Saturday, April 3, 2010

You’re Famous!

If I had a nickel for every time someone said that to me during my life, I’d ….. well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be constantly searching the Internet for cheap economy flights to Munich. Instead, I’d be traveling in style. First Class seats, all the way.

Today is the day before Easter, and the girls and I watched The Pacifier with Vin Diesel. Have you seen it? One of the subplots is about the boy in the family struggling with his desire to act rather than be on the wrestling team. The musical he tries out for? Sound of Music, of course. Vin Diesel becomes the director of the production as part of his nanny duties. It’s hilarious.

Guess what’s on tomorrow night on ABC Family? A Julie Andrews double feature: Mary Poppins followed by the Sound of Music. It’s about time, don’t you think? After all, they haven’t shown it since Super Bowl Sunday.

There was a time in my life when this kind of thing would fill me with dread. I knew the days that followed would bring an onslaught of questions from my peers. (Ok, it was in high school, when the last thing you want to be known for is being related to characters in a musical.) I remember one year, responding simply with a number, reflecting how many questions I got that day… 27, 28, 29.

But things change. Just the other day, I was in the post office buying stamps the other day. As I handed over my debit card, the clerk glanced at my name and commented the usual “von Trapp? As in the Sound of Music?” It felt different this time. I said “yes!” with purpose. She said “Really? How are you related?” I replied with my standard, “My father was the oldest of the original seven children.” But this time I added something. “I’m writing a blog about it, if you’re interested.” I wrote the website address down for her. “Thanks! I’ll do that.”

With maturity comes the realization that sometimes, in order to be successful, we need to leverage all the advantages God gave us. I guess in my case, that includes being born into a family whose name opens some doors. Where we take those advantages is up to us. – F.v.T.

PS - Here's a challenge: how often do you notice references to the Trapp Family or The Sound of Music in television shows or movies? Next time you hear one, make a note of it and post it here. I'll bet you'll be surprised at how many there are.


  1. You may have mentioned this one already but not more than 15 minutes ago I saw a shampoo commercial with the jingle set to "My Favorite Things". And there was another one that came up a few days ago but for the life of me I can't remember it. Will keep my eyes/ears peeled. I have a feeling you are right and that they're all over the place but I'm so used to them that I don't even notice.

  2. 1. if you're a Family Guy fan, you'll notice a ton of SOM references getting sneaked in. It's actually creator Seth Macfarlane's favourite movie. And nope, he wasn't being ironic when he said that!
    2. An entire episode of Will and Grace was devoted to a plot about the characters at a Singalong Sound of Music.
    3. Ewan McGregor breaks out into The Sound of Music (and later Kylie Minogue as the Green Fairy) in Moulin Rouge
    4. And don't forget Gwen Stefani's song Wind It Up, which samples The Lonely Goatherd
    5. And then there's Dancer in the Dark.. SOM is a huge part of the story. At the end (*big spoiler ahead*) Bjork sings My Favorite Things right before she gets hanged.
    6. The creators of Glee named Chris Colfer's character Kurt after learning he'd played Kurt in a community theatre production of SOM.
    7. Not a movie or TV show, but there are plenty of references to SOM in Arundhati Roy's book The God of Small Things

    And I'm sure that's just the tippy top of the iceberg..


  3. Wow - This is an an impressive list. I've seen the Family Guy clips on YouTube - hilarious! I'm going to start carrying around a little notebook and write down whenever I hear a reference in some other pop culture.

  4. Not a movie or TV reference but cute:

  5. One of your grandmother's memoirs that I read in junior high (~1974) noted that your grandfather got weary of all of the appearances and receiving lines in America. One time she leaned over to hear what he was saying to each guest in a receiving line -- he was counting them. Needless to say, he wasn't doing in it English. :-)

    So counting fame is a family tradition.