The Trapp family was real, and they really sang. We visit the Austria of the late 1930s, and with LIFE photography document the situation that led to their flight. We re-visit the Trapps at their lodge in Stowe, Vermont, where they have been famous locals since the 1960s. We delve into the world of Rodgers and Hammerstein, the legendary Broadway team. We look at the stage origins of "The Sound of Music" (it was supposed to be a straight play, not a musical!), and the mammoth success of the first Broadway production starring Mary Martin (three million soundtrack lps sold!) And of course we go behind the scenes on the film and its launch, as only LIFE could do in 1965, and as only LIFE Books is able to do today. In a special chapter, LIFE will present a side-by-side chronicle of what The Sound of Music claims, and what really happened during the earliest days of World War II - illustrated photographically. And, for all of those die-hard buffs out there, there will be a trivia chapter!