MGM had the greatest backlot in Hollywood history. Actually, it was two backlots. Think of it as a Disneyland for the movies, with dozens of standing sets representing almost every period in history, every style of architecture along with lakes, parks, forests, and more. If anything was missing, the studio simply built it. Although the backlots featured permanent “sets” they were also constantly changing. Some of the temporary sets became permanent standing sets, others were built for just one film. Likewise, the facades of the permanent sets were altered in dozens of different ways depending on the needs of each film. Nothing was impossible for MGM!
Judy Garland spent fifteen years at MGM. Naturally, she ended up filming on most areas of the backlots. Thanks to the wonderful “M-G-M – Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot” book, we can map out where many scenes from Judy’s films were shot. Some of the locations might surprise you!
When reviewing the films, looking closely at the locations of various scenes, it became clear just how much time and effort must have gone into even the smallest of scenes. The look of the set had to be designed and changed (some stayed in their usual state), various props had to be built and put in place, a film crew had to be scheduled, extras had to be costumed and scheduled to be on the set at a specific time. Then there were the stars and their schedules. A simple cold would wreak havoc. There was also the weather. Sunny California was usually sunny but they had their share of storms and rain. The Technicolor cameras were bulky and difficult to maneuver. That added another layer to the logistics. All of those logistics and more were in play for even the shortest of scenes. Is it any wonder that in many cases a director would prefer the comfort of the controlled environment of the soundstages. The studio really was constantly buzzing with activity.
“M-G-M – Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot” is a comprehensive and expertly executed love letter to the grandness and uniqueness of the MGM Studios. It details every square mile of these magical backlots (and the main lot, too). It’s also filled with many rare photos and detailed, exhaustively researched information. This book is a “must-have” for any fan of MGM and classic Hollywood. A big thanks to the book’s authors Steven Bingon, Stephen X. Sylvester, and Michael Troyan for their amazing work and for sharing the high-resolution versions of the lot maps and some of the other images featured here. These pages couldn’t exist without the information shared by these great guys!
Click on the titles below or simply scroll down. Enjoy the interactive maps, too!
Lot One wasn’t a backlot, it was the main lot of the studio which housed the famous soundstages as well as the star dressing rooms and famous commissary among other buildings. It’s included here because although it’s not a “backlot” it was just as important to the studio and the films as the backlots. Hover over the stars to learn what Judy Garland films were shot on those soundstages. This is by no means a complete list. The surviving studio records are incomplete.
Click on the stars in the map below to see what films where shot on those soundstages.
Stage 1 & 2 (not marked) are not actual soundstages
Stage 5 (permanent theatre seats/balconies)
Stage 6 Permanent theatre stage with proscenium arch – also the tallest soundstage. This is where all of the on-stage scenes requiring the view of the stage with the proscenium arch, orchestra pit, and sometimes the boxes and audience (at least the first several rows). Naturally, the big production numbers were filmed on the various soundstages.
[for superstitious reasons there was no Stage 13]
Stage 14 – Process Shot Stage – Any scenes involving rear projection were usually filmed here including:
Lot Two was perhaps the busiest of the two backlots. This is chiefly due to the inclusion of the extensive New York Streets which, as you can see below, featured any and all kinds of city streets for all eras of history.
Are you curious about there Judy and Fred Astaire filmed the hysterical “bloopface” scene for Easter Parade? That was on Cullem Street. Where did Judy and Van Johnson “meet cute” in In The Good Old Summertime? That was at the “courthouse” at the far end of Fifth Avenue.
Of course, there was the equally famous and busy New England Street which was commonly called Andy Hardy Street. Judy’s time on the street was divided between the films listed below but for her co-star Mickey Rooney, it really was the street where he grew up.
Note: Judy’s guest appearances in Till The Clouds Rolls By (1946) and Words And Music (1948) were filmed entirely on the soundstages on Lot One. However, the films feature some great shots on various backlot locations they’re included here.
Click on the stars in the image of Lot Two below to see what films where shot at those spots.
The map below goes into a bit more detail than the image above. Click on the “hotspots” in the map below for details about what films were shot at those spots.
