TIME movies

Behind The Sound of Music: Why the Real Maria Went to the von Trapps’

Familie von Trapp
Imagno/Austrian Archives (S)/Getty Images Family Von Trapp singing in a radioshow in London on Dec. 9, 1937

When the movie of The Sound of Music premiered 50 years ago, on Mar. 2, 1965, the world learned the story of would-be nun Maria, whose superiors, at their wits’ end over her flightiness, sent her to work as a governess for an Austrian naval captain with seven children.

But in reality, though Maria and the von Trapp family were real people, some details differed. For example, as TIME reported in 1949, before The Sound of Music was a play or a movie, her reason for going to the family was not quite like the cinematic version:

As a novice in a Salzburg convent, Maria Augusta began to get “bad headaches,” she says, and her superiors decided to give her a vacation helping care for the seven children of the widowed Baron Georg von Trapp. Maria Augusta married the baron, bore him three children.

All the Trapps sang and in 1937 Soprano Lotte Lehmann heard them at it. She insisted that they enter choral competition at the Salzburg Festival that year. They took first prize, but never sang at Salzburg again; ardently Roman Catholic and ardently anti-Nazi, they left home just before Hitler seized Austria.

The story’s description of Maria is about as far from the film’s flibbertigibbet as possible. Rather, she has “the charm and will of a medieval matriarch.”

Interestingly, an earlier TIME story about the Trapp family, from 1938, reported on the Lotte Lehmann anecdote and the family coming to the U.S. to sing, “surpris[ing] many a gas-station attendant with their dirndl dresses and Lederhosen,” with no mention of the Nazis, the actual reason they ended up leaving their homeland. Their transition to living in the U.S. was not completely smooth — though Maria loved long-distance calls, she told TIME that she hated that the envelopes were oblong and that people put mayonnaise on pears — but eventually they settled down in Vermont, where the family still maintains an inn.

Read next: Can Even a Cranky Guy Fall for The Sound of Music?

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TIME movies

Can Even a Cranky Guy Fall for The Sound of Music?

The Sound Of Music
Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images A poster for Robert Wise's 1965 drama 'The Sound of Music' starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, and Eleanor Parker

On the film's 50th anniversary, a critic reflects

From the day of its world premiere 50 years ago, on Mar. 2, 1965, just about everyone knew that The Sound of Music was a great movie. Audiences flocked to it like the ecstatic faithful at a Sunday service that rewarded their devotion with its high purpose, beautiful hymns and an angelic choir. They quickly made it the most popular attraction in the first half-century of the Hollywood feature film, not eclipsed until Star Wars a dozen years later. Indeed, in terms of tickets sold in its initial theatrical run, The Sound of Music trails only Gone With the Wind (another movie about a strong woman in a prewar crisis) as the biggest hit of all time.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences loved the movie big time, festooning it with 10 nominations and five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, at the 1966 ceremony. The startling highlight of last week’s Oscar show was Lady Gaga singing four of Richard Rodgers’ and Oscar Hammerstein II’s hits from the movie. The pitch-perfect medley won Gaga a dewy hug from Julie Andrews, the film’s indelible Maria von Trapp, and a commendation from von Trapp’s 60-year-old granddaughter Elizabeth, who wrote, “Lady Gaga’s celebration at the Oscars was exquisite — her voice being perfect for the medley — and beautifully choreographed.”

The soundtrack album, with its bounty of semi-operatic ballads, spent its first four years on Billboard’s Top Album charts in the U.S. — this in the full flush of Beatlemania — and was No. 1 for 70 weeks in the U.K.

All in all, the film won near-universal acclaim from viewers, listeners and the industry.

From everyone but the movie critics, that is. Many of these sour skeptics TP’d the Rodgers-and-Hammerstein cathedral with reviews that ranged from mixed to malevolent. The New York Times’ Bosley Crowther, dean of mainstream reviewers, excoriated the movie as “cosy-cum-corny,” its adult characters as “fairly horrendous” and Andrews’ Maria as “always in peril of collapsing under [the movie’s] weight of romantic nonsense and sentiment.” In a more measured tone, the anonymous critic for TIME magazine wrote that the movie “contains too much sugar, too little spice,” adding:

Viewers who want a movie to swell around them in big warm blobs will find Sound of Music easy to take. Sterner types may resist at the outset, but are apt to loosen up after a buoyant, heels-in-the-air song or two by Julie Andrews.

