Judy Garland: Get Happy
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (Wizard of Oz)
Her Name Is...........
Judy Garland.........An iconic name that has been in the minds of people since the day she sang her first song. If you were to ask anyone on the street, “what is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name, Judy Garland”, the most popular answer would most likely be, “Wizard of Oz,” and rightfully so, as that film is as iconic as Judy is.
Although the Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies of all time, that was not the first time I saw Ms. Garland in a movie.
I remember this adorable little film in which she starred with a handsome young man by the name of Mickey Rooney called “Babes in Arms.”
This film made its debut two months after the “Wizard of Oz” in 1939. Of course, the first time I saw both of these films would be twenty-seven years later at the ripe old age of seven!
I may have not understood the storyline, or even the words in the songs that were sung, but I did remember this, that Judy was so beautiful. She had the biggest brown eyes that would pull you into her soul and make you feel whatever it was she was singing or speaking. Her voice was as clear as a bell, filled with expression, and a full rich tone that no one would ever be able to match. She made you feel good with each role she played and every song she sang. As a little girl, I was hooked. I wanted to be just like her!
As I grew up, I would be introduced to more of her work as a young adult. Of course, my next experience with this amazing young woman would be the “Wizard of Oz.” I remember crying when I heard “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for the first time. Who knew it would be the most popular song ever to be written and performed in the next six decades!
Judy Garland will forever be remembered first and foremost as Dorothy Gale from Kansas who wore the ruby slippers.
After the Rainbow
However, I would like to introduce and reintroduce a few pieces of her work that were incredible. With the extensive list of accreditations to her name, the following three examples of Ms. Garlands work are but a drop in the bucket of just what this woman was capable of.
In 1944, Metro Goldwyn-Mayer cast Judy in the musical film “Meet Me in St. Louis.” It told the story of an American family living in St. Louis at the time if the Louisiana Purchase Exposition World’s Faire in 1904.
Judy played the role of Esther Smith. The two most memorable songs in the film were “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” which both became huge hits after the film was released.
Judy was instrumental in marking the way of today’s Christmas classic, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by speaking up and voicing her concerns when she was to sing the song to child actor co-star, Margaret O’Brien.
The original lyrics written by Hugh Martin referred to the fighting soldiers during WWII. Judy (as well as others) considered the song to be too depressing and mean for Judy to sing to Margaret O’Brien.
With a little resistance at first, Hugh Martin ended up changing the lyrics to the song. Further revisions were made when Frank Sinatra objected to the generally downbeat tone of the piece. The revised version is the one most commonly performed and today it is revered as a “Great American Classic.”
Judy Garland sang this song beautifully. The performance will forever stand in the hearts of many as she put this “Great American Classic” on the map.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last,
Next year we may all be living in the past
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, pop that champagne cork,
Next year we will all be living in New York.
No good times like the olden days, happy golden days of yore,
Faithful friends who were dear to us, will be near to us no more.
But at least we all will be together, if the Fates allow,
From now on we'll have to muddle through somehow.
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light,
From now on your troubles will be out of sight-
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, make the yuletide gay,
From now on your troubles will be miles away.
Here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends, who are dear to us, gather near to us once more.
Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow,
Hang a shining star above the highest bough,
and have yourself a merry little Christmas now.
Judy with an Arrrrgh!
Four years later, Judy starred in a film with one of the most incredible dancers the world has ever known, Gene Kelly. The movie was “The Pirate.”
It was a story about a girl who was engaged to the local rich man. However, she has dreams about the legendary pirate Macoco who in reality is a traveling singer who falls in love with her, then tries to impress her by posing as the infamous pirate.
Both Judy Garland and Gene Kelly were at the peak of their careers when this film was released.
Ms. Garland was absolutely breathtaking and played the part of Manuela brilliantly. This was one of her funniest roles as her “over the top” script allowed so much comic relief with Kelly. Kelly’s performance as the song and dance man was at its highest mark as he leaped from building to building, swung from ropes and staged his dance numbers flawlessly.
One of my favorite scenes in “The Pirate” is around the end when Manuela (Garland) discovers that Macoco (Kelly) is not the handsome pirate he was pretending to be. At first, her passion unfolds towards the “man of her dreams,” then without warning, her temper rises to the occasion and Kelly is dodging chairs and flower vases and anything else that comes into Manuela’s hot little hands!
One of Judy’s most memorable songs in “The Pirate” was “Mack the Black.” For a feature film of the era, the caliber of staging and choreography was superb, not to mention one of the most romantic and hottest kisses (between Kelly and Garland) ever.
"Get Happy" (Summer Stock)
Michael Jacson - Tribute to Judy....and
Three years after “The Pirate” was released, Kelly and Garland teamed up once again to bring to the screen yet another film of choreographed genius and songs that would once again, be performed by many throughout the next 60 years.
“Summer Stock” was about a New England farmer named Jane Falbury (Garland) who allows an acting troupe to use her barn as a theatre for a play they are doing. In return for Jane’s good gracious, the cast and crew promise to help her with the farm chores. During rehearsals, Jane is suddenly aware that she is falling in love with the show’s director, Joe D. Ross (Kelly). However, Ross just happens to be engaged to the show’s leading lady, Abigail *Jane’s Sister* (played by Gloria De Haven)
Probably one of the most memorable song and dance numbers that came from this film was Garland’s “Get Happy”. Even if you have never seen this film, chances are that you have either heard the music, have seen the number imitated by someone, or recognize the famous wardrobe Garland wears for the number. If you still don’t recognize the song, then you’re in for a real treat!
Donning a black tuxedo jacket, black silk stockings, 3” heels, a fedora and nothing else, Garland is surrounded by eight men who dance and move their way around the diva as she belts a jazzed up gospel song “Get Happy.”
This number has been the resource for many choreographers, performers, auditioners and recording artists.
A young and incredible talented Michael Jackson choreographed the same number in a collage paying tribute to the irreplaceable Judy Garland. Also, if you watch the video carefully, there is someone else whom he pays tribute to as well. Can you name the actor/singer/dancer and the two movies he is paying tribute to as well?
Throughout the years, we have watched Judy Garland films, have sung her songs, and even played her in various roles on stage. What she had brought to the industry was the essence of a true performer whose talent had made her a legend.
29 Foods that make you "Happy"
Feeling low? Try nibbling on these mood-altering foods and show the world your perky side!
Green beans, Ginseng tea, Tofu, Butternut Squash, Red snapper, Chocolate, Grapefruit, Wheat, Sesame seeds, Goat's milk, Butter beans, Cottage cheese, Portobello mushrooms, Liquorice, Cauliflower, Lentils, Oranges, Tuna, Parsley, Mackerel, Mutton kidneys, Hummus, Carrots, Halibut, Walnuts, Cod, Kelp, Sweetcorn.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Liz Rayen