The areas in bold text below correspond to the pulsating “hotspots” above and are links to more detailed info and images below.
1 Lot Two Entrance Gate
2 Warehouse District
3 Lot Two Scene Docks
9 Lot Two (Tarzan) Lake & Lot Two Jungle
11 French Courtyard
12 Three Musketeers Court
13 Copperfield Street
14 Quality Street
15 Railroad Terminal #2
18 Joppa Square & Castle Finckenstein
20 Spanish Street
21 English Home
23 Camille Cottage
30 Old Mill House
33 Copperfield Court
34 Wimpole Street
35 Waterfront Street
36 Cartoon Department
39 Warehouse Alley
Everybody Sing (1938)
This was the set on which countless stars, featured players, and extras set sail and/or waved goodbye to and from everywhere in the world. Judy’s only time on this set was for Everybody Sing. Judy’s character, Cricket West, was supposed to set sail but instead, she stows away OFF the ship to be able to stay in town.
Words and Music (1948)
The set also appeared in Words and Music but as noted before, Judy’s guest spot in the film was contained to a soundstage on Lot One. In the film, stars Mickey Rooney and Tom Drake are seen disembarking and meeting up with Janet Leigh and Richard Quine.
The New England/Andy Hardy street was one of the most versatile sets on the backlot. Its most famous and enduring image is that of “Carvel” the home of Andy Hardy and his family and loves for over twenty years. It was originally built for the studio’s 1935 adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s “Ah, Wilderness!” and based on the film’s director’s (Clarence Brown” hometown of Clinton, Massachusetts. Ah, Wilderness! (1935) influenced the studio’s decision to purchase the play “Skidding” and film it as A Family Affair (1937) which includes much of the Ah, Wilderness! cast, most notably Mickey Rooney as Andy Hardy. It’s fitting that the home of Rooney’s character’s family (the Millers) in Ah, Wilderness! became the Hardy Home. Rooney really did grow up on the street!
Judy spent much of her time on Lot Two mostly at house #32. That house was the Wingate home in Listen, Darling (1938), the Holden home in Strike Up The Band (1940), and the Mars home in Presenting Lily Mars (1943). Across the street was the Draper Home which is where Judy’s Betsy Booth character lived in the Andy Hardy films. Judy is only seen at the home in her first appearance in the series, Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938). In her second appearance, Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940), she’s only seen in the New York section. In her third and final appearance in the series, LIfe Begins For Andy Hardy (1941), she’s seen only at the Hardy home.
Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry (1937)
Judy didn’t have any scenes on this street in Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry, her first appearance on the street took place in Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) below. But, her co-stars Mickey Rooney (this was their first film together) and Ronald Sinclair had a couple of scenes here including their fight scene and Mickey’s mad dash through the Small Town Square and onto this street.
Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)
Betsy Booth (Judy) is chauffeured up to Andy Hardy’s (Mickey Rooney) home, Andy’s father (Lewis Stone) greets her; Besty visits her “Grandmother Draper’s” home. The home was next door to the left of the Hardy home. Love Finds Andy Hardy was the first of Judy’s three appearances in the series.
Polly Benedict’s (series regular Ann Rutherford) home was not on the New England Street in spite of what Rooney claimed in the scripted narration in That’s Entertainment! (1974). The building was actually located just behind the Courthouse in the Small Town Square. The same set was used (excepting one instance) as Polly’s home from the beginning of the series (A Family Affair in 1937). Polly was a rich girl. The home was meant to be grander and larger than anything on the middle-class New England Street and it was.
Listen, Darling (1938)
Across the street from Betsy’s home above is a nice home that turned out to be “Judy’s home” in three films. The first was for Listen, Darling. Only the right side of the home is seen, just as Judy and Freddie Bartholomew “kidnap” Judy’s character’s mom (Mary Astor) and then hit the road, leaving poor wanna-be suitor Gene Lockhart behind.