(Read TIME’s full review of The Sound of Music here in the TIME archives: R-H Positive)

The definitive denunciation came from Pauline Kael, soon to be the country’s most influential film critic. In a review so venomous it reportedly got her fired from her post at McCall’s, Kael called The Sound of Music “the sugarcoated lie that people seem to want to eat” and “the single most repressive influence on artistic freedom in movies.”

That prediction turned out to be faulty, since within a few years movies had found their “artistic freedom,” awash in crimson violence (The Wild Bunch), explicit sexuality (I Am Curious) and the full four-letter lexicon (Medium Cool). The Sound of Music was not the ill wind that Kael detected but the last gasp of the studio system’s belief in G-rated operettas of inspirational uplift.

As a 1959 Broadway show, it was already an anachronism, surrounded by the brassier, more urgent West Side Story, Gypsy and Fiorello! By 1965, in the wake of the British Invasion, the Beach Boys, the Motown Sound and, the summer before, The Beatles’ hit movie A Hard Day’s Night, the project should have been a musty musical antique, like grandma’s Caruso 78s, long ago consigned to the attic.

Yet what seemed untimely turned out to be timeless. Unlike A Hard Day’s Night and the decade’s other zeitgeist movies, The Sound of Music seems hatched not from the go-go ’60s but from some primordial dream of sanctified surrogate motherhood. In its tale of a governess who is both liberal and liberating to her charges and their gruff father, it touched the hearts of those with happy family memories and of everyone else who didn’t have them but wished they did.

In Andrews, fresh from her Oscar-winning turn as a sterner nanny in Mary Poppins, the movie found the ideal vessel for Maria’s stubborn sunniness, and for her missionary zeal to save naval Captain Georg von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), the starchy Austrian widower who needs a nun-on-loan to restore his humanity.

Directed by Robert Wise and scripted by Ernest Lehman—who had previously collaborated on the movie version of West Side StoryThe Sound of Music wove its songs into political melodrama, an escapist tale about escaping the Nazis. In doing so, it joined 70 years of World War II films, from Mrs. Miniver and Casablanca to Schindler’s List and The King’s Speech, in the roll call of Best Picture Oscar winners whose (unseen) villain was Hitler.

Over the decades, through sing-along editions in theaters and a top-rated live TV production in 2013, the property has never relinquished its magic for audiences. Fifty years after its release, even a cranky-guy critic would have to give this candied confection its due: the darn thing works.

TURNING A TRUE STORY INTO A MUSICAL

In their plush melodies and plummy platitudes, many Rodgers-and-Hammerstein songs were secular hymns, which so insinuated themselves into the ear of the Eisenhower-era listener that they became the liturgical music for the American mid-century. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel was our true national anthem, with The Sound of Music’s “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” — “Follow every rainbow / ’Til you find your dream” — a close second.

Though an R&H musical might address such dark issues as marital abuse (Carousel) and racial prejudice (South Pacific), the prevailing mood was unabashedly upbeat: whistling a happy tune, raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. The melodies were so diligently soaring and the lyrics so wholesome — “a cliché coming true” — that, while you listened to them, they practically brushed your teeth and did your homework for you.

With his previous writing partner, Lorenz Hart, Rodgers had virtually established 20th-century Broadway sophistication in songs like “Manhattan,” “My Funny Valentine” and “The Lady Is a Tramp.” But whereas Hart’s lyrics, set to the modern 4/4 beat, were urban, up-to-date and skeptical, Hammerstein’s, often in waltz time, were rural, folksy and heartfelt; he was the perpetual cockeyed optimist.

“The most important ingredient of a good song is sincerity,” he wrote in a 1949 collection of his lyrics. “Mean it from the bottom of your heart, and say what is on your mind as carefully, as clearly, as beautifully as you can.” Introducing the book, Rodgers rightly said of his partner’s lyrics “that they are wonderful words, that they sing well of this country, and that they form a long and lasting part of our song heritage.” Though Hammerstein died at 65 in 1960, nine months into The Sound of Music’s Broadway run, the movie has proved how lasting that heritage would be.

