Monday, January 14, 2013

January 12 - Julie's Special Guest - Maria von Trapp!

…continued from the “Intermission” blog…

Inside the studio, they had set up for the “Getting to Know You” segment with the wicker furniture, yellow cushions and silver tea set.  Julie came out in a pale green, tailored dress. Maria was wearing a dark blue Austrian costume, and a veil that looked like a modern nun (actually Austrian scarf). The hairdresser came out and tried to fix her hair. 

At this point, Julie introduced Maria von Trapp to the audience and Maria smiled. Maria’s speech was not written, but Julie’s lines were. They were questions, asking about what had happened after the end of the movie. Maria began to tell the story and we all listened very intently. 

This was the real Maria von Trapp! I tried to picture her as a young woman coming from the convent to take care of all those children. Maria was so real and much more beautiful in-person than on the TV monitor. At one point the director said over the loudspeaker, “Wait! Let’s begin again.”

“What happened,” asked Maria.

“I dropped some papers,” said director Bill Davis.

“Well, stop that!” she scolded. “Who are you anyway?”

Then, she looked up and said, “Where are you? Where is that voice coming from?”

She was very good humored and loved to joke. She and Julie whispered and made motions with their hands as they talked between takes. Maria was always smiling. I could tell she thought Julie a lovely woman. Looking at her one did not have to know her story; it showed through. She told of how, after climbing over the alps and leaving Austria, they had nothing. They had been very wealthy; now they were refugees with nothing, no rights and no money. There were not seven children as in the film, there were ten, plus Maria was pregnant at the time. To survive, they turned their hobby, singing, into a way to make money. The von Trapp family sang their way through Europe and eventually came to America.

Off camera, Julie stood up and poured a cup of tea for Maria. She put cream in it and then poured a cup with cream for herself, and stirred it.

“Okay,” said the director.

“Everything stops for tea!” said Julie.

They showed seven clips from The Sound of Music, which was going to be re-released in a few months, just before Easter. When they played the opening of the film (which Maria said she could watch ever day for breakfast), it was so strange watching it with both Maria and Julie there. Julie and Maria talked through practically all of the film clips. Maria would point out something and then talk. Julie pointed at the part that shows the stream.

Maria von Trapp and Julie Andrews
singing Edelweiss
Then, they showed the scene with Julie and the children singing “Do Re Me.” I thought she would enjoy seeing that and remembering the children, but seeing that clip she had the same expression on her face that she had when she watched her acting in the scene from The Taming of the Shrew. Once during the bike sequence, she did smile and point.

After that, Julie and Maria sang “Edelweiss” together.  I shall never forget that became I knew these would be my last moments in the studio; and because it was so special to see the real Maria von Trapp and Julie Andrews singing together. I believe they did a couple of takes for “Edelweiss.” Maria sang harmony with Julie, and one time her voice went too high, almost off-key. She smiled as though she would laugh or stop, but Julie reached out to her and then she to Julie. It was such a moment of rapport, so moving.

During their talk before the song, Maria said that before this she had only written good things about herself. Now, she had written a new book, where she told of her mistakes in hope that these mistakes could be avoided by others. She had brought a book for Julie and signed it, “From one Maria to another, with love.”

When Maria said that and handed the book to Julie, Julie's eyes filled with tears, almost to overflowing, and her voice sounded as if she would cry. Later, I heard Maria say, 
“You will read it,” and Julie said, “Oh yes, right away,” and opened the book to look the pages. She stopped around the center of the book and was reading something with an intent look on her face. This, of course, was on a short break between takes.

The audience was intense. It was wonderful. Then, it was over. I wiped my tears away.

Kelly and Patty got up and started up the aisle, running. “Are you going somewhere?” I asked. “Yes,” was all they said. I think they were going to see Julie. 

Outside, I started to ask Mrs. Priest if she would drive me home, but she just said, “Goodnight.” So I walked home in my sorrow. I was sad to leave ABC.

Next: The days following …. January 13 – 16

A list of The Julie Andrews Hour blogs with links to this page can always be found on:

Note: All photos here are for entertainment purposes only

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