For those who missed it, here is the The Sound of Music cast on Oprah. It was my first time watching a full episode of the talk show and was surprised by how galvanized the audience was, and by Ms. Winfrey’s bombastic energy. She is less a talk show host than a motivational speaker or preacher along the lines of Elmer Gantry. I can’t say that there was anything revelatory about this particular gathering. Most of the anecdotes and stories have been well chronicled in various interviews, books and documentaries. However, it was interesting to get more of rakish Christopher Plummer’s perspective, especially as he wasn’t the biggest fan of The Sound of Music. All in all, it’s great to see everyone together – and especially lovely seeing how the seven Von Trapp children have remained close friends – practically family – over the last 46 years
The way the show is set up and edited there are lots of video clips and montages throughout and just as the conversation gets started, Oprah cuts to a commercial and they move into another segment. I would have enjoyed seeing a segment with just the actors who played the children as they’ve led lives that are not as well known as the film’s stars. But the good news is they will be releasing a book of their experiences. It was good seeing everyone, but it felt rushed. (Oprah you can afford to do with a few less sponsors…). There were clips from Rosie O’Donnell as well as fans, talking about the impact of the film on their lives. The most moving was the story of the deaf woman whose first sound was The Sound of Music following a cochlear implant.
However, I didn’t agree with the advertising that proclaimed it a reunion of the entire cast. The guests featured on Oprah made up the film’s family Von Trapp, but there were still key players missing. Peggy Wood, Portia Nelson and Anna Lee have all passed away, but two other major cast members do survive: Eleanor Parker, who brilliantly played Baroness Elsa Schrader and Daniel Truhitte, who played Rolf. Ideally, it would have been nice seeing them in the studio or a taped segment letting the audience know how they are doing. Ms. Parker is 88 and lives in Palm Springs, CA. Mr. Truhitte, from what I understand, lives and works in North Carolina. I’d be curious to know what their thoughts are on the film and its legacy.