Sound of Music

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Renie
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Sound of Music

Unread post by Renie »

Last night I watched a TV special with Diane Sawyer of ABC News and Julie Andrews. They went back to Salzburg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sound of Music movie. They discussed a lot of little known things about the movie including how Julie got the part. To be honest, I don't remember what Julie said about herself because I was caught up when she said that Grace Kelly and DORIS DAY were offered the part before her. I never heard this before. Is it true?

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Re: Sound of Music

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Renie, I watched that program also (and must say that I thought Diane Sawyer's tone when she mentioned Doris was insolent). That aside, however, I have read in several sources that Richard Zanuck, who was a big wheel at 20th Century Fox at the time, wanted DD not only for "Sound of Music" but a few years later for "Hello, Dolly" as well. Paul Brogan may be able to confirm whether that report is true.

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Re: Sound of Music

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Musiclover wrote:Renie, I watched that program also (and must say that I thought Diane Sawyer's tone when she mentioned Doris was insolent). That aside, however, I have read in several sources that Richard Zanuck, who was a big wheel at 20th Century Fox at the time, wanted DD not only for "Sound of Music" but a few years later for "Hello, Dolly" as well. Paul Brogan may be able to confirm whether that report is true.
Yes it is true. About Kelly I know nothing?
Doris was certainly taken into consideration for the movie The Sound of Music "and" Hello Dolly "

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ray
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Re: Sound of Music

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Sound Of Music had Doris written all over it, Why she wasn't cast always baffled me. Some wrote Jumbo hurt her because sadly it did not do well, Doris recorded The Sound Of Music years before the movie. Maybe the casting of Doris as a Nun might have been uncomfortable. Who knows?

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Re: Sound of Music

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How dare Diane Sawyer mention Doris Day the way she did!! That angers me. Was Diane born yesterday? Doris was number one at the movie box office during that time. Diane makes herself look ignorant with that face mentioning Doris"(

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Re: Sound of Music

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Thanks all. I have to say that since I heard last night that Doris was offered the Sound of Music, I have tried to picture her in it. And all I can think of in my imagination is Calamity Jane living in a Convent. Maria and Calam had a few things in common, but not much. Seriously, I think Doris would have done a bang up job with the singing, dancing and acting. As per usual for her!!!

As far as Diane Sawyer is concerned, I didn't much care for her tone either when Doris' name was mentioned.
A local friend who also watched the show remarked that there was something odd about Diane through the whole show. And I agree but we don't know what it is that's odd.

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Re: Sound of Music

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Years later Doris and Julie both turned to television. Doris managed a hit for five years and sadly Julie did not do as well. Diane should have done her research. Doris somehow managed to be a hit with the lame material the series offered her. But she rose above it all with her blockbuster book. Diane should read her book!!!

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Re: Sound of Music

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Sawyer's snarky tone, which seemed to be designed to elicit a critical comment from Julie Andrews, backfired on her when Andrews didn't respond in like manner. Andrews has far more class than Sawyer does, and I think those few seconds showed it.

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Re: Sound of Music

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Yes cheers to Julie who said Doris was a big attraction then, And as we know still is:)

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Re: Sound of Music

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Doris was probably glad about not getting Sound Of Music, She disliked filming on location as she had to do with The Man Who Knew Too Much. Inside Edition also reported that Doris and Grace Kelly were up for the role. Tom Santopietro author of a Doris Day book was interviewed. Another story said Doris and Sean Connery could have been in the lead roles for Sound Of Music.

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Re: Sound of Music

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Please forgive my delay in weighing in with one of my long-winded responses!!! :)

I agree about the tone of Diane Sawyer's remark, because she of all people should know better. However, since the show and the questions are generally scripted, more than likely some 20 or 30 year old was responsible for not doing their research, which is something increasingly typical in the entertainment world of today. They too often base their opinions upon a one or two sentence remark made by a smart aleck critic or historian who has dismissed Miss Day and her career without having studied the rich diversity of her career both as a singer and actress. Insiders told me several years back that the reason Doris Day was not included in the AFI listing of the top 25 male and female stars in film history was because someone noted, "Nobody will take the list seriously if we include that goody-goody virgin as one of the greats....."

Doris and Marty attended a performance of "The Sound of Music" on Broadway when Mary Martin was starring in the show and enjoyed Act I. This was the time that Miss Day wore a dark colored wig in order to not be disturbed and to be able to enjoy the performance. Unfortunately at intermission she was recognized and an unkind remark was made. The Melchers left the theatre and did not see the rest of the production. However, as we all know, Miss Day did receive a Grammy nomination for her rendition of the title song from the show.

I had the good fortune to interview Richard Zanuck, who headed 20th Century Fox in the 1960's after the departure of his father. In early 1993 Richard and his wife had produced a film entitled, "Rich in Love" and I was working with Sydney Guilaroff on a project. Sydney arranged for me to do an interview with Zanuck at Musso and Frank Grill, a famed restaurant in Hollywood. Mr. Zanuck allowed me to tape the interview. Naturally the topics came around to Doris Day.

