Babes on Broadway
MGM, 1941 (BW, 121 minutes, Production No. 1204)
A group of talented youngsters looking for their first Broadway break decide to produce their own show, staging a benefit for an orphanage. First they give a block party to raise money for theater rental, but just as they
are about to give their big show, fate throws them a curve - the theater is condemned.
[MGM press release]
Produced by: Arthur Freed
Directed by: Busby Berkeley
Screen Play by: Fred Finklehoffe and Elaine Ryan
Original Story by: Fred Finklehoffe
Songs by: , ,
Musical Adaptation: Roger Edens
Musical Direction: Georgie Stoll
Vocals and Orchestrations: Leo Arnaud, George Bassman, Conrad Salinger
Art Director: Cedric Gibbons
Associate: Malcolm Brown
Set Decorations: Edwin B. Willis
Musical Presentation: Merrill Pye
Gowns by: Kalloch
Men's Wardrobe by: Gile Steele
Make-Up Created by: Jack Dawn
Recording Director: Douglas Shearer
Director of Photography: Lester White
Film Editor: Fredrick Y. Smith
Filmed: June 1941 - October 1941 (Judy turned 19 during filming)
Released: December 1941
... Tommy Williams
... Penny Morris
... Miss Jones ("Jonesy")
... Barbara Jo Conway
... Ray Lambert
... Morton Hammond ("Hammy")
... Mr. Stone
... Thornton Reed
... Mrs. Williams
... Mr. Morris
... Inspector Moriarity
... third girl opposite Hammy - uncredited!
... (debut) Jonesy's Secretary
... (Mickey Rooney's real-life father) Mason, Reed's Aid
... (debut) Child Auditioner
... Radio Man
... Little Man Customer
... Fat Man Customer
... Pit Astor Girls
... Man in Audience
... Excited Russian
... "Hoe Down" Dancer
... Actress-Committee Extra
... Bit (unconfirmed)
... Bit (unconfirmed)]
The Five Musical Maids ... vocals
The Stafford Quartet ... vocals
The Debutantes ... vocals
The Notables ... vocals
The Uptowners ... vocals
[0:00] (sung by Chorus behind titles)
[0:02] (sung and danced by Mickey Rooney, Ray McDonald and Richard Quine)
[0:23] [AAN] (sung and danced by Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney)
[0:32] Margaret O'Brien Audition (her first screen appearance)
[0:44] Little boy playing piano (Who is he? What is he playing?)
[0:45] (sung and danced by Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Six Hits and a Miss, The Five Musical Maids, MGM Studio Chorus)
[1:00] (sung by Judy Garland, St. Luke's Episcopal Church Choristers, MGM Studio Chorus)
[1:18] Ghost Theater Sequence: (background vocals by The Stafford Quartet, The Debutantes, The Notables and The Uptowners)
Ghost Theater Prelude (MGM Studio Orchestra)
"Cyrano de Bergerac" (performed by Mickey Rooney)
(sung by Judy Garland)
She Is Ma Daisy (sung and danced by Mickey Rooney)
(sung and danced by Judy Garland)
Bernhardt (La Marseillaise) (spoken by Judy Garland)
(sung and danced by Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland)
[1:32] (sung by Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Richard Quine, Ray McDonald, Virginia Weidler, Annie Rooney, Robert Bradford, and the MGM Studio Chorus)
[1:33] (sung and danced by Mickey Rooney and the MGM Studio Chorus)
[1:42] Minstrel Show Sequence:
Minstrel Show, Part 1 (performed by Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Ray McDonald, Virginia Weidler, Richard Quine, Annie Rooney)
(Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Ray McDonald, Virginia Weidler, Richard Quine, Annie Rooney and the MGM Studio Chorus)
Minstrel Show, Part 2 (performed by Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Richard Quine, Ray McDonald, Virginia Weidler, Annie Rooney)
(sung by The Uptowners, The Dick Davis Quartet and the MGM Studio Chorus, danced by Ray McDonald)
Minstrel Show, Part 3 (performed by Richard Quine and the MGM Studio Chorus)
(sung and danced by Judy Garland and the MGM Studio Chorus)
(played by Eddie Peabody on banjo dubbing for Mickey Rooney on-screen, with MGM Studio Orchestra)
(played by Eddie Peabody on banjo dubbing for Mickey Rooney on-screen, with MGM Sturio Orchestra)
Minstrel Show, Part 5: (sung and danced by Virginia Weidler, Annie Rooney, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney and the MGM Studio Chorus)
(reprised by Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Ray McDonald, Virginia Weidler, Richard Quine, Annie Rooney and the MGM Studio Chorus)
Judy turned 19 as she began work on this film, which followed close on the heels of .
Judy had two hit songs from this film. "How About You," performed with Mickey Rooney, was nominated for the for 1942.
"F.D.R. Jones," performed solo, was also a hit. She recorded both songs for Decca, and performed them numerous times on radio.
This was the third of the four Mickey/Judy "backyard musicals" directed by Busby Berkeley. Previously released were (1939) and (1940), and still to come was (1943).
Shirley Temple - having just come to MGM from Fox - was to have been in the film, but declined when her mother cautioned her against it. Shirley's part was given to Virginia Weidler.
This film features the screen debut of Margaret O'Brien, who was to become the "Shirley Temple of the forties".
Donna Reed made her screen debut in this film as Jonesy's secretary.
Vincente Minnelli scripted the "Ghost Theater" segment in which Mickey and Judy offer impressions of legendary stage favorites Richard Mansfield, Sir Harry Lauder, George M. Cohan, Fay Templeton, Blanche Ring and Sarah
Veteran vaudevillian Elsie Janis was employed to coach Mickey and Judy in the Ghost Theatre sequence. She was especially appreciative of Judy and later wrote, "She can be anything she wants to be, and it will be very
interesting to watch her heart and head battle it out. The former is enormous - the latter is surprisingly small, considering the crowns and laurels it has to hold up. Judy has gone farther, faster than anyone I know - and she has not yet started."
The finale was a flop in the original preview. Roger Edens later said, "We tried to figure out why. As it turned out we realized there was no shot of Mickey and Judy making up in blackface, so the audience didn't know it was
Judy and Mickey. And it was a very good lesson: if you ever are going to show someone in disguise, you better show them putting it on. So we did a retake showing Mickey and Judy getting into blackface so that the audience could tell it was them. And then
the number went like a house on fire."
Some of the outtakes were used in a 1942 musical called , starring Virginia Weidler, Ray McDonald and Doug McPhail.
The soundtrack was released by Rhino Records as part of a 4-CD set entitled "Mickey and Judy," (1995).
See for information about the latest releases of home video and sountrack.
See for more information on this and other classic films.
Nominated for ("How About You?")
"As great a job as has ever been put into one picture. The audience wore themselves out applauding."
- Hollywood Reporter
"Blurbs could never measure up to the performance of that ever-surprising Judy. The shivers go up and down your spine in admiration."
- editor Billy Wilkerson
"Mickey Rooney, who would rather be caught dead than underplaying, has his hands full when he encounters bright-eyed Judy Garland ... Miss Garland, now 19 and wise to her co-star's propensity for stealing scenes, neatly
takes the picture away from him."
- Time, January 19, 1942
Tommy (leaving his apartment): "I'm going to get a little air. I'm a little flat."
Tommy (to Penny): "Oh, isn't it wonderful, the things you can find these days in drugstores!"
Tommy: "Oh, well I was a failure yesterday, now look at me today!"
Penny: "You mean you even looked worse yesterday? [pause] I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. But, I was a success yesterday..."
Tommy: "You mean you even looked better yesterday?"