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JUDY! JUDY! JUDY!


Sepiatone
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Apologies to CARY GRANT impersonators.  But this thread is about something ELSE...

 

Last night, on a presentation of the "American Masters" PBS series, the PBS station out of Toledo showed the episode that covered the life of JUDY GARLAND.

 

It opened showing the clip from THE WIZARD OF OZ of when Dorothy opened the farmhouse door after the house landed in "Munchkinland".  And the VOICE-OVER said:

 

"When DOROTHY GALE stepped into the land of Oz, JUDY GARLAND entered the realm of IMMORTALITY!"

 

And hearing THAT, I thought, "How SO TRUE!"

 

My WIFE said she was amused to look over and see me keep wiping TEARS from my eyes.  But, I can't help it!

 

I've always LOVED Garland!  I STILLTHINK she was the GREATEST female vocalist of the 20th century, And readily agreed when the narrator said she was probably the greatest entertainer of that century( move OVER, Bob Hope!).

 

And I STILL bristle and get teary-eyed when I think of HOW BADLY MGM and that rat bastard  LOUIS B. MAYER FU**ED her over!  She was a NATIONAL TREASURE, and HE treated her like so much POCKET LINT!  But, up until her death, she'd sell out any and every venue in which she was booked, and crowds would greet her with STANDING OVATIONS before she even CLEARED HER THROAT! 

 

If you can find, either on your local PBS station, a broadcast sheduled, or locate the episode on YouTube or something, I recommend SEEING it, or, if you have already, you know good and well what I mean!

 

 

Sepiatone

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Apologies to CARY GRANT impersonators.  But this thread is about something ELSE...

 

Last night, on a presentation of the "American Masters" PBS series, the PBS station out of Toledo showed the episode that covered the life of JUDY GARLAND.

 

It opened showing the clip from THE WIZARD OF OZ of when Dorothy opened the farmhouse door after the house landed in "Munchkinland".  And the VOICE-OVER said:

 

"When DOROTHY GALE stepped into the land of Oz, JUDY GARLAND entered the realm of IMMORTALITY!"

 

And hearing THAT, I thought, "How SO TRUE!"

 

My WIFE said she was amused to look over and see me keep wiping TEARS from my eyes.  But, I can't help it!

 

I've always LOVED Garland!  I STILLTHINK she was the GREATEST female vocalist of the 20th century, And readily agreed when the narrator said she was probably the greatest entertainer of that century( move OVER, Bob Hope!).

 

And I STILL bristle and get teary-eyed when I think of HOW BADLY MGM and that rat bastard  LOUIS B. MAYER FU**ED her over!  She was a NATIONAL TREASURE, and HE treated her like so much POCKET LINT!  But, up until her death, she'd sell out any and every venue in which she was booked, and crowds would greet her with STANDING OVATIONS before she even CLEARED HER THROAT! 

 

If you can find, either on your local PBS station, a broadcast sheduled, or locate the episode on YouTube or something, I recommend SEEING it, or, if you have already, you know good and well what I mean!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

I'm not sure I'd put Garland over Billie, Sarah, or Dinah as the greatest 20th century female vocalist, but there was certainly something special about her, and if anything I find some of her acting performances---particularly in A Star Is Born and the seldom screened I Could Go On Singing---equal to her singing.   Although I might make an exception for "The Man That Got Away".

 

You mention a PBS special, and I'd only add to that a recommendation to see Judy Davis's biopic of Garland, Me And My Shadows.  It's a magnificent performance by one of the truly great actresses of the past 50 years, and I think it may even be available on YouTube.

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Apologies to CARY GRANT impersonators.  But this thread is about something ELSE...

 

Last night, on a presentation of the "American Masters" PBS series, the PBS station out of Toledo showed the episode that covered the life of JUDY GARLAND.

 

It opened showing the clip from THE WIZARD OF OZ of when Dorothy opened the farmhouse door after the house landed in "Munchkinland".  And the VOICE-OVER said:

 

"When DOROTHY GALE stepped into the land of Oz, JUDY GARLAND entered the realm of IMMORTALITY!"

 

And hearing THAT, I thought, "How SO TRUE!"

 

My WIFE said she was amused to look over and see me keep wiping TEARS from my eyes.  But, I can't help it!

