Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Julie and Harry Belafonte PART 2

During this first visit on the closed set I met "Vivian" a young fan. In time, we became friends.  

I was also able to watch Harry Belafonte at work.... He begins by singing very softly, almost internally, and, then, through repetition, builds the song until it is strong and full and tells a story that is very real.

Julie and Harry in 1969
When Julie had come onstage after lunch, she was wearing a flowing gown, and someone said,
“Julie, what are you doing in your nightgown?” as a joke. I don’t know if she thought it was funny.

Julie and Harry practiced singing "Mary Ann" and “Matilda” together. At first, Julie had a hard time singing these songs with Harry.
“It’s a different way than I learned it,” she said.
Eventually, Harry changed the key he was singing in. 
When he finished singing “Matilda,” Director Bill had some words of instruction for Julie.
“Say something at the end of the song,” he told her.
Then, he told Harry to sing the last few phrases of the song again.

“Matilda, she took me money
And she went to Venezuela.”

Immediately, Julie responded with some choice words about Matilda. The crew broke into a tizzy of laughter and Harry Belafonte doubled over. Julie is not supposed to say such things.
“Julie,” called director Bill Davis over the PA.
“Yes,” said Julie innocently.
“I don’t think you can say that on television.”
“Oh?” said Julie, again quite innocently.
“Try something else.”
Julie responded with something innocuous about Matilda like,
“That wasn’t very nice.”
“Try something else,” said the director.
In the end, they taped Julie saying,
Belafonte with Sivuca, who also
plays accordion
“What a rotten thing to do,” and everyone was happy.

For Harry Belafonte’s medley, they had a fine accordionist and classical Spanish guitarist called Sivuca playing. They were going to use Nelson Riddle’s orchestra as well, but at the last minute it was decided that Sivuca should play alone.

... Later, much later, an audience was brought in and....

Vivian pointed out the girls who had come in and told me that one of them bothers Julie. When Julie came out and saw the girl in the audience, she didn’t look too happy. As a joke, Rich Little pointed the girl out, saying “See that girl, sitting next to her we have an Eskimo in the audience,” which made everyone laugh. It is awfully cold in there and this girl had a big parka on, to keep warm.

I didn’t want to leave, but at twenty after seven, when there was a break, I left. It was raining outside, and I felt sad to leave, but the whole point of my being allowed to be there in the day is so I won’t have to walk home in the dark. By the time I got home, I was soaked. 

All photos are posted for entertainment purposes only.

Coming Next: Episode 8 with Guests: Robert Goulet and Joel Grey!


  1. I wonder what ever happened to Vivian? Have you been able to find her? Sounds like she was home-schooled, which was pretty unusual in the 1970s. As usual, you've posted a great chapter that brings your readers into the studio with you. And again, such a different world...I can't imagine that any show would allow visitors to rehearsal now. What a treat and a blessing that you were able to experience this AND share it with us!

  2. Yes, I did find Vivian. Sadly, all the letters Julie had written her were lost when she moved.