In 1972, Julie Andrews was one of Hollywood’s greatest female stars, rivaled only perhaps by Barbra Streisand. Although, years later, critics made much of the fact that Ms. Andrews’ films after The Sound of the Music did not do that well at the box office, I can tell you --as person who lived through that period-- the average person was not judging Ms. Andrews based on the box office. She was a great star and everyone knew it.
During late 1972 and the first half of 1973, because Ms. Andrews was a great star, there was a great deal of attention as to what took place in Studio C at ABC where The Julie Andrews Hour was being taped. Many a weekday afternoon, after leaving class at Los Angeles City College, I would head over to Thrifty Drug Store on Vermont, where they sold big ice cream cones for five cents. On those afternoons, while I indulged in my ice cream, I’d take a peek at the latest movie magazines, in hopes of finding some photos of Julie on the set. I remember reading stories of Julie screaming with frustration in the halls of the studio. I laughed at those stories, figuring they were just for publicity. I simply could not imagine the cool, calm and collected Julie, who was always pleasant and, frequently, full of fun, screaming. Looking back, I can’t imagine she would strain her voice in this way either.During this period, quite a few mainstream magazines chose to put Julie Andrews on their cover and these were beautiful covers. Here is a little bit about the cover stories that I still possess.
TV Guide – December 9, 1972
Julie posed for this lovely photo on the set of The Julie Andrews Hour. This article, for which the writer interviewed Blake Edwards, gives something of the history of Julie’s career and the creation of The Julie Andrews Hour. At this point, it was hoped that the television series would continue for at least two years. In the article, producer Lew Grade states that if the show remains on the air just two years, he will earn about $15 million.
The TV Guide article also reveals that the show opened with a Nielsen rating of 17.3 and then descended to a rating of 11.4 the second week. Unfortunately, the show had been given a 10pm weeknight slot, which, as producer Nick Vanoff noted, was obviously too late for a good portion of Julie’s fans.Toward the end of the article, an interview with Cass Elliott is quoted. Ms. Elliott speaks of working until 4am with Julie, noting how even at that hour, Julie was pulling out everything she had to make the show work. “I was embarrassed to complain. I dunno, but there is something very special there, which you grow to love…”
|This McCalls cover was one of my favorite.|
The blue of the "McCalls" and Julie's eyes
were perfectly matched!
Only a week after The Julie Andrews Hour won seven Emmys, the McCall’s May 1973 issue, with a beautiful photo of Julie on the cover, appeared on the newsstand. The article was titled “Julie Andrews Fights Back.”
Author Chris Chase interviewed Julie and wrote this article before anyone knew publicly whether the show would be renewed or cancelled. The article features photos of Julie getting out of her car in front of her Beverly Hills home, standing by her pool in Beverly Hills, in the recording studio and by the ocean at the family’s beach house in Malibu.
In response to the question about how she would feel if the show was cancelled, Julie says, “Off course I’ll be hurt, everyone wants to be accepted and loved, but all you can do is your best… I’ll feel sorry for all the people who’ve worked so hard…” To close our her statement, Ms. Andrews concludes that she’ll be rather glad to be home again, hinting that her daughter Emma has had a rather bad time with her being away from home so much.
Perhaps, Mr. Chase writes, ‘what they (the producers and Julie) were trying to do couldn’t be done.’ The article also reveals that the show cost approximately $240,000 an episode ($.... with today’s values).
Julie was given many compliments in this article:
“She’s an angel,” said Nelson Riddle.
“She has no temperament,” added Ian Fraser.
From Alice Ghostley we learn, “She’s so kind, so sensitive, so unwilling to see anyone embarrassed.”
The article, which began with some sadness and difficulty, concludes with Julie’s dreams and the sheer happiness of her present life.
Women’s Homelife – June 1973
The photo shoot for this cover can be seen in Blake Edwards’ documentary film, “Julie.” The editors chose the brightest photo of the shoot and called the article, “The Trials and Triumphs of a Working Wife.” Although the article did not come out until a year after the interview and photos were taken, it does reveal much about Julie’s life at the time the television series was being created. There is an interesting photo of Julie seated on a chair, with Blake, holding cup and saucer, looking at her. Behind them on the wall is grand painting, which looks to be of the Rembrandt period.
The article reveals that Blake was very protective of Julie, to the point that when, at an introductory dinner before shooting of the series began, an ABC representative asked to take Julie from table to table to “meet the press individually,” Blake told him he thought that was a bit much to expect and said he would not allow it. Julie, however, thought she should go around, and after speaking quietly to her husband about it and having it arranged, went from table to table and greeted everyone.
Interestingly, according to the article Julie loved to be silly and rowdy, but had to save that aspect of her personality for the times when Blake wasn’t around. Still, the author concludes, Blake was good for her.
So, the series was concluded. There were specials yet to come, but those would be done in Europe. Now, Julie Andrews, who had been so visible in Hollywood for nearly twelve months, was not gone from the U.S. And for all we knew, she would never return.
© Michelle Russell
Coming Next: Julie, Malibu and me
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Photos appearing here are for entertainment purposes only!