Friday, March 8, 2013

Last Day at ABC


On March 7th, when I called Julie’s fan mail secretary, Claire Priest, to find out whether I could attend the taping for the final show, she told me there would be “no audience” for the last show.  After that I called Vivian, who told me she was sending Julie yellow roses and daisies in a white vase for the last show. She also wrote Julie a card, saying she was sorry she could not be there. She had spoken to Carol who told her “no audience.”

The next day, I decided to try again on my own. First, I spoke to the Unit Manager, John Monarch, who also said, “no audience, talk to Carol.”

I had to wait a long time until Carol, the producer's secretary, picked up. In the background, I could hear the bustle of changing sets. In response to my question as to whether I could come to the taping, Carol said, “No. Nobody’s coming. Definitely, no!”

Then, after a moment, she said, 

“Say, who are you anyway? Are you one of the girls who has been sneaking onto the closed sets?”

Suddenly, it dawned on me. Patty and Kelly had been sneaking into the studio all this time, while Vivian and I behaved ourselves and sat at home. And, if there ever was a chance that we might have been let back in to see a show, eveb, the last show, THEY had ruined that chances. Oh, I was angry!

“No, I haven’t been to the studio for a month now,” I said.

“Oh well,” responded Carol, “It’s no!” 

As I hung up, I was so hurt by her response, I said to myself, “I never wanted to speak to her again,” and I promised myself I wouldn’t. Men can be charming about their no’s, but women hurt.

Friday, when I called the studio again, I got the strangest operator. She said,
“We’re going through. Here we go! Coming in, coming in. Heeerrrre we come!” as if she was taking me on a space ship or something.

***

I was late to my singing lesson. It was raining, and as I walked up the hill, a man in a gold Cadillac offered me a ride, so I accepted. 

Mr. Loring asked me how things at the studio were and I told him I was angry because some people snuck into the show when they weren't supposed to be there, but I was not allowed. My teacher said he would call the ticket office for me, but that it would do no good.

After that, we worked on “Say a Prayer for Me Tonight.” Then, I went over all my songs, putting them on tape. They sounded better when I followed my instinct. The songs where I sang as I listened to myself didn't, I discovered, sound as good.

At the end of my lession, Mr. Loring said, 
"So is Julie Andrews your favorite singer?"
 “No, Judy Garland is my favorite." 
After saying that, Mr. Loring asked if why I went to see Julie if she wasn’t my favorite singer.
"Because I like to feel part of the studio, and watching Julie makes me feel like I’m part of show business."
Of course, even though Julie was not my favorite singer, she was a close second. I felt bad when Mr. Loring said this, because I knew full-well that I had a tendency protect myself and hide my feelings. Mr. Loring told me I should not live my life in the success of others. “Someday soon, you will have your own success,” he told me.

After my lesson, I took the bus down to Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hill for The Sound of Music tickets. When I arrived at the theater, however, I found they didn’t have any tickets. The tickets were at the institute that bought them for the benefit, so I made arrangements to buy the tickets and was told a man would deliver them to me at my residence that night. Once I went back to International House, I called Vivian and asked her to come over and give me the money for her ticket.

The man with the tickets arrived before Vivian got there. He gave me two tickets for $6.00 each. He said he was going to leave some posters at my residence as well, in hopes that others would come to the benefit. He told me that so far few people had bought tickets. Yes, Julie would definitely be there, he assured me, as would all the children in the film. There would be red carpets and a band. He said he was putting us in the balcony. When I protested, he told me, “That’s where the celebrities will be sitting.”

Vivian arrived and stayed with me for half an hour. She showed me her autographed cook book and the Christmas card Julie had sent her. It was an art statue of mother and child on a red background, and was signed by Julie, Blake and family. Vivian also showed me Julie’s letter to her which thanked her for the jewelry “gift” and said what a “kind thing” it was for her to do.
***

The day had arrived. March 9th was the last day of taping for The Julie Andrews Hour. It would be a busy day for me.

I had tennis in the morning and after class all my muscles ached. After class, I had to take care of Julie’s going away present. I had gone through a pile of treasured, old, art postcards. They were special for their beauty and also for the fact that my grandmother had brought them back from Italy in 1922. The postcard I chose for Julie was of a small blond boy with blue eyes looking heavenward.