He and Rodgers first teamed up when Hart sensibly decided that the farmers-vs.-cowboys Western story that would become Oklahoma! was not quite in his wheelhouse. (Hart died at 48 in 1943, the same year Oklahoma! opened.) The show was a history-making smash, with a then-record Broadway run of five years and 2,212 performances. Following up with Carousel (1945, 2 years), South Pacific (1949, four years and nine months) and The King and I (1951, three years), Rodgers and Hammerstein basically created the blockbuster musical.

Their sonorous shows lured tourists to Broadway and brought Broadway to America; the Oklahoma! road company kept going for an amazing 10½ years, until 1954, when the movie version was already in production to extend the franchise into a new medium that preserved it for generations of filmgoers and home viewers. Within a decade of Oklahoma!’s release, all six of R&H’s hit Broadway musicals (they had three flops: Allegro, Me and Juliet and Pipe Dream) were made into movies.

In 1958, Dick and Oscar were honing Flower Drum Song (which would run one year and seven months) when they were approached to write the songs for the story of the Trapp Family Singers to a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Starring Mary Martin, their Nellie Forbush from South Pacific, this would be the songwriters’ final collaboration and, with a three-year seven-month stint on Broadway, one of their most popular.

The only R&H show for which Hammerstein did not write the book, The Sound of Music is nonetheless suffused with the songwriters’ ethic. If not their best work (we’d choose Carousel or The King and I), it’s certainly the most Rodgers-and-Hammerstein musical — a summation of their love for plucky heroines in the wide-open spaces.

Before Oklahoma!, the Broadway musical had been an indoor sport. Hammerstein yanked it into the wide world outside. Staring out the window of his Doylestown, Pa., farmhouse, he wrote the first words of the first song in his first show with Rodgers: “There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow.” Nature ran rampant through his lyrics, from Oklahoma! to The Sound of Music, with its title tune set in the Austrian Alps: “My heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies / From the lake to the trees.”

On the stage during that song, Maria was backed by a canvas drop that could only hint at the grandeur infusing her. The first reason to make the show into a movie was that the helicoptering camera could bring the hills alive (with you-know-what). Aided by Boris Leven’s superb production design, the audience could see, not just imagine, the vistas that made Maria’s heart sing.

If Maria Rainer von Trapp had not existed, R&H might have invented her, so snugly did she fit their mold of the resilient innocent in a foreign land (South Pacific) with a brood of children to teach (The King and I). Born in 1905 and soon orphaned, the real Maria entered a convent as a postulant and was assigned to tutor the family of Captain von Trapp, a widower more than twice her age. (A naïf who was barely older than the eldest of her charges — she was 21 going on 17 — Maria must have grown up fast: a year later, she married the 47-year-old Captain.)

Shifting the chronology to 1938, when Germany annexed Austria, the show’s and the movie’s creators found in Maria a true musical heroine: music defined her soul. Its therapeutic power gives her joy and meaning; it also gives life, almost literally, to the family she joins and mends.

In the R&H version, the orphan Maria is first attracted to convent life because of the nuns’ religious chorales she hears. Then she brings singing, which to her is the highest form of bliss, to the von Trapps. One song (“Do Re Mi”) instructs the children in the seductive algebra of melody; another (“My Favorite Things”) calms their fears in a thunderstorm. Georg comes to admire Maria when he hears a song she has taught the children and, like Fred Astaire in his ’30s musicals with Ginger Rogers, falls in love with her as they dance. A singing performance by the children helps Georg activate his escape plan; and the movie ends with the family crosses the Austrian border with a heavenly choir intoning the title tune.

TURNING THE MUSICAL INTO A MOVIE

Somehow, this natural movie project took ages to come to fruition. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, co-directors of the great movie musical Singin’ in the Rain, separately turned down the chance to direct The Sound of Music. George Roy Hill, who would later direct Andrews in Hawaii and Thoroughly Modern Millie, said no. So did Vincent J. Donehue, director of the Broadway version, and Wise, who was busy preparing his war epic The Sand Pebbles. Three-time Oscar laureate William Wyler finally agreed, and worked on the film’s preproduction, before realizing his heart wasn’t in it. When the Sand Pebbles shooting was delayed, Wise took over, backing into the job of producer-director on the most popular musical in Hollywood history.

