Thursday, September 20, 2012

Episode Two - Guests Carl Reiner and Cass Elliot

      After the grand premiere of The Julie Andrews Hour, everyone associated with the show, worked hard to keep it at a high level of excellence.
The guest stars for the second show were Carl Reiner and Cass Elliot, along with Julie's regular co-star, Alice Ghostley.  
Here is a little bit about  these wonderful stars.
Comedian Carl Reiner was born March 20, 1922 in the Bronx, New York. As he states on the show, his parents were Jewish immigrants; his father came from Romania and his mother from Austria. When he was sixteen, Carl’s older brother, Charlie, told him about a free dramatic workshop that he’d seen advertised in the New York Daily News. Carl said that news changed the entire direction of his career and his life. Reiner appeared in many theatrical shows, including musicals on Broadway. In 1950, he worked on Sid Caesar’s Show of Shows, performing skits on the air with Mel Brooks and Neil Simon. In 1960, beginning on The Steve Allen Show, Reiner and Brooks formed a comedy duo which appeared both on television and stage.
Around this same time Carl Reiner developed a television plot which eventually became The Dick Van Dyke Show, making stars of Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. Carl is the father of Rob Reiner, who became well-known around this time for his acting role as “Meathead” on All in the Family.
Cass Elliot was born Ellen Naomi Cohen in Baltimore, Maryland on September 19, 1941. Serious interest in performing began during her senior year of high school when she appeared in a summer stock performance of The Boyfriend, the very same musical that brought Julie Andrews to America and Broadway. Although in 1962 Cass tried for the role of Miss Marmelstein on Broadway, she lost out to another unknown, Barbra Streisand.
After working in a folk trio and as a solo act, in 1965 Cass Elliot joined The Mamas and The Papas with John Phillips, Michelle Phillips and Denny Doherty. I remember the summer of 1967 when everyone was playing “California Dreamin.’” Other songs recorded by the group include, Monday, Monday and Dedicated to the One I Love.
In 1968, Cass Elliot left The Mamas and The Papas for a solo career, recording songs that sold many albums including: Make Your Own Kind of Music, New World Coming and Dream a Little Dream, among others. Although her weight had sometimes been an issue with her obtaining work, Cass Elliot was a tremendously talented performer in every way, and a warm human being. Evidence of this shows on The Julie Andrews Hour, Episode 2. Once would not automatically think of Julie Andrews and Cass Elliot singing together, but their voices blend beautifully.

Alice Ghostley was born Alice Margaret Ghostley in Eve, Missouri on August 14, 1924. She was raised in Oklahoma and attended the University of Oklahoma until she made the decision to pursue a career in the theater. Moving to New York, Alice’s first appearance on Broadway was in “The New Faces of 1952,” a show which contained many future stars, including Eartha Kitt.

In 1957, Alice had been cast as “Joy” one of the ugly step-stepsisters a new musical, made for television. The show was “Cinderella,” starring Julie Andrews. Kay Ballard played the other sister. In every episode of The Julie Andrews Hour where Alice and Julie appear together, it is obvious that they enjoy working together and play off each other well.

The second episode of The Julie Andrews Hour began with a party atmosphere as Julie sang “On a Wonderful Night Like Tonight,” followed by “It’s Today” from the musical Mame, during which she introduced her guests. 
One of the funniest moments in the show was a segment where  the four stars lined up on stage, reading from reading famous lines of “the Silver Screen” from scripts. Julie, Carl Reiner, Alice Ghostley and Cass Elliot are unexpectedly hilariously funny with these lines, so much so that they crack each other up. Director Bill Davis wisely did not cut out the bloopers.
In the next scene, Julie Andrews sings “This is My Beloved wearing a lovely white gown, surrounded by trees, dripping with jewels and/or crystals. The music and the photography are dazzling.
Promo for the second show, the Rat Tap number with
Julie's eight fellas:

Another highlight of this flawless show is the tap number, “Rap Tap” performed by Julie and her eight fellas. Her tap dancing is impressive. It’s a nice break in the midst of all the comedy and music.
When one thinks of singers, one hardly pictures Julie Andrews and Cass Elliot in a duet, but the two singers make beautiful music together as they launch into a medley that begins with “Make Your Own Kind of Music.” 
Another funny sketch appears in the show, one that is timeless and classic titled, “All About the Wheels.” In it, Julie and her guests tell the story of a roller derby queen and a sweet, but cut-throat fan. Carl Reiner plays a reported known as “Alison Slime,” with an accent that sounds like an spot-on imitation of James Mason. Cass Elliot is Tiny. Julie is “Helen Wheels” (or Hell on Wheels) the young, seemingly innocent girl who has come to meet her idol played by Alice Ghostley. This sketch is the roller derby version of "All About Eve."
During the "Getting to Know You" segment, during which everyone sitts around, drinking tea and sharing stories. we learned some very interesting things about Carl Reiner, At one point, Julie, wearing a little girls' dress, recreates a song she sang as a child soprano. Carl Reiner gives us a taste of his singing as an Irish tenor, and Cass Elliot goes back to the time of Benny Goodman and sings some of Helen O’Connell’s hits. This is really great stuff and proves what an artist Cass Elliot was.

If you would like to see The Julie Andrews Hour put out on DVD, along with  a Duets CD of Julie and her guests (and maybe others as well), please send a respectful e-mail to requesting this to:

NEXT BLOGChoreographer Tony Charmoli and Julie’s Eight Guys (The Dancers)
To learn more about these guests, please visit the sites listed below:

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