Jerry Tallmer Gags on the Von Trapps


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.

November 25, 1959, Vol. V, No. 5

Emptor Caveat

By Jerry Tallmer

Every few months for the past five years – every few weeks, it would seem of late – I have gone to something or other on Broadway and come back downtown babbling to myself: This is it, this is the end, the theatre is finished. Well, a little venture called “THE SOUND OF MUSIC” has just set up business at the Lunt-Fontanne with an advance sale of $2.5 million firmly stashed away in the bank, and it’s all over now, brother, kaput, done, terminated, concluded, stone cold dead in the market place.

What a bore! What a bore! I mean honest to goodness gracious holy mackerel, tonstant twitic likes his spongecake as much as the next one, chocolate syrup and all, but when you take everything that Leo McCarey ever did to movies, and everything that Shirley Temple ever did to movies (I like old Shirley, as it happens), and add, by way of shortening, just a whiff of what Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan did to movies as they were skiing down those old Alps to get out of the clutches of those old Nazis – when you take all these things that were done to movies and put them together and mush them around and serve them up again, without so much as a fare thee well, in what is supposed to be the realm of the legitimate and living stage, why then that’s exactly what it isnt, any more. I was never so wild for “Oklahoma,” to come right out with it, though the music has its points, but oh Mr. Rogers, oh Mr. Hammerstein, what price “Oklahoma” now? I’ll tell you what price: $2.5 million, cash on the line. I used to know a man, as a matter of fact he was my father, who kept saying, all through the war: “You want to end the black markets? Put the buyer in jail, not the seller.” He was right. You pays your money and you gets what you deserve – the one invariable law of modern life. If the people want to see Mary Martin and the Seven Little Peppers doing all those nice Von Trapps and how they came to sing, who’s to say the people musn’t get just that? But I mustn’t, not ever again.

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]