" 'The Sound of Music' Family Scrapbook" by Fred Bronson
Reviewed by David Marshall James
If "ray" means "a drop of golden sun" in your lexicon, then you'll be polishing off this volume like schnitzel with noodles.
The author wisely turns the work over to first-person remembrances by the seven actors who portrayed the Von Trapp children in "The Sound of Music":
Charmian Carr (Liesl) became a noted designer, with Michael Jackson's home among her credits.
Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich) went on to become a Princeton graduate.
Heather Menzies (Louisa) married fellow actor Robert Urich.
Duane Chase (Kurt) went on to earn degrees in geology.
Angela Cartwright (Brigitta), a staple of 1960s TV, moved on to creating mixed-media art and clothing designs.
Debbie Turner (Marta) is a nationally recognized expert on flower arranging.
Kym Karath (Gretl), who went on to guest star on "The Brady Bunch," is an advocate for special-needs individuals.
There're many more of their autobiographical details, including families and professional credits.
Moreover, they supply a collective recollection of the film's production, both on the Twentieth Century-Fox soundstages (sets included interiors of the Von Trapp mansion, the Abbey, and the gazebo wherein Liesl and Rolf perform "Sixteen Going on Seventeen," the last scene filmed).
The first scene filmed was "My Favorite Things," in Maria's (Julie Andrews's) bedroom during a thunderstorm. The last group scene of the children was actually "Edelweiss," in the Von Trapp parlor with Christopher Plummer, Julie Andrews, Eleanor Parker (Baroness Schraeder), and Richard Haydn (Uncle Max).
Also: That was the final song Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote together, prior to Hammerstein's death. Many people believe it is the national anthem of Austria, or at least an authentic folk song, but it was pure Rodgers and Hammerstein, who wrote the songs for the Broadway play from which the film was adapted.
Because filming lasted from March 1964 though August of that year, the attentive viewer will notice physical changes in the young performers, particularly in Nicholas Hammond, who grew a head taller during production.
All the exterior scenes were done in Salzburg, Austria, where the scheduled six weeks extended to eleven weeks, on rain delays.
All the young people (except for Charmian Carr, who was 21) were accompanied by their mothers, who were avid picture-takers, much to the benefit of this volume, which includes dozens of personal photographs as well as copies of production call sheets, diary entries, letters, and an array of mementoes in facsimile form, inserted in special pockets.
These actors held on to a spectrum of souvenirs that they kindly share here. They have remained close over the years, and this exceptional "memory book" provides a visual and written journey that would not have been possible without the cooperation of the entire group.
Talk about "brown-paper packages tied up with strings": Put this on your gift list for any "The Sound of Music" enthusiast.
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