BABES IN ARMS

STUDIO:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

PRODUCTION NUMBER:  1088

PRODUCTION DATES:  April – July 1939

PRODUCTION COST:   $745,341.03

RUNNING TIME:  91 minutes

RELEASE DATE:  October 10, 1939

INITIAL BOX OFFICE:  $3,324,819

Babes in Arms was the first of the four “Let’s Put On A Show” musicals Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney made together.  Before production on The Wizard of Oz was completed, that film’s uncredited associate producer Arthur Freed had lobbied MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer to let him move from songwriter to full-fledged film producer.  On October 7, 1938, Freed was having one of his frequent breakfasts with Mayer, and brought up the subject of Rodgers & Hart’s Babes in Arms: “It’s ideal for Mickey and Judy, boss.  And for the first time, Mickey is going to sing and dance!”  Actually it wasn’t Mickey’s first time singing and dancing, but his first big film musical.  To further butter-up Mayer, Freed explained that just the previous night agent Leland Hayward told him that the movie rights were up for sale at the bargain price of $21,000.  Mayer reportedly said: “It sounds great! Make a deal!”  And with that, Arthur Freed became a producer, forming “The Freed Unit” which would be responsible for most of Hollywood’s greatest musicals.  Judy was an integral part of the unit, and it’s safe to say that without her many of MGM’s greatest musicals (both during and after her tenure) would never have been made.  It was due to Judy’s success, and Mickey’s, in these early Freed musicals that he was able to build “my own little Camelot” as he called his unit, bringing together stellar talent who all had a passion for advancing the film musical.  The Freed Unit became so successful that it was virtually untouchable, even during the tumultuous years in the early 1950s when MGM went through massive management and policy changes.

Freed brought in Busby Berkeley from Warner Bros. to direct Babes In Arms.  Berkeley had resurrected the film musical from near-death in the early 1930s with his amazing kaleidoscope production numbers that seemed to take place on an endless stage.  Berkeley’s hiring was a natural one, as Freed wanted the best in the business.  A hard drinker and sometimes uncaring taskmaster, Berkeley completed Babes In Arms in a short 11 weeks while also eschewing his kaleidoscope production numbers for a more realistic approach that would become one of the hallmarks of the MGM musical.  The later animosity that Judy justifiably felt towards Berkeley had not yet surfaced when they were brought together for the first time with Babes In Arms.  In fact, Berkeley would later cite 1942’s For Me And My Gal (starring Judy and Gene Kelly) as his personal favorite of all the films he directed. About Judy and Mickey, Berkeley said: “Nobody ever topped Judy and Mickey.  I don’t know any two kids who could be better than those two were.”  Rooney recognized Berkeley as “a genius” but also stated: “He was tough on all of us.  He was always screaming at Judy, ‘Eyes! Eyes! Open them wide!  I want to see your eyes!’  To him, her eyes were his greatest asset.”

The musical adaptation for Babes In Arms was completed by the genius Roger Edens.  In 1935 Edens had played piano for the audition that gave Judy her MGM contract.  From that point until the end of her life he guided her musically and in the early years helped shape her musical image, style, and sound.  His input and uncanny ability to know what worked musically within any film or stage show was a major factor in The Freed Unit’s success for over two decades.

Although Freed enjoyed the original Rodgers & Hart “Babes in Arms” on the stage, in true Hollywood fashion he instructed the writers to throw out most of the score and alter the plot.  The main reason that the songs “The Lady Is A Tramp” and “I Wish I Were In Love Again” were removed was that they were considered too adult in content for the teen characters.  However, the unmistakable melody of “The Lady Is A Tramp” pops up frequently in the underscore.  As an accomplished songwriter himself Freed had a few of his own new tunes to add (“I Cried For You” and “Good Morning”) plus a Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg song “God’s Country” that was appropriately patriotic.  Also unused from the original Rodgers & Hart score were “Way Out West” and “My Funny Valentine.”

The new plot for the film version of Babes in Arms became the prototype of all the “Hey kids, let’s put on a show!” musicals:  Misunderstood youngsters get together and put on a show as a means to an end – that end usually being a charitable case of some sort.  Even today “Let’s Put On A Show” is a cultural shorthand that typically reflects youthful enthusiasm.  Disney’s popular “High School Musical” film series is a modern update of the Judy/Mickey musicals.  The music style may be different, but the basics of the plots are pretty much the same.

