Dracula wrapped Little Orphan Annie in his cape. Shutters clicked.
"Oh, look at this," Dracua said, reaching for Annie's neck, "she's wearing a cross." He gazed with dismay at the tiny cross on its gold chain.
For Dracula (Frank Langella) and Annie (Andrea McArdle), the clowning for photographers was a piece of cake, but for Sandy it was a tough day. The dog broke down during filming, according to the person in charge of keeping track of Sandy's moods, and the set hard to be cleared.
The photogs were really bothering him, came the explanation. It isn't very nice to invite poeple here to take pictures and then throw them off the set, came the reply.
It was a media event as only New York stages them, to promote, appropriately, New York City.
Beginning Feb. 14, Washingtonians and residents of 11 other major markets will see on television a one-minute commercial made with the casts of nine, count 'em, nine, Broadway shows, adding up to what the commercial's publicist (not all commercials get one) wrote will be "among the most spectacular" television commercials ever.
The commercial is a product of the New York State Department of Commerce aimed at boosting New York City tourism.
It opens with a conductor and orchestra in the pit, flashes in 60 seconds through a curtain raising and the stars of nine shows and ends with Dracula appearing in a puff of smoke to sing the last chorus of the newly composed theme song "I Love New York."
Harvey Sabinson, director of special projects for the League of New York Theaters and Producers, is delighted that New York State is paying for a campaign that will help Broadway shows, but Broadway has been doing pretty well on its own.
Broadway plays are by far New York's most powerful tourist draw, according to a recent survey taken by the state. Ticket sales were up 106 per cent from the 1972-73 season to the 76-77 season.
Attendance is up another 12 percent this season and a record 10 million people may visit the 39 theaters before the season ends.
All of the actors are being paid only the minimum scale, which they cannot waive for their work in the commercial.
"Is that heavy?" Annie asked Dracula of his cape. The shutters kept clicking.
"No, You can wear it later when we get rid of the photogs," Dracula replied urbanely.
In the background someone was discussing the auction of Joan Crawford's mammoth collection of false eyelashes. It had been a long afternoon for the filming of one-ninth of a 60-second commercial, but everyone - especially the organizers, who all was buttons saying "I Love New York" with a heart replacing the word love - was uninterruptedly polite.
Annie and Reid Shelton (who plays her Daddy Warbucks and killed a few minutes of dead time singing Maurice Chevalier's "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" leeringly to the clutch of orphans surrounding him) had flung their arms forward for the last time and Sandy had settled down, but a problem remained.
Yul Brynner had not arrived. Annie and Dracula, asked to wait 10 minutes for the King of Siam to appear, politely agreed.