Zanuck was a huge fan of Doris day, noting, ".....my dream would be to do a musical with her. I really wanted to in the 60's because her enormous popularity as a leading lady had overshadowed her singing and most people had forgotten what a great singer she was, a real national treasure. The only musical she'd done in the 60's was that elephant movie over at Metro and nobody went to see it......."

For years the box-office failure of "Jumbo" has been given as a reason for Miss Day not doing "The Sound of Music" or "Molly Brown". It's been repeated so often that it has taken on a life of its own.

In reality, "Jumbo" failed because it was 27 years since it had opened and most people didn't even remember it. There were any number of musical films being released around the same time that did very well at the box-office. They included, "Flower Drum Song", "Bells are Ringing", "West Side Story", "The Music Man", "Gypsy" and "Bye Bye Birdie" to name a few. What they all had in common was the fact that they'd been Broadway successes within several years of being turned into screen hits. "Jumbo" did not have that going for it nor did another 1962 musical that flopped, 20th Century Fox's "State Fair", a remake of the studio's 1945 musical. It was 17 years old when it was remade and audiences stayed away despite the presence of the popular Pat Boone and a return to the screen for Alice Faye.

Miss Day signed a three picture contract with Fox in late 1962 for three comedies to be co-produced by Aaron Rosenberg. They ended up being "Move Over Darling", "Do Not Disturb" and "Caprice" although the original plan had been for "Fifth Avenue Folly" to be the third picture - an uproarious comedy on a par with "Pillow Talk" but in early 1966 when "Disturb" was showing considerable less box-office clout than "Darling", which had been a blockbuster, Rosenberg decided to cash in on the then current spy craze and came up with "Caprice". "Folly" was about a woman who, as part of her divorce settlement, received an upscale 5th Avenue department store.

Because of the enormous success of "Move Over, Darling", Zanuck did approach Doris and Marty about doing "The Sound of Music". Doris did note, "I think I'm too American to be believable as an Austrian nun" but Zanuck stated to me, "People think only of Julie Andrews because the film was such a lasting classic but Doris Day would have brought something entirely different and probably closer to what was the real Maria to the role, especially with a director like Robert Wise. I've always felt that it was Melcher who torpedoed that deal because he didn't want her going on location and maybe having a good time in a place where he couldn't control her. He would rather have her do a vapid little comedy like "Do Not Disturb" with a hack director from television, than soar with a role she would have made her own......."

Regarding "Hello Dolly". Several people begged for the chance to do it - Ginger Rogers who had played it on Broadway and on tour and Betty Grable who wanted it to be her return to Fox after many years but Zanuck didn't even give her a thought because of the failure of Alice Faye's return to her home lot several years later. Carol Channing was not really considered and Elizabeth Taylor was not given much credence either but Zanuck approached Marty, again, noting, "...I should have learned my lesson with him. The man had little taste and said no, he wasn't going to allow Doris to play a middle-aged meddling widow......."

Zanuck doesn't even think Marty discussed it with Doris but made the decision on his own.

"Dolly" was plagued with problems - In Zanuck's words, "Barbra hated Walter and fought with Gene Kelly, the Director, and refused to listen to Kelly and pretty much directed herself. We did put out feelers about replacing Barbra with Doris but by then she was signed to CBS for that cockamamie series and films for their film division and the contract prohibited her from working elsewhere or for anyone else without a fortune being paid to CBS for her services. I always envisioned Doris coming down that staircase with the waiters singing to her - a moment that would have made film history......"

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Re: Sound of Music

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P.S. Regarding Grace Kelly.....I find the statement about her being pursued for the role of Maria to be almost incredulous. Her husband refused to let her be lured back by Hitchcock for the film "Marnie" in 1962 nor would be allow her to do the 1977 film, "The Turning Point", so I doubt he'd have ever let her consider "The Sound of Music" but beyond that, the role of Maria requires a trained singing voice, something Princess Grace lacked. She was perfectly able to render with Bing Crosby, a chorus of "True Love" in 1956's "High Society" but would have had to be dubbed by Marni Nixon or someone else, for "The Sound of Music" and Richard Rodgers was still smarting from the dubbing that had, in his opinion, marred "South Pacific" several years earlier. (Three of the main roles had been dubbed with only Mitzi doing her own vocalizing). Rodgers felt it was bad enough that the Mother Abbess (Peggy Wood) was going to be dubbed. Wood had been a trained singer but was well into her 70's when "The Sound of Music" was filmed and could no longer manage the vocal demands of the role. Two earlier choices for the part - Jeanette MacDonald and Irene Dunne, could have done their own singing since Miss MacDonald would have been 60 at the time of production and Miss Dunne would have been 65.

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Re: Sound of Music

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Fascinating replies, thanks all, especially Paul for the wealth of information above.

