Just when you think that the Internet holds all the answers, it fails you. My search for information about Boomerang, a ’70s kids’ TV show from my native Seattle, has turned up nearly bupkes.
I did learn something very interesting… I had no idea that Marni, the host of Boomerang, was none other than Marni Nixon.
Nixon is the reason Julie Andrews won her Oscar for Mary Poppins. Well, that’s not fair — that was a well-earned Oscar. (Those who already know this story can skip ahead a couple of paragraphs.) Julie Andrews had starred on Broadway in the hit musical My Fair Lady, and won a Tony award. But when My Fair Lady was turned into a Hollywood film, Julie Andrews was not yet a name movie-goers would recognize, and Warner Brothers cast Audrey Hepburn in what really should have been Julie Andrews’ role. Walt Disney knew better, and cast Andrews that same year in Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins, and Julie Andrews, became a smash sensation.
When the press started to dig a bit, and learned that Audrey Hepburn didn’t actually sing her parts — that the beautiful voice behind “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “I Could Have Danced All Night” was actually Marni Nixon… well, Jack Warner started to look like a fool for having ditched Julie Andrews. In Julie Andrews’ Oscar acceptance speech for Mary Poppins, she thanked “the man who made this all possible… Jack Warner,” which makes me love Julie Andrews even more.
Marni actually has a brief role in Mary Poppins, as one of the animated geese, but didn’t meet Andrews while working on that film. When Nixon and Andrews later worked together on The Sound of Music (Nixon played one of the nuns), Andrews introduced herself with a hearty handshake, and exclaimed “I really love your work!,” probably with a cheeky look in her eye. Marni also was the singing voice for Maria in West Side Story, and she did some vocal work for a Mr. Magoo album, “Magoo in Hi-Fi” and provided “ethereal voice effects” for some Esquivel albums. She was a very, very successful session singer in Hollywood.
I’m still having trouble reconciling the host of Boomerang with this Hollywood figure, but it comes together a bit when I hear the Boomerang theme song again — the song’s not exactly a winner, but it sure brings back memories, and that voice is loverly:
Click play to hear the Boomerang theme song
This still leaves plenty of holes about Boomerang the show, though. I can fill in a little bit more from my own memories: It aired on channel 4, KOMO, which was Seattle’s ABC affiliate. It was filmed during the late ’70s into the early ’80s, and continued on in reruns for a while. Marni’s co-star was a yellow puppet boy, who looked like a cross between Bert from Sesame Street and Terrence from South Park.
I can’t remember his name, and I couldn’t find it online. His name was Norbert. (Thanks melberoo!) There’s one episode in particular that I remember, where Marni was hired to do a commercial for some silver polish, but she tries the polish and it doesn’t work very well, and she decides to not do the commercial. It was a lesson about not whoring oneself out, and whenever I’m faced with similar scenarios, I always think of Marni’s frustration with the silver polish. Overall, the show was on the schmaltzy side, and if we’d had the variety of cable back then, I probably would never have watched it.
So anywhere, there you go. That’s all I could find about the Seattle show Boomerang. Maybe someday something more will show up.