The hills were alive with the Sound of Music at on Saturday afternoon as three of the seven child actors from that beloved 1965 musical were on hand to autograph copies of their new book, The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook.
Actresses Charmian Carr (who played the 16-going-on-17 Liesl), Angela Cartwright (who played the not-afraid-to-speak-her-mind Brigetta – she thought Maria’s dress was ugly), and Kym Karath (who played the young “practically a lady” Gretl Von Trapp) all chatted with fans and told anecdotes while signing copies of the book.
The three were completely confused by the filming of the “Do-Re-Mi” sequences around Salzburg, saying they’d shoot a few lines in front of one place and then move to a new location to do a few more lines. They had no idea how this would all be edited together for the film.
“It was the original music video,” said Cartwright. “All those different cuts edited together to make that great song.”
The three said they got along well with actors Richard Haydn (Max) and Eleanor Parker (Baroness Elsa Schrader), although they only had a few scenes with them. They described Haydn as “funny” and Parker as “lovely” and said the two don’t receive enough recognition for their performances as the scheming duo.
Fred Bronson, who authored the book, was also on hand, proud to have put told their stories. He explained the seven actors approached him about doing the Family Scrapbook.
“They were seven actors in search of an author,” said Bronson who has also authored Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, among others.
“They live all over the world – three of them live here – but they came to LA and asked if I would meet with them,” said Bronson who lives in Studio City. “We had a six-hour meeting. Four hours into the meeting, they told me they wanted me to write their book.”
Over the course of the next year, Bronson worked on the book, figuring out the various topics that needed to be covered. He accompanied them to Chicago in Sept. 2010 when they filmed the Sound of Music reunion show for Oprah Winfrey. The seven stayed in Chicago an addition three days to have individual interviews with him.
One of the things which most impressed Bronson is how close the seven have remained in the 47 years since filming the movie.
“Most casts don’t stay together or stay in touch as they did. They were there for weddings, funerals, every major event in each others lives,” he said, noting how they especially pulled together supporting Heather Menzies (Louisa) while her husband, actor Robert Urich, was dying of caner.
He said the seven were involved with every aspect of the book, including compiling the DVD of home movies that accompanies the book.
“They were very easy to work with,” said Bronson who is now working on an American Idol scrapbook. “I wanted the book to represent them; I wanted it to be of the standards that they would want to have out there. It came together well.”