Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ten Minutes Ago I Met You...A Cinderella Retrospective by Jamie Hill

Holidays are a great time to think back on old family traditions and memories. This year, with the release of the Cinderella remake, I'm reminded of a tradition my family had for a chunk of my childhood.

First, some history from Wikipedia:
**In the 1950's, television adaptations of musicals were becoming all the rage. One of the most popular come in 1955, when NBC broadcast the Broadway musical Peter Pan, starring Mary Martin. It was so popular that the network  looked for more family-oriented musical projects.

Cinderella is the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical written for television. It was originally broadcast live on CBS on March 31, 1957 as a vehicle for Julie Andrews, who played the title role. The broadcast was viewed by more than 100 million people. It was subsequently remade for television twice, in 1965 and 1997. The 1965 version starred Lesley Ann Warren, and the 1997 one starred Brandy Norwood in the title role. Both remakes add songs from other Richard Rodgers musicals.

After the musical's success as a stage production, the network decided another television version of Cinderella was needed. The 1957 premiere had been broadcast before videotape was available, so only one performance could be shown. CBS mounted another production in 1965 with Richard Rodgers as Executive Producer. This re-make, commissioned by Rodgers (Hammerstein had died in 1960) and written by Joseph Schrank, used a new script that hewed closer to the traditional tale, although nearly all of the original songs were retained and sung in their original settings. 

The 1965 version was recorded on videotape for later broadcast. The cast featured Ginger Rogers and Walter Pidgeon as the King and Queen; Celeste Holm as the Fairy Godmother; Jo Van Fleet as the Stepmother, with Pat Carroll and Barbara Ruick as her daughters Prunella and Esmerelda; and Stuart Damon as the Prince. Lesley Ann Warren, at age 18, played the title role.

The first broadcast was on February 22, 1965, and it was rebroadcast eight times through February 1974. The 1965 debut had a Nielsen rating of 42.3, making it the highest-rated non-sports special on CBS from the beginning of the Nielsen ratings until 2009.**

I think my siblings and I watched all eight broadcasts of this movie, because I still remember the words to some of the songs. When I discovered them on YouTube, I could even sing along. "In My Own Little Corner" was a particular favorite. I've since seen Lesley Ann Warren in lots of other things but this role, one of her first, will always be special to me.

In My Own Little Corner

I'll admit it seems a little cheesy with the passage of time, but it might have been cheesy back then, and we just didn't care. It was a feel-good movie, and the world can use more of those.

I also remember vividly the scenes with the prince (who now just makes me think of General Hospital after his thirty years of portraying the character Dr. Alan Quartermaine.) My brother would dance around the room with my sisters and I as we sang along. (He's not reading this, is he?) 

 Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?

But my favorite song would have to be "Ten Minutes Ago". That one I could sing to this day, and even got most of the lyrics right. "My head started reeling, you gave me the feeling the room had no ceiling or floor."

Ten Minutes Ago

The age of family-oriented programming is mostly gone and I'll admit, I get into the gory Walking Dead and the breast-filled Game of Thrones. But part of me will always enjoy young adult novels and cheesy movies like 1965's Cinderella. My husband and I were going to watch Frozen just to see what all the hype was about (Let it go!) but sadly, we've just never made time for it. Ah, for another ten minutes...

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Happy Easter to those who celebrate it!

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It's no Cinderella story, but if you're a sucker for romance check out my Blame Game series, beginning with the first novel, Blame it on the Stars. No prince, but a sexy man we got! Click the cover to read more about it at Amazon, also available at most sites where ebooks are sold.

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