Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 26th -1 - Stories of Robert Goulet and Peggy Lee

On Friday, January 26th, I made the call and learned that I would be allowed to attend The Julie Andrews Hour! They were going to have a live audience that night. In afternoon, I took my costuming class final. Then, I headed for ABC.

Vivian was at the gate when I arrived. We waited together, but were separated when they moved the line. The pages, who were familiar to us, had all been switched to other shows. I was feeling so out of place as they directed me to stand with a different group that one page commented on how sad I looked. I started to say something about what had happened two weeks earlier, but almost began to cry. Later I noted in my diary, “I didn’t want to be part of a herd.” I hung back and, as a result, ended up being the last person on line. All the other audience members were so excited about being there. All in all, we waited two hours until they let us into the studio.

This time, to enter the studio, they took us down the long tunnel and then up the stairs inside the studio. There were no tea and crumpets today! And I didn’t see any of the girls. When I met Bill, the page who started it all when he asked me on a date in front of the Hollywood Palace, acted like he didn’t recognize me. Then, he escorted to the fourth row and sat me right next to Elizabeth! It was a nice surprise to see someone I knew.

It did feel strange being in the studio. So much had happened, it almost didn’t seem like the same place. I asked Elizabeth how she was and she told me that she has been busy making a movie with Mae West! It’s a multi-million dollar musical, and will take about two years to complete. They work whenever the star (Miss West) wants to. She’s almost eighty (born August 17m 1893), so she does one dance number and then has to go home, to bed. Elizabeth told me that she is singing and dancing in the movie. 

I asked her how she likes Angela Lansbury, who was scheduled to be on the show this night. “I like her. She’s so nice...” 

“I got to go into the publicity files at ABC today,” Elizabeth informed me.  “They have a huge file on Julie with wonderful pictures,” adding that she’s gotten to know so many people in recent days. “Last week, I was walking home and the executive producer saw me and picked me up! I also met the new public relations man for the show.”

“How has Julie been in the last week,” I asked.
“Julie has been in a wonderfully good mood.”
I couldn’t help wondering why, whether it was because we weren't there. 

Then, Elizabeth told me some very interesting information.
“Last week, Julie and Bobby (Robert Goulet) had a big fight right there on stage.”

Wow! I was surprised. I could only imagine being in the studio when Julie and Robert Goulet had a fight. I think I would have slid very low in my chair, but it would have been exciting!

“Sharri doesn’t go for him,” Elizabeth informed me, adding that Sharri didn’t like some of the things he said and had informed Julie that “one more word from him and she would leave the studio.” So, Julie took Sharri’s side and said something to Bobby. He thought it was Julie’s opinion, felt hurt and got angry at Julie.

We were discussing this in public and I didn’t feel wholly comfortable, so I asked Elizabeth about Julie’s other guest, Peggy Lee.  She told me that Peggy has respiratory trouble – only one lung and she must have oxygen every 20 minutes. (This wasn’t completely true. She had both lungs but one lung had been seriously damaged when she had double pneumonia in 1961. The oxygen compensated for her damaged lung. In 1971, she’d had another bout with pneumonia and other numerous health issues including hart problems and diabetes.)

Elizabeth said Peggy Lee had signed something for her and she was so thrilled. Then she told me something that moved me. She said that Julie had spent most of the day in Peggy’s dressing room, visiting with her. This was extremely unusual for Julie. When she wasn’t shooting, she always went back to her own dressing room. Elizabeth said that Peggy Lee had been one of Julie’s favorite singers when she was a young girl, adding, “They really got on well.”

For the first part of the Peggy Lee-Robert Goulet show, Elizabeth told me that she had seen Julie sing “The Candy Man” dressed as a little girl in a blue dress. (Almost all her clothes are blue lately). That night, Julie finished with her part of the show around 10 o’clock. Elizabeth was going to leave but she really wanted to see Peggy Lee sing and she just had a feeling she shouldn’t go. Sure enough, when it came time for Peggy to tape her solo, Julie came out to watch Peggy and she stayed for almost the entire night, as a member of the audience (on the closed set).

