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  • Jodie Castellani

The Day I Went Missing: The Sound of Music’s 50th Anniversary Celebrated through a Childhood Memory

Reprint: April 22, 2015, originally published by CNN on multiple CNN platforms


The Sound of Music being performed at Aramco, Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia in 1967. I'm the girl in the v-neck on the back row. I was too tall to sit in front!

My love affair with The Sound of Music started young. I was lucky enough to sing it at a children’s playhouse production when I was four before moving to the Middle East at age 5. There, we performed a few songs from the show as depicted here in this 1967 photo. When the movie finally arrived in the Middle East (where my father worked), I became even more enthralled as all of my friends and family can attest. Obsessed might be a better word. My family saw it twice but that wasn’t enough for me! I wanted to go to a matinee to see it a third time but when I came home from school on its final day, my mother was gone to the beauty shop. What to do?

I decided to seize the moment and take it upon myself, at age six, to rummage through the drawers until I came up with two riyals of coins – the exact amount needed for the matinee. I scribbled my mom a note telling her I was going to the movie so she wouldn’t worry (ha!), and proceeded to ride my little yellow bicycle to the opposite side of town just in time to catch the 4:00 show. My mom, of course, lost her mind when she came home and I was missing. After discovering my note, she marched right down to the theater and found me sitting quite happily all alone just as Maria was “starting to have some confidence” at the abbey. Although my mom was hopping mad, I think she also secretly marveled that her six-year old daughter figured out how to make this plan happen--money, transportation, communication—so she let me stay. That was seriously a miracle in itself.

Tonight, I’ll be seeing the Sound of Music with my husband as part of its limited two-day 50th Anniversary release. It will be the first time I’ve seen it on the big screen since that memorable afternoon long ago and far away. I don’t ever cry but I think there’s some chance I might tonight when the music starts and Julie Andrews does her epic spin. “I know I will hear what I've heard before...My heart will be blessed with the sound of music...And I'll sing once more!"

*** Catch it by April 22 to see it on the big screen during this limited 50th anniversary release.


CNN PRODUCER NOTE Jodie Castellani says she has seen "The Sound of Music" on TV "too many times to count," but "it will truly be 'new' to see it on the big screen after all of these years." She is also studying voice under Dan Truhitte, the actor who played Rolfe Gruber (the who performed "Sixteen Going on Seventeen") in the 1965 film. - dsashin, CNN iReport producer


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