Babes in Arms (1939)
Mickey’s character’s (Mickey Moran) home is shown. The first photo is the front, which is on the backlot. The second photo is the back porch of the home which is on a soundstage on Lot One and is in the scene that leads into the “Babes in Arms” number. That number was mostly shot on soundstages. The last two photos show the part of the number that was filmed on the street.
Fun fact: In Babes in Arms only the exterior of the Moran (Mickey’s) home is seen whereas in Strike Up The Band, only the exterior of the Holden (Judy’s) home is seen. In neither film do we see the fronts of the homes of both of the characters played by Judy and Mickey.
Strike Up The Band (1940)
The home of Judy’s character, Mary Holden, is featured in the film. In the second screenshot below, the church at the end of the street is hidden by trees as Mickey’s character, Jimmy Connors, hops the fences into Mary’s front yard. These homes were on the side of the street across from where the Hardy home is located.
As noted above, in Babes in Arms only the exterior of the Moran (Mickey’s) home is seen while in Strike Up The Band only the exterior of the Holden (Judy’s) home is seen. However, in both films, the interiors of both character’s homes are seen which were sets on the soundstages on Lot One.
Two years later the house was used as the Mars home in Presenting Lily Mars (1943).
Presenting Lily Mars (1943)
This film opens with a nice tracking shot following Lily’s (Judy) little brother as he rides his bike down the street. It gives us a nice view of that side of the street that’s across from the Hardy home. The famous church seen in so many films is in the background at the far left. The home used as the Mars home was also the Wingate home in Listen, Darling, and the Holden home in Strike Up The Band (see above).
The Small Town Square was another well-used section of the backlot. Similar to New England Street, it is also identified with the fictional town of Carvel from the Andy Hardy series. The square also popped up in several other Garland films.
On the map shown here, Building 41 was the brick courthouse which stood in for a variety of buildings like schools, government/municipal buildings, and of course, a courthouse. Buildings 736 and 737 are homes in a similar New England style as that street but larger, usually used for the more wealthy of characters including Andy Hardy’s on again off again girlfriend Polly Benedict (Ann Rutherford) who lived in #736.
Here is a studio reference still showing Small Town Square dressed up as Carvel for one of the Andy Hardy films (which one is unknown). The Small Town Railroad Depot is seen at the very right of the photo, with the Courthouse directly behind it in the background.
Building #737 is seen with its extension and carriage house/garage. The Courthouse (building #41) is also clearly seen with the Waterloo Bridge at the top left and a bit of the Small Town Railroad Depot at the far right. Building #736 was used as Polly Benedict’s home throughout most of the Andy Hardy series.
Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry (1937)
Another scene in Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry that Judy is not in. Her co-star Mickey Rooney is seen dashing down the side of the square. It’s a medium shot and it wouldn’t be surprising if the row of buildings didn’t have the “Carvel” signs (out of camera range) for the first Andy Hardy film, A Family Affair, or the second, You’re Only Young Once both also from 1937.
Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)
Toward the beginning of the film, Andy (Mickey Rooney) and his father, Judge Hardy (Lewis Milestone) are seen walking down the street talking. Later, Andy is seen driving through the square and Betsy Booth (Judy) chats with Cynthia (Lana Turner) ensuring Cynthia sees the broken-down car that Andy is going to take Cynthia to the big holiday dance in. Cynthia breaks the date. Peter Dugan’s used car shop shows up again in Life Beings For Andy Hardy (1941).
The last photo (bottom right) below shows Betsy giving Andy a ride to Polly Benedict’s home, which wasn’t on New England Street as is generally assumed but was building #736 just behind the Courthouse building. As noted above, Polly was a rich girl. The home was meant to be grander and larger than anything on the middle-class New England Street and it was. This was Polly’s home for the series from the beginning with the first film, A Family Affair (1937).
Listen, Darling (1938)
The brick courthouse at the top of the square was featured in several of Judy’s films. In Listen, Darling it’s the junior high school where Judy sings “Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart” (filmed on a soundstage on Lot One). Judy and co-stars Mary Astor, Freddie Bartholomew, Charlie Grapewin, and Gene Lockhart are seen outside, after the fictional closing ceremonies. The square was also the site of the garage scene with Judy, Freddie, and Charlie.
