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"Live so that you can be proud. The crux of the matter is that you have to live with yourself. It doesn't make any difference how other people act or what they do. You have to live with you. Love is a beautiful thing. You want to be ready for it when it comes along."

Screenland
By Sandy Barron
July
1965

Julie Andrews: The Right Way to Kiss and the Wrong

Kissing a man is a very, very special thing, and many girls can take a lesson in love from Julie.

She was 18-as she says, "a very green 18"-and I met her at a party in Greenwich Village She and two other girls from Britain, Millicent Martin, who is now one of the top singing entertainers in London ("That Was the Week That Was") and Phyllis Laye, who later married and retired from the stage. They were all three in a bright fresh English musical called, "The Boy Friend." They were all three such fresh, bright talent they fairly lighted up the stage. But what intrigued me was their reserve off-stage, particularly the reserve of this radiant girl, Julie Andrews who seemed at once as pert and as prim, sitting there in that disorderly Greenwich Village living room, as she was to seem in this year of our Lord 1965 when she suddenly slid down the banister at the home of Jane and Michael Banks.

Others at the party had paired up and retreated to various corners of the room and to the stairs for a bit of tête-à-tête drinking and necking, but this three-girl invasion from Britain sat with several fellows in front of the imitation fireplace, ate hors d'oeuvres and talked. Julie especially talked. About art . . . about the theatre about the Queen Mother, whom she'd met one time . . . and then, hilariously, about the difficulty of living in America on an English salary, which was what they were doing.

"We were so delighted to come to the party tonight," she laughed. "We were about starved." Everyone joined her laughter and I couldn't resist saying that we in Pajama Game had found that a girl didn't really have to buy suppers very often because there were so many charming young men around who were more than delighted to pick up the tab at Sardi's or Lindy's after the show.

"Oh, there are plenty of invitations,"

Julie admitted. "But I guess I'm the cautious type. The fact is I don't intend singing for my supper."

The fellows laughed and one of them said, "Oh, come on, Julie, what's a kiss between friends?"

We were sitting very close to her, on the floor, and he gave her one of his rather famed deep brown looks to which she answered with her merry blue one. "There's a right way of kissing and a wrong way . . ."

From anyone else it would have sounded prissy. Even from her it sounded pretty mid-Victorian and you wondered how far she was going to get socially that way. Well, I've thought of her often, and that scene in Greenwich Village and it's been interesting to see how far she's gotten in recent months!

As a matter of fact, an astonishing thing has happened in glamour-land on the Pacific. A star has been born who radiates such health and loveliness that she's about to bring virtue back into style. Single-handed. Of course, that star is none other than the reserved young English girl who felt that there was a right way and a wrong way to kiss-Julie Andrews. Ten years later she's still living on the same standards. And she's living proof that it can work, that virtue, which has almost slipped out of our moral vocabulary can be a girl's best friend. As a matter of fact, Julie proves that you not only can be good and popular ... you can be good and gloriously, ravishingly top banana in a top banana town.

Julie's image has breathed fresh air into the Hollywood smog. In nothing flat she's become not only an image with which American girls can identify, but an image with whom the young stars of show business want to identify. The Connie Stevens, the Barbara Parkinses, they'd like to wear the title actress with pride . . . without a hint of promiscuity, license or illicit love. And they can. For Julie Andrews' code of conduct is neither square, unrealistic or untried. Far from being some sheltered flower, this is a girl who was traveling -alone, on her own, playing the dreary rounds of the English vaudeville circuit before she was 16.
Talk about temptations! "I don't think I really noticed them," Julie laughs. "I was terribly involved with show business. I don't know what I dreamed, because I didn't have any particular talent, but I just wanted to be the best at whatever I tackled. I had not too many friends. Most people I met were much older. Mostly I was alone. I think I protested endlessly that I was the happiest girl in the world. I think I protested too much. Actually, it was pretty bad, the nasty diggings, the bad trains, the grubby theatres and all, but it proved to be the best training I could have had. I learned to stand on my own feet and I began to understand all the things my mother and my father had tried to instill in me."

"You have to value yourself, Julie," that's what her mother had always said. "Live so that you can be proud. The crux of the matter is that you have to live with yourself. It doesn't make any difference how other people act or what they do. You have to live with you. Love is a beautiful thing. You want to be ready for it when it comes along."

Julie believed it, she still does-someday she'll make the same speech to her own Emma. On the road she saw many things. She saw girls who gave themselves too freely. She saw married men who forgot they were married. She heard the old saws about living only once and wasting precious youth. She saw casual romances all about her. They didn't appeal to her in the least. What appealed to Julie was the warmth and wonder of family life. Saturday nights, she'd board a 'train in some hamlet and ride all the way back to Walton-on-Thames to be with her mother and stepfather for six hours. She'd ride seven hours one way and seven hours another to spend those six. She needed love and she was perpetually homesick. "My mother made home very special for me."

