Right alongside whiskers on kittens and warm woolen mittens, The Sound of Music is one of my favorite things, and arguably the best musical of all time. What's not to love? You have Julie Andrews in her prime, Christopher Plummer at his most smoldering, children singing and dancing while wearing curtains, epic Austrian landscapes, automobile-sabotaging nuns, and so on. These are just a few of the reasons why the 1965 classic lives on almost 50 years after its release and why a live performance based on the Broadway version starring Carrie Underwood is premiering on NBC tonight. The only good thing I can say about the re-staging is that it will hopefully direct a whole new generation to the original. Because the universe is kind, there just so happens to be a sing-along of The Sound of Music happening right now through December 8th at the Castro Theatre! I go every year and it never gets old. There's a costume contest (grown ups dressed as paper packages tied up with string, girls in blue satin sashes, etc.), confetti poppers, and hilarious shouted comments from the audience. You should definitely go (hell, you should be there right now!). To get ready for your reunion with the musical gem, here are some little known facts about The Sound of Music!
In the famous opening sequence that features Julie Andrews spinning in the hills, you can tell that there's a considerable downdraft from the helicopter. So considerable that it kept knocking Julie Andrews over. After over a dozen takes, she finally signaled to the director, Robert Wise, who was overseeing in a nearby tree. He signaled back a thumbs up. They had finally gotten the shot!
Christopher Plummer was not thrilled about being in the movie, referring to it as "The Sound of Mucus" and comparing working with Julie Andrews to "to being hit over the head with a big Valentine's Day card every day " (don't worry; they're still friends). He resorted to eating and drinking a lot during the shoot to drown his sorrows. This led to his costume needing to be refitted and him being drunk while shooting the "Edelweiss" music festival scene.
When approaching the von Trapp mansion and singing "I Have Confidence," Julie Andrews accidentally tripped. The director decided that it added an endearing, nervous quality to the song and put it in the movie.