Babes In Arms (1939)
The square stood in as the fictional town of Seaport. The Wicked Witch of the West herself, Margaret Hamilton, playing another town busybody, is seen entering the brick courthouse (this time the building actually standing in as a courthouse). The young man with her is Rand Brooks. The bus station scene was also filmed in the square.
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940)
There is a quick scene at the end of the film that shows Polly Benedict (Ann Rutherford) running out of her home, which was building #736. For this film and previous films, the home was located to the right of the courthouse. At some point in the early 40s, it was moved to behind the courthouse as seen in the maps and blueprint above.
Life Begins For Andy Hardy (1941)
Aside from a brief scene on the Small Town Depot set, the fictional town of Carvel as seen on the Small Town Square set doesn’t show up until the end of the film. We get a reappearance of Peter Dugan’s used card shop again. Considering how much the buildings were dressed and redressed for various movies in the years between 1938 (Love Finds Andy Hardy above), and 1941 (Life Begins For Andy Hardy), the continuity of the look of the shop is impressive. However, the store to the left of the shop has changed from a “5, 10, & 25 Cent Store” to a standard drug store complete with a newspaper rack.
For Me And My Gal (1942)
Gene Kelly’s “Harry Palmer” convinces Judy’s “Jo Hayden” to listen to his song as they walk from the Small Town Depot to the two-story building at the bottom of the square (and seen in the background from the station, shown below). When they enter the coffee shop, they’re back at one of the MGM soundstages on Lot One for the interior scene, including the classic performance of the title song.
Another versatile set, the Small Town Railroad Depot appeared in several of Judy’s films: Strike Up The Band (1940) (as Riverwood station), Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941), For Me And My Gal (1942), Girl Crazy (1943) (“out west”), Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) (the trolley station), and The Harvey Girls (1946) in which it is alleged to have been combined with Lot Three locations for a western look – but not the famous train arrival during “On The Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe,” that number was filmed on Lot Three. There are no shots in the final film that look anything like this station, so it’s unclear if that info is simply incorrect or if a deleted scene or two was filmed here.
Life Begins For Andy Hardy (1941)
Judy’s final appearance in an Andy Hardy film and the first film in which she didn’t sing at all, aside from a brief a capella version of “Happy Birthday.” In this film, Andy is seen leaving Carvel for New York and returning. The second photo is the same view as the first photo in the For Me And My Gal section below.
Girl Crazy (1943)
The depot stood in for the fictional Codyville, Arizona station. Matte paintings helped to make it appear to be in the middle of the desert. We get a nice detail of the inside of the platform when Mickey Rooney’s character, Danny Churchill, asks how to get to the college. Later in the film, the depot appears again, cleverly cut with footage of Judy and Mickey singing “Could You Use Me” on location in the real desert outside. of Palm Springs, California. The end of the song cuts to Lot Two and the depot. These scenes give us a good look at the design of the platform, ticket booth, and other details of the depot that we normally don’t see in other films.
The Waterloo Bridge is one of the most recognizable spots on the backlot. It was featured in dozens of films, if not more. It’s been misidentified as appearing in The Clock (1945), although in reality, the bridge does not appear in the film. The only Garland film it appears in is Till The Clouds Roll By (1946), although Judy isn’t in the scene. Her guest appearance was filmed on the soundstages on Lot One. In the film, stars Robert Walker (as Jerome Kern) and Van Heflin (as James Hessler) cross the bridge on bikes, then later Walker and Dorothy Patrick (as the future Mrs. Kern) have a romantic boat ride under the bridge and into the pond. You can tell that they were filmed on different days due to the differences in the color composition between the separate scenes.
This set, which was the arrival and departure location for dozens of stars and extras, was used for the train platform scenes in The Clock. These are the scenes in which Judy and Robert Walker’s characters get separated and try to find each other. The interior of the main station was an elaborate recreation built specifically for the film on Lot One’s Soundstage #27 (New York’s Pennsylvania Station) that did not include the lower platforms.
