BABES ON BROADWAY

STUDIO:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

PRODUCTION NUMBER:  1204

PRODUCTION DATES: June 1941 – October 1941

PRODUCTION COST:   $955,300.37

RUNNING TIME:  121 minutes

RELEASE DATE:  Although most sources list the release date as December 31, 1941(some ist January 2, 1942), the film opened on December 30, 1941, in several cities in the U.S.

INITIAL BOX OFFICE:  $3,859,000

Babes on Broadway is the third of the four “Let’s put on a show!” musicals starring Judy and Mickey Rooney.  The huge success of the previous two (Babes in Arms in 1939 and Strike Up The Band in 1940) meant that a third similarly-themed musical co-starring the studio’s teen team would also be a hit.  This time, instead of putting a show on in a barn or in the backyard, the kids graduated from their high school milieu and have made their way to New York, now representing the young aspiring actors who would flood into NYC every year, trying to make it big on the stage.

For Judy, Babes on Broadway was a bit of a step backward in regards to her career trajectory.  She was beginning to make the usually difficult transition from child/teen star to adult star.  Due to her incredible talents, it was obvious that she was on her way to becoming a successful adult actress/film star.  Being stuck in yet another “kids” musical didn’t help matters.  In spite of this, in Babes on Broadway Judy comes across as not a kid but a lovely young woman who is actually (by 1941 standards) very independent.  Her character of Penny Morris is not just a sidekick to Mickey’s Tommy Williams character.  She’s also not pining away over him romantically (most of the time).  There’s no song of longing in this film as there were in Babes in Arms and Strike Up The Band.  This is the first time in the series that Mickey’s character pursues Judy’s and not the other way around.  After Babes on Broadway Judy went into For Me And My Gal which was her first truly adult role – and it was a hit.  No more kid’s roles for Judy Garland!

Busby Berkeley was again the director and he put his unique stamp on the “Hoe Down” production number and the big finale sequence (in spite of its racist overtones) to great effect.  Both are overflowing with energy and a polish that was lacking in most of the musicals of that era.  He handled the more intimate dramatic scenes just as well. This ability to direct dramatic scenes and not just big dance numbers served him well in his and Judy’s next project, For Me And My Gal.  Here, there’s no hint of the future incompatibility and animosity between him and Judy that would plague their future work together.  In fact, the filming went well with everyone again at their best.  Judy is especially charming while displaying a sense of confidence and maturity. 

One could say that Babes on Broadway is a kind of “transition film” in the “Let’s put on a show!” series.  Some of the musical numbers and dramatics hark back to the previous two films, especially the “Hoe Down” and “Finale Sequence” numbers.  But it also looks forward to the more adult Girl Crazy (the last in the series) in its mature romance between Judy and Mickey that is definitely more than just puppy love.

“How About You?” became one of the all-time great standards, covered by a wide variety of singers and bands and popping up in random movies over the years as background scoring or more often than not, being played on a piano in the background of a party scene.  As Mickey Rooney noted years later, he and Judy had the pleasure of introducing some of the best songs ever written.

Babes on Broadway was another huge hit.  The duo of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney had become MGM’s most successful screen team to date.  The previously (and mostly) untapped teen market flocked to see their favorite duo sing and dance as only they could.  There would be one more in the series, 1943’s Girl Crazy, that completed the cycle.  By the time Girl Crazy was completed, producer Arthur Freed said, “No more kids pictures!”  His Freed Unit of movie musicals, having cut their teeth on these “kids musicals” and some adaptations of Broadway musicals, was poised to enter into a golden age of MGM musicals.

