NBC recently took a big chance putting a live musical on television. It reminded me of when I played Gretl Von Trapp in my high school production of Sound of Music many moons ago. It and was my first stage production and I loved it. I was hooked on acting and theater.
In honor of what this musical meant to me, this week’s (probably) random, (rarely) newsworthy and on (nearly every) occasion strange or unique stories all have to do with the Von Trapp family. The real life family behind the nun-turned governess-turned bride-turned mom-turned singer-turned Nazi escapee and the people she loved. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something interesting to discuss during your sing-along.
- Kids by Any Other Name… We know the seven Von Trapp kids as Liesl, Friedrich, Lousia, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta, and Gretl but in real life Baron Von
Trapp‘s kids were Rupert, Agathe, Marie, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna, and Martina. (The Baron and Maria had three children together: Rosmarie, Eleonore, and Johannes.)
- That Whistle Was Real! It turns out that Captain Von Trapp really did use a whistle to call the kids, but it wasn’t for all that marching. They lived in a large house with lots of property, the whistle could be heard a lot farther (and was a lot easier on the throat) than yelling for the kids.
- Nazis at home. The Von Trapp family did leave Austria so that Captain Von Trap wouldn’t have to serve in the Germany Navy during World War II. They didn’t climb every mountain and go to Switzerland through the Alps though. They went to Italy (Captain Von Trapp was born in Italy so they were also Italian citizens able to leave by train during the middle of the day) and eventually settled in Vermont, USA. Their home in Austria was taken over by the Germans and used as a headquarters for the Nazis.
- Stay with the Von Trapp Family! There are a lot of different activities out there for people who want the Sound of Music experience, including tours of Austria to visit the places where the movie was shot. You can also stay at the home of the Von Trapps in Stowe, Vermont. Now known as the Trapp Family Lodge, there are all kind of activities – both music and non-music related – available all year round. It looks like a great place to go and some place I would love to check out!
The Trapp Family Lodge site has a section dedicated to the family’s history. It’s a great read for anyone who wants to know more about the family or see how real life is different from a musical. Their family is a lot like any family – there were good times and bad. They started performing because they lost their family fortune in a bank collapse. Von Trapp was considered a criminal by Germany for leaving Austria and not accepting his commission in the Navy. They helped raise a lot of money to help Austrians after World War II. Worth checking out if you ask me.
If you have any ideas or if you’d like to Guest Write The List, I would love to hear from you! Send me a note here and we’ll get you on the blog!
Have a great weekend everyone! Go out there and climb every mountain!
- Maria’s von Trapp’s Grandson on New Sound of Music: Don’t Freak Out, Movie Fans (entertainment.time.com)