Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas in The World of Wonder: Judy Garland's Christmas Special

Judy Garland is one of my all time favorite performers and one of two of my favorite holiday themed-traditions are listening to her sing her beautiful rendition of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and the other is watching her Christmas special. It actually was an episode of her television show. The show ran only one season on CBS (1963-64) due to a lot of behind the scenes turmoil and Judy sometime showing up after having a little bit too much to drink. This may or may not have been true of The Judy Garland Show's Christmas episode, guest-starring daughters Lorna Luft, Liza Minnelli, son Joey Luft, Mel Torme, and Jack Jones, but producers were minutes away from calling off the show because no one knew where the star was. Apparently, the night before the Christmas show taping, Garland had been on a major bender. Mel Torme's guest spot was a point of contention on the day the Christmas show was filmed. Torme had signed a contract with Garland's production company guaranteeing him a certain number of guest appearances during the season. Judy wasn't committing to those dates quickly enough and "The Velvet Fog" was very upset about it. Her introduction to Mel Torme on the program was noticeably awkward for that reason. First, Judy mistakenly calls Mel Torme 'Mort,' then flubs a line in Torme's , "The Christmas Song". When Torme good-naturedly points it out, Judy purposely changes the word "reindeer" with "rainbow" - alluding to her signature tune. The tension on the set seemed to bring out the best in everyone as they maneuvered around the spacious multilevel living room set - singing and dancing like their lives depended on it. Here is the opening to that great Holiday episode.

Here's one more Judy moment. This is from the Tonight Show.

1 comment:

Buzz Stephens said... has invited you to join thejudygarlandexperience
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The Judy Garland Experience not only features interesting discussions, but also has the webs most extensive library of rare Garland photo's, many never before seen. The group also features an ever-changing plethora of rare and unreleased recordings by Judy and many other artist's.
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