We had been talking for what seemed a long time. Now, the show was about to begin. Elizabeth turned to me and said, “Julie’s going to come in and wow them right away tonight.”

At that moment the band was playing “Hollywood,” and I couldn’t help saying,
“I love it here! This is my home. I’m home at last.”
“Mine too,” said Elizabeth.

She told me that Julie had been wearing jeans and polo shirts for most of the morning. “This morning she did a song that way, lying down with grass and trees and bare feet. When Sharri saw her, she said, “That’s the real Julie.” I guess that’s why Mr. Blackwell put her on the worst dressed list for women. (My diary comment. For those who don’t remember, Mr. Blackwell, considered the perfect judge of best dressed women, each year used to put out a list of both the best dressed and worst dressed women.)

Now the show was getting ready to start. Rich Little came out and entertained us even better than  usual. Then Steve Lawrence and Angela Lansbury were introduced.

I asked Elizabeth if she heard anything about why we had been put out. She said, “I heard there was too much chatter up in the front seats, which are off-limits, and it upset Julie.” ‘So it was Julie,’ was all I could think.

Now the crew set up a long line of footlights and at the back a frame of lights with a starry sky. The lights were turned on us, and I suddenly realized that I was going to be on television again!

Now Julie entered wearing a gorgeous white chiffon caftan-style gown with a blue sequin pattern over it. I felt a bit frightened as she looked us over with the lights shining on us. There I was in the 4th row, second from the aisle. Then, Julie went back to the far corner of the stage. Now everything was ready for the show to begin. I couldn’t help remembering how someone in line that afternoon had said, “I would stand here all this time, just to watch her entertain for five minutes.” I felt so lucky for all the moments I had spent with her. It’s funny, every time I see Julie, it’s as thought I’ve never seen her before.

Tonight she sang, “All the Things You Are.” It was an arrangement that built as it went on. She rushed to the front of the stage about six feet from me singing, so full of life! We all clapped at the end, but Elizabeth wasn’t happy. “Why don’t these people wake up. She never gets all she deserves!” But Julie had to repeat her performance again, so we had another chance.

Just before Julie sang the song again, she looked out at the audience and said, “I can finally see you all. How nice.” At that point, I think she saw me. She turned then and spoke to the other side of the audience. Oh, dear. I felt so scared. I had reason to be.

Rich Little had a cold tonight. Julie started coughing. Elizabeth was coughing too and then I started!

Steve Lawrence is so funny. He and Eydie must really have fun together. When Julie finished her song and we were all applauding, he made a big show of whistling and yelling.  Nick Vanoff tired to stop him, telling him to be quiet. Then, he tried to drag him off the stage, but he kept right on. (Only recently, I learned that they were the best of friends, so they may have just been playing.)

On the break, Rich came on as an impression of someone and then Steve came on as an impression of someone else. He is so funny. We all broke down laughing. I couldn’t help myself; I had to laugh. After that, the director made them do the whole thing again, but I hope they use the first take.

Elizabeth told me that sometimes they write their own scripts during the rehearsal. She said she’d gone to the rehearsal hall with the cast, adding, “It’s just an empty room.” 

When I asked if Julie caught on quickly, she replied, “In nothing flat, she’s amazing.”  She added that she is a quick study as well, saying that she learns more from watching Tony Charmoli dance than taking dance lessons.