When the film was previewed in July, the minstrel number didn’t play well until it was realized that there was no establishing shot showing Judy and Mickey putting on their blackface make-up. It wasn’t initially clear to the audience that it was Judy and Mickey.  Some new shots were needed to film them putting on the make-up. Edens said: “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 [them].  And it was a very good lesson:  If you are ever going to show someone in disguise, you better show them putting it on.  So we did a retake showing [them] getting into blackface And then the number went like a house on fire.”

The only other issue the film ran into was a result of the big “God’s Country” finale that took up the final days of shooting on Stage 27 at a cost of $32,970.  Those were the days when films had to get the stamp of approval of The Motion Picture Production Code prior to release, or they wouldn’t get shown.  “God’s Country” prompted the following letter from the “Hays Office”:

Dear Mr. Mayer:

We have read the “God’s Country” Finale (pages 1 through 4) dated July 3, 1939, for your proposed production titled Babes in Arms, and are happy to report that this material comes under the requirements of the Production Code.

However, on Page 3, Mickey used the word “shag.” This should be changed since in England and the British colonies this word has a very objectionable sexual meaning which would cause its deletion by numerous political censor boards.

You understand, of course, that our final judgment will be based upon the finished picture.

Cordially yours,
Joseph I. Breen

After special engagements around the country in September of 1939, Babes In Arms had its Hollywood premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theater on October 10, 1939.  The event was highlighted by Judy’s placing her hand and footprints in the forecourt.  Judy later told the amusing story about how the cement crept under her studio manufactured fake fingernails, sealing them to her real ones.  She had to have the studio “chip the glamour off” the next day! 

Hedda Hopper sat behind Judy and Mickey during the premiere showing and reported: “The house lights came on, and Judy was crying through the applause. ‘I know what you’re thinking.’  Mickey said to her.  ‘We’re two kids from vaudeville, and we didn’t mean a damn thing for so long.  And now it’s happened to both of us.”  Thanks to Babes and her other 1939 hit The Wizard of Oz, Judy made the exhibitor’s top ten list for the first time in her career.  She and Bette Davis were the only female stars on the list for 1939.  Babes and The Wizard of Oz were also on the top ten list for 1939.

Babes eclipsed Wizard in total box office receipts.  It was such a huge hit that Mickey was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor of 1939.  His competition was incredible: Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind, James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Laurence Olivier in Wuthering Heights, and Robert Donat in Goodbye Mr. Chips (three of the five are MGM films!).  Donat won. Judy was awarded the “juvenile” Oscar for her work in 1939. She later jokingly called it her “Munchkin Award.”  The fact that Mickey was nominated in the Best Actor category while Judy was relegated to the “juvenile” Oscar must have struck her as a bit bias if not downright chauvinistic.  If so, she didn’t show it, and upon receiving the award from Mickey at the Oscar ceremony was coaxed into singing “Over the Rainbow” for the stellar crowd.  Even if Judy were nominated in the Best Actress category neither she nor anyone else could have stood a chance against Vivien Leigh’s performance as Scarlett O’Hara.  Roger Edens and Georgie Stoll were also nominated for Best Score but lost to Richard Hageman, W. Franke Harling, John Leipold, and Leo Shuken’s work on Stagecoach.

TIMELINE:

  • April 30, 1939: Rehearsals began for Babes In Arms.
  • May 3, 1939: Costume tests.
  • May 6, 1939: Rehearsals for “Opera Vs. Jazz” number.  Judy had a 10 a.m. call; dismissed: 12:40 p.m.
  • May 8, 1939: Rehearsals for “Opera Vs. Jazz” & “Good Morning” numbers.  Judy had a 1 p.m. call; dismissed: 4:55 p.m.  Also on this day, Judy and Ray Bolger re-recorded a version of “We’re Off To See The Wizard” for The Wizard of Oz.
  • May 10, 1939:  Pre-recording session for “Opera Vs. Jazz” and “Rock-A-Bye Baby.” “Baby” is not known to exist nor was it ever filmed.  Judy was on the set at 11:30 a.m.; had lunch from 1-2 p.m.; dismissed: 6 p.m.
  • May 11, 1939: Pre-recording session for “Good Morning,” “Opera Vs. Jazz,” and “Where or When.”  Time called: 12:30 p.m.; dismissed: 4:05 p.m.
  • May 12, 1939: Shooting began on Stage 3 with the “Good Morning” number on the “Interior Randall’s Office” set.  The assistant director’s notes state: “JG – Time called: 9 a.m.; arrived on set at 8:52 a.m.; 9:14-9:20 – wait for Judy Garland, putting on wardrobe; 9:30-9:44 – fix Judy’s makeup and hair; lunch was from 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:40 p.m.”
  • May 13, 1939: Filming continued on the “Interior Randall’s Office” set as well as on the “Interior Moran Living Room” set.  The assistant director’s notes state: “JG – Time called: 9 a.m.; lunch: 12:40-1:40 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:55 p.m.”
  • May 14, 1939:  Pre-recording session for “Opera Vs. Jazz.”
  • May 15, 1939: Pre-recordings completed for: “Good Morning,” “Opera Vs. Jazz” and “Where Or When.” Plus filming on the “Interior Moran Living Room” set.  Judy had a 9 a.m. call.  The assistant director’s notes state: “9:00-9:17 – wait for Judy Garland – she arrived on set 9 a.m.; but was putting on wardrobe.  Meantime, rehearse without Judy; 9:17-9:20 – wait for Judy Garland; lunch was 12:07-1:07; time dismissed: 6 p.m.”  
  • May 16, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Interior Moran Living Room” set.  The assistant director’s notes state: “Judy’s time called: 9 a.m.; 9:00-9:12 – rehearsed to playback without Judy; 9:12-9:20 – wait for Judy.  She arrived on set at 9 a.m.; but was putting on wardrobe.  Lunch was from 12:00-1:00 p.m.; 2:53-3:23 – new set was arranged and lit (note that the company had to shoot around Judy until 4:30 p.m. since she had to finish her school work0 Judy was dismissed at 6 p.m.”
  • May 17, 1939:  Filming continued on the Interior Moran Living Room” set.  Time called: 8:30 a.m.; lunch: 12:00-1:00 p.m.; dismissed: 5:30 p.m.
  • May 18, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Interior Moran Living Room” set as well as the “Interior Corridor – Backstage” and “Interior Mickey’s Bedroom” sets.  The assistant director’s notes state: “9:00-9:15 – wait for JG who had a 9:00 a.m. call.  Judy arrived on set at 8:58 a.m.; but was putting on wardrobe and fixing hair; lunch was from 12:25-1:25 p.m.; time dismissed: 3:10 p.m.
  • May 19, 1939:  Judy spent the day in school and did not work on the film
  • May 20, 1939:  Filming moved to the “Interior Drugstore” set.  The assistant director’s notes state: “JG – Time called: 9 a.m.; lunch was from 12:40-1:40 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:56 p.m.
  • May 22:  Filming moved to the “Interior Barton’s Dressing Room” and “Interior Sorro’s Office” sets.  The assistant director’s notes state: “JG – Time called 9 a.m.; lunch: 12:38-1:38 p.m.; 2:25-2:55 – move to Int. Sorro’s Office.  Note: we could not finish this sea. in the dressing room until later on in the afternoon after Judy Garland could finish her school work.  She will be finished with same about 4:45; 4:34-4:58 – Move back to Int. Mrs. Barton’s Dressing Room – line and lite original setup that we had to abandon due to Judy Garland’s schooling; 4:58-5:01 – wait for Judy Garland – getting on wardrobe/fixing hair; dismissed at 6 p.m.”
  • May 23, 1939:  Pre-recording session for “I Cried For You.”  Filming continued on the “Interior Jim’s Saloon” and “Exterior Moran Home” sets but without Judy.
  • May 24, 1939:  Filming moved to the “Interior Palace Theater” set.  Time called: 1:00 p.m.; dismissed: 4:00 p.m.
  • May 25, 1939:  Filming moved to the “Interior Patsy’s Bedroom” and “Interior Judge Black’s Office” sets.  The assistant director’s notes state: “JG – Time called: 9 a.m.; time dismissed: 1:30 p.m.; lunch: 12:18-1:18 p.m.; 1:25-1:30 – Note: Judy Garland, who had a bad cold all morning, informed Bill Ryan that she could not work this afternoon.”
  • May 26, 1939:  Judy was out sick.
  • May 27, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Interior Patsy’s Bedroom” and “Interior Bus” (“I Cried For You” song) sets.  The assistant director’s notes state: “JG – time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:43-1:43; time dismissed: 6 p.m.”
  • May 29, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Interior Judge Black’s Office” set.  Time called: 9 a.m.; dismissed: 3:15 p.m.
  • May 31, 1939:  The assistant director’s notes state that Judy was in school on this day and did not work on Babes in Arms however she posed for publicity photos for the film.
  • June 1, 1939: The assistant director’s notes state that Judy was in school on this day and did not work on the film.
  • June 2, 1939:  Filming moved to the “Exterior Country Road and Path” set.  The assistant director’s notes state: “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:31-1:31 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:40 p.m.”
  • June 3, 1939:  Filming moved to the “Exterior Bus Termina” and “Exterior Paty’s Home” sets.  The assistant director’s notes state: “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:35-1:35 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:55 p.m.”
  • June 5, 1939:  The assistant director’s notes state that Judy was in school on this day and did not work on the film.
  • June 6, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Exterior Paty’s Home,” “Exterior Moran Home,” and “Interior Paty’s Hall and Stairs” sets.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9 a.m.; lunch was 12:15-1:15 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:50 p.m.
  • June 7, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Exterior Moran Backyard” set, the “Where or When” song.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch was 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:45 p.m.”
  • June 8, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Exterior Moran Backyard” set, the “Where or When” song.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch was 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:45 p.m.
  • June 9, 1939:  Filming continued although the scene was not noted.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:20-1:20 p.m.; time dismissed: 6 p.m.”
  • June 10, 1939:  Judy’s seventeenth birthday was spent filming on the “Interior and Exterior Barn Theatre” sets.  Judy had a 10 a.m. call time and was dismissed at 5:50 p.m.  The lunch hour was not noted.  Judy also celebrated her birthday at her new home with guests that included Artie Shaw.  
  • June 12, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Interior and Exterior Barn Theatre” sets.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 6 p.m.
  • June 13, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Interior and Exterior Barn Theatre” sets.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; time dismissed: 5:00 p.m.
  • June 14, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Interior and Exterior Barn Theatre” sets.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 10:00 a.m.; time dismissed: 4:10 p.m.
