No Mozart Tonight
July 12, 2014 10:24 AM   Subscribe

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to apologize from the bottom of my heart...for this appalling breach of taste." Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett made three television specials together and, from the looks of it, had an absolute blast. (PDF)

1962 - Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall. Carol Burnett writes about My Friend Julie Andrews in a 1963 Good Housekeeping Magazine. Carnegie Hall provides detailed history with a Carnegie Hall perspective: Part 1, Part 2. And more photos.

1971 - Julie and Carol at Lincoln Center. Julie Andrews writes about My Friend Carol Burnett in a 1972 Good Housekeeping Magazine.

1989 - Julie and Carol: Together Again.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide (26 comments total) 100 users marked this as a favorite
More talent on that stage than a roomful of Brooklyn guitar bands.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:39 AM on July 12, 2014 [12 favorites]

I have an extremely early, dreamlike, memory of watching that '71 show as a 3yo.
posted by rhizome at 11:10 AM on July 12, 2014

Oh man, I love the two of them so, so much. They're wonderful individually, but together? Words fail.

Thanks for posting this!
posted by mudpuppie at 11:34 AM on July 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

I had seen the "Typical English Tea" sketch and had thought it was from the Carol Burnett Show. I'm excited to watch the whole special!
posted by jaguar at 12:03 PM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ooo, I love both of them and somehow I knew they had done things together, but wouldn't have thought to look for these specials, so thank you for providing my evenings entertainment.
posted by dawg-proud at 12:12 PM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Right there is a master class covering a quarter-century of musical comedy.
posted by pjern at 12:33 PM on July 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Having grown up during the 1960s seeing both of these women onscreen quite frequently, these links bring back some pleasant memories.

Part of the fun of this is seeing each of them show off another side of her performing self. Everyone knows Burnett was funny and could sing and dance, or at least move, a bit, but she also had a lot of heart and charm in non-comedic roles, such as the one she played in the Twilight Zone episode "Cavender is Coming," and that comes through in some of this stuff.

Meanwhile, Andrews may have made her rep as a good-looking, classy type, but it turns out she was pretty good at goofy comedy and taking the piss out of herself.

Show business, as it wont to do, has changed a lot since then. Given that TV variety shows have effectively died out, and Broadway and movie musicals are very different than they used to be, I'm wondering who would be the modern-day equivalents of these two, or if anything even remotely resembling these sorts of performances could ever happen again.

(That's not to say that there aren't many talented women working today in comedy and/or musical theater, just that none seem to have the sort of cultural near-ubiquity that Burnett and Andrews had in their primes.)
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 12:49 PM on July 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

Julie Andrews was a main part of the ceremony when Carol Burnett was given the Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2013. They have been life-long friends, and I love seeing them work together.
posted by hippybear at 1:36 PM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh. My. God. The rap number in the '89 special! I remember watching this when it aired and I thought it was HILARIOUS that Mary Poppins and Miss Hannigan were RAPPING.
posted by juliebug at 1:42 PM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Heehee! That opening number at Lincoln Center was great! I'm watching the rest right now. I think this post has made me a Carol Burnett fan.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:07 PM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Now THAT'S entertainment!
posted by Danf at 2:31 PM on July 12, 2014

Sweet Jumpin Jehoshaphat there's a section in the Lincoln Center one where they do a medley of "Current Hits"
Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett singing Sgt. Pepper isn't one of those things I THOUGHT was going to be something I needed in my life, but now that I have it, I can't imagine life without it.
posted by WeX Majors at 2:58 PM on July 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm halfway through the 1962 one and haven't stopped grinning from ear to ear. This is the greatest.
posted by Erasmouse at 3:21 PM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

We had the Carnegie Hall soundtrack album when I was a kid! Such excellent memories. And for a girl in the 60s to hear two amazing women working together? It was unique and powerful and wonderful.

Thank you for this post.
posted by jokeefe at 4:08 PM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I did not know these existed! I will have to see if my mom has seen them too -- she was and is a huge Carol Burnett fan, the whole family watching the Carol Burnett show is a fond memory.
posted by tavella at 6:50 PM on July 12, 2014

OK this is just amazing. Carol Burnett is a genius and I love watching/listening to Julie Andrews perform anything.
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:03 PM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love them together so, so much. I've seen clips of these specials; what a treat to have them complete!
posted by a fair but frozen maid at 8:40 PM on July 12, 2014

The poverty of current TV is emphasized by seeing what we used to have.
posted by Cranberry at 11:22 PM on July 12, 2014

Cranberry, I think you're partially right, and partially wrong. Certainly, there's not much musical/variety entertainment on the current TV landscape, except in reruns and maybe the odd PBS special. That's a loss, both for people who already enjoy this sort of thing, and for those who might, but will never be exposed to it.

On the other hand, the best dramas of the last 10 or 15 years are indisputably better than most of the dramatic TV that came before. Yes, there have been some good dramas throughout the history of TV, but there seems to be general agreement that the best stuff of the post-"Sopranos" era is well-acted, well-shot, and well-written enough to raise the bar permanently.

I'm not saying the two necessarily balance out precisely, but to talk about "the poverty of current TV" is to ignore that there are some very good shows on now.

On a related note, since comedy, in many different forms, remains a staple of TV, and singing and dancing seem to have made something of a comeback in recent years via various competition and "reality" shows, I sometimes wonder if the variety show eventually might be reinvented for the 21st century.

After all, the talent show format, though part of TV since the beginning, had been basically dead for years before "American Idol," and look how that turned out, popularity-wise.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 1:27 AM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

The problem with American Idol and its ilk, for me, is it took the concept of the variety and talent show and turned it into a contest with winners and losers.

Really, sometimes it's nice to just have someone say "hey, this is neat, look at this" without there having to be a penalty if one person isn't somehow "better" than the others.
posted by hippybear at 6:49 AM on July 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

hippybear, I'm not a fan of "American Idol" either, and only used it as an example of an old TV form that had been refurbished and become a commercial success. However, most, if not all, of the talent shows I've heard of, from things for schoolkids on up to "Star Search," have some sort of competitive element or judging to them. Seems like a talent show without that would be just a slightly different type of variety program.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 10:45 AM on July 13, 2014

Seems like a talent show without that would be just a slightly different type of variety program.

I believe it was called "The Ed Sullivan Show".
posted by hippybear at 2:01 PM on July 13, 2014

Carol Burnett was a great entertainer, a superb comedienne. These two together were so much fun. There was a lot of excellent television entertainment in this era. It was comfortable and reassuring because we watched television to relax and didn't expect it to be progressively more edgy or shocking in the way we seem to today. Enough 'back in the day' rant; I still think these are every bit as charming as I did the first time I saw them.
posted by Anitanola at 8:21 PM on July 14, 2014

Was a great entertainer? She's not dead yet! Still does the occasional guest appearance or voice role.
posted by tavella at 9:00 PM on July 14, 2014

Carol!!! She is wonderful, thanks for this. Watching the early one now as I eat my lunch...
posted by abecedarium radiolarium at 3:52 AM on July 15, 2014

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