 

I've always LOVED Garland!  I STILLTHINK she was the GREATEST female vocalist of the 20th century, And readily agreed when the narrator said she was probably the greatest entertainer of that century( move OVER, Bob Hope!).

 

And I STILL bristle and get teary-eyed when I think of HOW BADLY MGM and that rat bastard  LOUIS B. MAYER FU**ED her over!  She was a NATIONAL TREASURE, and HE treated her like so much POCKET LINT!  But, up until her death, she'd sell out any and every venue in which she was booked, and crowds would greet her with STANDING OVATIONS before she even CLEARED HER THROAT! 

 

If you can find, either on your local PBS station, a broadcast sheduled, or locate the episode on YouTube or something, I recommend SEEING it, or, if you have already, you know good and well what I mean!

 

 

Sepiatone

As a rock fan, do you exclude rock when you call her the "greatest female vocalist"? I tend to view rock and the "great American songbook" completely separately. Otherwise, you get into questions like, "Who was better, Judy Garland or Janis Joplin?"

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I have never been a BIG Judy Garland fan, I just am not that into the musicals and the types of films she usually was in but her talents can not be denied. She was a terrific singer (please, Janis Joplin ain't in the same league) and Judy was a very multitalented performer. Lets not forget just how good an actress she was, her performance in JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG was A 1 (along with the fine performances of the entire cast).  Sadly Judy is also a prime example of how the studio system and the bosses treated many of their employees; Judy was a golden goose there to be used to lay golden eggs, nothing more.  Who was the actress in the TCM segment who commented about how  a young Judy was not permitted to eat "too much or the wrong things"  when at a stars' banquet?  Someone should have been there for her to protect her somewhat from all of the exploitation, but hey, its all about the money. Judy paid a very heavy price putting money in other's pockets.

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I have never been a BIG Judy Garland fan, I just am not that into the musicals and the types of films she usually was in but her talents can not be denied. She was a terrific singer (please, Janis Joplin ain't in the same league) and Judy was a very multitalented performer. Lets not forget just how good an actress she was, her performance in JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG was A 1 (along with the fine performances of the entire cast).  Sadly Judy is also a prime example of how the studio system and the bosses treated many of their employees; Judy was a golden goose there to be used to lay golden eggs, nothing more.  Who was the actress in the TCM segment who commented about how  a young Judy was not permitted to eat "too much or the wrong things"  when at a stars' banquet?  Someone should have been there for her to protect her somewhat from all of the exploitation, but hey, its all about the money. Judy paid a very heavy price putting money in other's pockets.

Comparing Judy Garland to Janis Joplin to Chrissie Hynde to Aretha Franklin to Billie Holiday is like comparing apples to oranges to bananas to mangoes to grapes.

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Apologies to CARY GRANT impersonators.  But this thread is about something ELSE...

 

Last night, on a presentation of the "American Masters" PBS series, the PBS station out of Toledo showed the episode that covered the life of JUDY GARLAND.

 

It opened showing the clip from THE WIZARD OF OZ of when Dorothy opened the farmhouse door after the house landed in "Munchkinland".  And the VOICE-OVER said:

 

"When DOROTHY GALE stepped into the land of Oz, JUDY GARLAND entered the realm of IMMORTALITY!"

 

And hearing THAT, I thought, "How SO TRUE!"

 

My WIFE said she was amused to look over and see me keep wiping TEARS from my eyes.  But, I can't help it!

 

I've always LOVED Garland!  I STILLTHINK she was the GREATEST female vocalist of the 20th century, And readily agreed when the narrator said she was probably the greatest entertainer of that century( move OVER, Bob Hope!).

 

And I STILL bristle and get teary-eyed when I think of HOW BADLY MGM and that rat bastard  LOUIS B. MAYER FU**ED her over!  She was a NATIONAL TREASURE, and HE treated her like so much POCKET LINT!  But, up until her death, she'd sell out any and every venue in which she was booked, and crowds would greet her with STANDING OVATIONS before she even CLEARED HER THROAT! 

 

If you can find, either on your local PBS station, a broadcast sheduled, or locate the episode on YouTube or something, I recommend SEEING it, or, if you have already, you know good and well what I mean!

