STUDIO:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer


PRODUCTION DATES:  April 3 – May 23, 1942 / July 29, 1942

PRODUCTION COST:   $802,980.68

RUNNING TIME:  104 minutes

RELEASE DATE:  October 20, 1942

INITIAL BOX OFFICE:  $4,371,000 +

As with many of Judy’s films for MGM, For Me And My Gal started out as a very different film than what it eventually became. The origins of For Me And My Gal date back to 1940, when MGM producer Arthur Freed decided to build a film around Judy and her early stage background, and the patriotic mood of the nation at the time. He chose a World War I/Vaudeville story by Howard Emmet Rogers titled “The Big Time”. The title of the project was then switched to “Applause”. In his book “The World of Entertainment! Hollywood’s Greatest Musicals” Hugh Fordin quotes producer Arthur Freed: “I was trying to find a title from a song and I could have picked half a dozen songs as titles, but Edgar Leslie and George Mayer [co-writers of the title song with E. Ray Goetz] were friends of mine and I liked what they wrote, so I bought the rights to ‘For Me and My Gal’ from Mills Music Publishing Company for use of the title and song, and it became a standard.”

It was planned that the film would have two female leads alongside the two male leads, one a singer and the other a dancer, but MGM assistant producer (and former Broadway actress) Stella Adler read the script and suggested that in light of Judy’s all encompassing talents, that the two female roles be combined into one (thereby making a convenient love triangle). Eleanor Powell supposedly tested for the role of the dancer (although that’s subject to debate because at this point in her career, Powell wouldn’t have needed to test or audition for any role as a dancer), and Dan Dailey was slated to play opposite her (Dailey later said that he did test with Powell, but that he lost out on the role when he was drafted into the Army). George Murphy was then cast in the male lead of “Harry Palmer”. Prior to the start of the production Gene Kelly was brought in to play the lead and Murphy was relegated to, in his words, “the schnook who never gets the gal.”

Kelly had become a star on Broadway in the title role of “Pal Joey”, a role very similar to “Harry” in For Me And My Gal, and he came to Hollywood under contract to David O. Selznick. Selznick had planned to use Kelly as a dramatic actor (go figure!) but hadn’t cast him yet when Gal screenwriter Fred Finklehoffe suggested to Freed that Kelly would be perfect for the role. Kelly had previously (and famously) told off MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer after the studio reneged on their promise to give him a proper screen test in Los Angeles, and instead gave him an inferior test in New York City. In spite of this, and on the strength of the urgings of Freed, Finklehoffe, Adler, and Judy herself, Kelly got the role and a long term contract with MGM.

Judy and Gene are perfectly matched in For Me And My Gal, and filming went along smoothly after an initial tension filled start with Murphy unhappy about being “the schnook” and director Busby Berkeley unhappy with Kelly in the lead. Judy helped bring everyone together, and was especially helpful to Kelly. Kelly has been quoted many times in his appraisal of Judy’s help and talents: “Without her, my first few weeks would have been even more miserable than they were. She pulled me through. She was very kind and helpful, more than she even realized, because I watched her to find out what I had to do. I was amazed at her skill; she knew every mark and every move. All I could do for her was help with the dancing. She wasn’t a dancer, but she could pick up a step instantly, and as a singer she was incredible – she had only to hear a melody once, and it was locked in her mind; we used to call her ‘Ol’ Tin Ear.’ I learned a great deal about making movies doing this first one, and much of it was due to Judy. She was a very relaxed, marvelous person…the most talented performer we’ve ever had.”

The film was a huge success, effectively launching Gene Kelly’s screen career while nudging Judy to more adult roles, not the easiest of transitions for most child actors. Busby Berkeley later stated that of all of the films he directed, For Me And My Gal was his #1 favorite, which is notable considering that the film isn’t filled with his trademark kaleidoscopic production numbers but is instead a more intimate and accurate representation of life “on the circuit” in the Vaudeville era.

Judy would live out the dream of Jo Hayden in For Me And My Gal on the night of October 16, 1951 when she successfully brought back the “two-a-day” (vaudeville) to The Palace Theater, broke all the theater’s box office records, and stepped into everlasting legend as “The World’s Greatest Entertainer”. Judy also won a special Tony Award in 1952 for this concert run.

