Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dream Maker, Heartbreaker...

Frances Ethel Gumm, b. June 10, 1922
She'd just be 90, which seems inconceivable.  Not just because never was someone less destined to make old bones than Judy, but also because she seems at once impossibly distant, with her roots in Vaudeville and her fierce devotion to a kind of showbiz that was fading even when she was in her too-short prime, and simultaneously eerily present.

Despite her legendary live performances, Garland was, is primarily a star of the recorded media - film, television, recordings - and so we can, at will, summon her up, appraise her all over again, experience the thrill and sadness and embarrassment and beauty of it all again and again.  They say the Judy Queens are dying off, but I believe there will always be a few of us around.

Wherever we're going, she's going our way, our huckleberry friend...


  1. dying off? oh dear, like flies.

    so, will liza make it to 90?

    1. Oh, Norma, you know I love her to death, but I wouldn't put cash on her lasting 'til Thursday.

      Which doubtless means she'll outlive us all.

    2. 24 more years of Liza? The thought is lovely...if mind boggling.

      If Keith Richards is still with us, anything is possible. often do those two get mentioned in the same post?

  2. As long as the BBC continues to show The Wizard Of Oz every Xmas, Miss Gumm/Garland will never die... Jx

  3. Lovely clip, of course that's true of all of the musical segments from her show. Her performance of Old Man River on that program was astonishingly moving.

    I agree that as long as The Wizard of Oz is shown or available which pretty assuredly will be always it will keep her current in popular culture. For many that will hopefully lead to checking out her other work since so much is readily available.

    Today in the states TCM is doing a 24 hour tribute of her films plus short subjects and specialty numbers featuring her, the only time I can recall an entire day being devoted to a single artist, from the dewy sweetness of 15 year old Judy to the brittle, seen it all sophisticate of I Could Go On Singing.

    A truly unique talent. People who are unaware of her don't know what they're missing.

  4. How funny, I just watched this wonderful clip the other night! Will be posting an episode from her show soon.

  5. It's funny how often I feel the need to watch 'I Could Go On Singing'. Is it just me?

  6. Well, I looked and looked, but there doesn't appear to be a picture extant of Liza with Keith Richards. I'm really rather surprised.

    I'm of two minds about I Could Go On Singing, as it seems clear through so much of it how little is acting and how much is Dirk Bogarde helping her make it through. On the other hand, the bravery of going through with, by all concerned, is astonishing.

    On a lighter note, someday when I have the energy I plan to write a play about Jenny Bowman and Jenny Stewart (Crawford in Torch Song) going out on the road together (in some chestnut like Old Acquaintance), or possibly teaming up with Helen Lawson. It could be like Legends, except for drag queens (and, presumably, not terrible).