The Chinese Street/Joppa Square area was four acres of fantastic standing sets, originally built for The Good Earth in 1937, with additions and other upgrades that added to its versatility by the time The Pirate (1948) was filmed in 1947/48. It could also be flooded to create any kind of exotic seaport imaginable.
In the case of The Pirate, it became the fictional Caribbean Port Sebastian featuring Gene Kelly’s entrance in the film. Judy did not have any scenes on this set.
The Verona Square was originally built for the 1936 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Much like the Chinese Street above, it was constantly evolving with various upgrades.
The square is the location of the last half of Judy’s “death march” to Kelly’s “Serafin” character in The Pirate (1948). Clever editing blends the beginning filmed on the extensive set on a soundstage on Lot One to this Lot Two location.
This area of the backlot was used for various “country” scenes. Judy and Mickey’s walk through a wooded park-like area in Babes In Arms (1939) might have been filmed here. The exact location of that scene is unknown.
It has been noted that “farm” scenes for Summer Stock (1950) were filmed here but without actual studio records, the scene(s) is a mystery. The entire farm set and all interiors were shot on Soundstage 27 on Lot One.
There are two outdoor shots for the Phil Silvers runaway tractor sequence, one that is obviously part of the location shoot (Judy’s “Happy Harvest” number on that same tractor was filmed off the lot, on location) and another of Gene Kelly and Carleton Carpenter discovering the destroyed tractor. But that’s by a lake and Eucy Grove did not have a lake. It’s likely that the scene was shot on the bank of the lake that Waterloo Bridge crossed. Screenshots of the runaway tractor (location shoot) and the destroyed tractor (backlot) are included here.
“Unspecified scenes” for Strike Up The Band (1940) were filmed here, which are most likely the county fair scenes that did not include Judy. The openness of this area is the perfect spot for a county fair sequence.
The Esther Williams Pool was just the “pool” for years before Williams made it her own. In Everybody Sing (1938) it was the location of the deleted section of the song “Swing Mr. Mendelssohn.” The footage no longer exists but production photos show that it was some kind of dream sequence that had an ancient Greek theme.
The pool allegedly stood in for the Carvel public pool in Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938). A fake wall was added around the pool and clever matte paintings gave it a glass roof. That’s the assumption, although in the scene the pool looks much larger than the pool on the backlot. This could be camera trickery or perhaps the production used a local public or school pool. There are no extant records to clarify this.
The Southern Mansion known to Garland fans as the spot of Judy’s daughter, Liza Minnelli’s screen debut in In The Good Old Summertime (1949). However, the mansion wasn’t used. A bandstand was erected in front of it and the grounds in front of the mansion which stood in as a turn of the century Chicago park.
In The Good Old Summertime (1949)
Liza Minnelli’s screen debut. She played the child of Judy and Van Johnson’s characters in the final shot of the film. The film opened on the same dressed-up set, with a bandstand set up in front of the mansion’s columns and the front courtyard set up to portray a park.
The first four screenshots are from the beginning of the film, with Van Johnson and Buster Keaton meeting up with S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall and Spring Byington while the bandleader encourages everyone to sing “In The Good Old Summertime.” The last two are Judy, Van Johnson, and little Liza. Also included are some behind-the-scenes photos of Liza’s big day which was December 6, 1948.
The Vinegar Tree House was so named due to the vinegar tree that grew in the house’s front year. This was one of the few standing sets on the backlot that had a functioning front and back. In Till The Clouds Roll By (1946), the front served as the home in England where Jerome Kern (Robert Walker) first meets his future wife Eva (Dorothy Patrick). Later in the film, the back of the home was seen as Kern’s home in the U.S.
The Girls School is probably best known as “Tate College” in the 1947 musical hit Good News. The recognizable clock tower (seen in 1974’s That’s Entertainment! behind Peter Lawford during his narration) was added in 1956 for Tea and Sympathy. The original facade was used for the orphanage scenes in Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940). Oddly enough, most of the “outdoor” scenes in that film are rear projection shots filmed on Lot One’s Soundstage #14. Apparently, the film was too low budget to do any filming outdoors even on the backlot or perhaps they simply couldn’t schedule the needed backlot locations. Low budget or not, the film gave us the gift of Judy’s classic performance of “I’m Nobody’s Baby.”
