She was born Francis Ethel Gumm, he was born Joseph Yule Jr, but the world knew them as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.
Above together for the first time in 1937's "Thoroughbreds Don't Cry".
At the age of six, Joseph became the character, "Mickey McGuire", in series of 78 comedy shorts between 1927 and 1936. During that period, Joseph Yule, Jr changed his name first to Mickey Yule, next to Mickey McGuire, and finally, the stage name of Mickey Rooney.
Above the 1927 Mickey McGuire short, "Mickey's Circus".
In 1934, Mickey Rooney portrayed "Blackie Gallagher" as a boy. The adult "Blackie" was played by Clark Gable in "Manhattan Melodrama", a movie remembered, because gangster John Dillinger watched it and as he left the movie theater was killed by FBI Agents.
Above, Clark Gable with 14-years-old Mickey Rooney. Below, Rooney as "Puck" in the "Warner Brothers", all-star, 1934 version of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Nights Dream".
The film would be followed by Mickey Rooney moving from "Warner Brothers" to "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer".
On August 14, 1929, a short subject entitled "The Big Revue" was released and appearing on-screen for the first time were "The Gumm Sisters".
Above, "The Gumm Sisters", left to right, Francis Ethel, Dorothy Virginia, and Mary Jane performing the song, "That's the Good Old Sunny South".
In January 1930, the "Gumm Sisters" appeared in the short film "Bubbles".
Below, "Baby Gumm" aka: Francis Ethel doing a solo in "Bubbles".
The sisters also appeared in the 1930 shorts, "A Holiday in Storyland" with a solo by Francis, and, "The Wedding of Jack and Jill".
"The Gumm Sisters" toured the vaudeville circuit, but in 1934, appearing with comedian George "Georgie" Jessel, at the "Oriental Theater", in Chicago. Jessel suggested the girls get a more appealing last name and they became "The Garland Sisters".
Above, Mary Jane now known as Suzanne, Dorothy Virginia, and Francis Ethel.
Three main stories about the choice of their new last name exist. The first is that Jessel gave them the name "Garland", using the character actress Carol Lombard played, "Lily Garland", in the 1934 motion picture "Twentieth Century". Which was showing on the big screen, at the Oriental, with the vaudeville acts at the time.
Judy Garland's daughter Lorna Luft stated the last name did come from Jessel, but only after he said the three sisters looked:
Prettier than a garland of flowers.
While a third states, the sisters chose the name after drama critic Robert Garland.
Whichever of the three, or maybe yet another story. The fact remained that the girls were now "The Garland Sisters" and Francis changed her name to "Judy", after hearing the popular Hoagy Carmichael song of that name.
The "Garland" sisters only lasted until about August 1935, when Suzanne left to marry musician Lee Kahn. However, on December 7, 1935, an already filmed Technicolor short, entitled "La Fiesta de Santa Barbara", was released by "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer". It became the last appearance of "The Garland Sisters" and they sang "La Cucaracha".
THOROUGHBREDS DON'T CRY released on December 3, 1937
Mickey should have had first billing, but the overnight popularity from "Dear Mr. Gable", put Judy in first position. Two things started here, a life-long friendship and the first teaming of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.
"Cricket West" wants to be an actress and lives at her eccentric aunt's, "Mother Ralph", played by Sophie Tucker, boarding house for jockey's. One of her aunt's boarders is "Timmie Donovan" and when Englishman "Roger Calveton", played by Ronald Sinclair, wants "Timmie" to ride for him in a very high stakes race.
Above, Ronald Sinclair, Judy Garland, and Mickey Rooney. I could not locate the horse's name. Below, Sinclair, Garland, and Sophie Tucker.
Below, Mickey with Lewis Stone in "You're Only Young Once".
Below left to right, Fanny Brice, Allan Jones, and Judy Garland.
Ann Rutherford had been appearing in motion picture since 1934, and her primary career would be playing "Andy's" girlfriend "Polly Benedict" through the entire series. However, her other films included having sixth billing in the Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier, 1940 version of Jane Auston's "Pride and Prejudice" from a screenplay by author Aldous Huxley, playing "Carreen" one of Vivian Leigh's sisters in 1939's "Gone with the Wind", co-starring with comedian Red Skelton in 1943's "Whistling in Brooklyn", and in 1950, Ann Rutherford switched to television roles for the next twenty-six years.
This was Lana Turner's fifth on-screen role and two had been without credited and one as a maid. Her break-through role was 1939's "Dancing Co-Ed" with first billing, but it was the 1940 musical "Two Girls on Broadway" billed over Joan Blondell and George Murphy that made her an "MGM" star and led to third billing in the Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman 1941 "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde".
Front row, left to right, Betsy Rose Clarke as "Aunt Milly", Lewis Stone as "Judge James K. 'Jim' Hardy" and Fay Holden as "Mrs. Emily Hardy".