The movie’s great good luck was the casting of Andrews. A Broadway comer at 19 with The Boy Friend and a precocious star at 21 as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, she also played and sang the title role in Cinderella, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1957 TV musical. Bizarrely, in the first decade of her stage radiance she didn’t make a movie, and lost the Eliza role to Audrey Hepburn for the film version. But she was a smash in her movie debut, Mary Poppins, winning the Best Actress Oscar; Hepburn was not even nominated. Seeing Andrews as the Disney nanny, Wyler knew he had found his Maria. And then, it is said, she initially declined the role.

On Broadway, the 45-year-old Martin had been paired with the Captain Georg of Theodore Bikel, 10 years her junior. But movies, even fanciful musicals, demand a hint of casting verisimilitude; and Andrews, 29 when she filmed The Sound of Music, was picture-perfect plausible as the girlish Maria, and possessed a vocal range far beyond Martin’s standard Broadway soprano. She and Plummer, then a mature 35, made a fetching match in the opposites-attract romance. Should anyone be reckless enough to imagine a remake, we can think of two modern movie-star equivalents: Amy Adams, whose stint in a 2012 Shakespeare in the Park staging of Into the Woods showcased her singing talent, and who could easily channel Andrews’ chipper chirpiness; and Michael Fassbender, the Irish star who is a dead ringer for the youngish Plummer.

A handsome Canadian who had won acclaim in Shakespearean roles, Plummer famously resisted the spirit of the enterprise, which he treasonously renamed “The Sound of Mucus.” He admitted that he was drunk during the filming of the climactic sequence at the music festival, and compared working with the affable Andrews to “being hit on the head with a big Valentine’s Day card, every day.”

Yet as much as Plummer may have enjoyed playing the tarantula on the movie’s rich strudel, he’s a pro who gives an admirably performance, balancing Andrews’ comic high notes in the early going with his own repressed poignancy. His Captain is a man whose soul died when his wife did, and whose warmer feelings have turned to cinders. Because she brought music to the family, he forbids it now; to him, every child’s melody has the sound of an obscene dirge for the love he lost.

In the movie’s strongest sequence, the Captain has brought the wealthy baroness (Eleanor Parker), with whom he plans a marriage of social and financial convenience, to the family home. Aghast to find his kids climbing trees in fatigues Maria has sewn out of drapes, he upbraids the girl for her impudence. She parries by saying that the children are miserable because he has withdrawn from them; and as he tells her she’s fired, the sound of “The Sound of Music” in perfect seven-part harmony reaches his ears and touches his heart.

In perhaps the speediest emotional conversion in cinema history, the Captain springs to life, like a trampled flower reblooming, to accompany his singing septet in the final phrase, “And I’ll sing once more.” He tells Maria, “You brought music back into the house” — the music that he always associated with his late wife. Cured of his grief, he must marry the new musicmaker. At the 2hr.12min. mark of this 2hr.54min. movie, Georg and Maria kiss. The nanny diary is at last a love story.

For the movie, Rodgers wrote a number that he and Hammerstein hadn’t thought of for the show: a love song for Maria and the Captain, “Something Good.” (It’s wan but welcome.) The filmmakers’ rule seems to have been that, if characters aren’t wonderful, they don’t get to sing. So both of the Baroness’s numbers with Max Detweiler (Richard Haydn), the comic relief and Trapp family impresario, were cut. Nuns sing but Nazis don’t, except in a Mel Brooks musical; they march. As the movie darkens with the German Anschluss and the Trapps’ plan to flee Austria, the pace accelerates. A brief fight, a gunshot, a quick trip across the Alps, a choral reprise of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” and the movie is over. You hardly have a chance to wipe the tears away before the houselights come up.

Today’s movies rarely provide that stirring catharsis. In an era of Marvel superheroes with personality disorders, and when the few megahit heroines are warrior princesses — Katniss of The Hunger Games — the notion of a would-be nun outwitting the Nazis with the weapon of melody is so old-fashioned it’s almost radical. Based in fact, this is the purest domestic fantasy: the story of a woman who learns to love a man by falling in love with his children and, in the process, repairs a broken family.