The Lord Home was so named because it was the home of Tracy Lord (Katherine Hepburn) in The Philadelphia Story (1940). The home is unique in that it was originally built on a soundstage on Lot One, then it was moved to this location to become a permanent set on the backlot with some landscaped grounds added as well as added reinforcements.
In Words And Music (1948) it’s seen as the home of Richard Rodgers (Tom Drake) and his wife (Janet Leigh) and family. Mickey Rooney played Larry Hart, shown here visiting the Rodgers family. As noted before, Judy’s guest spot scenes were filmed on a soundstage on Lot One.
The most extensive, and most impressive, of all the areas on both of the backlots, was the fantastic New York Streets section. Any film that took place in New York, or Chicago, or London, or any other city scene, was partly if not all filmed on one or many of these streets. The sets were gloriously detailed and could be “dressed” for any period (real or fictional) such as Victorian Chicago (In The Good Old Summertime), New York in 1912 (Easter Parade), or simply the modern-day (in the case of Judy’s films that would be the 1940s).
In addition to the loss of St. Louis Street on Lot Three, the demolition of these streets in the 1970s is one of the most tragic losses in all of Hollywood history. At least we have the films along with the photos and maps to enjoy. But just imagine if they had the foresight to see the value in creating a tourist destination. Sigh.
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940)
Andy Hardy (Mickey Rooney) was in New York chasing after a debutante. Naturally, his guide to the city was his pal Betsy Booth (Judy). The Hardys are seen being dropped off at the apartment they’re staying in (Brownstone Street) but later when Betsy drops off Andy at what is supposed to be the same spot, it’s now a soundstage on Lot One with a rear projection of the real New York providing the background (probably the Process Stage on Soundstage #14 on Lot One).
The Clock (1945)
Naturally, a film about two young lovers in New York City would have some scenes filmed on the New York Streets. Rear projection provided much of the atmosphere but in the scenes in which Alice (Judy) and Joe (Robert Walker) deliver the milk for their injured milkman friend (James Gleason) which included Brownstone Street.
Judy’s guest spots in both Till The Clouds Roll By (1946) and Words And Music (1948) were confined to the soundstages on Lot One, but the always reliable Brownstone Street still made an appearance in each film.
The photos below: 1-3) Robert Walker (as Jerome Kern) in Till The Clouds Roll By (1946) and (last photo) a very brief shot taken from across the street where Walker was two years earlier, this time with Marshall Thompson and Tom Drake (as Oscar Hammerstein) in Words And Music (1948).
In Easter Parade (1948), Judy and Fred Astaire begin their walk on Fifth Avenue set, then unbeknownst to the moviegoer, the scene continues on Brownstone Street which is where they witness Ann Miller’s Nadine Hale in the early representation of the famous New York Easter Parade.
Brownstone Street was also the spot where Van Johnson’s character (Andrew Larkin) lived in In The Good Old Summertime (1949). In the first photo, which is an establishing shot, we see a nice view of the street with another one of MGM’s wonderful matte paintings providing the background. Judy is not seen on the street in this film.
The opposite side of Brownstone Street, across the street from Johnson’s apartment above, is seen as shot from across Church Street looking at this opposite side of Brownstone, with the corner of Church & Brownstone on the left (the same corner that Judy and Fred Astaire rounded just before seeing Ann Miller and her dogs in Easter Parade, 1948). An expert matte painting provided the upper floors of the buildings including that nice-looking balcony and clock on the corner building. Judy’s character, Veronica Fisher, had her home on the opposite side of Brownstone Street.
Judy spent almost as much time filming various scenes for her films on Eastside Street as she did over on Andy Hardy street. The street intersected with Fifth Avenue. It was the perfect street to portray the New York of many eras.
Below is a shot of Eastside Street looking from Fifth Avenue toward Waterfront. The angle of the camera makes Eastside look shorter than it really was.
