Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Sullivan Years: Best Of Broadway, Vol. 1
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
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Camelot Edit Ruins Presentation
Eric Paddon | Morristown, NJ | 11/01/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Ed Sullivan Show, during the heyday of Broadway's Golden Age in the 1950s and 1960s, would often present highlights from current Broadway shows on the program. Sometime this just involved a cast member singing a number, and other times it involved performances in full costume with sets and dialogue scene lead-ins. In the process, this allowed for the preservation on film and tape of many aspects of classic Broadways shows not preserved on their cast albums, and enhanced the legacies of shows that are for the most part lost forever.
A two CD set featuring audio from some of these performances seemed like such a good idea and one can't fault the choice of selections on this first volume (a second two CD volume was chiefly devoted to Rodgers and Hammerstein). Thanks to the Sullivan show, one even gets to hear some replacement cast members preserved like Anita Gillette in "Cabaret."
Alas, there is one unfortunate thing that ruins the presentation completely and forces me to knock not one, but two stars off this because this thing in question surrounds the most important Broadway number ever preserved on the Sullivan show, namely Richard Burton and Julie Andrews doing the title song from "Camelot." This took place on the March 19, 1961 broadcast as part of a salute to Lerner and Loewe on the fifth anniversary of "My Fair Lady's" opening night (and which was still going strong at the time) but what Lerner and Loewe really wanted was a chance to spotlight "Camelot" which had opened several months before to mixed reviews and was in danger of closing once it's advance ran out. So the program featured three numbers from the show, the first being the title song which is done by Burton to Andrews, then the entire scene of Burton's speech from the play about becoming king and then Andrews brief reprise of the title song and the two walking off.
Since the "Camelot" cast album did not include Andrews contribution to this number, nor the Burton speech, the importance of this number's preservation on the Sullivan show becomes more significant. Little wonder that it's the first track on CD 1. But then, guess what happens when you listen to this on the CD? There are four edits in the audio, and they all have one thing in common. They all have to do with Julie Andrews, who has been edited out of this track completely. Her name is no longer mentioned in Sullivan's set-up piece; there is an awkward jump in the song when Andrews asks the question, "And I suppose the autumn leaves fall in neat little piles?" to which Burton answers, "Oh no, they blow away completely. At night of course." (doubly infuriating because the cast album left this out and just had the music playing with no dialogue); her reprise of the title song and her exchange with Burton as they walk off. In the end, it almost sounds like Burton is singing and talking to no one!
Obviously what happened here was that for some unknown reason, there were legal complications preventing Julie Andrews from being featured in this. How that could have happened is hard to figure out since the other Burton-Andrews number from that night "What Do The Simple Folk Do?" *was* presented several years later in a video release of Sullivan show Broadway numbers. For this CD set, they should have delayed things to get the legal hurdle cleared because the manner in which the "Camelot" track is ultimately presented makes not only the track unlistenable, it also leaves one with a sour taste in the mouth that makes it hard to appreciate the rest of the set which is done brilliantly. And that's the real pity."