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'The Sound of Music' movie turns 50: '16 Going On 17' things you probably didn't know

Julie Andrews and cast in

Julie Andrews and cast in "The Sound of Music." (1965). Credit: Handout

"The Sound of Music" film, released in theaters on March 2, 1965, is celebrating its golden anniversary this year with new books, DVDs, soundtracks, screenings and other events.

So what exactly has given the Oscar-winning movie such staying power for so many decades? Its star, Julie Andrews, now 79, has an idea.

"This one stuck because it was very well made with beautiful music and a lot of glorious assets like scenery and mountains and children and an adventure story and a love story and all of that," Andrews told The Associated Press.

Test your knowledge with these golden trivia nuggets you may or may not have known about the play, the movie and the actors.

1. Julie Andrews was in the middle of filming "Mary Poppins" (1964) when she was offered the role of Maria.

2. As of 2013, "The Sound of Music" is the third-highest-grossing film of all time at the U.S. box office, adjusted for inflation. (Behind "Gone With the Wind," at No. 1, and "Star Wars.")

3. The Broadway play was the final musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein; Oscar Hammerstein II died of cancer nine months after the premiere.

4. Christopher Plummer (who played Captain von Trapp in the film) called it "The Sound of Mucus." During shooting, he was afraid the movie would "run overboard and become very mawkish and sentimental," he later told Oprah Winfrey.

5. Director Robert Wise ("West Side Story") initially declined to direct the movie when father-and-son producers Darryl and Richard Zanuck asked him but eventually took the project when their second choice, William Wyler ("Roman Holiday"), dropped out.

6. Wise interviewed more than 200 children to cast the Von Trapp siblings, including a young Richard Dreyfuss, Kurt Russell and Mia Farrow.

7. Charmian Carr was actually 21 when she played 16-going-on-17 Liesl, and has said she had a huge crush on Plummer, who played her father. 

8. Plummer, in turn, had a crush on co-star Julie Andrews after "falling in love with her" while watching "My Fair Lady" on Broadway.

9. Kym Karath, who played youngest Von Trapp child, Gretl, was the only one who couldn't swim. While filming the rowboat scene, she swallowed a lot of water and vomited all over Heather Menzies-Urich, who played Louisa.

10. Growing pains were, well, a pain for filmmakers during shooting: Karath and Debbie Turner (who played Marta) both lost their front teeth, and Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich) grew six inches in six months.

11. Peggy Wood's final screen appearance was as the gentle, wise Mother Abbess in "The Sound Of Music" film in 1965.

12. Wood was a member of the original Algonquin Round Table group of authors, critics and actors which met daily during the 1920s and 1930s at the Algonquin Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

13. At least two of the actors who played major characters did not actually sing in the movie. Christopher Plummer's singing voice was dubbed by Bill Lee, and Peggy Wood's was dubbed by Margery McKay. (That didn't keep Wood from being nominated for a best supporting actress Academy Award.)

14. Mary Martin -- the inaugural Maria, who won a Tony Award for the role during her stint from the Broadway play's debut on Nov. 16, 1959, until October 1961 -- was the mother of late "Dallas" star Larry Hagman.

15. Martin also played Peter Pan in the 1954 Broadway production, and several NBC TV movies between 1955 and 1960.

16. The real-life Baroness Maria Von Trapp fell from a tree and broke her arm while coaching Martin for the role.

-- With The Associated Press

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