Monday, 31 December 2012

A Few TV Reviews

Just a note before these reviews. I've just heard that my friend Alane Wallace has died, aged 62, and I will be posting a fuller posting on our friendship in the next few days.

John Le Mesurier: It's All Been Rather Lovely

I watched a brilliant tribute programme to John le Mesurier, Sergeant Wilson on Dad's Army. A few clips too of his BAFTA award winning play Traitor, which sadly has never been released on DVD. I loved his comment - "All they put on the statue is the name of the actor, and the name of show for which he won the award. My BAFTA says on it - John Le Mesurier, Traitor".

A wonderfully underrated actor with a wry sense of humour -e.g. in his own Obit in the Times, "Conked Out". Apparently the Times at first refused to print that, then thankfully relented.

Climbed Every Mountain - The Story Behind The Sound of Music.

In this programme, Sue Perkins explored the background to The Sound of Music. There was apparently also a German version, much truer to the history. Father Franz Wasne, their musical director (who escaped with them) was airbrushed out of the Rogers and Hammerstein version.

The family sang much more religious music as well as folk music, which itself was really nothing like the musical, enjoyable though that is. And Georg (the Captain) was far less of a martinet; in fact it was Maria who was the authoritative one, sometimes being very autocratic, and remaining fervently religious (she later went on a missionary expedition), and also wanted some of her daughters to enter a convent. After her death, the money from their American tours, which had been ploughed into the family business (an Austrian experience in the USA) became subject of family squabbles.

The source of Maria's history is largely her own autobiography. The convent records are scanty, although it seems she may never have been a nun, and the town archives are missing all records relating to her. It was also interesting learning about the Von Trapp's later life in America, to which they reached first by train to Italy, not by escaping over mountains to Switzerland!

There's another Sound of Music myth on the internet. Julie Andrews never sung this, glorious through it is, for her 69th birthday:

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadillac's and cataracts, and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak,
When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pains, confused brains, and no need for sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short, shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache,
When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life

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