The enduring James Garner and the woman who made childhood fun, Julie Andrews, reunite Sunday at 9 for a holiday love story, "One Special Night."
Plainly, making this CBS story was a pleasant reunion on location in Canada for the two longtime friends who co-starred in "The Americanization of Emily" in 1964 and again in 1982's "Victor/Victoria."
He calls her "one of the great people of the world -- if you don't like Julie Andrews, you don't belong to the human race. . . . She's beautiful and talented and a good person, a joy to be around."
She calls him "adorable -- he just likes to pretend to be the old curmudgeon. He has a heart of gold."
But the hills of Quebec weren't resounding with the sound of music last winter: They were covered with a thick blanket of snow. The movie was filmed in Montreal when the thermometer plunged to minus 29 degrees Celsius, she said (39 below, by his recollection).
How cold was it, really?
"It was so cold that a newscaster that day went outside with a glass of water and tossed it up and it froze in the air," recalled Andrews in a phone interview.
Even though there was plenty of real snow, Garner said, it was blowing so hard at times that the filmmakers had to provide a little man-made snow for the camera to catch on film.
Nonetheless, the story of a widowed physician and the family man to whom she gives a ride one December evening turns out to be warm and humorous.
Garner, 72, as Robert Woodward, is devotedly visiting his wife, who suffers from dementia. Their two daughters are home for Christmas, one of them pregnant and on the verge of divorce, the other home on an all-too-infrequent visit.
Andrews, 64, as Catherine Howard, occasionally visits her late husband's former room at the same facility where Woodward's wife is a patient. But for Howard, there are no children other than those in her care as a physician.
In short, Howard and Woodward get stuck in a storm, take shelter in a cabin and strike up a friendship complicated by their awareness of his wife. How that all works out is the plot of the movie.
For this role, Andrews summons the spunky spirits of Mary Poppins and Maria Von Trapp. But unlike the movies about the nanny and the novitiate-governess in "The Sound of Music," Andrews does not sing a note in this one. Surgery in 1997 to remove a benign polyp and a cyst from her vocal cords has left her without her celebrated four-octave singing voice.
She does not know whether she will be able to sing again, but she said in a slightly hoarse voice, "I'm optimistic."
Garner said simply: "If she can't sing anymore, that's a tragedy."
Meanwhile, Andrews has finished a theatrical movie, "Relative Values," based on a Noel Coward play.
She'll also play herself in "Unconditional Love," a Kathy Bates film.
And she is writing books for children again.
The new one, "Little Bo: The Story of Bonnie Boadicea," is the first in a series meant for children from 5 to 8.
She and her daughter Emma Hamilton are working on a book for tots 2 and up.
In addition to Hamilton, Andrews's biological daughter, she is also mother to Jennifer and Geoffrey, the children of producer-director Blake Edwards, to whom she has been married 30 years; and to two adopted Vietnamese daughters, Amy and Joanna. She has five grandchildren.
For six years Andrews has been a goodwill ambassador for UNIFEM, a United Nations organization that helps women in Third World countries, and recently traveled to a village in Senegal where a threshing wheel was being installed.
"We did not speak the same language," she said. But "one very powerful lady took my hand and looked into my eyes and smiled, and we connected instantly. It was one of those, `Yes, we are all sisters under the skin' " moments.
Like Andrews, Garner plans to keep working indefinitely. He and his wife have been married 43 years. "I think it's going to work," he said. They have two daughters -- one hers, one theirs.
Garner's career includes about 40 theatrical movies, TV series -- most notably "Maverick" (1957-1962) and "The Rockford Files" (1974 to 1980) -- and television movies. "Rockford" won him a 1976-77 Emmy as best actor.
He recently finished "Space Cowboys" with Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones and Donald Sutherland -- "four old poops go into space."
And he's voiced 13 installments of "The Devil and Bob," an upcoming NBC animated series. "I'm God," Garner joked. "They typecast me."