Heather Menzies

The Sound of Music Behind the Scenes

April 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm , by

The hills are alive… Raindrops on roses… I am 16 going on 17… Climb every mountain… How do you solve a problem… A drink with jam and bread… So long, farewell… Every morning you greet me…

If you can jump right in and sing every one of these with me, you’re officially a Sound of Music junkie. So are we. My colleagues Amelia (left) and Lauren (right) and I were so excited to meet with Kym Karath, who played Gretl, the baby of the von Trapp family, in the iconic 1965 movie. She’s holding the new book that all the “kids” worked on together, called The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook. As if you couldn’t tell that’s her. She looks exactly the same!

The book is a blast, full of behind-the-scenes anecdotes, photos and memorabilia. It even includes a DVD of home movies. I love the section called “Rock the Boat,” about the famous scene where the kids and their governess return home from their revels wearing the play clothes lovingly made out of the ugly, about-to-be-retired curtains. All hell breaks loose when they see that their father, Captain von Trapp, has returned from his travels with the elegant baroness. They jump up to greet him and the boat capsizes.

Well, the water was murky and had leeches on the bottom. The kids had to do four takes and, worst of all, 5-year-old Kym didn’t know how to swim. Julie Andrews was supposed to fall forward and catch Kym at the same time, which she did perfectly on the first take. On the second try, however, Andrews fell off the backside of the boat and little Kym “sank to the bottom of the lake like a boulder.” “I swallowed a lot of lake water,” Karath says. “You can imagine my mother’s reaction. They had to restrain her from jumping in. She couldn’t swim either.”

Luckily, the son of the assistant director dove in and saved Kym, and the take was the one used in the film. But when you watch the movie, you’ll notice a jump cut to Heather Menzies, who played Louisa. They had to edit out the footage of the rescue, after which the poor girl, who’d swallowed so much murky lake water, promptly threw up all over Heather’s costume.

The book (which would make a great Mother’s Day gift!) is full of fascinating stories like that—guaranteed to make watching the movie again a whole new experience.