It’s a fairy tale told and sung at bedtime by the sweetest mother. And 50 years after its release, that fable has a nurturing impact. For millions of viewers, the thrills are alive with The Sound of Music.

 

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This essay appears, in slightly different form, in The Sound of Music: 50 Years Later, the Hills Are Still Alive, a special edition of LIFE, available on newsstands everywhere.

Read TIME’s original review of the film of The Sound of Music, here in the archives: R-H Positive

TIME Television

7 Historic Moments Downton Abbey Could Tackle Next Season

Downton Abbey, Season 5
Nick Briggs—Carnival Film & Television Ltd/PBS The Season 5 cast of 'Downton Abbey'

Contains minor spoilers for the fifth-season finale of Downton Abbey

Now that the fifth season of Downton Abbey has concluded for U.S. viewers, fans have begun the annual months-long wait for new news from Lord Grantham and friends.

It’s a wait that tends to be a long one in the real world as well as for the fictional characters: the show, which typically airs in the fall in the U.K. and then in the U.S. at the beginning of the following year, has frequently used the gap between seasons to jump forward in time, which is how the show has covered a dozen years in five seasons.

This past season concludes on Christmas Eve, 1924 — and we know that the show will not take us beyond the ’30s, no matter how far ahead it jumps — so it’s a safe bet that the Crawley family will likely find themselves picking up the plot sometime in the 1925–1927 range. It’s also a safe bet that the show, which has relied on history as a framing device ever since the sinking of the Titanic set the whole story in motion, will play with some of the biggest moments of that era.

So, though little information is known so far about what Season 6 holds for Downton, here are a few guesses as to what next season may hold in store:

1. Even though the rise of Naziism in Germany—and the related death of Michael Gregson—was felt by Edith during the 1924-set season, the years that follow would see much more Hitler, as he was no longer in prison. In July of 1925, his book Mein Kampf was released.

2. Though it’s unlikely to hit the Grantham estate too closely, it would be difficult for the show not to address trouble with the coal industry. Low wages and high unemployment had long led to dissatisfaction among miners; in 1926, that distress was the impetus for a general strike among workers from a wide range of industries. Transportation and the press were among the services affected.

3. It’s extremely unlikely that a television will be installed at Downton Abbey—Lord Grantham is only just getting used to a wireless, after all—but news may trickle down of the birth of a new entertainment medium, especially as it will have been a fairly local innovation. “In London, a concern called Television Ltd. obtained licenses to retail the “televisor,” a radio device invented by John L. Baird of Glasgow that permits “looking in as well as listening in,” TIME reported in 1926. “Broadcasting from a televisor station in London was to begin at once.”

4. If Edith keeps working at her magazine, she’ll likely have cause to report on the 1926 feat of Gertrude Ederle, who became the first woman to swim the English Channel, during a period of what TIME dubbed “feverish eagerness” to attempt the crossing.

5. As babies Sybie, George and Marigold grow, they might read from a first edition of A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, which was published in 1926.

6. Add this to the list of ways that characters might be killed off: the influenza epidemic of 1926–27. Though not as famous as the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918, the disease was severe enough that TIME noted that it was “increasing throughout western Europe at so alarming a rate that public health officials have come to fear a pandemic, a world-wide occurrence of this disease” and that “Switzerland, Germany England and France have been severely hit.”

7. With Rose, Atticus, Tom and Sybie all looking forward to futures across the pond, here’s some very good news for their prospects as guest stars: as of 1927, it was getting easier than ever to communicate and travel between the U.K. and the U.S. January of that year saw the success of the first transatlantic telephone call, between the president of the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. and the secretary of the General Postoffice of Great Britain. It wasn’t exactly cheap—$25 a minute, according to TIME’s report—but it was more accessible than the year’s other big transatlantic feat: the flight of Charles Lindbergh, who went to London after his famous landing in France. “[The crowds] broke down police barriers, swarmed on the landing-field as soon as his plane was sighted. He swooped down looking for barren ground, saw none, returned skyward,” TIME reported of his arrival in England. “On the second attempt, his plane touched ground, but was forced to rise again because hero-worshipers insisted on dogging his path. His third attempt was rewarded with a clear field. Before he could climb out of his plane, the sea of the mob surrounded him-bowling over women, leaving the official reception committee stranded in the distance.”

