"The Sound of Music:" A High Note for the National Archives

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Washington, DC…NBC’s three-hour live presentation of "The Sound of Music" on December 5 was music indeed to the National Archives’ website, www.archives.gov.

On December 5 and 6, there was a huge spike in views of an article about the real von Trapp family, whose escape from the Nazis in World War II is the basis for the story and the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

Normally, the article would get a few hundred hits a day at most, but on December 5 and 6, it got 75,000 hits each day and about 25,000 on December 7 before returning to near its usual level. National Archives officials expect another spike in visitors to the article when ABC runs the 1965 movie this coming Sunday night, December 22.

The von Trapp family was portrayed in a 1965 movie with Julie Andrews in the starring role as Maria and in the recent NBC version with Carrie Underwood as Maria.

The article, "Movie vs. Reality: The Real Story of the von Trapp Family," (www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2005/winter/von-trapps.html) by Joan Gearin, appeared in the Winter 2005 issue of Prologue Magazine, the Archives’ flagship publication. Gearin is a staff archivist in the National Archives at Boston and drew on records in Archives holdings for her article.

When you enter "von Trapp family" or "real von Trapp family" into Google or other search engines, Gearin’s article comes up first or very high in the list. This spike in the number of visitors to a particular article online is referred to by Prologue staff as "the von Trapp effect."

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