 

 

Sepiatone

I love Judy Garland.  She's one of my favorites.  I've seen the American Masters documentary you're speaking about (although, unfortunately it was during an annual pledge drive, so there was 5 mins of documentary, 15 mins of pleading for money. I've heard that the 2-disc Easter Parade contains the documentary as a special feature, unfortunately, I already have the 1 disc version :-/) I read Gerald Clarke's biography, Get Happy about her life and it was so sad.  I felt so bad for her.  In a joint effort, Garland's mother and MGM started her on her life of addiction and depression.  Poor Judy never felt she was pretty enough, thin enough, good enough, talented enough, etc. Unfortunately, MGM boss, Louis B. Mayer did nothing to help her esteem by referring to her as "[his] little hunchback," and forcing her to keep her weight down with pills and wear prosthetics to change the shape of her nose.  For the most part, Garland was used as nothing more to earn money.  She repeatedly associated herself with someone who was going to exploit her talents to earn themselves money.  Sid Luft is a good example.  Garland had very few friends who liked her for her and didn't try to take advantage (Mickey Rooney, Gene Kelly, Bogie & Bacall, Vincente Minnelli, come to mind). 

 

I'm much more a fan of Garland's adult work than her work as a child star, mostly because I'm not a big fan of Mickey Rooney. However, even in her films with Rooney, there is no denying her talent.  My favorite of their films is probably Girl Crazy.  I also enjoy The Wizard of Oz and completely agree with the documentary's statement that she stepped into film immortality.  The scene of Dorothy stepping out of the sepia-toned farmhouse into the Technicolor Oz is one of the most iconic scenes in film history.  One of my favorite films of hers is For Me and My Gal, Gene Kelly's film debut.  Judy's Ballin' the Jack number was excellent and she had great chemistry with Kelly. 

 

I also loved her in her other musicals: The Pirate, Summer Stock, Easter Parade, Presenting Lily Mars, Meet Me in St. Louis and The Harvey Girls.  Another of my favorite movies of hers, is one of the few non-musical films she did: The Clock with Robert Walker.  This movie showed her talents for dramatic roles in addition to the light-hearted musicals she was typically known for.  Also, probably one of her more famous films, A Star is Born, I'll admit I have only seen it twice or so (because it's so long!) but this film combined her musical and dramatic skills and is truly one of the highlights of her career.  It's a shame that she was robbed of the Oscar.  The torch song, The Man That Got Away, is one of the best performances ever put on film. 

 

I have her Judy: Live at Carnegie Hall album and she is fantastic.  Her voice sounds noticeably older and a little more hoarse, but there is no denying her talent and how much the audience loved her.  While I can't see the performance to see how the audience is responding, the amount of applause and cheers is indicative of how beloved she was. 

 

Regardless of how many times I've seen her films and despite the fact that I own many of them, I always welcome TCM's birthday, SUTS, daytime theme, etc. tributes to Garland.  She was truly one of the best that Hollywood has ever seen. 

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     I'm sorry I missed this PBS special as I like Judy and think she had immeasurable talent.

My brother watched it and called me afterward to ask a question. He wondered why she was so destitute and had such huge financial woes during the latter part of her life. He mentioned that she had still made some films in the early 1960's, had record album sales, had her hugely successful live concerts and even had a TV show for a short period. So he asked me why she was so financially destitute. I thought part of it was because of Sid Luft who was a big gambler. But I'm not exactly sure why she was so poor. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

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     I'm sorry I missed this PBS special as I like Judy and think she had immeasurable talent.

My brother watched it and called me afterward to ask a question. He wondered why she was so destitute and had such huge financial woes during the latter part of her life. He mentioned that she had still made some films in the early 1960's, had record album sales, had her hugely successful live concerts and even had a TV show for a short period. So he asked me why she was so financially destitute. I thought part of it was because of Sid Luft who was a big gambler. But I'm not exactly sure why she was so poor. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

Sid Luft squandered much of her earnings which is why she was doing the concerts and The Judy Garland Show TV show.  She also owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes to the IRS.  I doubt Judy was handling her own finances, so I don't know if someone was pocketing money on the side in lieu of paying her taxes or what was going on there.  She also had much invested in A Star is Born (Her production company with Sid Luft produced it) and its subsequent failure at the box office meant that Garland's company didn't make a profit on the expensive film.  She was then involved in her TV show as a means to resolve her financial problems, and it too failed.  Not due to quality, but due to poor programming decisions on CBS' part (like putting her show on opposite of the hugely popular Bonanza.) the show was canceled after only one season.  This further exacerbated Garland's financial woes.  By the mid-60s, Garland was experiencing major health problems and continued substance abuse issues and was unable to successfully complete a concert performance and didn't appear in any films.  She was supposed to appear in Valley of the Dolls but missed rehearsals, was fired and replaced by Susan Hayward. 

