The Sound of Music

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.


Ladies We Love: The Baby from The Sound of Music

November 17, 2010 at 9:13 am , by

Can you believe it’s been 45 years since Julie Andrews cavorted and sang all over Salzburg with the von Trapp kids in The SoKym2[1]und of Music? Neither can Kym Karath, who played the youngest, Gretl. Remember, the one who adorably warbled, “The sun… has gone… to bed and so must I” to the party guests? Yep, that’s her, right, and we say she hasn’t changed a bit!

Karath was in New York last week for some TV appearances with her former movie family (there she is, below, with Julie Andrews and her movie siblings), and she stopped by LHJ’s office to catch us up on what she’s been doing lately. After The Sound of Music, she continued her acting career off and on into adulthood—until her three-week-old baby boy suffered a stroke. That caused brain damage and left him with developmental disabilities, and he became her main focus in life.

Her JulieAndrews & Kids[2]son Eric is 19 now, and Karath has found time to work on a project she’s very excited about: developing a TV series called Bouncing Back, about the power of human resilience. As the host, Karath will consult with experts in the emerging field of resilience psychology and tell the stories of real people who overcame incredible obstacles by helping others. “In people’s recovery from difficult experiences, there seems to be an altruistic component that makes them feel stronger,” she says. “It’s very helpful for their self-esteem, and it gives them the capacity to bounce back.”

Karath knows a bit about resilience herself, after going through a divorce, raising a child with special needs and losing her beloved mother to pancreatic cancer. She took a little time to answer our “Ladies We Love” questions. Read more