A happy TV memory from my childhood at the Manse in Queensborough is of watching the more-or-less annual (from its debut in 1965 until the early 1970s) CBS broadcast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. It starred a young Lesley Ann Warren as Cinderella and Celeste Holm as her fairy godmother; the prince was played by Stuart Damon, later of General Hospital. (Another old TV memory!) Does anyone else remember that Cinderella?
I was looking it up online just now and was surprised to be reminded that it was broadcast in colour; all my memories of it are in black and white, because that’s the kind of TV we had at the Manse. I kind of like it better that way, actually.
A couple of years ago I discovered that someone (who apparently had a lot of time on his or her hands) had uploaded the whole 90-minute broadcast onto YouTube in bite-sized chunks. It was such fun to relive the songs (quite a few of which I still remembered the words to): In My Own Little Corner, It’s Impossible, Ten Minutes Ago, Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful… surely those of a certain age (and probably the female persuasion) can hum a few bars.
More recently, it seems someone (the same enthusiast?) has uploaded the whole thing. Which seems to be the only place I can find a clip of my favourite song, In My Own Little Corner. I always liked that one because in it, Cinderella imagines leading an exciting life with all kinds of adventures, far removed from the drudgery of her real existence. Not that I felt my existence was drudgery, but I liked the pictures the song painted. And Lesley Ann sang it so sweetly. You can watch the whole broadcast here – or just go to 16:16 for In My Own Little Corner. (That’s what I’d do.)
Anyway, when Raymond and I were in the Kennebunkport, Maine, area at the beginning of this month, I was tickled to see that a local summer-stock company was performing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Summer stock and a vintage musical: now that is a winning combination for a summer evening, is it not? No, well, Raymond didn’t think so either. The upshot was that I hied myself off to see it on my own, and it was very sweet. All those young actors working so hard under fairly rudimentary conditions. (The playhouse is a converted barn.) The young woman who played Cinderella, Jenna Pastuszek, was very good, and even though the magic wasn’t quite as thrilling as what had transpired on our black-and-white TV all those years ago, it was still cool to see the pumpkin turned into a glittery carriage and Cinderella’s dress suddenly transform from rags into a beautiful gown. The little girls in the audience were quite enchanted, and afterwards lined up to have their photos taken with “Cinderella” in her carriage. Like I said: very sweet. And in living colour!
It was nice to hear those old songs again, and remember evenings spent watching a long-ago broadcast – and dreaming about being whatever I want to be.
Here’s one last clip. Enjoy!