiful Balloon,” “I Believe in Music,” “I Want to Be Happy and more. Any collection of Julie Andrews duets should include this one, and I’m sure it is a duet that Julie herself would want included.


     For the final segment of the show, the production team pays tribute to Broadway producer, David Merrick, who, we are told, produced over 70 Broadway productions in his career. For openers, the cast celebrates his achievements with a song from Merrick's most famous production, Hello Dolly. Julie begins the song, “Before the Parade Passes By” and is joined by the rest of the cast and the dancers. During this portion of the show, everyone is dressed in black, adding to the feeling of a formal night at the theater.

     Peggy Lee follows the opening number with a song from Oliver, “Who Will Buy?” She begins the song with hauntingly beautiful tones, and it is here that she shows us why she was and is one of the most respected artists in the business. Miss Lee then takes this show ballad and turns it into a jazz piece with great rhythm and subtle, sexy inflections. She talks to us, with layers of meaning that cannot be summed up, turning her performance into a brilliant work of art.

     From The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd, Robert Goulet and Rich Little appear together, singing “What Would I Do without You?” This is an amazing and humorous number as Rich Little plays Goulet with Goulet. Although his singing is obviously not up to Robert Goulet’s, it’s pretty good and Robert Goulet can’t help laughing at certain moments as he listens to Little imitating him. At the end, he takes Rich Little’s hand and kisses it.

     The next scene is shot in darkness, except for a spotlight on Julie Andrews, who is seated on a carousel horse, wearing a rather sexy dress. Julie sings “Love Makes the World Go Round” from the musical Carnival. At one point, we see her dancing beautifully in the background, half in darkness, half in light, joined by a few of the male dancers.

     Robert Goulet follows with the title song from the musical Fanny. His performance, shot up-close, his face the only light in the midst of darkness is unforgettable. Every phrase has layers of meaning and the richness of his voice is a theatrical treasure. 
From there, he joins Peggy Lee for the lovely “Make Someone Happy.” Despite their different vocal styles, Goulet and Lee perform wonderfully together, showing their honest admiration for one another at the same time.

     Rich Little then portrays Anthony Newley in Stop the World I Want to Get Off by singing “Gonna Build a Mountain.” Two dancers stand behind him, miming his movements. The scene is quite effective and Little’s work here, as with all his work on this show, is brilliant.

    The next musical scene finds Robert Goulet and Julie Andrews together for a song from I Do, I Do--“My Cup Runneth Over with Love.” There is nothing lovelier than these two performers singing together, and this song is no exception. It is touching as we watch Julie sing, “In only a moment,we both will be old...” to which Goulet responds, "We won't even notice the world growing cold..."

     This was Robert Goulet’s third and final appearance on The Julie Andrews Hour. It is not known whether Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet ever performed together again. Watching this moment, it is sad to realize that Robert Goulet, with his brilliant voice, is no longer with us. Only months after appearing on Broadway in La Cage aux Follies and making a special appearance at Town Hall for Broadway by Year where he recreated his Broadway performance of “If Ever I Would Leave,” by singing the song without a mic, Robert Goulet was diagnosed with a rare form of pulmonary fibrosis, a deadly disease which can only a lung transplant can sure. Several weeks after his diagnosis, on October 23rd. 2007, Robert Goulet passed away.


     For the “eleven o’clock” number of the night, Julie sings “Let Me Entertain You” from Gypsy. Her opening pose is stunning. Dressed in a long, black gown with a train and a sequin cap, Julie walks the lit runway, and launches into Gypsy Rose Lee’s number as if she’s waited all her life to play the role. At the end, her belt is so powerful; it seems she rivals Ethel Merman herself.

     As we watch the cast--Goulet, Andrews, Lee and Little (above)-- join together for the final “Together Wherever We Go,” we know we are looking at the best of the best. It has been one classy show.

     Julie announces her guests for the next show: John Denver and Sid Caesar. Then, as she bids her farewells, Rich Little imitates her “Good night everybody” and she slaps him, all in fun, of course. After that, “It’s time now to go, for everything must end…” which Julie tells us each week. We just wish it didn’t have to end.

See you next week!

Remember, you can always find a list this blog’s Julie Andrews Hour subjects with links back to this page at:

For more information on Robert Goulet, please visit his official website:

For more information on Peggy Lee, please visit:


  1. Another happy read! I just loved Robert Goulet. What a lovely reminiscence! I'm enjoying this blog so much, and can't wait to read about John Denver - he was my not-so-secret crush for awhile!

    1. Sorry, I made a mistake! It was John Davidson, not John Denver.

  2. Seeing the performance of Robert Goulet, at this t.V. apperance, maybe 1972 or so..In seeing and hearing his performance, of ..Harold Rome's composition and lyrics, was one of the greatest performances ever by Bob was perfect in every way....thank you Robert Goulet..bravo kindly, Danny Barrett

    1. That composition was "Fanny, fanny ..fanny" it debuted in 1954, at the Majestic Theather, it ran eight hundred and eight eight performances..

    2. Thank you for your comments. His performance was indeed magnificent.