No matter which of these events actually makes it onto the show, one thing is certain: Mr. Carson and Lord Grantham will say something about how the world is changing, and they’ll be right.

Read next: Watch Downton Abbey Stars Sort Their Characters Into Hogwarts Houses

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TIME movies

Fifty Shades Is On Track to Earn $500 Million

Sam Taylor-Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and E.L. James pose for photographers upon arrival at the UK premiere of the film Fifty Shades of Grey in London, Feb. 12, 2015
Joel Ryan—Invision/AP Sam Taylor-Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and E.L. James pose for photographers upon arrival at the UK premiere of the film Fifty Shades of Grey in London, Feb. 12, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey has earned $338.4 million from global box offices, becoming Universal Studios’ highest-grossing R-rated film internationally, and is fast approaching a combined domestic and international haul of $500 million.

The film has also been number one for the third consecutive week in a row, and is the bestselling film of the year so far.

Its $338.4 million overseas earnings now outrank Universal’s previous best-performing R-rated international hit, Ted, which earned $332.4 million. Domestic earnings of $147.8 million mean the film has earned $486 million so far.

The largest foreign market for the film has been the U.K., where it has earned $46.9 million.

[Deadline]

TIME Recap

The Walking Dead Watch: “Remember”

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC
Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC—© AMC Film Holdings LLC. "I am gonna shave that apocalypse right outa my beard."

This is what it looks like when Rick finally gets to have a shave and shower

“Remember,” episode 12 of the fifth season of The Walking Dead, is a study in contrasts.

The group rolls up to a self-sustained, well-fortified city state in Alexandria, Virginia to find a land that time forgot. The community has been insulated—metaphorically and literally—from the worst of the outbreak, and life there seems not so distant from pre-apocalyptic times. Electricity and water still flow; people still wear pastel cardigans and tasseled loafers; there are even over-sized coffee table books in plenty.

Rick is introduced to Deanna, the community’s leader, who looks like she walked out of a Ralph Lauren catalogue, not the pages of a Cormack McCarthy novel. The former Ohio congresswoman has domain over the planned community, which is kitted with solar panels and an environmentally friendly water treatment system. She welcomes the group, she says, to help strengthen the community’s numbers. Rick, not quite believing it all, tells her she “should keep your gates closed. People out there are always looking for an angle…how they can use you to live.”

Life in Shangri-La is, well, weird. Rick and Carl walk around their new home (starting in the low-$800,000s!) somewhat dazed. How to make sense of Restoration Hardware reclaimed wood coffee tables and Kohler kitchen fixtures when you’ve been scraping by for so long? Most of the group’s main characters go through some similar kind of disbelief at their new surroundings—Carol takes to it quickly; Daryl, not so much. You could have called this episode Abercrombie & Feral.

After a nice svhitz and a shave, Rick meets some of the community’s other members. There’s Jessie, a mother of two, who offers him a hair cut. There’s Aiden, an enforcer with a temper. There are a few teens in various shades of moody, who Carl befriends. By the end of the episode, the group has decided to assimilate. Deanna, who jokes that “the communists won after all,” assigns each of them a job. She makes Michonne and Rick the community’s constables.

In the final frames, Rick dons a uniform once again. When Carol and Daryl wonder out loud if the community is really capable of dealing with the harsh reality of the world, Rick tells them somewhat ominously: “If they can’t make it, then we’ll just take this place.”

Zombie Kill Count
1 bullet to the head by Sasha; 5 knife points to the skull by Rick and Carl; 1 knife to the head by Glenn.
Estimated total: 7

TIME

Lady Gaga, Taylor Kinney and Vince Vaughn Plunged Into Freezing Cold Water

Lady Gaga, Taylor Kinney
Barry Brecheisen—Invision/AP Lady Gaga, top, gets a piggy back ride from her fiancée, Taylor Kinney, as they and members of the "Chicago Fire" cast take part in the Chicago Polar Plunge at North Avenue Beach on March 1, 2015 in Chicago.