TIMELINE PART ONE:

  • July 9, 1941:  Judy began work on Babes on Broadway with a song rehearsal of “How About You?” with Mickey Rooney.  time called: 10:40 a.m.; dismissed: 12:45 p.m.
  • July 10, 1941:  “How About You?” rehearsal.  Time called: 2:00 p.m.; dismissed: 5:30 p.m.
  • July 11, 1941:  “How About You?” rehearsal.  Time called: 10:00 a.m..; dismissed: 11:45 a.m.  Mickey, Ray McDonald, and Richard Quine pre-recorded “Anything Can Happen In New York.”
  • July 12, 1941:  “How About You?” rehearsal.  Time called: 9:50 a.m.; dismissed: 12:00 p.m.
  • July 14, 1941:  The first day of filming was devoted to scenes shot on the “Interior Nick’s Cafe,” “Interior Nick’s Cellar” sets.  Time called: 11:30 a.m.; lunch: 12:45-145 p.m.; dismissed: 6:05 p.m.  Judy also posed for wardrobe tests.
  • July 15, 1941:  Judy had the day off.
  • July 16, 1941:  Time called: 2:30 p.m.; dismissed: 3:15 p.m.  In that short time, the assistant director’s notes state: “Miss Garland was called on today to rehearse dance at 2:30 p.m. – At 2:45 was sent to Miss Monclair for a French lesson – at 3 p.m.; reported to Eddie Larkin to rehearse ‘How About You?’ routine; at 3:15 she said she had a bad headache she could not continue – Went home.”
  • July 17, 1941:  Judy had wardrobe tests.  Tme called: 2:00 p.m.; dismissed: 4:30 p.m.
  • July 18, 1941:  Pre-recording session for “How about You?”  Time called: 6:30 p.m.; dismissed: 9:15 p.m.
  • July 19, 1941:  The assistant director’s notes state: “Judy Garland was called for wardrobe fitting at 1:00 p.m. today to come to rehearsal at 1:30 p.m. on stage 8.  At 1:05 p.m. she arrived on lot; at 1:35 p.m. – when Miss Garland did not go to stage 8 for rehearsal – Her home was called and a message left for Miss Garland to call company on stage 4 when she arrived home – after not hearing from her by 6:30 p.m., Mr. Ryan called to give her call for Monday, and she had not yet arrived home.”
  • July 20, 1941:  From 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Judy had a recording session at the Decca Records studios.  She recorded “The Birthday Of A King” and “The Star Of The East.”  
  • July 21, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Jonesy’s Office” set.  Time called: 3:00 p.m.; dismissed: 5:20 p.m.
  • July 22, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Jonesy’s Office” and “Exterior Roof Top” sets.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.  The assistant director’s notes state: “11:30-11:42 – Wait to have Miss Garlands skirt pressed – Was lying down in dressing room; lunch 12:55-1:55 p.m.; time dismissed: 6:15 p.m.”
  • July 23, 24, & 25, 1941:  Judy took a break from Babes on Broadway to film retakes for Life Begins for Andy Hardy.
  • July 26, 1941:  Judy was due back on the Babes on Broadway set but was ill.  The production was shut down for the day as nothing could be shot around her.
  • July 27, 1941:  Judy and finance David Rose went to Las Vegas, Nevada, with Judy’s mother, Ethel Gumm, and stepfather, Will Gilmore.  
  • July 28, 1941:  At 1 a.m., Judy and David Rose were married.  It was Judy’s first marriage, Rose’s second (he had previously been married to Martha Raye).  Judy sent a telegram via Western Union at 2 a.m. to Babes on Broadway producer Arthur Freed that read: “Dear Mr. Freed, I am so very happy. Dave and I were married this A.M. Please give me a little time and I will be back and finish the picture with one take on each scene. Love, Judy.”  Production was put on hold again.  The assistant director’s notes state that the company was on “layoff due to Judy Garland.”
  • July 29, 1941:  MGM refused to give Judy a break and she was back at the studio.  Filmed on its day were scenes on the “Exterior Roof Top” and “Interior Penny’s Office” sets.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:20-1:20 p.m.; dismissed: 5:55 p.m.
  • July 30, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Penny’s Office” and “Interior Stone’s Office” sets.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:50-1:50 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:55 p.m.
  • July 31, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Stone’s Office” set.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.  The assistant director’s notes state: “9:00-9:15 – Wait for JG to get into wardrobe, in her dressing room on stage – was ten minutes late in makeup department this morning – overslept; 10:35-10:45 – Dr. Jones on set looking at Judy Garland’s hand which she said was injured on a door in scene yesterday – She first complained of this when she arrived on stage today.”  Lunch: 12:20-1:20 p.m.; dismissed: 6:15 p.m.
