Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January 13th - 18th - Life

Those of you who have read the six January 12th blogs on The Julie Andrews Hour may find this account interesting. In the week following January 12th, I tried to make sense of all that had occurred.  This account is a mingling of my 1973 diary notes and additional information.

January 13, 1973
Saturday morning I woke up still having trouble believing all happened the day before. My roommate, Lynn, was still not there. Anne, my scene partner for the final, came over to practice. We were to perform a scene from The Importance of Be Ernest, but I was in such a state, even commenting in my diary that ‘I didn’t feel like acting in an English play.’

I told Anne a small part of what happened, but I doubt she believed me. When she saw my postcard from Liza on the wall, she said, “Liza is so sweet and real…” She made me feel better about Liza, but right now Julie is here.

Lynn finally returned this afternoon. When I told her the story of what had happened, she got very excited. Like me, Lynn could barely believe it. Then, I called Mommy. She took it all very calmly saying that Julie was right. Having been in show business, she’s always saying, “Famous people are just like everyone else.” Now she told me, “See. 
What have I been telling you…” It didn’t bring me much comfort.

Tonight, I went to see Marlene Dietrich at the Los Angeles Music Center and was inspired again. At first, I thought, “She’s old; she has no energy. She’s just beautiful and has a name,” But a quarter of the way through her show something happened. I wanted to cry. Though she really doesn’t carry a note, her voice warmed. When she sang, suddenly, she was young again.

At first she had only pulled her white fur coat around her like a train, and moved slow like an old movie. I thought her hand movements so slow, but then, as she went on, I found there was glamour and romance in what she did. She entranced you. That smile held a sorrow and loneliness, and that voice made you get a lump in your throat.  As she gazed at you, her audience, you knew that she loved you. She was alone, but with you, she was not, so she gave you her love…

What is it – star quality? Talented, perfect people don’t matter; but let a star come full of faults and we don’t even see their faults…

Sunday, Jan 14

Today, after church, I decided to go to Beverly Hills. It was a hot day, and as I waited in the shade for the bus at the corner of Sunset and Vine, a man passed me, then turned and said, “Hi!” I recognized him. He works under The Julie Andrew Hour producer, Nick Vanoff. I said, “Hi.” Then, he continued down the street. The fact that he knew me, made me cry.

It was a beautiful ride from Vine down to Wilshire. Arriving in Beverly Hills, I walked around for about an hour and a half. The streets are beautiful; they remind me a bit of my hometown, Pasadena. It’s also the place where so many of my favorite stars from the 1930s and 40s live.

While I was walking, I thought I saw Tony Charmoli, but wasn’t sure. He tried to talk to me, but since I wasn’t sure, I didn’t answer. (Reading this now, I can only think, “what a shame.” Sometimes I trusted people I shouldn’t, and then I’d run away from people I should trust.)

Later, I went to see “Travels with my Aunt” starring Maggie Smith. I enjoyed the film, but as much as I wanted to be distracted, continued to feel shaken by Friday’s events.

Tuesday, Jan 16

I had the last of my semester classes today. Then, my scene partner, Anne, and I worked and worked on our scene. “I despise Cecily,” I wrote in my diary.

In this midst of all this, I decided that I should get a job and start earning some money. I suppose the events of Friday had given me some push toward my career or some reason to need money. My mother gave me an allowance of something like $15-20 a week. Since I got two meals a day, it was more than sufficient for school. Anyway, the place the school sent me was “horrid” and I was glad they no longer needed anyone. Meanwhile, it was raining hard and I was soaked to the skin.

Wednesday, January 17th

I went to my singing lesson today. Mr. Loring was late because he was talking to someone on the phone about a movie that he’s going to be working on.
He had me sing “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” three times. I also sang “Put on a Happy Face.” I thought I sounded better in some ways and worse in others.

Mr. Lorning told me I breathe the wrong way and gave me some exercises to do. Then, he drove me to school. In the car, he asked me what I want to do. I told him I wanted to work in theater. He said he would like me to aim for auditioning for The Los Angeles Music Center next September. They have a theater training scholarship. He said he would sponsor me. Me??? That was all I could think.  Life seems impossible. These days, I love singing more ever.

January 18th

With finals coming, Lynn and I are practically at each other’s throats. The heads of the theater department all came today to watch our acting finals. I guess mine was okay. Yesterday, Anne and I decided to switch parts. One of the teachers in the department said it was good but unfortunately during the final, I messed up my part, so I’m sure I’ve failed.

Today I went from feeling angry and distrustful of Julie to thinking about sending her a note with flowers. I went to shop for roses and see how much they cost. They are a dollar each (a lot at the time) but I think I better get roses. Julie had to eat a carnation once on the show, so I don’t think she likes carnations.

Tonight, I called Mrs. Priest. She told me to call her “Claire” from now on. She said the executives on the show had a discussion with the ABC heads. Claire and the Assistant director were also there. She told me emphatically, NO ONE is allowed in this week. Everyone had decided this, saying… “The script is too difficult.” She told me need to “concentrate hard” on it. I didn’t quite understand what this had to do with the ABC rule, but I let it go. This week Robert Goulet will be one of the guests. (I had a feeling they didn’t want us there with him – or at least said so in my diary.) I hope they will have an audience next week so we can come.

Clare Priest gave me Kelly’s telephone number—I guess so I can keep up with what’s going on. Funny, when she told me no one could come to the taping, she said, “That includes Vivian and you.”  Clare also gave me Vivian’s number. I did tell her that I had no connection with the others, except when I was at the studio, just knew them in passing.

Friday, January 18th

When Friday came I decided to skip my 3 pm class. I got on the bus and went home to West Covina. Some girls on the bus were chatting in such high voices they drove me nearly insane, especially when I thought about missing the taping that day with Julie, Robert Goulet and Peggy Lee. Nevertheless, I couldn’t wait to get home. I surprised my mother arriving so early.

© Michelle Russell 1973, 2013

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Coming Next: January 20th - A Commentary on Episode 16 with guest stars Eydie Gorme, Jim Nabors and special guest Maria von Trapp

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