 

While it's sad that she died at only 47, based on all her health problems and other issues, it isn't surprising.

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People like Judy Garland, Doris Day, etc, etc  would have been better off putting their earnings in old coffee cans and hiding them somewhere.  Their financial handlers were either very incompetent or old fashion con artists.  

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The voice-over simply said "....into the REALM of immortality."  NOT "Film immortality", however, both are true.

 

I think it was her close resemblance to a cousin of mine who grew up with me and my brother, and whom I always considered more of a sister than a cousin, and also died very young (car accident, she was 38 at the time) is also why I have a deep emotional fondness for Garland.  The fact that she could put all that pain into a song so apropriately is also why I consider her such a fine vocalist.  She could sing pain FAR better than Janis, and she too, dealt with her share as well, but I've heard Janis voice astonishment at Judy's vocal "starkness" in an interview once.

 

 

Sepiatone

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  The fact that she could put all that pain into a song so apropriately is also why I consider her such a fine vocalist.

 

 

Reminds me of the other day when after posting in the "Soundtracks" thread and mentioning the eclectic blend of music in "A Night at the Opera", I thought of one particular song in that film..."Alone" written by N.H. Brown and Arthur Freed, and performed in that film by Kitty Carlisle and Alan Jones in a duet and then later on by Harpo on the instrument he was famous for playing.

 

However Sepia, the reason your words reminded me of this was because I then went to YouTube in search of perhaps finding a clip of either of these performances within that movie and what I discovered in addition to those was the following clip of Garland singing this song in one of those Andy Hardy films, and after watching THAT, I believe this illustrates perfectly what you meant here...

 

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You mention a PBS special, and I'd only add to that a recommendation to see Judy Davis's biopic of Garland, Me And My Shadows.  It's a magnificent performance

 

Ugh but what an awful movie. Terrible.

 

To each his or her own, but Me And My Shadows got excellent reviews at the time of its first showing on ABC, and its ratings on both IMBD (7.7 of 10) and Netflix (4.5 of 5) don't seem to indicate any great revision since then.

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There's one thing that I have trouble understanding.  Someone touched upon Louis B. Mayer's treating Judy like some property, and not as a human being with feelings.  I saw an interview with Mickey Rooney once.  The interviewer asked him about Judy's treatment during her MGM days.  Rooney absolutely denied any mistreatment on Mayer's part, saying, "Mr. Mayer would never do anything like that.  He adored Judy."  Has anyone ever heard of anything similar to this coming from Rooney?

 

Terrence.

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You mention a PBS special, and I'd only add to that a recommendation to see Judy Davis's biopic of Garland, Me And My Shadows.  It's a magnificent performance

 

Ugh but what an awful movie. Terrible.

I think I saw a bit of it some years back.  But the "American Masters" program was a collection of taped reminices by Garland, portions of biogrphies attempted, family interviews, old recordings of Rooney, Minnelli and others that knew her.  More or less a PROFILE based on recorded facts, rather than an attempted film biography.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I think I saw a bit of it some years back.  But the "Ameican Masters" program was a collection of taped reminices by Garland, portions of biogrphies attempted, family interviews, old recordings of Rooney, Minnelli and others that knew her.  More or less a PROFILE based on recorded facts, rather than an attempted film biography.

And no reenactments, which more and more seem to be creeping into biographical material on television. In a way it was like a Ken Burns documentary, with different actors assigned to do voice-over narrations for specific people, using their own words. 

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There's one thing that I have trouble understanding.  Someone touched upon Louis B. Mayer's treating Judy like some property, and not as a human being with feelings.  I saw an interview with Mickey Rooney once.  The interviewer asked him about Judy's treatment during her MGM days.  Rooney absolutely denied any mistreatment on Mayer's part, saying, "Mr. Mayer would never do anything like that.  He adored Judy."  Has anyone ever heard of anything similar to this coming from Rooney?

 

Terrence.

