Cinderella 1957

(Not about language, but about actors and acting.)

In a set of Rodgers and Hammerstein postcards, one for the 1957 television musical Cinderella, which I was somehow unaware of (it was my freshman year at Princeton, and a lot of television passed me by); the production involved a number of my favorite character actors.

The main facts, from Wikipedia (with the names of the actors I’ll write about here in boldface):

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is a musical written for television, with music by Richard Rodgers and a book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based upon the fairy tale Cinderella, particularly the French version Cendrillon, ou la Petite Pantoufle de Vair, by Charles Perrault. The story concerns a young woman forced into a life of servitude by her cruel stepmother and self-centered stepsisters, who dreams of a better life. With the help of her Fairy Godmother, Cinderella is transformed into a Princess and finds her Prince.

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.

… The original 1957 broadcast was directed by Ralph Nelson with choreography by Jonathan Lucas and starred Julie Andrews as Cinderella and Jon Cypher as The Prince. It also featured Howard Lindsay as The King, Dorothy Stickney as The Queen, Edith Adams as the Fairy Godmother, Kaye Ballard and Alice Ghostley as stepsisters Portia and Joy, Ilka Chase as the Stepmother, and Iggie Wolfington as The Steward.

Andrews and Cypher in the show:

  (#1)

Cypher was a gorgeous hunk at the time and then matured into a strongly masculine middle age. Looking romantic and beautiful in Cinderella:

  (#2)

Jon Cypher (born January 13, 1932) is an American actor.

… He made his television debut as the Prince in the original 1957 production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella opposite Julie Andrews in the title role. He is particularly remembered as Chief of Police Fletcher Daniels in Hill Street Blues, a role he played throughout the lifetime of the series, 1981-1987. He also played Commanding General Marcus Craig on the television show, Major Dad, alongside Gerald McRaney and Beverly Archer  (link)

Here he is in square-jawed maturity:

  (#3)

Then the wonderful Edie Adams:

Edie Adams (April 16, 1927 – October 15, 2008) was an American businesswoman, singer, Broadway, television and film actress, and comedienne. Adams, an Emmy and Tony Award winner, “both embodied and winked at the stereotypes of fetching chanteuse and sexpot blonde”.

She was well known for her impersonations of sexy stars on stage and television, especially Marilyn Monroe. She was the wife and frequent television partner of Ernie Kovacs until his death in a 1962 car accident. (link)

Here she is as a vamp:

  (#4)

and with Kovacs:

  (#5)

Then the wicked stepsisters, played by two fine comediennes, Ballard and Ghostley; many people think they stole the show. The butch, brash Kaye Ballard:

Kaye Ballard (born November 20, 1925) is an American musical theatre and television actress, comedienne and singer.

… From 1967–69, she co-starred as Kaye Buell, a woman whose son marries her next door neighbor’s daughter, in the NBC sitcom The Mothers-in-Law, with Eve Arden playing her neighbor. (link)

Ballard and Arden, from The Mothers-in-Law,  on the cover of TV Guide:

  (#6)

And Alice Ghostley, a versatile character actor who especially shined in “nervous Nellie” roles:

Alice Margaret Ghostley (August 14, 1926 – September 21, 2007) was an American actress. She was best known for her roles as nanny/aide de camp Esmeralda (1969–72) on Bewitched, as Cousin Alice (1970–71) on Mayberry R.F.D., and as Bernice Clifton (1986–93) on Designing Women, for which she received an Emmy Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1992.

Ghostley in Mayberry:

  (#7)

These character actors are all roughly of the same generation (with Cypher — and Julie Andrews — younger than Adams, Ballard, and Ghostley). But (as befits someone in the stepmother role) Ilka Chase was a generation older:

Ilka Chase (April 8, 1900 – February 15, 1978) was an American actress and novelist.

Born in New York City and educated at convent and boarding schools in the United States, England, and France, she was the only child of Edna Woolman Chase, the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, and her first husband, Francis Dane Chase.

Chase made her society debut in 1923 and her Broadway debut a year later, in The Red Falcon. (link)

Here she is in 1948 with fellow New York socialite and character actor Monty Woolley (who became especially famous as Sheridan Whiteside in the comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner):

  (#8)

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