Babes on Broadway (1942)
Judy and Mickey Rooney are seen coming out of the subway (which wasn’t there, they simply walked out of the dark back of that subway stop prop) and up to Penny’s (Judy) apartment building, which is the same as Little Nellie Kelly (1940) above.
The Clock (1945)
The corner of Eastside and Fifth Avenue provided the location for an establishing shot of the milk truck driving down the street toward Fifth Avenue. Later when the truck breaks down it’s the same street but shot from the other end, from Fifth Avenue looking up Eastside. Matte paintings filled in the New York skyline.
Easter Parade (1948)
In the “A Fella With An Umbrella” number, Judy and Peter Lawford perform the number on the same side of the street as shown in the films above. There is some clever editing that makes good use of the section of Eastside Street that was tarped off to create the rain. The drug store is on the corner of Eastside and Hester streets. Peter appears at the bottom of the street (where it meets Fifth Avenue) and runs up to the corner drugstore on Hester. After he gets the big umbrella from across the street, he and Judy begin walking across Hester toward Waterfront (at the top of the blueprint above). There is an edit, right before Judy says “Yeah, but you haven’t told me anything about yourself” at which point they are now down at the bottom of Eastside which is where Peter first entered the scene earlier (where it meets Fifth Avenue). They then walk toward Hester. In the interim that corner drug store had been redressed to look like a different store. They cross, then there’s another edit before Judy finishes the song at which point they’re in front of a different building which is where she leaves him.
The black and white photos below show two sides of Eastside Street dressed up for filming, with Judy and Peter either being filmed or rehearsing. The following photos are screenshots of the sequence.
The Fifth Avenue set was probably the most used set on all of Lot Two (New England Street might tie for this honor). Judy’s films were no exception, with scenes from the following films shot there: Everybody Sing (1938); Little Nellie Kelly (1940); Life Begins For Andy Hardy (1941); Babes On Broadway (1942); Girl Crazy (1943); The Clock (1945); and In The Good Old Summertime (1949). There were also scenes shot there for Words And Music (1948) although Judy was a guest star in a short party sequence on a soundstage on Lot One however, like Till The Clouds Roll By (1946), some of those non-Garland scenes are shown here.
Fun fact: The finale to Easter Parade (1948) was not shot here. Thas was a combination of Judy and Fred Astaire on the Brownstone Street combined with a specially built partial set on Lot Three’s Drumhead Road and another one of those clever MGM matte paintings.
Everybody Sing (1938)
There is a quick scene showing a crowd at a theater with “Everybody Sing” on the marquee in wonderful art deco neon lights. That marquee and the top of the building were provided by MGM’s excerpt matte painting artists. The second theater shot from later in the film could be the same spot on Fifth Avenue or the spot across the street and up toward Eastside Street. The photo of Gene Kelly in his segment of That’s Entertainment! (1974) shows both marquee buildings on Fifth Avenue (third photo below).
Judy’s co-star Allan Jones is seen walking down the street, which was also filmed on Fifth Avenue. However, that scale he walks past is the same scale that Lewis Milestone walks past in Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), but it’s on the Small Town Square (see the last photo). Both were filmed in 1938. It’s possible the studio moved it or maybe they had more than one, perhaps a “two for one” sale when they purchased it? Who knows?
Little Nellie Kelly (1940)
What film about Irish immigrants in New York City would be complete without a St. Patrick’s Day Parade scene? Add Judy Garland and you have the perfect recipe for a rousing Irish production number. Judy’s musical mentor Roger Edens came up with “It’s A Great Day For The Irish” and the cast and crew took over Fifth Avenue to film the song and the parade. It’s one of the high spots of the film.
Life Begins For Andy Hardy (1941)
A few scenes in this, Judy’s third and last appearance in the Hardy series, took place on the New York Streets, including scenes of Betsy Booth (Judy) giving Andy (Mickey Rooney) a ride.
Babes on Broadway (1942)
The block party/fundraiser took place on Fifth Avenue where it intersected with East Side Street. In it, Judy sang the rousing “Chin Up, Cheerio, Carry On!” for the English war refugee children.