Judy's Doll

From the “Curio Department” comes this notice about Judy lending a childhood doll to MGM for use as a prop in the “Doll Shop” number in For Me And My Gal.  The article, printed on May 3, 1942, and on other days in other papers, states that “Judy came to the rescue with her own cherished childhood dolly.  It was one the young star had won in a contest sponsored by Mary Pickford many years ago.” 

One would assume that this was more fiction dreamed up by MGM’s every prolific publicity department.  However, it just might be true!  At least the existence of the doll, Mary Pickford’s connection to it, and the contest are true.

On March 27 & 28, 1930, two newspapers in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, The Daily News Journal, and The Home Journal, both reported that “Little Frances Gumm” (seven-year-old Judy) had become the finalist in a “prettiest children” contest in Los Angeles.  The reason those papers gave this any attention at all is that Murfreesboro is the hometown of Judy’s father, Frank Gumm.  According to the two reports, Judy was one of 15 finalists out of 27,000 children who were up for a film contract with Paramount Pictures.  The articles go on to state that the 15 finalists were each given “a beautiful $150 doll by Mary Pickford.”

Judy didn’t win the contest or the film contract and no other information is known about Judy’s association with it aside from the fact that she received a doll for her participation.

One article notes that the finalists were featured in a full-page photo in the Los Angeles Express.  That paper was sold a year later to the Hearst Publication company and was merged with the Los Angeles Herald becoming the Los Angeles Herald-Express and then the evening Los Angeles Herald-Examiner lasting until 1989.

There are no records online, nor are there any notices in the Los Angeles Times about the contest during the time period (early 1930).  So the existence of the photo is a mystery.

The doll in question is the kewpie doll that Lucille Norman hands to George Murphy in the bottom pic below (it’s also just to George’s left in the screenshot above and just over the left shoulder of the extra in the promo pic above).  Kewpie dolls were popular in the early part of the 20th Century beginning in 1912.  It’s the type of doll that would have been given out at a contest even in 1930.

Finally, having Lucille grab Judy’s childhood doll is just the kind of “in-joke” that Judy and the Freed Unit would have engaged in, similar to the use of “the plans have changed” in Meet Me In St. Louis which was a running joke in the Unit about the ever-changing work environment.


  • For Me And My Gal was Judy’s first solo billing above the title. It was also her first real adult role.
  • “After You’ve Gone”, with the same basic arrangement as in For Me And My Gal, became a popular standard in Judy’s concerts during her later legendary “Concert Years.”
  • In hindsight, Judy’s “Concert Years” are eerily foreshadowed in the “Y.M.C.A.” sequence when Judy is performing for the on-screen audience. Some of her stage mannerisms and obvious connection to that audience of extras is very apparent.
  • The original finale featured Judy, Gene, and George Murphy reprising the title song – but it was replaced after the first previews necessitated the shifting of the focus onto the Garland & Kelly characters only. The pre-recording survives, and was first presented on the 1977 LP “Cut! Outtakes from Hollywood’s Greatest Musicals, Vol. 3.”
  • Although filming only took eight weeks, there were 21 days of retakes due to the June preview audiences saying that George Murphy should have gotten “the gal”. The retakes famously included the scenes making Kelly’s Harry Palmer a hero (by saving an ambulance convoy single handedly) and also re-shooting the finale (as noted above).
  • The film first opened in New York on October 19, 1942, as a special benefit for the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. The night of the actual premier, October 20th, MGM staged a midnight Times Square sing-along of World War I tunes, and a special screening of the film for vaudevillians and Broadway celebrities.
  • Marta Eggerth, who played Eve Minard, was a star of Budapest and then Broadway. She made many European films, but her only two Hollywood films both starred Judy: For Me And My Gal and Presenting Lily Mars (1943). Eggerth is still very much alive and performing, her most recent appearance was in New York in 2008 (still going strong at age 96!!).
  • George Murphy had previously co-starred with Judy in 1940’s Little Nellie Kelly, and was one of the main stars in Judy’s first feature film for MGM, 1937’s Broadway Melody Of 1938. He retired from films in the early 1950’s to pursue a career in politics, eventually becoming a U.S. Senator for California. He died on May 3, 1992.
  • Richard Quine had previously appeared with Judy in 1941’s Babes On Broadway. He later moved into directing and producing, including 1958’s Bell, Book and Candle (director) and 1964’s Paris When It Sizzles (producer). He died on June 10, 1989 (which was coincidentally the 67th anniversary of Judy’s birth).
  • Keenan Wynn was a very popular and versatile character actor, whose career spanned over 50 years. He had a small but effective part in 1945’s The Clock and would have also appeared with Judy in 1950’s Annie Get Your Gun and 1951’s Royal Wedding if she had been able to complete those films. Some of his other films include: Kiss Me Kate (1953), The Absent Minded Professor (1961), and Finian’s Rainbow (1968). He was performing in films and television up until his death on October 10, 1986.
  • Kelly’s starting salary was $750 per week.
  • For Me And My Gal was nominated for one Academy Award: “Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture” for Roger Edens & Georgie Stoll. The winners were Ray Heindorf and Heinz Roemheld for Warner Bros.’ Yankee Doodle Dandy.
  • Judy & Gene recorded “For Me And My Gal” and “When You Wore A Tulip” for Decca Records on July 26, 1942. These are the only studio recordings the pair made outside of the MGM recording studios.
  • The surviving pre-recording sessions were featured on the 1994 laser disc boxed set “Judy Garland: The Golden Years At M-G-M.”
  • The complete soundtrack was issued on CD by Rhino Records in 1996. Technically out of print, it can easily be found on auction sites like eBay.

