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Once Upon a Mattress (1964)

The musical story of THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA, adapted from the 1959 Broadway hit, and featuring most of the original Broadway cast.


Joe Layton, Dave Geisel (co-director)


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Credited cast:
Carol Burnett ... Princess Winnifred
Jane White ... Queen Aggravain
Jack Gilford ... King Sextimus
Joseph Bova Joseph Bova ... Prince Dauntless
Elliott Gould ... Jester
Shani Wallis ... Lady Larken
Bill Hayes ... Minstrel
Jack Fletcher ... Wizard
Kellie Brytt Kellie Brytt ... Lady Rowena
Donna Monroe Donna Monroe ... Lady Lucille
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marian Haraldson Marian Haraldson ... Lady Myrthr (as Marion Haraldson)
Corinna Manetto Corinna Manetto ... The Nightingale


The musical story of THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA, adapted from the 1959 Broadway hit, and featuring most of the original Broadway cast.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

3 June 1964 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bob Banner Associates See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of "Once Upon A Mattress" opened at the Phoenix Theater (Eventually running at a total of five separate theaters!) on May 1, 1959, ran for 244 performances and was nominated for the 1960 Tony Award (New York City) for the Best Musical. Carol Burnett, Joe Bova and Jack Gilford reprise their roles. Carol Burnett was nominated for a 1960 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. See more »

Crazy Credits

For the opening sequence, the viewer watches a closeup shot of a hand adding finishing touches to a cartoon drawing of the princess, and the title and then names are superimposed on the drawing. These drawings are also used to introduce or end different segments; for instance, when the king and prince have their man-to-man talk, the drawing is of the two. Sometimes the hand is still making changes, as when night is falling and most of the characters are going to sleep and the princess stays up studying, we see a drawing of the castle and the hand blacks out the windows, one at a time, finally leaving the window of the princess to be the only one that is lit. See more »


Remade as Once Upon a Mattress (1972) See more »


Music by Mary Rodgers
Lyrics by Marshall Barer
Sung by Jane White and Jack Fletcher
See more »

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User Reviews

Funny and fun musical fairy tale for the whole family
27 January 2016 | by SimonJackSee all my reviews

This is only the second film made from the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, "The Princess and the Pea." Both of these were TV films. The first carried the same title as the story and was a drama. But this first adapted musical comedy is of a play with a different title, "Once Upon a Mattress." What a fantastic, funny and enjoyable movie it is.

The success is in no small part due to Carol Burnett who plays and sings the part of Princess Winnifred. She has great support from Jane White as Queen Aggravain and Joseph Bova as Prince Dauntless. Others lend to this fine performance, including Jack Gilford as King Sextimus, Elliott Gould as Jester and Shani Wallis as Lady Larken.

Burnett was the original star of the show when it opened on Broadway in 1959. She received a Tony nomination, as did the play as best musical. Most of the leading cast from the stage production are in this TV movie. White, Bova and Gilford return along with Burnett.

I watched a TV recording of the show that was poor quality. I think this would go over well if it ever comes out on DVD.

Every fairy tale set to music should be as funny and as much fun. This is a wonderful film for the whole family.

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