The red-letter anniversaries are coming thick and fast here in the Parallel Julieverse. No sooner have we finished toasting the 50th Anniversary of Thoroughly Modern Millie, than it’s time to charge the glasses for another milestone in the annals of Julie-history: the Diamond Jubilee of Cinderella. The celebrated tele-musical premiered 60 years ago on 31 March 1957.
It would be no exaggeration to call Cinderella a major cultural event of the late-1950s. The first television musical created by legendary composer-lyricist team Rodgers and Hammerstein, the show was seen by a record audience of over 100 million viewers, enough, it was pointed out, “to fill a Broadway theatre seven days a week for 165 years” (Messing, 61). Even today, Cinderalla remains one of the most widely seen programs in television history (Hischak, 152).
Julie was, at the time, riding high on the success of another Cinderella musical, My Fair Lady so she was the perfect fit to play the fairytale princess. As these production stills attest, she never looked lovelier and the critics were enraptured.
“Perhaps it’s the unassuming simplicity of Mis Andrews, or the crystal clear articulation, or yet again the perfect pitch, that transforms her performance (as in “My Fair Lady”) to the definitive characterization. No two ways about it, she was Cinderella” (Variety, 42).
“Miss Andrews was Miss Andrews, sweet, beautiful and lyrical. Her only minor problem was that she was fully as beautiful behind the broom and under the tiara” (Gould, 49).
“As Cinderella, Julie Andrews was the personification of innocence. Her face, her style, her talent added up to that rare quality that makes a performer a star” (Torre, 5).
So happy anniversary, Cinderella…thank you for sixty years of fol-de-rol and fiddle-dee-dee enchantment!
Gould, Jack. “TV: Broadway Musical.” The New York Times. 1 April 1957: 49.
Hischak, Thomas S. “Cinderella.” The Oxford Companion to the American Musical: Theatre, Film, and Television. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Messing, Harold. CBS Television Production of ‘Cinderella‘. (Unpublished Masters thesis). Stanford University, 1957.
“Review: Cinderella.” Variety. 3 April 1957: 42.
Torre, Martha. “Cinderella.” The New York Herald Tribune. 1 April 1957: 5.
© 2017, Brett Farmer. All Rights Reserved