THOUSANDS CHEER

STUDIO:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

PRODUCTION NUMBER:  1274

PRODUCTION DATES:  December 22, 1942 (Judy’s sequence)

PRODUCTION COST:   $1,568,000

RUNNING TIME:  126 minutes

RELEASE DATE:  September 13, 1943 

INITIAL BOX OFFICE:  $5,886,000

Thousands Cheer - Record LabelThousands Cheer was Judy’s first “guest appearance” in an MGM film, playing herself in the all-star finale to the film. It was also her first appearance in Technicolor since 1939’s The Wizard Of Oz.  She would make guest appearances in three more films: 1946’s Ziegfeld Follies as “A Great Lady” (in the number “A Great Lady Has An Interview”); as Marilyn Miller in 1946’s Till The Clouds Roll By; then again as herself in 1948’s Words And Music.

Here, Judy is introduced by Mickey Rooney and gets the classical pianist Jose Iturbi to “swing” with her song “The Joint Is Really Jumpin’ Down At Carnegie Hall.”  In 1961 Judy herself would make Carnegie Hall “jump” with her legendary concert performance.

Thousands Cheer is really a vehicle for the very young Kathryn Grayson and rising star Gene Kelly (who had previously debuted on film co-starring with Judy in 1942’s For Me And My Gal) and is typical of the current trend of the studios at that time to make all-star films(usually with military themes) for the troops fighting overseas.

Judy’s schedule was so hectic at this time that when she recorded and filmed this spot for Thousands Cheer, she was working on Girl Crazy and Presenting Lily Mars (both were also released in 1943).

Thousands Cheer received one Oscar nomination, for Best Original Score (Herbert Stothart) (Ray Heindorf won for Warner Bros.’ This Is the Army – another military-themed all-star film).

FACTOIDS:

  • Judy pre-recorded “The Joint Is Really Jumpin’ Down At Carnegie Hall” with Jose Iturbi on December 22, 1943.
  • Thousands Cheer had its world premiere at the Astor Theater in New York City on September 13, 1943.  The premiere was a huge War Bond rally which was the first film premiere connected to the Third War Loan Drive.  The newspapers noted that reserved seats went to purchasers of bonds in the amounts of $25, $50, $100, $500, and $1,000.  In addition to the stars on the screen, noted stars of Broadway at the time who participated in the event included Allan Jones (who co-starred with Judy in 1938’s Everybody Sing), Victor Jory, and the newly crowned Miss America of 1943, Jean Bartel, who was also the current Miss California.
  •  The original title of the film was Private Miss Jones, which is the title the film was produced under.  It wasn’t changed to Thousands Cheer until after the production was completed, which took almost a full year from September 1942 to August 1943.  The title and the film bear no relation to the Broadway show, “As Thousands Cheer,” which premiered in 1933 and featured the new Irving Berlin songs “Heat Wave” and “Easter Parade.” 
  • Eleanor Powell’s tap dance to “Boogie Woogie” had originally been filmed for the aborted Broadway Melody of 1943 produced by jack Cummings and which was to co-star Powell with Gene Kelly.
  • A few future MGM stars had small roles and/or walk-on parts, including Donna Reed, June Allyson, Virginia O’Brien, Gloria DeHaven, and a very young Margaret O’Brien.  

CAST:

Kathryn Grayson as Kathryn Jones

Gene Kelly as Eddie Marsh

Mary Astor as Hyllary Jones

John Boles as Colonel William Jones

Ben Blue as Chuck Polansky

Frances Rafferty as Marie Corbino

Mary Elliott as Helen

Frank Jenks as Sgt. Kozlack

Dick Simmons as Captain Fred Avery

Ben Lessey as Pvt. Monks

Jose Iturbi as Himself

Guest Stars: Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Red Skelton, Eleanor Powell, Lucille Ball, Ann Sothern, Virginia O’Brien, Frank Morgan, Lena Horne, Marsha Hunt, Marilyn Maxwell, Donna Reed, Margaret O’Brien, June Allyson, Gloria DeHaven, John Conte, Sara Haden, Don Loper, Maxine Barrat, Kay Kyser and His Orchestra, Bob Crosby and His Orchestra, Benny Carter and His Band

CREW:

Produced by: Joe Pasternak

Directed by: George Sidney

Original Screen Play by: Paul Jarrico and Richard Collins

Based on their story “Private Miss Jones”

Musical Program: “Daybreak” (by) Ferde Grofé, Harold Adamson; “I Dug a Ditch” (by) Lew Brown, Ralph Freed, Burton Lane; “Three Letters in the Mail Box” (by) Walter Jurmann, Paul Francis Webster; “Let There Be Music” (by) Earl Brent, E. Y. Harburg; “United Nations” (by) Dmitri Shostakovitch, Harold Rome, E. Y. Harburg

Musical Direction: Herbert Stothart

Musical Score: Herbert Stothart

Song Score: various

Art Director: Cedric Gibbons

Associate: Daniel B. Cathcart

Set Decorations: Edwin B. Willis

Associate: Jacques Mersereau

Costume Supervision: Irene

Make-Up Created by Jack Dawn

Recording Director: Douglas Shearer

Cinematography: George Folsey

Photographed in Technicolor

Technicolor Color Director: Natalie Kalmus

Associate: Henri Jaffa

Film Editor: George Boemler

SONGS:

Sempre Libera (from Verdi’s La Traviata)
(Kathryn Grayson)

Daybreak
(Kathryn Grayson)

Three Letters in the Mailbox
(Kathryn Grayson)

I Dug a Ditch
(Ben Blue and unidentified trio)

I Dug a Ditch (reprise)
(Kathryn Grayson and Male Chorus)

Let There Be Music
(Kathryn Grayson)

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
(piano solo by Jose Iturbi)

Let Me Call You Sweetheart/I Dug a Ditch
(instrumental danced by Gene Kelly and mop)

All-Star M-G-M Parade:
American Patrol
(played by Orchestra conducted by Jose Iturbi)

Boogie Woogie
(danced by Eleanor Powell)

In a Little Spanish Town
(Gloria De Haven, June Allyson and Virginia O’Brien with Bob Crosby and His Orchestra)

WAVES Skit
(Frank Morgan [Doctor], Ann Sothern [1st Recruit], Lucille Ball [2nd Recruit], Marsha Hunt [3rd Recruit], Sara Haden [Nurse], Henry O’Neill [Doctor] )

I Dug a Ditch
(Kay Kyser and His Orchestra with Georgia Carroll)

Should I?
(Georgia Carroll with Kay Kyser and His Orchestra)

Tico Tico
(danced by Maxine Barrat and Don Loper)

“Test Pilot”
(Mickey Rooney impersonations of Clark Gable and Lionel Barrymore)

Honeysuckle Rose
(Lena Horne with Benny Carter and His Band)

Red Skelton Skit
(Red Skelton [Soda Jerk], Donna Reed [lady with the forgotten name], Margaret O’Brien [little girl])

The Joint Is Really Jumpin’ Down At Carnegie Hall
(Judy Garland with Jose Iturbi at the piano)

The Flying Corbinos
(performed by Gene Kelly and Aerialists)

The United Nations (Victory Song)
(Kathryn Grayson and the United Nations Chorus with Orchestra Conducted by Jose Iturbi)

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