Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mickey & Judy—Swinging Soul Mates

One of the finest teams in movie musical history, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney made an indelible impression on popular culture, epitomizing the youth and energy of the late 30s and early 40s. Often directed by the visionary, hard-driving mad genius Busby Berkeley, the talented pair sang and danced into superstardom with winning artistry, exuberance and personality. At first, Rooney was the headliner and Garland the up-and-comer, but as time went on, Judy went on to even greater success without her partner, as Rooney’s star dimmed perceptibly. Together, though, they were always electric. 

The premise of most of their pictures was simple--a group of energetic, small-town youngsters headed for the big time--and summed up by the now-cliched phrase (always uttered by a manic Mickey), “Hey, kids...let’s put on a show!”

Both workaholic child stars, chafing for freedom under the thumb of strong stage mothers and a strict studio system, "Mick" and "Joots" immediately formed a deep bond. Their friendship translated into sparkling onscreen chemistry and box office gold. “Mickey and I were like two halves of the same person,” Judy recalled years later. “I always knew what he was going to do before he did it, and vice versa.” Though they perfectly portrayed the angst and joy of young romance in the nine pictures they made together, off-screen they were more like brother and sister. Their bond was strictly platonic. 

Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)

Babes in Arms (1939)

Strike Up the Band (1940)

Babes On Broadway (1941)

Girl Crazy (1943)

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