  • August 1 & 2, 2941:  Judy was not on call for the production.
  • August 4, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Pitt-Astor” and “Exterior Pitt-Astor” sets.  Time called: 2:00 p.m.; dismissed: 4:30 p.m.
  • August 5 & 6, 1941:  Judy was out sick.  The production rehearsed “dance routine” on August 6.
  • August 7, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Pitt-Astor” set.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.  The assistant director’s notes state: “10:02-10:38 – Judy Garland taking time to get in mood for scene.  Necessary to cry in scene.”  Lunch: 12:15-1:15 p.m.; dismissed: 5:50 p.m.
  • August 8, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Old Duchess-Backstage” set.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:25-1:25 p.m.; dismissed: 5:35 p.m.
  • August 9, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Backstage (Old Duchess)” set.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:40-1:40 p.m.; dismissed: 4:15 p.m.
  • August 11, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Morris Parlor” set (the “How About You?” number).  Later that evening, a pre-recording session for the “Bombshell From Brazil” number.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:35-1:35 p.m.; dismissed: 8:10 p.m.
  • August 12, 1941: Filming continued on the “Interior Morris Parlor” set (the “How About You?” number).  Time called: 9:45 a.m.  The assistant director’s notes state: “10:08-10:16 – wait for Judy Garland – late.”  Lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 6:10 p.m.
  • August 13, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Morris Parlor” set (the “How About You?” number).  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 6:00 p.m.  Also on this day, studio portraits were taken of Judy and her mom, Ethel.  Judy is wearing the “Penny Morris” costume that she wears in the “How About You?” number.
  • August 14, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Dressing Room” and “Interior Morris Parlor” sets.  The latter included the ‘How About You” song.  Time called: 3:00 p.m.; dismissed: 6:40 p.m.  The assistant director’s notes state: “Judy was ill in the morning.”
  • August 15, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Dressing Room” and “Interior corridor” sets.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.  The assistant director’s notes state: “9:00-9:20 a.m. – wait for Judy Garland to put on wardrobe and fix hair’ lunch: 12:00-1:00 p.m.; 1:24-1:38 – Dr. Jones on set to look at Judy Garland – complained of feeling badly with pains in neck and back.  Dr. Jones said she probably had the starting of a cold but she was able to work.”  Dismissed: 3:55 p.m.
  • August 16, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Backstage (Old Duchess)” sets along with the Carmen Miranda number.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • August 18, 1941: Filming continued on the “Interior Backstage (Old Duchess)” sets along with the Carmen Miranda number.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 3:30 p.m.
  • August 19, 1941:  Filming continued on the ‘Interior Old Duchess” set.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; dismissed: 9:25 a.m.  No other information about the day is available.
  • August 20, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Exterior Stage Alley,” “Exterior Settlement House,” and “Exterior Morris Tenement” sets.  Time called: 1:30 p.m.; dinner: 5:15-6:15 p.m.; dismissed: 9:05 p.m.
  • August 21, 1941:  Judy was not on call for the production.
  • August 22, 1941:  Rehearsal of the “Hoe Down” number.  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; lunch: 11:50 a.m.-12:50 p.m.; dismissed: 4:10 p.m.
  • August 23 – 25, 1941:  Judy was out sick.
  • August 26, 1941:  Rehearsal of the “Hoe Down” number.  Time called: 10:45 a.m.; lunch: 12:25-1:25 p.m.; dismissed: 3:00 p.m.
  • August 27, 1941:  Rehearsal of the “Hoe Down” number.  Time called: 11:30 a.m.; lunch: 12:10-1:10 p.m.; dismissed: 3:20 p.m.
  • August 28, 1941:  Rehearsal of the “Hoe Down” number.  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:05-1:05 p.m.; dismissed: 4:20 p.m.
  • August 29, 1941:  Rehearsal and pre-recording session for “Hoe Down.”  Time called: 10:30 a.m.; lunch: 12:50-1:50 p.m.; dismissed: 4:50 p.m.
  • August 30, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Gym” set (“Hoe Down”).  Time called: 9:30 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 3:00 p.m.