  • June 15, 1939:  Filming continued on the ‘Interior Barn Theatre,” Rosalie’s Dressing Room,” and “Night Interior Palace Theatre” sets.  Judy had no scenes on the latter two sets.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch was 12:20-1:20 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:40 p.m.”
  • June 16, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Interior Barn” set (the “Opening Night” scene), plus rehearsals of the “Babes In Arms” number.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch was 12:50-1:50 p.m.; time dismissed: 4:00 p.m.”  Publicity portraits of the cast were also taken on this day.  The second test screening/preview of The Wizard of Oz was held at the Pomona Theater in Los Angeles, California.
  • June 17, 1939:  Judy had rehearsals of the “Babes In Arms” number along with scenes shot on the “Exterior Alley,” “Exterior Lumber Yard,” Exterior Moran Back Yard,” and “Exterior Moran Home” sets.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; time dismissed: 12:15 p.m.
  • June 19, 1939:  Judy rehearsed the “Minstrel Number” and shot more of “I Cried For You” on the ‘Interior Bus” set.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 21:10-2:10 p.m.; time dismissed: 6:00 p.m.
  • June 20, 1939:  More rehearsals of the ‘Minstrel Number.”  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:15-1:15 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:55 p.m.”
  • June 21, 1939:  More rehearsals of the “Minstrel Number.”  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:10-1:10 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:25 p.m.”
  • June 22, 1939:  More rehearsals of the “Minstrel Number.”  Judy (and the cast) pre-recorded “Babes In Arms.”  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JB – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:00-1:00 p.m.; time dismissed: 6:00 p.m.”
  • June 23, 1939:  More rehearsals of the “Minstrel Number” and more pre-recording of the “Babes In Arms” number.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:00-1:00 p.m.; time dismissed: 4:10 p.m.”
  • June 24, 1939:  More rehearsals of the “Minstrel Number” plus a pre-recording session for “Minstrel Man.”  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JB – Time called: 1:00 p.m.; time dismissed: 6:00 p.m.”
  • June 26, 1939:  Filming began on the “Babes In Arms” number on the “Exterior Moran Backyard” set.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JB – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:40-1:40 p.m.; time dismissed: 6:00 p.m.”
  • June 27, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Babes In Arms” number on the “Exterior Moran Backyard” and “Exterior Alley” sets.  There was a pre-recording session for the “Minstrel Show Sequence” (including the “I’m Just Wild About Harry” song) and the “Finale” (including “God’s Country”).  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:15-1:15 p.m.; time dismissed: 6:00 p.m.  There was also another test screening of The Wizard of Oz in San Luis Obispo, California.
  • June 28, 1939:  Filming of the “Babes In Arms” number continued on the “Exterior Lumber Yard” set.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:30 p.m.
  • June 29, 1939:  A very busy day for Judy.  Filming continued on the “Babes In Arms” number on the “Exterior School Yard” set.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – time called: 1:00 p.m.; Time dismissed: 10:00 p.m.”  The notes also state: “Judy Garland worked on Good News program between 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.”  The “Good News” program was the now-famous “Maxwell House Coffee Time” program on NBC Radio that was dedicated to The Wizard of Oz and featured Judy’s very first public performance of “Over the Rainbow.”  The entire show can be heard here (zip file).
  • June 30, 1939:  Judy took a break from filming to film retakes for The Wizard of Oz.  This was Judy’s final work on Oz.
  • July 1, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Exterior Barn Theatre” set, the “Minstrel” number.  The assistant director’s notes state: “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:45 p.m.”
  • July 3, 1939:  Filming of the “Minstrel” number continued on the “Exterior Barn Theatre” set.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:20-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 6:00 p.m.”
  • July 5, 1939:  Filming of the “Minstrel” number continued on the “Exterior Barn Theatre” set.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 10:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 7:00 p.m.”
  • July 6, 1939:  Filming of the “Minstrel” number continued on the “Exterior Barn Theatre” and “Interior Backstage” sets.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; 10:30-11:12 – wait for Judy – putting on ‘Hi Yeller’ makeup which was difficult to get to right shade.  Also putting on body makeup and ‘Hi Yeller’ costume – Note Cameraman found that Judy’s face makeup was not dark enough makeup and had to be done over in a darker shade; 11:12-11:24 – rehearsal for Judy and Mickey in dance; lunch: 12:18-1:18 p.m.; time dismissed: 4:30 p.m.”
  • July 7, 1939:  Judy had a rehearsal of “God’s Country.”  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:05-1:05 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:45 p.m.”
  • July 8, 1939:  Another rehearsal of “God’s Country.”  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; time dismissed: 12:30 p.m.”
  • July 10, 1939:  Another rehearsal of “God’s Country.”  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:40-1:40 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:50 p.m.”
  • July 11, 1939:  Another rehearsal of “God’s Country.”  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:20-1:20 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:20 p.m.”
  • July 12, 1939:  Rehearsal and pre-recording session for the “God’s Country” number.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 6:00 p.m.
  • July 13, 1939:  Filming continued on the “Interior Madox Theatre” set, the finale sequence which was shot on Stages 5 and 6.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 1:09-2:09 p.m.; time dismissed: 6:00 p.m.”
  • July 14, 1939:  Filming of the “God’s Country” number continued.  The assistant director’s notes state: “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:45 p.m.”  Also on this date, Judy and her mother signed a modification to an existing agreement between Loews, Inc. (MGM) and Gletman, Caopp,and Sadowsky, Inc. of New York to market silk, rayon, and wool dresses as tie-ins with The Wizard of Oz.  Judy’s mother signed the contracts as “Ethel M. Garland” (the “M” stood for Milne, her maiden name).
  • July 15, 1939:  Filming continued on the “God’s Country” number.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 6:00 p.m.”
  • July 17, 1939:  Filming of the finale continued on the “Interior Madox Theatre” set on Stage 27.  The assistant director’s notes state: “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 6:00 p.m.”
  • July 18, 1939:  Filming of the finale continued on the “Interior Madox Theatre” set on Stage 27, and the “Exterior Stage Door” set on MGM’s Backlot 2.  The assistant director’s notes state: “JG – Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 6:00 p.m.”  This completed the principal filming of Babes in Arms, although some additional work was done on August 2 at which time Judy was on Stage 2A synchronizing audio for the film.  Time called: 1:00 p.m.; time dismissed: 2:30 p.m.
  • October 10, 1939:  The gala premiere of the film took place at Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  To mark the occasion, Judy was invited to put her hand and footprints in the forecourt, which cemented (literally) her star status.  Judy was the 74th star to be given this honor.

