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Judy Garland Database

Film Review: Vitaphone Shorts

DVD

Vitaphone

Judy Garland on the Vitaphone lot.

In the fall and winter of 1929 the Gumm Sisters appeared in three of the "Vitaphone Kiddies" short subjects produced by Roy Mack, including A Holiday in Storyland, The Wedding of Jack and Jill and Bubbles.

Long believed to be "a lost film" and only recently discovered at the Library of Congress, Bubbles offers (however briefly) Baby Gumm in her fourth screen appearance. As evidenced by The Big Revue, the onset of "talkies" had led several Hollywood studios to produce brief musical short subjects; director Roy Mack built a series of such one-reel entertainments around a melange of moppet performers, billed collectively as "The Vitaphone Kiddies." The Gumm Sisters were seen in three of Mack's shorts, all filmed in autumn and early winter 1929, and Bubbles was the last of these. The girls appear in the first showcase number of the film's "dream sequence," "The Land of Let's Pretend" (Clarke/Akst). Thereafter, they function merely as stage dressing, although historians have for years listed "Lady Luck" as Baby Gumm's specific solo in the short. First National's music rights department did indeed apply for a license for that title, but the number was either deleted before release or serves merely as orchestral accompaniment for the dance of another child; the picture includes no specialty for Judy. But - more so than in The Big Revue - Bubbles provides the opportunity to see (at least physically) a sort of Munchkin Judy Garland, already in possession of piercing vocal projection and (in her first close-up) already reaching out to touch her audience, even in a choreographed gesture. (Originally photographed in two-color Technicolor, the surviving negative of Bubbles is in black and white).

- John Fricke, liner notes to "Judy Garland: The Golden Years at M-G-M"

Notes

The film "Bubbles" and audio from "A Holiday in Storyland" and "The Wedding of Jack and Jill" is all included on the laser disc box set, "Judy Garland: The Golden Years at M-G-M," MGM/UA ML104869 (1994).

The film "Bubbles" is included on the Meet Me in St Louis DVD

The film "Bubbles" is available on videotape from various collectors.

"A Holiday in Storyland"

Vitaphone, 1929 (BW, short)
Vitaphone Varieties
Presented by Vitaphone
a Subsidiary of Warner Brothers Pictures
Produced with Western Electric Apparatus
The Vitaphone Kiddies
Directed by Roy Mack
"Holiday in Storyland" (Jerome-Berg) [chorus]
"When the Butterflies Kiss the Buttercups Goodbye" (Jerome-Berg)
[The Three Kute Kiddies] (The Gumm Sisters)
"Blue Butterfly" [Baby Gumm]
Filmed: late 1929, at First National Studio, Burbank, CA

"The Wedding of Jack and Jill"

Vitaphone, 1930 (BW, short)
Vitaphone Varieties
Presented by Vitaphone
a Subsidiary of Warner Brothers Pictures
Produced with Western Electric Apparatus
The Vitaphone Kiddies
Directed by Roy Mack
"Hang On to the Rainbow" (Green/Stept) [Baby Gumm]
Filmed: late 1929, at First National Studio, Burbank, CA

"Bubbles"

Vitaphone, 1930 (BW, 7 minutes)
Vitaphone Varieties
Presented by Vitaphone
a Subsidiary of Warner Brothers Pictures
Produced with Western Electric Apparatus
The Vitaphone Kiddies
in "Bubbles"
Music and Lyrics by M.K. Jerome & Harold Bero
Directed by Roy Mack
Photography by Willard Van Enger and Howard Green
"The Land of Let's Pretend" (Clarke/Akst)
[The Gumm Sisters, w/Baby Gumm solo]
Filmed: December 1929 at First National Studio, Burbank, CA
"Bubbles" is included on the Meet Me in St Louis DVD



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