TIMELINE PART TWO:

  • September 2, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Gym” set (“Hoe Down”).  Time called: 10:30 a.m.; lunch: 1:00-2:00 p.m.; dismissed: 6:03 p.m.
  • September 3, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Gym” set (“Hoe Down”).  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:35-1:35 p.m.; dismissed: 5:35 p.m.
  • September 4, 1941:  Judy was out sick.
  • September 5, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Gym” set (“Hoe Down”).  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:25-1:25 p.m.; dismissed: 6:10 p.m.
  • September 6, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Gym” set (“Hoe Down”).  Time called: 9:30 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 3:00 p.m.  This was the final day of filming the “Hoe Down” number.
  • September 7, 1941:  Judy appeared on the NBC Radio show, “The Chase and Sanborn Hour.”  She sang “These Are The Things I Love” and “Daddy (I Want A Diamond Ring).”  Listen to the entire show here.
  • September 8, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Auditorium – Sketch” set.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:10-1:10 p.m.; dismissed: 5:55 p.m.
  • September 9, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Auditorium – Sketch” set.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:25-1:25 p.m.; dismissed: 5:50 p.m.
  • September 10, 1941:  Pre-recording session of the “Chin Up! Cheerio! Carry On!” number.  Time called: 12:30 p.m.; dismissed: 4:15 p.m.
  • September 11, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Auditorium” set.  Time called: 1:30 p.m.  The assistant director’s notes state: “Call Cancelled on Stage 21 Int. Auditorium – Judy Garland ill with sore throat – However came in for poster still in p.m. 9and publicity photos) – Company rehearsed Block Party.”  Dismissed: 4:00 p.m.
  • September 12, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Exterior Street – Block Party” set which was on MGM’s Backlot #2, a section of the “New York Streets” permanent standing sets.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 5:00 p.m.
  • September 13, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Exterior Street – Block Party” set.  specifically the “Chin Up! Cheerio! Carry On!” number.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 6:50 p.m.
  • September 15, 1941:  Judy was not on call for the production.  
  • September 16, 1941:  Rehearsals of the “Finale Sequence.”  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 4:50 p.m.
  • September 17, 1941:  Rehearsals of the “Finale Sequence.”  Time called: 3:00 p.m.; dismissed: 5:30 p.m.  Judy also posted for some hair test photos.
  • September 18, 1941:  Judy was not on call for the production.
  • September 19, 1941:  Rehearsals of the “Finale Sequence.”  Time called: 3:00 p.m.; dismissed: 5:00 p.m.
  • September 20, 1941:  Rehearsals of the “Finale Sequence.”  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 5:50 p.m.
  • September 22, 1941:  Rehearsals of the “Finale Sequence.”  Time called: 1:00 p.m.; dismissed: 5:50 p.m.
  • September 23, 1941:  Rehearsals pre-recording session of the “Finale Sequence” which included the “Minstrel Show Sequence” and “FDR Jones.”  Time called: 1:00 p.m.; dismissed: 6:15 p.m.
  • September 24, 1941:  Rehearsals and final pre-recording session of the “Finale Sequence” including the rest of the “Minstrel Show Sequence.”  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; Judy arrived at 10:30 a.m.; dismissed: 12:15 p.m.
