We use our best detective skills to work out that someone, maybe ABC America, was filming some kind of doco for the 50th anniversary of the release of SOM. We then work out, based on the entourage and security, that it is a pretty big deal. We joke that maybe Julie Andrews might show up. When we come across her sitting in a car we think, “Wow, how cool is that? We come to this part of Austria to check out SOM locations and bump into Maria (Julie Andrews) – what are the chances of that happening?”
We are pretty much the only people who are not part of the film crew at the side of the church. All the other tourists are down in the square at the front wondering why they have just driven an hour from Salzburg to see this church and they can’t get in and no one is giving them a straight answer why.
Well it is memorable so I decide to take a few photos, as you know I like to. This is when things get interesting. Security guards spring to action, waving their arms about. The 4 minders who are actually with the car join ranks and build a wall of umbrellas between me and the car.
I am not sure what they are doing. Maybe they all really wanted to be roman soldiers so made one of those formations thinking the umbrellas were shields (maybe they got the wrong movie); maybe they thought my camera was a trick camera and it was going to squirt water, so they needed the umbrellas; maybe they thought I was going to break into “doe a deer a ……” and the umbrellas would somehow protect Julie Andrews from that awful sound. I am not sure but while they were doing that and the security guard is waving his arms around telling me I can’t stand on the street and take photos of the most photographed building in Mondsee, Julie Andrews slips into the waiting motorhome – I assume for a hair and makeup touch up.
I admit I am probably getting a little more stubborn and cantankerous in my old age. But when someone tells me I can’t do something that clearly I am allowed to do, it makes me dig my heels in a bit.
So we hung around a bit longer and I would occasionally take a photo in the direction of the makeup truck just to keep everyone on their toes. And they kept watching me and then did their umbrella trick to get her into the church – I think I had them really scared.
There was obviously no way we were going to get into the church and get a photo so we headed off. Just down the road we discovered a traditional dress shop, so of course the girls wanted to have a look and then there were some that were really good prices so they wanted to try some on.
Pretty soon Legoboy and I were looking for something to do. So we headed off on a spy mission to see if we could outwit the bad guys.
First the disguise: I took off the red HRT hat I had been wearing so now I looked like everyone else, just a guy in a black jacket. Instead of heading back up to the side of the church where my friend the security guard and the minders were, we headed along the street in front of the church and then looped around to the back of the church, and a little playground. This was accidental, I had no idea we could actually get around the church. I certainly didn’t realise that there was a playground surrounded by hedges there that would give me cover.
By now it had become a bit of a game although I think the guys on the other side of the plastic tape were taking it a little more seriously than me. It all seemed a bit strange to me. Here we are in Mondsee where everyone comes to see the SOM church. The church is roped off and surrounded by security, there are film crew all around, and there is obviously someone in the car they don’t want us to see. Is it that they don’t want us to know who is in the car? Not too hard to narrow down the possibilities: SOM church, 50th anniversary, huge American film crew – can anyone name anyone else associated with the movie.
Maybe it is a secret – I am not even sure what part may be a secret: that it is the 50th anniversary, that this is the church in the movie (it is printed in all of the Salzburg tourist info), that Julie Andrews was in the SOM.
If they are doing a documentary for the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music we can probably even work out how the interview will go:
Intro – Wow 50 years, you don’t look old enough.
JA: Oh stop your too kind.
Q1. Do you still keep in touch with . . . Who else was in SOM?
Q2. Is it true that you lost your role in the flying nun because you took the role of Maria and got married?
I am sure you can think of others.
We are in position in the playground. Legoboy is on the seesaw and I am pushing him up and down (to maintain my cover and because he likes seesaws), but from my vantage point I can see the side door of the church. We have some cover from some shrubs and besides we just look like a dad and his kid at the playground, not two secret spies out to trick the bad guys.
When we notice a higher level of activity at the back door we break cover and head to the car park. The car park slopes downhill toward the church so we can clearly see the side door which is up a couple of steps. The bad guys have made a big mistake: they have parked one of their vans at the end of the car park. We can see over the van to the door but they can’t see us because they are on the ground at the bottom of the stairs looking the other way. Then it happens, out steps Julie Andrews and we get off a couple of good photos plus a couple of duds. As she passes by a tree on her way to the car we step out into the middle of the street where of course we are seen but it is too late we have out witted the bad guys. Of course my friend the guard comes over waving again, the minders close ranks and stand in front of the car windows (they have been caught with their umbrellas down) until the car is ready to drive away. The guard keeps saying, “You are not allowed to take photos.” There is a local lady standing there so I ask her if she speaks English – she says a little, so I ask her if it is allowed to take photos here, she says yes of course. I look to the guard who shrugs; it no longer matters, the car is gone, but it was fun while it lasted.
Legoboy and I head back to the dress shop but the ladies are still going. So we walk around some more. We end up going by the church again and the guards have packed up and are standing around having a smoke. I go up to my guard and say to him is it ok to take a photo, he and the other guards laugh and he says sure, no problem.
Back to the dress shop, and they are done, unfortunately none of the dresses they like fit so they come away empty handed (unlike Legoboy and I).
It has been an interesting afternoon. It is a good opportunity for us to talk about celebrity with the kids.
At first the kids think I should not put the photos on the blog and maybe should not have taken them, because they think I have done something illegal. They have been intimidated into thinking that it is against the law to take photos because a security guard says so and makes a fuss about it (Minimandm was too scared to take any photos). I point out that at all times I was in a public place and so was Julie Andrews. We did not take any photos through anyone’s window, we did not hack anyone’s phone. We also talked about the fact that to be a celebrity you not only need to be a good actor you need people to want to see you, to want to take photos, but once you have made it, it seems you want people to stop – so it is a bit confusing. In reality if there was not such a fuss made we would not have even noticed; if we walked past Julie Andrews at a cafe we probably would not know she was there. I am not sure why they could not just get her out of the car, she could wave her Hollywood royalty wave, smile at us and be on her way – maybe I am naive, maybe someone can fill me in on why that couldn’t be done.
The girls enjoyed the fact we saw Julie Andrews at the SOM church despite the carry on, and Legoboy enjoyed playing the spy (maybe I did to). It was also a good discussion starter and a bit of an eye opener for the kids. It was also a good time to reflect on the fact that there are a lot more important things going on in the world than us taking some photos.
So it was a very memorable end to our Sound of Music tour.