FACTOIDS:

  • Judy was David O. Selznick’s original choice to play Scarlett’ O’Hara’s younger sister Colleen in Gone With The Wind.  But because she was too busy with Oz and then Babes the role went to fellow Andy Hardy actress Ann Rutherford.
  • Judy’s salary for the film was her contractual $500 per week.  Berkeley was paid $1,500 per week; Mickey was given his contractual $900 per week plus a $7,500 bonus after completion; Charles Winninger received $4,000 per week, Guy Kibbee $1,600 per week, and Grace Hayes received $150 per week.
  • The juvenile Oscar was not a yearly award but was only given out when a child or teen star gave an exceptional or several exceptional film performances for any given year.  It was discontinued in the 1960s, now everyone competes in the “normal” categories.  Haley Mills was the last recipient, receiving it for Pollyanna
  • Judy recorded just two studio versions of songs from the film under her current contract with Decca Records:  “I’m Just Wild About Harry” was recorded on July 29, 1939 and “Figaro” was recorded on October 16, 1939.  “I’m Just Wild About Harry” was released in the United Kingdom under the “Brunswick” label and in Australia under the Decca label in 1940. It was not released in the United States until 1984, when it was included on the MCA Records LP “Judy Garland – From The Decca Vaults.”
  • Babes in Arms was nominated for two Oscars:
    • Best Actor (Mickey Rooney) – who lost to Robert Donat in Goodbye Mr. Chips.
    • Best Scoring (Roger Edens and Georgie Stoll) – lost to Stagecoach (Richard Hageman, W. Franke Harling, John Leipold and Leo Shuken)
  • Judy was presented with the Juvenile Academy Award for her work on both Babes in Arms and The Wizard of Oz.  Mickey presented the award to her and she obliged the audience by singing “Over the Rainbow.”  Footage from the ceremony exists but sadly, not of Judy singing.