  • September 25, 1941:  Filming continued, the first day of filming the “Finale Sequence.”  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 7:00 p.m.
  • September 26, 1941:  Judy was out sick.
  • September 27, 1941:  Judy was not on call for the production.
  • September 29, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Finale Sequence.”  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 7:00 p.m.
  • September 30, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Finale Sequence.”  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 5:00 p.m.
  • October 1, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Finale Sequence.”  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 5:55 p.m.
  • October 2, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Finale Sequence.”  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:05-1:05 p.m.; dismissed: 6:00 p.m.
  • October 3, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Finale Sequence.”  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:05-1:05 p.m.; dismissed: 5:55 p.m.
  • October 4, 1941:  Judy was out sick.
  • October 5, 1941:  Judy had a photo session for glamour publicity photos at MGM’s photo studio.
  • October 6, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Finale Sequence.”  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 2:24 p.m.
  • October 7, 1941:  Rehearsals of the “Old Duchess Theatre Sequence.”  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; dismissed: 3:00 p.m.
  • October 8, 1941:  Judy was not on call for the production.
  • October 9, 1941:  The assistant director’s notes state: “Co. rehearsal cancelled at 11:14 a.m., account illness of Mr. Berkeley. JG – Call Cancelled.”
  • October 10, 1941:  Pre-recording session of the “Ghost Theater Sequence.”  Time called: 12:45 p.m.; dismissed: 3:50 p.m.
  • October 11, 1941:  A very long day for Judy.  Filming continued on the “Interior Ghost Theatre” set.  Judy was in makeup at 7:36 a.m.; time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:35-1:35 p.m.; dinner: 6:15-7:15 p.m.; dismissed: 11:15 p.m.
  • October 12, 1941:  Judy had no work on the film, but that evening she performed part 1 of the play “Eternally Yours” for the CBS Radio show “Silver Theater.”  The second part was performed the following week.
  • October 13, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Ghost Theatre” set.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 2:43-3:43 p.m.; dismissed: 7:25 p.m.
  • October 14, 1941:  Filming continued on the “Interior Ghost Theatre” sequence.  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 5:20 p.m.
  • October 15, 1941:  The last day of principal filming.  Scenes were shot on the “Interior Corridor” “Interior Penny’s Office” (retake), and “Interior Ghost Theatre-Montage” sets. Time called: 9:00 a.m.  The assistant director’s notes state: “9:00-10:00 a.m. – Wait for Miss Garland.  She called in this morning and said she was ill, but that she would be. in the later this AM. 10:00-10:17 – Miss Garland. onstage, fixing up in dressing room.”  Lunch: 12:20-1:20 p.m.; dismissed: 4:52 p.m.
  • November 6, 1941:  Filming and retakes on the “Exterior Block party,” “Interior Auditorium,” “Interior Penny’s Office” (retakes), and “Exterior Cellar” sets.  Time called: 1:00 p.m.; dismissed: 5:20 p.m.
  • November 7, 1941:  Retakes were done on the “Interior Corridor,” “Interior Penny’s Office,” and “Interior Auditorium” sets.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:35-1:35 p.m.; dismissed: 3:25 p.m.  This was the final day of work on the film.