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Re: Sound of Music

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Your "long-winded response" is just great, Paul. So informative, as usual. Many thanks!

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Re: Sound of Music

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Paul your knowledge of Doris and the entertainment world is awesome. Your a gem as a person and writer. But a few things don't piece together. Why was Doris surprised with a script for The Doris Day Show right after Marty Died? When she knew of the CBS contract and a possible series? One interview with her television son said she held interviews for finding the right children to play her son. That Follies Of Fifth Avenue would have been a nice change with Doris playing a divorced woman with a department store. Would have brought her up to date with the changes in films and the country. CBS seemed intent on ruining her career with that series. Should have started out as Doris single or divorced. Or Wish Murder She Wrote was available when Doris started TV. Would have given her twelve years and better quality shows. But the series as it was saved Doris with its income so that was a blessing. Doris actually displayed her acting skills on that series going from a widowed Mother to today single Lady. Her TV Specials made up for the series mishap. Series or not Doris was a top notch superstar and no inferior outings could ever change that. One author of a Doris Day book feels the series almost destroyed her career. Not sure if that was ever true or not.

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Re: Sound of Music

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[img]
BrownWig3.JPG
[/img]In reference to Paul's amazing description in regards to the "Sound Of Music" query, I thought I'd post this photo of Doris in the auburn wig that he refers to when she attended the performance of Mary Martin in "SOM". She was hoping to be totally incognito but was snapped as she entered her car. Marty quickly shoved the photographers aside and they drove off hurriedly. The coat looks very much like one she wears in "Midnight Lace" which she was probably filming at the time. Thanks Paul, for your riveting anecdotes on Doris.

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Re: Sound of Music

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BrownWig3.JPG
Sorry, I'm having problems uploading the photo...giving it another try.

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Re: Sound of Music

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OMG Alan!!!! What a find!!! That very rare photo of Doris with the brown wig!!! Cute as a brunette too! Where did you get that photo. What a gem!!!

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Re: Sound of Music

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OH that Do Do!!LOL She looks a little like Gladys Gravis the nosey neighbor on Bewitched!!! That same woman had a part on Glass Bottom Boat also as a nosey neighbor,

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Re: Sound of Music

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ray wrote:OMG Alan!!!! What a find!!! That very rare photo of Doris with the brown wig!!! Cute as a brunette too! Where did you get that photo. What a gem!!!
Hi Ray, Always happy to provide such rare photos where possible. It comes from a story in Movieland magazine dated May 1961 which tells all about how she and Marty tried desperately to avoid the press during their visit to the Lunt-Fontanne theatre. Apparently there was quite a fracas and some very rude remarks were made to Doris that angered Marty even further. It's not a very flattering story. Privacy is a very special thing and of course Doris deserves it but I guess an auburn wig disguise was just NOT going to cut it with the paparazzi.

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Re: Sound of Music

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Great find the pic with DD wearing the wig. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Sound of Music

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Thanks Alan for sharing that great picture. And you are correct about the coat. Her contract with Ross Hunter for "Midnight Lace" stated that the Irene-designed wardrobe was hers to use and to keep. Likewise for "The Thrill of it All" the designs by Jean Louis were hers and some pieces she wore for functions such as the 1963 Golden Globes in which she received the World Film Favorite accolade for 1962.

When I met Mary Martin in May of 1977 following a benefit performance she had done with Ethel Merman entitled, "Together on Broadway" at the Broadway Theatre, she recalled receiving a charming and gracious handwritten note from Miss Day about her attendance at "The Sound of Music", apologizing for having to leave before the end of the performance and how she had attempted to attend incognito out of respect for the performers.

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Re: Sound of Music

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Paul, once again you've come up with extremely informative info on DD and her career. Can't thank you enough! And Alan, I'm so glad you posted that picture of DD at the "Sound of Music" performance. I've often wondered how she looked that evening.
Like Irene Dunne done.

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Re: Sound of Music

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I was so furious with Diane Sawyer after her snide attitude towards Doris that I looked up her Facebook page, and sent the following message. I hope she gets a chance to see it:

Dear Ms Sawyer: I've enjoyed your work for many a year, however, I was appalled by your reaction when talking to Julie Andrews about those people considered for the part of Maria in "The Sound of Music." When it came to Doris Day, you mentioned her as if it was such an impossibility. Don't you know that Ms Day is one of the best female singers of the 20th Century? AND to this day, she is the number one female box office attraction in film history. Why wouldn't she be considered? I still love ya, but I was very disappointed by your response.

David Muir, who anchors the ABC News here in the States, was no better. He mentioned Grace Kelly as a candidate for the role, and then he says, EVEN Doris Day as if that was a ridiculous idea. He also got a letter. I hope these people get to see them, and perhaps they won't make that same mistake in the future.
Like Irene Dunne done.

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Re: Sound of Music

Unread post by paul »

Bravo Howard!!! Beautifully stated as usual!!

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