The Julie Andrews Hour (1972-73): A Big Star on the Small Screen


julieJulie Andrews has one of the most varied careers of any woman in Hollywood. She enjoyed great success as a child singer on the European vaudeville circuit in the late 1940s and early 50s. She then became a major Broadway star throughout the 1950s with such hit musical productions as My Fair Lady and Camelot. Her fist film role made Julie Andrews a household name overnight with MARY POPPINS (1964), also winning her the covetted Academy Award for best actress. She made a serious splash in movies in the 1960s with such films as THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965), THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (1967), STAR! (1968), and DARLING LILI (1970).

Andrews was at her professional peak when the ABC television network offered her a weekly program in 1972. Judy Garland had had a similar program in the early 60s, which had failed due to poor ratings. Like Garland’s show, The Julie Andrews Hour featured musical numbers performed by the star and a variety of guest performers. Unfortunately, the hour-long program was scheduled too late at night for families with children. When the show was moved to the more appropriate time slot Saturday night at 9:00, it was forced to compete with two well-established popular programs: The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show. The Julie Andrews Hour was finally axed after its 24th show in April, 1973.

That’s not to say the the show wasn’t valued by the television network, the critics, and the public. Unfortunate circumstances may have prevented its having a long run, but during its time on the air waves, Julie Andrews was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, and the show itself earned seven of the eight Emmy Awards for which it was nominated. Between 1973 and 75, ABC offered Andrews a number of variety specials produced in England. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, it was not unusual to see a syndicated rerun of The Julie Andrews Hour packaged as a seasonal special on certain channels.

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Frequent guests on The Julie Andrews Hour included Mama Cass Elliot (from The Mamas and the Papas), Robert Goulet (who had starred with Andrews in Camelot on boradway). She also hosted several commedians, including Carl Reiner, Phyllis Diller, Diahann Caroll, Don Rickles, and Sammy Davis, Jr. Musical guests included the Smothers Brothers, Harry Belafonte, and many many others.

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Eliza Doolittle Meets Mary Poppins
First Julie does a duet with herself as Eliza, then she has to break up a catfight between Eliza and Mary!

“How about a spoonful of sugar to help this fist go down?”

From the Salute to Disney Episode
Thanksgiving, 1972

Making Comedy with Harry Belafonte
This sketch has a bit of a poignant twist at the end.

Simon and Garfunkel Medley with Mama Cass
I love when Julie sings the pop songs of the day.

Julie meets the real matron of the Von Trapp Family Singers
Maria von Trapp is adorable – both of them!

Even practically perfect Julie Andrews messes up sometimes
She even knows how to curse!

Julie ended every episode singing “Time is My Friend”
So sweet.

This post is written in conjunction with the Big Stars on the Small Screen Blogathon, hosted by Aurora at How Sweet It Was. Be sure to check out the other great posts about classic movie star appearances on television. Also, check out this cool blog entirely devoted to The Julie Andrews Hour.

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