The magic of MGM matte paintings.  MGM’s artists were experts at creating everything from other worlds to simple things like theater marquees.  For Me And My Gal featured several of these matte paintings.  Here on the left is a rare surviving matte painting and on the right is how it looks in the film.  Even though these shots were usually very quick, that didn’t stop the artists from making them as realistic and detailed as possible.

Trade Magazine Ads (and MGM's "Lion's Roar")


Judy Garland as Jo Hayden

George Murphy as Jimmy K. Metcalfe

Gene Kelly as Harry Palmer

Marta Eggerth as Eve Minard

Ben Blue as Sid Simms

Richard Quine as Danny Hayden

Keenan Wynn as Eddie Melton

Horace (Stephen) McNally as Mr. Waring

Lucille Norman as Lily Duncan

Betty Welles as a member of Jimmy’s company

Anne Rooney as a member of Jimmy’s company

Ben Lessey as Dough Boy Dan

Additional vocals provided by: The Six Hits and a Miss; The King’s Men; The Sportsmen


Produced by: Arthur Freed

Directed by: Busby Berkeley

Screen Play: Richard Sherman, Fred Finklehoffe,

and Sid Silvers

Original Story: Howard Emmett Rogers (“The Big Time”)

Song: “For Me and My Gal”: George W. Meyer, Edgar Leslie, E. Ray Goetz

Musical Adaptation: Roger Edens

Music Direction: Georgie Stoll

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

Musical Presentation: Merrill Pye

Dance Direction: Bobby Connolly

Art Director: Cedric Gibbons

Associate: Gabriel Scognamillo

Set Decorations: Edwin B. Willis

Associate: Keogh Gleason

Gowns: Kalloch

Men’s Costumes: Gile Steele

Make-Up Created by: Jack Dawn

Recording Director: Douglas Shearer

Director of Photography: William Daniels

Film Editor: Ben Lewis


Vaudeville Routine (includes “Grotesque Comedy”; “Oh Johnny!”; & “They Go Wild, Simply Wild Over Me”)
(Dance by Gene Kelly)

Jimmy K. Metcalfe & Company:

The Doll Shop, Part 1
(Lucille Norman & George Murphy)

Oh, You Beautiful Doll
(George Murphy)

The Doll Shop, Part 1 continued
(George Murphy & Lucille Norman)

Don’t Leave Me Daddy 
(Judy Garland)

Oh, You Beautiful Doll
(George Murphy)