And then there were wonderful holidays with her real dad, Ted Wells, and his wife, in the country. Ted Wells never really did approve of show business for Julie and he provided an-antidote in the form of outdoor holidays in the-woods. With him and her brother, Julie would swim, walk, ride and talk. Her dad gave her intellectually what she came to expect from a man-a vigorous, honest opinion. He was the one who helped her decide to come to America with The Boy Friend, although the idea of being away from home, so far away, almost broke her heart. It was her first taste of the "big time" and she was a success, but she wasn't the least bit happy.

There were plenty of invitations and plenty of attractive boys in New York and Julie could have taken the opportunity to live it up. I've known a lot of girls who could hardly wait to get away from home, go to New York, to lead their own lives. And leading their own lives has meant romance. Often one romance after another. Certainly a girl wants to date. Certainly she wants love. Certainly it's fun to be kissed. So many girls remember only the pleasures and forget the problems. They try necking their way to happiness and find, to their dismay, that it can't be done. You can't keep a romance at fast tempo. We all found that out in those early days in New York.

What made you remember Julie Andrews was that she was choosy. Not cold. Cautious. Not cold. Controlled. She didn't accept many supper invitations because they had a price and she knew it-the goodnight kisses that could have temporarily banished her homesickness, but at a price. The wrong way to kiss, as she tried to explain that night, was with the wrong person. There has to be a right person and a right time. Then it can be wonderful. There's no thrill in -being kissed if to the fellow in question you are just a girl. The thrill is when he is kissing you, and knows exactly who you are and that's why he's kissing you. That's what Julie wanted.

"And of course I was awfully lucky. Tony and I both came from Walton-on-Thames and we've known each other since he was 13 and I was 12, so he's known all about me from the end dot practically. It wasn't a romance until later on, when I came home after The Boy Friend. And then I understood why I'd turned down invitations in America and wouldn't let any doors open for me, when I didn't play at love. I was simply not wasting myself, I was saving me for someone to whom I would not be just another girl. I'm shy, you see, and there aren't so many boys who'd have the sensitivity and patience to put up with that. Tony is the only person my age I ever really associated with. So even when we were young, it was more than kisses. It was communication."

Julie was 19 actually when she and Tony fell in love. She was a girl who had seen plenty of life, seamy and otherwise, but was herself as chaste and sweet as the little girl he'd first seen when she was 12 acting in a Christmas pantomime. (On the train going home, he had asked for her autograph. From then on they were friends.) This was important. Despite all you hear about a girl's being square and what a fellow is looking for ... the Tony Walton's of the world still love to marry a girl who can carry herself with pride and who comes offering him something very special.

He'd been in love with Julie for a long time; he'd have been disappointed and terribly surprised if she had changed. She'd grown up, of course she had, but she was still Julie. And he wasn't looking for a casual love affair either. He was looking for a girl with whom to build a life together.

Wall, they've built it. We all got to know Tony when Julie was playing in My Fair Lady on Broadway and he was there visiting. They couldn't get married yet because Tony had to pass that stiff exam you have to take to become a member of the scenic designers' union. They were terribly in love and when you saw Julie with Tony you saw quite a different girl than the one I'd first met in Greenwich Village. She was alive and radiant with Tony and not a bit afraid. She kissed him very simply and beautifully with her heart on her lips. And today theirs is a lovely marriage without regret. No shadows between them.

I'm not trying to say that every girl who has had a romance is doomed never to happily marry. But Julie and I have both known a lot of girls who have spent long nights trying to live down the shadows. The right man has come along and he probably knows nothing about what's gone before, but the girl herself knows. She can't give herself as a proud gift. Julie could. She adores Tony and he adores her and with all the odds against show business marriages, they know how desperately lucky they are. Every day without Tony (and right now he's working in New York and she is in Hollywood) is a cloud over Julie. She loves her career but she loves Tony even more. She loves being a woman, a one-man woman. She loves having his child. She wants to have more children. And he doesn't have to worry himself sick over what she's doing three thousand miles away. She's 'his Julie'. She was his long before they even fell in love because she was a prim, reserved girl who believed in love with all her heart and wasn't about to squander her heart's kisses until she found love.

Virtue. It's a word that's grown rather tarnished in modern parlance, almost synonymous with square. This is a town where it's been chic to be considered a passionate pushover. Well, that's changed because Julie is the most exciting new star in town and for every girl who identifies, with Julie Andrews, there's a possibility of something lovely-of being a proud bride unsullied by casual amours. Kissing is a beautiful and wonderful communication, why rob it of its meaning? As Julie says, "There's a right way to kiss and a - wrong way . . . " She was one of the lucky ones. By instinct she simply believed in love and longed for love and waited for love; she didn't kiss carelessly. Without ever meaning to, she's brought virtue back into style.

 

 



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