Vaughn was the guest of honor after his #VinnyDippin campaign

It’s so cold not even Lady Gaga can help heat things up!

The pop star (and Julie Andrew’s new friend) showed up at Lake Michigan on Sunday to participate in the Chicago Polar Plunge, an event to raise money for the local chapter of the Special Olympics.

Gaga – fresh off her extraordinary performance of “The Sound of Music” at last Sunday’s Oscars – entered the frigid waters on the shoulders of her fiancé Taylor Kinney, who was also taking part in the event.

She wasn’t the only celebrity to take the plunge – four of Kinney’sChicago Fire co-stars (David Eigenberg, Randy Flagler, Jon Seda and Brian Geraghty) took the plunge as well. So did Vince Vaughn, who agreed to serve as the guest of honor after a successful social media campaign began on Twitter with the hashtag #VinnyDippin.

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME Rememberance

See How William Shatner Held a Twitter Funeral for Leonard Nimoy

Shatner was unable to attend Nimoy's funeral on Sunday

William Shatner was unable to attend the Sunday funeral of his Star Trek castmate Leonard Nimoy, who died last week, so he paid tribute to his longtime friend by answering Twitter questions about the man behind Mr. Spock.

Shatner, who played Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, had tweeted Saturday that he was unable to attend Nimoy’s funeral due to an agreement to appear at a Red Cross event. “So maybe tomorrow we come together here and celebrate his life,” he tweeted shortly after.

Here’s a selection of Shatner’s most touching and funny memories of Nimoy:

TIME Music

You’re Going to Really Really Really Like Carly Rae Jepsen’s New Song

Carly Rae Jepsen, "I Really Like You"
Carly Rae Jepsen, "I Really Like You"

The "Call Me Maybe" singer is back with "I Really Like You"

It’s been almost three years since Carly Rae Jepsen’s viral musical meet-cute “Call Me Maybe” took over the world, but the Canadian singer-songwriter wanted her next move to be worth the wait. “I told her that she couldn’t come out with anything unless it was on the level of ‘Call Me Maybe,'” manager Scooter Braun, told Billboard in January. “And, now we have a new one that is on that level.”

Whether he’s right will depend on how many YouTube parodies, celebrity sing-alongs and Obama supercuts emerge in the next few weeks. But even if “Call Me Maybe” is the kind of song that comes along only once in an artist’s career, “I Really Like You” comes pretty damn close: Over chilly synthesizers and a danceable beat pulled from a 1980s time capsule, Jepsen outlines the familiar early stages of infatuation — fretting over saying the wrong thing, anxiously waiting for the other person to make mov — before launching into another irresistible chorus.

After showing the world she could be more than a one-hit wonder with Kiss, her crush-worthy collection of flirtatious synth-pop, Jepsen proves she’s still the patron saint of anybody who’s wasted an evening staring at a phone, waiting for a text back.

Read next: Behind The Sound of Music: Why the Real Maria Went to the von Trapps’

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TIME Television

Watch Dakota Johnson Join ISIS on SNL

The spoof rubbed some people the wrong way

Is it too soon to joke about ISIS?

That seems to be the recurring question on Saturday Night Live, which has been tentatively pushing jokes about the terrorist organization into the show every few weeks.

The last time was during the Chris Rock-hosted episode in November, which doubled down on “too soon”-ness with Rock’s jokes about 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing in his monologue.

And the show returned to the well Saturday with a pre-taped bit featuring host Dakota Johnson as a daughter having a touching farewell with her dad … before she goes to join ISIS.

However, it’s worth noting that not everyone was offended by the spot. Watch the original Toyota ad below.

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME Television

Here’s What Dakota Johnson’s Mom Thought of Her SNL Performance

Johnson once again begged Melanie Griffith to watch 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

Melanie Griffith was thrilled with this week’s Saturday Night Live, hosted by her daughter, Fifty Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson.

Griffith, who made a cameo with her ex-husband, Don Johnson, as her embarrassed parents, tweeted on Sunday, “She killed it!!! Wow! I loved her poise, her comic timing, her grace, loved everything she did!!”

Griffith has been supportive of her daughter’s role in the erotic romance film, but hasn’t yet seen the movie—despite her daughter’s repeated, awkward requests.

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