I also remember this interview but I can't remember when I saw it or where it came from. I thought that Mickey would tell his own story of how bad Mayer was to them but he spoke in glowing terms about him. I believe even the interviewer was taken aback by Mickey.

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To each his or her own, but Me And My Shadows got excellent reviews at the time of its first showing

 

My video tape is a "galley" from the producers and I just recall seeing several "howl worthy" mistakes. Maybe it was revised before broadcast? Maybe those who watched it didn't really care? 

Should dig out my VCR?

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And no reenactments, which more and more seem to be creeping into biographical material on television. In a way it was like a Ken Burns documentary, with different actors assigned to do voice-over narrations for specific people, using their own words. 

No, there WERE no "actor portrayed" voice-overs.  All voice-overs WERE actual recordings of the ACTUAL people speaking.  Many of the people recorded lived long past Judy's death (like Rooney), and just added what they knew or recollected.

 

I also noticed, I think, seeing a COPYWRITE date on the program of 2004.  Plus, since several biographic profiles of Garland have been done for television broadcast since her death in 1969, and many of the people she knew and/or worked with WERE still alive at the time, I imagine the producers of this "American Masters" entreat culled SEVERAL snippets of recorded reminesces from other sources made over the years.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Thanks Sepiatone....I caught this on my PBS station last night. Glad they are repeating it. It was pretty insightful, hearing others impressions of Judy's later years. 

 

When so much has been written about a movie star, (Marilyn, Katherine Hepburn, Chaplin) it's great when they focus on just one aspect of their lives and flesh out a different perspective.

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No, there WERE no "actor portrayed" voice-overs.  All voice-overs WERE actual recordings of the ACTUAL people speaking.  Many of the people recorded lived long past Judy's death (like Rooney), and just added what they knew or recollected.

 

I also noticed, I think, seeing a COPYWRITE date on the program of 2004.  Plus, since several biographic profiles of Garland have been done for television broadcast since her death in 1969, and many of the people she knew and/or worked with WERE still alive at the time, I imagine the producers of this "American Masters" entreat culled SEVERAL snippets of recorded reminesces from other sources made over the years.

 

 

Sepiatone

Mickey Rooney, June Allyson, etc. were represented by their own voices, but actors were used for other voices like George Cukor, Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Vincente Minnelli (and of course Judy herself, whose voiceovers were done by actress Isabelle Keating). It was done in such a way as not to call attention to itself, but the credits list the names of the actors. That's why I made the Ken Burns parallel, because he does the same thing so effectively. You're right about some of the interviews being taken from other video sources, but apparently written sources were the ones the filmmakers wanted to use in some cases, so actors were used to recreate the "voices".

The documentary is (or was) available in a 2-disc edition of "Easter Parade" issued about ten years ago.

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There's one thing that I have trouble understanding.  Someone touched upon Louis B. Mayer's treating Judy like some property, and not as a human being with feelings.  I saw an interview with Mickey Rooney once.  The interviewer asked him about Judy's treatment during her MGM days.  Rooney absolutely denied any mistreatment on Mayer's part, saying, "Mr. Mayer would never do anything like that.  He adored Judy."  Has anyone ever heard of anything similar to this coming from Rooney?

 

Terrence.

Mayer was getting up these in years, and probably guessed that he wouldn't be heading up MGM that much longer. As a businessman, then, his interest in the profits Judy could generate for MGM would be short-term rather than long-term. He may have realized that his treatment of her would ultimately cause her harm, but as a hard-headed businessman, he didn't care.

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Mayer was getting up these in years, and probably guessed that he wouldn't be heading up MGM that much longer. As a businessman, then, his interest in the profits Judy could generate for MGM would be short-term rather than long-term. He may have realized that his treatment of her would ultimately cause her harm, but as a hard-headed businessman, he didn't care.

I doubt that Louis Mayer ever thought he'd not be heading MGM. From what I read he was shocked when the top brass at MGM picked Dore Shary over him. He probably planned on heading MGM till he died.

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I doubt that Louis Mayer ever thought he'd not be heading MGM. From what I read he was shocked when the top brass at MGM picked Dore Shary over him. He probably planned on heading MGM till he died.

Mayer was about 66 when Schary replaced him. 66 was about the average life span of males at that time, and it's not as if Mayer was a health and fitness nut.

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