After school, I went to a store and found the loveliest wood frame with fine molding and gold leaf. The man in the shop cut a piece of glass for the frame and mounted the picture for me. It looked so lovely; like a miniature museum piece, just the way I had hoped it would look. I kept looking at the framed picture while I was riding the bus. A lady sitting next to me saw it and said, “That is a lovely present for whoever is getting it.” I didn’t say anything.

Meanwhile, I heard two ladies behind me on the bus talking. It seemed they were housekeepers, and had once worked together. The one said,
“How are the Presleys?”
“They’re getting divorced, said the other. “Priscilla has moved out and Elvis is in the house alone.” Then, they went on to talk about the Presley’s little girl. How strange to hear this news before it was released, and to hear it on a bus!

I spoke to Vivian about five times this day. She didn’t know if she was going to the studio that night or not. Meanwhile, I asked my roommate, Lynn if she would wrap Julie’s present for me and she did, all the while, saying,  
“You mean I’m really wrapping this for Julie Andrews?”

I had bought a card of purple hyacinths with lilies of the valley and lilacs on the front. I wrote Julie a single sentence, thanking her for the priviledge of being in the studio and for being able to hear her sing. I addressed the card: “To Julie Edwards.”
Then, I called John Monarch once more in hope that somehow I might be invited in. 

‘No go.’ He told me. I must talk to Carol. Julie was going to have a big party that night and security guards would be everywhere.

I was desperate. How would I get Julie’s present to her? Finally, I had a brainstorm. Bill, the page I knew, could take the present in for me. I called the studio again and had a long wait while they called him to the phone. Strangely, Bill didn’t seem to remember me, but he said he’d meet me at the front gate and deliver Julie’s present to her.  

After that, I called Vivian. She said she’d had a fight with her mother about coming to Hollywood. Her mother didn’t want to bring her over, saying she couldn’t get in anyway and she wasn’t going to leave Vivian outside the studio at night or have her get into trouble.

After that, I hurried over to ABC. On arrival, I asked the guard to call 1468 and ask the page, Bill S., to come down to the gate. The guard had a list of names and checked each person off as they arrived. While I was standing there, Mrs. Ian Frazier came through the gate.

One of the pages came up to the gate, wearing a red rosebud in his button hole. After he told them he was leaving, another page said,

“Julie will miss you.” He laughed.

Just then, Bill and another page came up to the gate guardhouse. When the other page saw me, he said, “You had a note for Rich Little before and you were really cold.”
“Oh!” I said, so surprised.  “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be cold. I was just so nervous.”

Then, I walked with the two pages, one on either side of me. We walked practically all the way to the studio.
“You will be sure Julie gets this won’t you? “ I asked, as I handed the present to Bill.
“Oh yes, Julie will really appreciate it. You came all this way. You’re such a devoted fan.”

Thinking of Patty and Kelly, I couldn’t help cringing a little at the word “fan.” In fact, after my experience at The Julie Andrews Hour, I never again wanted to be considered a ‘fan’ again. “Admirer” was the word I preferred.

“Julie’s having a party for everyone,” the pages told me, “A really big party. About three hundred people will be here, including the wives and children of the crew.
Oh gosh,” I said, which was a very Julie thing to say.

Before the two guys left, I handed them my pen pal, Dennis’, letter.

“If you want, come to any show at ABC and I’ll give you front row seats. And if this show is renewed (meaning Julie’s), you’ll be the first to know,” Bill told me. I guess he didn’t know it was cancelled.

It was over now, and I ran all the way back home, arriving there in about 15 minutes. When I got back, “Liza with a Z” was on television. It was a good distraction for me.

***

So, the show was over. I had tried me best, but I had not been allowed back in the studio. Still, I had my memories.

Coming Next: ReunionThe Sound of Music
If you think The Julie Andrews Hour should be released for the public on DVD, along with music releases of Julie and her guests, please e-mail a polite request: dan.gopal@itv.com
If you prefer, you may look up ITV in London or Los Angeles, and send a letter there.
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2 comments:

  1. Your slice-of-life postings are so enjoyable. Even when you're disappointed by what's happening, your loyalty to Julie shines through. The moment that most stood out for me, though, was when you heard the cleaning ladies on the bus talk about the Presleys' impending divorce. You were witness to a tiny bit of history then, although you didn't know it!

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  2. Thank you for your comments. I've never been one to quickly condem others. Perhaps, in part, this comes from being an actress and trying to put myself in their shoes. Often people put stars on pedastals only to tear them down when things don't go their way. I guess I was brought up to be humble and not expect things that are not mine to expect. It's all a gift - life is!

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