Judy Garland in costume for the deleted "The Convict's Return" sketch in "Babes on Broadway"FACTOIDS:

  • Two future mega-stars had their film debuts in Babes on Broadway:  The marvelous Donna Reed and a pint-sized Margaret O’Brien.
  • Producer Arthur Freed hired the Vaudeville legend Elsie Janis as a “technical advisor” to help Judy and Mickey portray the various Vaudeville performers of the past in the “Ghost Theatre” sequence.  
  • Babes on Broadway was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, “How About You?” (music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Ralph Freed).  It lost to Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” from Holiday Inn.   Although the film premiered in December 1941, it was too late to be eligible for the 1941 Oscars and thus was included in the films eligible for the 1942 Oscars.  
  • Screen icon Shirley Temple had recently been signed to a contract by MGM (with much fanfare) when Babes on Broadway went into production.  It was planned to have Temple co-star in the film but according to most reports, Temple’s mother nixed the idea, knowing that she would have been overshadowed by the talents of Garland and Rooney.  In the end, Temple only made one film for MGM. 
  • Babes on Broadway was filmed during one of Judy’s busiest periods at MGM.  She was still working on Life Begins for Andy Hardy when filming started, recorded several singles for Decca Records, appeared on several radio programs, and more importantly, found time to marry her first husband, David Rose.
  • Famed columnist Alexander Woollcott opened the film in the same manner that he did on his “Town Crier” radio program.  Woollcott wanted $5,000 plus a look at the film and stated he would only be available on one day, August 25, 1941.  Director George Sidney was dispatched to New York to get the short scene filmed.  Freed told Sidney ahead of time, “You don’t know this guy, he’s very strange.  Make sure you get everything from him before you give him the check, because the minute you give him the check you’ll never see him again.  And, have lots of ice cream, quarts and quarts, because he loves the stuff.”  Sidney went, and reported that Woollcott said to him, “Young man, be nasty and knock people – that’s the only way to get ahead.”  Sidney said, “he gave me all the Woollcottian philosophies, and I have him the check, and he was gone.  I sweated it out in New York till the film came back from the studio lab – hoping that nothing was wrong with it.”
  • Judy and Mickey filmed an entire sketch sequence that was cut, titled “The Convict’s Return” written by Harry Kaufmann.  The comedy sketch, similar in tone to the melodramatics of the “Gay Nineties” sequence in 1940’s Strike Up The Band, featured Judy asking for “any news from Armand.”  Mickey performing a series of lightening fast costume changes, played the characters in response to Judy’s character: The father, the family butler, the prison warden, then finally “Armand.” The footage doesn’t exist but the music does and is included on the expanded soundtrack CD.
  • Another part of that sketch was a piano rendition of “The Man I Love” by Roger Edens that was recorded and was planned to accompany Judy.  Judy never recorded the song and apparently it wasn’t filmed, unless it was planned for her to sing it on the set in a melodramatic manner and that footage was lost with the rest. ofthe sketch.  To date there is no known recording of Judy performing this classic Gershwin torch song from any time in her career.
  • A reprise of the “Hoe Down” number, performed during the “Block Party” sequence, featuring a dance by the young Peters Brothers, was also filmed but deleted.  That footage also doesn’t exist although there is a promotional photo of the two performing the dance during the sequence.
  • Annie Rooney played Richard Quine’s girlfriend in the film but received no screen credit.  This was allegedly due to a family dispute with the studio.  She was no relation to Mickey Rooney.
  • “Ballad for Americans” was purchased for the film for Judy and Mickey to perform but never made it into the script.  It was performed by Douglas McPhail in 1942’s Born to Sing.
  • Judy recorded studio versions of two songs from Babes on Broadway for Decca Records, “FDR Jones” and “How About You?”  Both were recorded on October 24, 1941.
  • At the film’s first preview in Glendale, California, the “Minstrel Sequence” didn’t go over well with the audience.  Roger Edens later said, “We tried to figure out why.  As it turned out we realized there was no shot of Mickey and Judy makeup up in blackface, so the audience didn’t know it was Judy and Mickey … and it was a very good lesson: If you ever are going to show someone in disguise, you better show them putting it on.  So we did a reakte showing Mickey and Judy getting into blackface so that the audience could tell it was them.  And then the number went like a house on fire.”  This anecdote might be apocryphal.  The two stars were well-known enough that even in 1941 it should have been obvious that it was Judy and Mickey.

CAST:

Mickey Rooney as Tommy Williams

Judy Garland as Penny Morris

Fay Bainter as Miss Jones (“Jonesy”)

Virginia Weidler as Barbara Jo Conway

Ray McDonald as Ray Lambert

Richard Quine as Morton Hammond (“Hammy”)

Donald Meek as Mr. Stone

Alexander Woollcott as Himself

Luis Alberni as Nick

James Gleason as Thornton Reed

Emma Dunn as Mrs. Williams

Frederick Burton as Mr. Morris

Cliff Clark as Inspector Moriarity

William Post, Jr. as Announcer

Annie Rooney as third girl opposite Hammy – uncredited

Donna Reed as (debut) Jonesy’s Secretary

Joe Yule (Mickey Rooney’s real-life father) as Mason, Reed’s Aid

Margaret O’Brien as (debut) Child Auditioner

Carl Stockdale as Man

Dick Baron as Butch

Will Lee as Waiter

Stop, Look and Listen Trio as Themselves

Tom Hanlon as Radio Man

Renee Austin as Elinor

Roger Steele as Boy

Bryant Washburn as Director

Charles Wagenheim as Composer

Arthur Hoyt as Little Man Customer

Jack Lipson as Fat Man Customer

Dorothy Morris, Maxine Flores as Pit Astor Girls

Sidney Miller as Pianist

King Baggott as Man in Audience

Barbara Bedford as Matron

Shimen Ruskin as Excited Russian

Jean Porter as “Hoe Down” Dancer

Leslie Brooks as Actress-Committee Extra

The Peters Brothers – specialty dance (outtake)

Vocals provided by:

  • Six Hits and a Miss
  • The Five Musical Maids
  • St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Choristers
  • The Stafford Quartet
  • The Debutantes
  • The Notables
  • The Uptowners

Allegedly a young Ava Gardner and Roger Moore have bit parts in the film.