Then, as we waiting on another camera break, “Have you heard about Sharri? She’s going to have a very serious operation on her feet. She may not be able to be Julie’s stand-in anymore. She’s got some disease (can’t remember the name) from standing too much. It’s said she’ll have to be in the hospital something like three months, and no dancing for six months.  She doesn’t even know if she’ll be alright afterwards.”
“Oh, no,” I said. 
Sharri was jumping around on stage. I felt so sorry for her. Now, while we waited, I couldn’t refrain from asking Elizabeth,
“Did you ever speak to Judy Garland?”
“Oh, yes. I saw her at one of her concerts and the people just wouldn’t let her leave. She’d say, “What do you want me to do?” and they’d say, “Just stand there.” She had such a marvelous rapport with her audience that she could have sat there and eaten a banana and they would have loved her.”
“What concert was it?”
“Judy and Liza at the Palladium.”
“Oh, do you like Liza?”
“I love Liza. Rich Little has dinner with her once a month. I have a friend who said he’d introduce me to her.”
“Oh, I’d give anything to meet her,” I said.
“Wish you were going to be in Las Vegas.”

Meanwhile, we’d watched Blake’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edwards come in and go to sit down in the back. Elizabeth got up and went over to talk to them. Meanwhile, the crew had set up a big, grey screen across the entire front of the stage.

“They’re setting up for a comedy scene,” said Elizabeth, who had just returned. The man sitting in front of us turned around suddenly and said, “If you tell us what’s going to happen, I’ll kill you.”  I don’t think he was kidding because for the last hour or more, Elizabeth had been talking almost non-stop.
“Oh, I won’t,” she responded.

The scene was funny. Steve sang a love song (Desert Song) to Julie, and while he was singing, the wind began to blow; it blew so hard that his clothes, which were attached to wires, blew right off him. Actually, he was supposed to look as though the wind blew them off, but the wires pulled them off.  Then, the tent blew off in pieces and so did the tree. Julie was wearing a beautifully tailored white pant suit. Steve tripped and fell over her. Then, a gorilla came running on. This was the beginning of a great chase scene.

The next scene they shot was the “Getting to Know You” segment, which they set up directly in front of where we were sitting. For this scene, Julie wore a green flower print. While we waited for them to begin, Elizabeth informed me that Julie’s show has the same writers as The Judy Garland Show had. On this break, Elizabeth asked Dick Tufeld if they’d taken the idea for the “Getting to Know You” segment from Judy Garland’s “Tea for Two” segment.

“Oh, no,” he said, “Everything in this show is new.” Later, he conceded there was nothing any where that hasn’t been done before. Then, he began to call Julie “Judy. For some reason, that embarrassed me.

Later, when Julie sang, “Free and Easy,” Elizabeth commented, “That’s a Judy song.”
During the shooting of the song, Julie ran over to the band room saying,

“Nelson, what do you think of that. Do you remember….”
I couldn’t hear what else she said, but how could he not remember. He worked with Judy. So Judy was there in a strange sort of way tonight.

“Nelson’s going to play at the Academy Awards this year,” commented Elizabeth. “It’s going to be so exciting this year.”

“I wish I could go.” I couldn’t help thinking that Liza Minnelli was up for Best Actress in Cabaret“I went in ’68,” Elizabeth informed me. “If Liza doesn’t win this year, I will personally shoot the Academy. I’ve seen the competition and they’re not that good.
I’m going to do the Golden Globe Awards this Sunday. You know Julie’s up for an award. She’s got to win! Everybody else who’s up for it has already won before. We have cocktails at four… gowns…it’s a small group of people that go, but big stars. A publicity agent invited me.”

“Oh, you are lucky,” I said.

During this time, Elizab eth told me about her life. Her oldest daughter is fifteen and just starting her career in show business. She had begun her career at nine. “I left home to live with these old people in their 60s and 70s. They believed vaudeville was the only way to learn. We toured all the old music halls; I sang and danced. They wouldn’t face the fact that vaudeville was long dead. I’ve taken more singing and dancing lessons…”

To be continued.....

Coming Next... Angela Lansbury and Steven Lawrence....

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1 comment:

  1. Don't know who Elizabeth is yet, but she is kind of annoying, lol.