Judy made two pictures after "Love Finds Andy Hardy", the second became a classic she would forever be known for, 1939's "The Wizard of Oz".
Above, a scene with the original cast of "The Wizard of Oz", that's Buddy Ebsen before the make-up caused him to be hospitalized and replaced by Jack Haley as the "Tin Man", seen below, in a different make-up base. Note the change to Judy Garland's "Dorothy Gale" between the two shoots.
BABES IN ARMS premiered in Houston, Texas, on September 15, 1939
"Babes in Arms" was a Broadway musical by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, but with the exception of two songs, the entire score was thrown out by "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer". The two songs left were "The Lady is a Tramp", but only the music and not the lyrics remained as a background piece during a dinner scene. The other song was "Where or When" and would be performed by Judy Garland.
The new musical score was written by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, Harold Allen and E.Y. Harburg, and Rodger Edens.
"MGM" tossed out the original book (the play's script) by Richard Rodgers and had eight writers, Jack MacGowan, Kay Van Riper, Anita Loos, Noel Langley, John Meehan, Florence Ryerson, Annalee Whitmore, and Edgar Allan Woof work on it to get final approval.
Mickey Rooney portrayed "Mickey Moran". Mickey had just been seen in 1939's "Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever". He would follow this picture with 1939's "Judge Hardy and Son".
The screenplay has the famous child star, who isn't a child anymore, but is still called "Baby' Rosalie Essex" played by June Preisser. Preisser was best known as Judy Garland's competition in this picture and 1940's "Strike Up the Band". She was an acrobatic dancer, a contortionist, and had that Shirley Temple dimpled look and blonde hair. June Preisser would follow this picture, without Judy, in 1939's "Judge Hardy and Son" as "Eurphrasia 'Phrasie' Daisy Clarke".
Above, Mickey Rooney and June Preisser
My article, "James Whale: Jean Harlow to Louis Hayward", that includes "Showboat", can be read at:
Grace Hayes portrayed "Florrie Morgan". Her career consisted of only eleven motion pictures and shorts combined.
Betty Jaynes portrayed "Molly Moran". Opera singer Jaynes' career totaled 14 roles, eight without credit, and her last was a 1952 episode of "I Love Lucy" entitled "The Operetta".
Douglas McPhail portrayed "Don Brice" and the baritone sang the rousing "Babes in Arms".
Above, Betty Jaynes and Douglas McPhail, the two was secretly married in 1938, had a daughter, and then in 1941 divorced with Jaynes being given sole custody of their daughter. A distraught McPhail took poison, but had called his mother and she sent medical assistance to save her son.
In 1943 Douglas McPhail volunteered for the army, during basic training he fell and spent eight-months bedridden, and was medically discharged. Now 30-years of age, the up-and-coming singer became a gardener to raise money for his musical schooling. On either December 4th, 6th, or 7th, 1944, depending on the biography and having been diagnosed with acute nervous exhaustion, Douglas McPhail took poison once more and passed away.
With the parents on the road, "Martha Steele", played by the evil "Wicked Witch of the West" herself, Margaret Hamilton, and her military school nephew, "Jeff", played by Rand Brooks, complain to "Judge Black", played by Guy Kibbee, and want the vaudeville kids sent to the institution now, but the judge refuses their request.
In a drug store, the couple "Mickey" and "Patsy", meet famous movie star "Baby Rosalie Essex", but "Jeff" enters and "Mickey" gets into a fight with him, causing damage. Brought before "Judge Black", "Mickey" tells him that their parents show flopped and the kindly Judge gives him 30-days to repay the damage he caused.
ANDY HARDY MEETS DEBUTANTE released on July 6, 1940
The plot has Mickey Rooney's "Andy Hardy" making up stories that he is romantically involved with socialite "Daphne Fowler", who lives in New York City, far away from "Andy's" hometown. However, "Judge Hardy" has to appear in a New York court and brings his family with him. It is then that "Andy" must face his lies and meet "Daphne". "Betsy Booth" is also in New York and "Andy" reveals the truth of his situation and it turns out that "Betsy" and "Daphne" are friends. The way out of his lies comes with "Daphne" going out and seen with "Andy"
As with "Babes in Arms", there was an original 1927 Broadway musical "Strike Up the Band" from a book (play) by Morrie Ryskind and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and music by George Gershwin. The only resemblance between the musical and this film is the title song.
Mickey Rooney portrayed "Jimmy Connors". Mickey followed this picture with two shorts and then another entry in the "Andy Hardy" series, 1941's "Andy Hardy's Private Secretary". not with Judy Garland, but 7th billed Kathryn Grayson in her first motion picture.
