Monday, June 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Judy!

Wow, I cannot believe I forgot to write about Judy Garland's birthday yesterday. I did not forget that it was her birthday, mind you, I just forgot to write about it. In fact, it was one of the first things I thought of in the morning and I quickly turned on TCM. They were showing Meet Me In St. Louis. Sweet! I also announced it to all my friends yesterday and received mostly blank stares. I'm used to that.

I think it's safe to saw that Judy Garland is my favorite actress. My Judy obsession started young, maybe around 7 or 8, when a couple of my cousins and I (with the encouragement of our grandma) started watching Judy movies regularly. We quickly learned all the songs, and there was no looking back. I was officially sucked in to a weird little world where bursting out into song was perfectly normal and there was always an orchestra ready to back you up. I learned all the words to songs that none of my friends had ever heard of and I thought the word "gay" just meant happy. Needless to say, not much has changed since then except that I came to the harsh realization that none of these things are considered normal for my generation.

The first Judy movie I remember seeing (besides The Wizard of Oz, I guess) is For Me and My Gal. My cousins were really into it and knew all the songs, so I had to see what all the fuss was about. Soon, we were acting out the doll shop scene and fighting over who got to be Judy and who had to be the man (my cousin Christine usually had to be the man because she was the youngest). We continued to faithfully watch our Judy movies and learn our Judy songs to our little hearts' content. It was fun.

I had a bit of a falling out when I got a little older and I decided I had to try to be "cool." I stopped with the Judy movies. I don't know exactly what I liked at that time, but it must have been boring. Then in high school, I got over myself and decided to go back to my roots. Lucky for me, Judy was TCM's star of the month one month and they showed pretty much every Judy movie ever made. I never worried about being cool again. In fact, I was so far from cool that it wasn't even worth thinking about.

I'll end with some of my favorite Judy moments:
- Easter Parade when she makes that horrid face while walking down the street trying to get the men to notice her.
- The Harvey Girls when she takes Angela Lansbury down in the saloon.
- In The Good Old Summertime when she sings I Don't Care and fails her arms about as if she's being attacked by a swarm of locusts.
- Summer Stock when she sings on a tractor.
- The end of A Star is Born when she says, "I'm Mrs. Norman Maine."
- Ballin' the Jack from For Me and My Gal. So adorable.
- "Why, it would mean the ruination of my complete life!" From The Pirate.
- The Portland Fancy in Summer Stock - I'm pretty sure we watched this part so many times that the tape got worn out and we couldn't watch it anymore.
- The whole scene in Meet Me In St. Louis when everyone is eating dinner and Warren Sheffield calls Rose long distance. Also, when Judy takes John Truett through the house and turns off all the lights, only to turn them back on after he leaves. Oh, and the Trolley Song of course.


Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Another favorite Judy moment: in "Easter Parade" when Fred Astaire trys changing her stage persona: "Well, if you wanted a Juanita, why did you pick me?!"

Anonymous said...

Okay, call me an oddball but...
one of my favorite Judy movies (Wizard being the first. I'm so cliche, I know) is "I Could Go On Singing." Soapish, predictable, painfully noble in the end BUT the scene in the hospital between her and Dirk Bogarde stands as one of the best ever filmed. It's said that she and Dirk actually rewrote that scene into it's filmed form and I think it's a BLAM, in your face, this is how I really feel scene that says a lot about Judy as a person. Who could blame her? And we love her still, as she always loved her fans. (plus Lorna and Joey have cameos)
PS Ever watch "A Child Is Waiting?" Wow. Love her singing but would've loved to have seen her in more dramatic roles. She had it all!