This delightful (if, as captured in the screen cap above, rather intent-looking) creature brightened up a dreary February Sunday evening for television watchers nationwide - 54 years ago. Today, Dame Julie Andrews turns a still-sprightly 79.
Things I particularly adore about this segment: Julie's unabashed girlishness - and her gloves. And her portrait neckline. The audience's gleeful cheer as she enters. John Daly's oh-so-pleased expression when at last her name is guessed. And, not least, Miss Arlene's remarkable necklace. Even Dorothy's all-wrong coiffure (one of so many for that poor dear) can't offset the overall charm.
A little digging around reveals that this episode (which at full-length also includes a horse-blanket maker and a lady professional skindiver) was the beloved series 500th. The (to me at least) real mystery is who exactly was guest panelist Martyn Green; it turns out that he was a distinguished Savoyard and a sort of ambassador of all things Gilbert-and-Sullivan to the U.S. from the mid-'50s to the mid-'60s America's pet high-cult TV Brit. It doesn't come into play here, but he also had only one leg, courtesy of a rather gruesome elevator accident and an on-the-spot improvised amputation, all in the year before he guested on What's My Line?
But that seems quite far away here, just another night in perhaps the most civilized program ever. As one of the most endearing - and enduring - of stars, Dame Julie seems right at home. And is there anyone on earth today who can say "enchanting!" quite like Miss Arlene?