Cinderella in black and white, and now in colour

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.)

Jenna Pastuszek as Cinderella in the Arundel Barn Playhouse‘s production. I loved the plain yellow pumpkin that became a golden carriage. (Photo from Arundel Barn Playhouse on Facebook.)

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!

4 thoughts on “Cinderella in black and white, and now in colour

  1. Every time I vacation in Ogunquit in the summer or early fall, I always try to catch either summer stock or amateur renditions of big Broadway shows – the efforts and time and talent needed to do such shows always amaze me!

    • Do you visit the Ogunquit Playhouse, Johanne? I have been trying to get there for the past several years during our Maine visits, but have not yet succeeded. When one drives by it on Route 1, it certainly looks like the classic summer-stock venue. And they have good shows! While we were at Goose Rocks Beach this month it was the musical Damn Yankees, reworked a bit for a New England crowd so that the team opposing the dreaded Yankees was no longer the Washington Nationals but – you guessed it – the Boston Red Sox. The reviews were excellent and I’m sorry we didn’t get there. Next year!

      • Hi Katherine – just happened to read your message from last August – yes, I go at least once every year – it’s among the oldest and best respected summer stock theatres on the East coast. They always get great productions and the theatre itself is a lovely old building, quite large, in fact. Because I usually go on my own, I often manage to get very good tickets – like first to third row – not expensive and a great way to spend an evening. Their booth is usually open even during the day in the week so you can just drop by and purchase your tickets for the dates of your choice.. And I can tell you in advance that I’ll be there the two or three times I’ll be dropping by Ogunquit this summer too… been vacationing there since 1975 and I don’t think there’s a summer when I did not go to the theatre at least once!

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