CAST:

Mickey Rooney as Mickey Moran

Judy Garland as Patsy Barton

Charles Winninger as Joe Moran

Guy Kibbee as Judge Black

June Preisser as Rosalie Essex (Baby Rosalie)

Grace Hayes as Florrie Moran

Betty Jaynes as Molly Moran

Douglas McPhail as Don Brice

Rand Brooks as Jeff Steele

Leni Lynn as Dody Martini

John Sheffield as Bobs

Henry Hull as Mr. Maddox

Barnett Parker as William

Ann Shoemaker as Mrs. Barton

Margaret Hamilton as Martha Steele

Joseph Crehan as Mr. Essex

George McKay as Brice

Henry Roquemore as Shaw

Lelah Tyler as Mrs. Brice

Lon McCallister as Boy

Sidney Miller as Boy

Charles Smith as Boy

Crinoline Choir [vocals]

CREW:

Produced by: Arthur Freed

Directed by: Busby Berkeley

Screen Play by: Jack McGowan and Kay Van Riper

Screen Play Contributors: Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf, Joe Laurie, John Meehan, Walter DeLeon, Irving Brecher, Ben Freedman, Anita Loos)

Based on the musical by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart

Musical Program: “Babes in Arms,” “Where or When,” (by) Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart; “Good Morning” (by) Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed; “God’s Country” (by) Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg

Musical Adaptation: Roger Edens

Musical Director: George Stoll

Orchestral Arrangements: Conrad Salinger, Leo Arnaud and George Bassman

Art Director: Cedric Gibbons

Associate: Merrill Pye

Set Decorations: Edwin B. Willis

Wardrobe by: Dolly Tree

Recording Director: Douglas Shearer

Director of Photography: Ray June

Film Editor: Frank Sullivan

SONGS:

Main Title (includes excerpts from Good Morning, Babes In Arms, Where Or When, Give My Regards To Broadway, and Ja Da)
(The M-G-M Studio Orchestra)

Montage (includes excerpts from Ja Da, Silent Night, Holy Night, Toot Toot Tootsie (Goo’Bye), Auld Lang Syne, Broadway Melody, and Singin’ In The Rain) 
(Robert Bradford, Tex Brodus, and the M-G-M Studio Orchestra)

Good Morning
(Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney)

Opera Vs. Jazz, Part 1
(Judy Garland and Betty Jaynes)

Opera Vs. Jazz, Part 2 (includes excerpts from You Are My Lucky Star)
(Betty Jaynes)

Opera Vs. Jazz, Part 3 (includes excerpts from Figaro and Bob White [Whatcha Gonna Swing Tonight?])
(Judy Garland)

Opera Vs. Jazz, Part 4
(Judy Garland, Betty Jaynes and Mickey Rooney)

Babes In Arms
(Douglas McPhail, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Betty Jaynes, and the M-G-M Studio Chorus)

Where Or When
(Douglas McPhail, Betty Jaynes and Judy Garland, with the M-G-M Studio Orchestra performing on behalf of Carl Moldren’s Baby Orchestra)

Where Or When (reprise)
 (Douglas McPhail and Betty Jaynes, with the M-G-M Studio Orchestra performing on behalf of Carl Moldren’s Baby Orchestra)

I Cried For You (Now It’s Your Turn To Cry Over Me)
(Judy Garland)

Minstrel Show, Part 1
(Judy Garland and the Crinoline Choir)

De Camptown Races/Old Folks At Home/Oh! Suzanna
(Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, and the Crinoline Choir)

Minstrel Show, Part 2
(Douglas McPhail, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland)

Minstrel Show, Part 3
(Douglas McPhail and the Crinoline Choir)

Ida, Sweet As Apple Cider/(On) Moonlight Bay
(Mickey Rooney and the Crinoline Choir)

I’m Just Wild About Harry
(Judy Garland)

Finale, Part 1/God’s Country
(Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Douglas McPhail, Betty Jaynes, and the M-G-M Studio Chorus)

Finale, Part 2/My Day
(Douglas McPhail, Betty Jaynes, with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland [as Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt], and the M-G-M Studio Chorus)

Finale, Part 3
(Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Sally Mueller, Helen Pacino, Betty Rome, Irene Crane, Albert Mahler, Bob Priest er, Ralph Leon, N. Nielsen, John Moss, Charles Schrouder, Allan Watson, and J.D. Jewles)

Finale, Part 4/Good Morning
(The M-G-M Studio Orchestra)

Finale, Part 5/God’s Country
(Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Douglas McPhail, Betty Jaynes, and the M-G-M Studio Chorus)

OUTTAKES:
Rock-A-Bye Baby
(Judy Garland – recorded but not filmed. The recording is lost.)

Stumbling
(Grace Hayes and Charles Winninger)

UNUSED:
I Wish I Were In Love Again
(Judy & Mickey performed in in 1948’s Words and Music,, their last film together.  Judy also recorded a solo version as a single for Decca Records)

Way Out West

My Funny Valentine

The Lady Is A Tramp (used in the underscoring)

(all four of the above are from the original Rodgers & Hart stage show)

Let’s Take A Walk Around The Block (Arlen & Harburg song)

Daily Music Reports (incomplete)

Media

Judy recorded studio versions of “Figaro” and “I’m Just Wild About Harry” for release as singles by Decca Records.  “Harry” was recorded on July 29, 1939, “Figaro” was recorded on October 16, 1939.

“I’m Just Wild About Harry” was released in the United Kingdom under the “Brunswick” label and in Australia under the Decca label in 1940. It was not released in the United States until 1984, when it was included on the MCA Records LP “Judy Garland – From The Decca Vaults.”