The Doll Shop, Part 2
(MGM Studio Orchestra)

By The Beautiful Sea
(George Murphy, Judy Garland, The MGM Studio Chorus)

For Me And My Gal
(Judy Garland & Gene Kelly)

When You Wore A Tulip
(Judy Garland & Gene Kelly)

Do I Love You?
(Marta Eggerth)

After You’ve Gone
(Judy Garland)

Tell Me
(Lucille Norman & The Sportsment, with Male Quartet [Bill Days, Maxwell Smith, John Rarig, Thurl Ravenscroft)

Till We Meet Again
(Lucille Norman & The King’s Men [Ken Darby, Bud Linn, Jon Dodson, Rod Robinson] and Judy Garland)

We Don’t Want The Bacon
(Ben Lesey)

Ballin’ The Jack
(Judy Garland & Gene Kelly)

What Are You Going To Do About The Boys?
(Ben Blue & The King’s Men)

How ‘Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down On The Farm?
(Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus)

There’s A Long, Long Trail
(The King’s Men and The MGM Studio Chorus)

Where Do We Go From Here?
(Judy Garland, The King’s Men, & The MGM Studio Chorus)

Y.M.C.A. Montage:

Over There
(The MGM Studio Orchestra)

It’s A Long Way to Tipperary
(Judy Garland)

Goodbye Broadway, Hello France
(The MGM Studio Chorus)

(Judy Garland)

Oh, Frenchy
(Gene Kelly & Ben Blue)

Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag And Smile, Smile, Smile
(Judy Garland)

When Johnny Comes Marching Home
(Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus)

For Me And My Gal (finale)
(The MGM Studio Chorus, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly)


The Spell Of The Waltz
(Marta Eggerth & The MGM Studio Chorus)

Don’t Bit The Hand That’s Feeding You
(Judy Garland)

I’m Sorry I Made You Cry
(George Murphy)

Tell Me
(George Murphy & Ben Blue)

Dear Old Pal Of Mine
(The King’s Men & The MGM Studio Chorus)

Smiles (extended version)
(Judy Garland)

Three Cheers For The Yanks
(Judy Garland, Six Hits And A Miss, The MGM Studio Chorus)

For Me And My Gal (original finale)
(Judy Garland, George Murphy, Gene Kelly, The MGM Studio Chorus)

Daily Music Reports

Here are the available pre-recording sessions.  Note that the title of the film throughout the sessions remained The Big Time, which was the early working title of the project.

For Me And My Gal -Take 6

For Me And My Gal – Tag – Takes 1 & 2

Ballin’ The Jack – Take 15

After You’ve Gone – Take 8

For Me And My Gal – Deleted Finale – Take 1

For Me And My Gal – Deleted Finale. -Tag – Takes 5 & 6

Till We Meet Again – Take 14

How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down On The Farm? – Take 4

Where Do We Go From Here? – Take 8

The Doll Shop – Part 1

The Doll Shop – Part 1A

The Doll Shop – Part 1A Conclusion – Take 3 (Don’t Leave Me Daddy & Oh, You Beautiful Doll)

The Doll Shop – Part 1A Conclusion – Take 4 (Don’t Leave Me Daddy & Oh, You Beautiful Doll)

The Doll Shop – Part 2 – Take 1

By The Beautiful Sea – Take 1

YMCA Montage – Take 8

When You Wore A Tulip – Take 9

Don’t Bite The Hand That’s Feeding You – Take 15

Three Cheers For The Yanks – Take 6

Three Cheers For The Yanks – Cover Track (Orchestra Only Track) – Take 1

When Johnny Comes Marching Home – Take 3

For Me And My Gal -Finale – Take 10

Smiles – Take 6


This “Air Trailer” features the For Me And My Gal edition of MGM’s “Leo Is On The Air” audio trailers.  These were sent to radio stations to air beginning on specific dates (note the “For Release” date of October 25, 1942).  Many times these air trailers included clips of songs that were ultimately deleted or shortened in the final prints of the films. 

Listen to the complete air trailer here: 

Judy Garland 1935
The Wizard of Oz green vinyl release for Record Store Day on April 19, 2014