Critic and columnist Alexander Woollcott has a cameo as himself at the beginning of the film.

CREW:

Produced by: Arthur Freed

Directed by: Busby Berkeley

Screenplay by: Fred Finklehoffe and Elaine Ryan

Original Story by: Fred Finklehoffe

Songs by: E. Y. Harburg, Burton Lane, Ralph Freed, Roger Edens, Harold J. Rome

Musical Adaptation: Roger Edens

Musical Direction: Georgie Stoll

Vocals and Orchestrations: Leo Arnaud, George Bassman, Conrad Salinger

Art Director: Cedric Gibbons

Associate: Malcolm Brown

Set Decorations: Edwin B. Willis

Musical Presentation: Merrill Pye

Gowns by: Kalloch

Men’s Wardrobe by: Gile Steele

Make-Up Created by: Jack Dawn

Recording Director: Douglas Shearer

Director of Photography: Lester White

Film Editor: Fredrick Y. Smith

SONGS:

Babes on Broadway
(MGM Studio Chorus)

Anything Can Happen in New York
(Mickey Rooney, Ray McDonald and Richard Quine)

How About You?
(Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney)

Hoe Down
(Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Six Hits and a Miss, The Five Musical Maids, MGM Studio Chorus)

Chin Up! Cheerio! Carry On!
(Judy Garland, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Choristers, MGM Studio Chorus)

Ghost Theater Sequence:
(background vocals by The Stafford Quartet, The Debutantes, The Notables and The Uptowners)

  • Ghost Theater Prelude
    (MGM Studio Orchestra)
  • “Cyrano de Bergerac”
    (Mickey Rooney)
  • Mary’s a Grand Old Name
    (Judy Garland)
  • She Is Ma Daisy
    (Mickey Rooney)
  • I’ve Got Rings on My Fingers
    (Judy Garland)
  • Bernhardt (La Marseillaise)
    (Judy Garland)
  • Yankee Doodle Boy
    (Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland)

Bombshell from Brazil
(Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Richard Quine, Ray McDonald, Virginia Weidler, Annie Rooney, Robert Bradford, and the MGM Studio Chorus)

Mama, Yo Quiero
(Mickey Rooney and the MGM Studio Chorus)

Minstrel Show Sequence:

  • Minstrel Show, Part 1
    (Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Ray McDonald, Virginia Weidler, Richard Quine, Annie Rooney)
  • Blackout over Broadway
    (Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Ray McDonald, Virginia Weidler, Richard Quine, Annie Rooney and the MGM Studio Chorus)
  • Minstrel Show, Part 2
    (Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Richard Quine, Ray McDonald, Virginia Weidler, Annie Rooney)
  • By the Light of the Silvery Moon
    (The Uptowners, The Dick Davis Quartet and the MGM Studio Chorus, danced by Ray McDonald)
  • Minstrel Show, Part 3
    (Richard Quine and the MGM Studio Chorus)
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Jones
    (Judy Garland and the MGM Studio Chorus)
  • Old Folks at Home
    (played by Eddie Peabody on banjo dubbing for Mickey Rooney on-screen, with MGM Studio Orchestra)
  • Alabamy Bound
    (played by Eddie Peabody on banjo dubbing for Mickey Rooney on-screen, with MGM Studio Orchestra)
  • Waiting for the Robert E. Lee
    (Virginia Weidler, Annie Rooney, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney and the MGM Studio Chorus)
  • Babes on Broadway
    (Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Ray McDonald, Virginia Weidler, Richard Quine, Annie Rooney and the MGM Studio Chorus)

OUTTAKES:

The Convict’s Return 
(non-musical sketch by Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney)

The Man I Love
(piano solo by Roger Edens)

Hoe Down
(dance by The Peters Brothers)

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