Judy Garland portrayed "Mary Holden". Judy followed this picture with, in first billing, a musical comedy 1940 "Little Nellie Kelly", co-starring George Murphy and Charles Winninger.
Popular band leader Paul Whiteman appeared as himself as both an actor and with his orchestra.
The threesome, Garland, Rooney, and Presser.
This is a great Busby Berkeley musical and really shows off the talents of his two leads.
"Jimmy Connors" is a student at Riverwood High School and plays the drums, but has a dream of having an orchestra of his own. With the help of his "Gal" "Mary Holden", the two sell the principle on creating a fund raising dance to pay for the instruments the music department is in debt over.
Paul Whiteman announces a contest in Chicago for the best High School Music Group and "Jimmy" wants to take the Riverwood Band there, but how to raise the money for the plane trip? In three weeks, the kids write, plan and put on a show, the musical melodrama "Nell from New Rochelle".
"Jimmy" gives "Willie's" parents the money to send him to Chicago. The band is given a last minute gift of a train ride to Chicago that will get the band there just in time, as the town turns out to send them off.
The Riverwood High School band wins the competition and Paul Whiteman lets "Jimmy Connors" conduct his orchestra. As Busby Berkeley puts together an excellent production number around the song "Strike Up the Band".
The following link takes my reader, at the time of this writing, to "The Drummer Boy" number that shows off another real talent of Mickey Rooney.
My article, "The Three Godfathers: A Christmas Allegory Interpreted By John Ford, William Wyler, Richard Boleslawski, and Edward Le Saint", can be read at:
Fourth billed, British actress, Fay Holden, remained as "Mrs. Emily Hardy" throughout the entire series. She is primarily known for this role, but her other films included small roles in the Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and Myrna Loy's 1938 "Test Pilot", 1941's "Ziegfeld Girl" that would star both Judy Garland and Lana Turner, the 1948 Western "Whispering Smith" starring Alan Ladd and Robert Preston, and director Cecil B. DeMile's 1949 "Sampson and Delilah" starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr.
Having graduated from High School, "Andy" considers himself an adult, and won't listen to his father about going to college and becoming a lawyer. Instead, with his friend "Betsy Booth", he drives to New York City to find a job.
The feature had two directors, one credited, Busby Berkeley, and one uncredited, Vincente Minnelli. Who would become Judy Garland's second husband on June 15, 1945.
It should be noted that 19-years-old Judy Garland stalled the production, when she eloped to Las Vegas to marry her first husband, composer David Rose, on July 28, 1941!
However, the plot was not what the audience came to see, and Busby Berkeley, with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, provide uplifting, forget the entry of the United States, only 24 days earlier, into the Second World War, for the moment energy and perfectly timed escapism.
Below Judy Garland, to her left with Virginia Weider as "Barbara Josephine 'Jo' Conway", and to her right, Faye Bainter as "Miss 'Jonesy' Jones".
As the above poster indicates, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland are just two of the "Guest Stars" in the "Stage Show Sequence".
Below, as of this writing, are two links watch the complete song production and the excellent accompaniment by Mickey Rooney.
Part Two accompanied by Mickey Rooney on the piano.
"Danny Churchill. Sr." played by Henry O'Neil is concerned that his young playboy son isn't concentrating on his studies and is "Girl Crazy". He takes him out of Yale and sends him to the "All Male" "Cody College of Mines and Agriculture" in the cactus filled American West.
After the train arrives at the station, "Danny" finds he must walk several miles to this isolated college. As he is walking through the desert a car driven by "Postmistress Ginger Gray" comes along and he gets a ride.
Once at school, "Danny" dislikes the "primitive facilities" and the "joke loving students", but he finally settles in and "Danny" and "Ginger" become a couple.
The Old West Show will be a success and enrollment in the college will starts going up, but on the day of the show, "Danny", thinking for the good of the school, crowns the governor's daughter "Queen" instead of "Ginger".
After which, he has to explain why to her. The film ends in a celebration dance and "Ginger" and "Danny" together.
Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland's last motion picture together, was:
Now, in "Words and Music", Judy Garland was only a "Guest Star" as Judy Garland, and sang the Rodgers and Hart songs, "I Wish I Were in Love Again", and "Johnny One Note".
While, within this fictional musical biography of "Rodgers and Hart", Mickey Rooney portrayed Lorenz Hart and Tom Drake portrayed Richard Rodgers with Bill Lee providing Drake's singing voice.
However, the fictional Lorenz Hart meets the real Judy Garland to perform the duet of "I Wish I Were in Love Again". Also in the sequence is Tom Drake as Richard Rodgers and Janet Leigh as his wife , "Dorothy Feiner Rodgers". Again as of this writing, the following link takes my reader to the song:
Above, Tom Drake, Judy Garland, and Janet Leigh in her fourth feature film, and below, Judy and Mickey.