Stowe Reporter
June 28, 2009

Forty-four years hadn't dimmed the ardor.

When five of the actors who played the children in The Sound of Music came
to Trapp Family Lodge last week, where they dedicated an apple tree and
plaque, dozens of fans of the film showed up.

Some said they had seen the movie which won the 1965 Academy Award for Best
Picture 20 times. Others recalled how, as children, they watched it with
their families every Christmas season.

Everyone, it seemed, wanted to touch a Trapp or at least touch one of the
actors who had played the beloved von Trapp children in the classic movie.

Many fans came with books about the von Trapp family history and asked for
autographs. A few just wanted to thank the actors for portraying the family.

The actors Angela Cartwright, Duane Chase, Kym Karath, Heather
Menzies-Urich and Debbie Turner purchased the tree and plaque in Werner von
Trapps memory. Before he died in 2007, he became close friends with actor
Duane Chase, who portrayed him in the movie.

We wanted to dedicate it (the apple tree) not only to Werner, but to the
real von Trapp children who gave us the honor and opportunity to portray
them in the movie, Chase said.

The fan turnout didnt surprise Kym Karath, who was just 5 years old when she
played Gretl, who represented Martina, the youngest von Trapp child.

Forty-four years later, people still light up when they learn she had a role
in the movie.

I dont tell many people, because when I do its a conversation that just goes
on and on, Karath said. Its a film that touched the lives of so many people.

Karath, who took a break from acting to raise her son and recently began
hosting a talk show in Los Angeles, says she was unaware of the familys
history when she played her role.

I was just enjoying a lovely time during my first visit to Europe, Karath
said. I didnt realize we were playing historical characters.

She has fond memories of Julie Andrews, who played her on-screen stepmother,
Maria von Trapp.

She was as lovely to us as it looked on the film, Karath said. She was warm
and friendly and she sang to us.

Debbie Turner was 7 when she played Marta, who represented Johanna von
Trapp. Today she runs a floral business and no longer acts, but says her
role in the movie had a strong impact on her life.

Just being able to be part of a movie with such steadfastness and getting to
know the von Trapp family has been wonderful, Turner said.

She keeps in touch with her fellow cast members through e-mail and Facebook.

Technology keeps us closer all the time, she said.

Josephine Napolitano of Long Island clutched a copy of Before and After the
Sound of Music as she waited in line to talk to the actors. She excitedly
clicked photos of each of them, along with photos of actual von Trapp family
members who attended the event.

Napolitano didnt know about the dedication until she arrived in Stowe and
said she was excited to see the actual faces she had watched on the screen a
few dozen times.

Every once in a while, a movie comes along that touches your heart every
time you see it, Napolitano said. The Sound of Music is one of those movies.

While the photographers clicked and the guests and actors gabbed, Maria von
Trapp, 94, the oldest surviving von Trapp child, looked on, bemused.

When the movie debuted, she was disappointed by the way it portrayed her
father, the Captain, as a harsh disciplinarian. She recalls him as a
kind-hearted, sensitive man.

Its a beautiful story, she said. But its not our story. At least it keeps
the memory of our family alive.

The movie characters in The Sound of Music do not bear the real names of the
sons and daughters of Captain Georg von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe
Whitehead von Trapp, who died of rheumatic fever. Here are the actual family
members names and the actors who played them:

Leisl, played by Charman Carr, represents Agathe von Trapp.

Frederick, played by Nicholas Hammond, represents Rupert von Trapp.

Louisa, played by Heather Menzies Urich, represents Maria von Trapp.

Kurt, played by Duane Chase, represents Werner von Trapp.

Brigita, played by Angela Cartwright Gullion, represents Hedwig von Trapp.

Marta, played by Debbie Larson, represents Johanna von Trapp.

Gretl, played by Kim Karath, represents Martina von Trapp.

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