To the right in the photo above, out of the camera range, was the standing Embassy/School set which was featured in many films. In this case, it was dressed up as the Settlement House for the film, shown in the photo below.
For Me And My Gal (1942)
There is a short scene showing Jo (Judy) and Harry (Gene Kelly) pulling up in a taxi to the front of the Palace Theater. The theater marquee was provided by more of those expert MGM matte painting artists.
The Clock (1945)
When Alice (Judy) and Joe (Robert Walker) become separated, there is a scene of Joe getting advice from the kindly New York policemen. This was filmed on Fifth Avenue. Also filmed on Fifth Avenue was the later scene of Alice and Joe walking down the street after being married at city hall and having their first dinner as a married couple in a diner. They come upon a wedding getting out of the church and go inside to have their own private church ceremony. The interior of the church was a wonderful set on one of MGM’s soundstages on Lot One.
After their first rehearsal, Don Hewes (Fred Astaire) and Hannah Brown (Judy) leave the rehearsal hall and walk down Fifth Avenue street. However, when the cut is made to an overhead shot of the two of them rounding a corner, they’re rounding the corner on the intersection of Church and Brownstone streets. Brownstone Street is where they see Nadine (Ann Miller) and her dogs (see above). It’s unclear why it was filmed and edited that way although it was most likely due to the fact that the part of Fifth Avenue seen here had the right look.
Note: The side of the street is the same as Fred’s “Happy Easter” above, although the windows have been changed from a toy store to a clothing store.
Words And Music (1948)
As noted, Judy’s guest appearance in this film was confined to sets on the soundstages on Lot One. However, a few scenes were shot on Fifth Avenue. In order below, Tom Drake (as Richard Rodgers) is on the corner of Fifth Avenue & Cullem where he decides to see 1937’s Camille. Later we see Mickey Rooney (as Lorenz Hart) walking down the street with a date. The final sequence showing the sick Hart stumbling into a theater to catch his show “A Connecticut Yankee” and then stumbling back out before his death.
The panorama below is a composite of screenshots taken as the camera followed Mickey out of the theater and onto the street. Rooney is seen stumbling toward Eastside Street just before the intersection of Church Street and Fifth Avenue. This image gives us a good look at the theater entrance and box office which was used in many films. This is the same theater we see on the left in the screenshot of Gene Kelly in his segment of That’s Entertainment! (1974), in the Everybody Sing (1938) photos above. This theater entrance is also seen in a pivotal scene in 1952’s The Bad and the Beautiful, directed by Judy’s second husband Vincente Minnelli. The entrance doesn’t look much different in that film than it does here.
In The Good Old Summertime (1949)
The Courthouse was at the opposite end of where Fifth Avenue and Eastside Streets meet as shown above. It was located on the corner of Cullem Street. The set usually stood in as a bank or any kind of imposing government-styled building.
In this case, the set was the post office in downtown turn-of-the-century Chicago where Judy and Van Johnson’s characters “meet-cute.” The comedic scene, brilliantly played by Judy and Van, was choreographed by the film’s supporting star, silent film legend Buster Keaton.
Cullem Street connects Fifth Avenue and Wimpole streets. It’s a short street, but long enough to be the location of one of Judy’s most famous comedic scenes: The “bloopface” scene in Easter Parade (1948) shown below. The scene starts as Judy and Fred exit the building on the corner of Park Avenue moving southeast on “Cullem” street (bottom row). The image below shows the same corner from the front in 1959.
In For Me And My Gal (1942), the opposite side of Cullem Street stood in as Paris and the Y.M.C.A. where Jimmy (George Murphy) and his platoon of soldiers see Jo Hayden (Judy) perform (the inside of which was on a soundstage on Lot One).
Little Nellie Kelly’s (1940) final scenes were shot on Lot 2’s New York streets at the intersection where Wimpole, Park Avenue, & Cullem streets meet. Matte paintings added the rest of the New York skyline. The following scenes in the film show Nellie’s father (Charles Winninger) losing control of his horse and buggy, and ending up on Fifth Avenue.
This outdoor scene in For Me And My Gal (1942) was filmed in the park of Park Avenue, with the facade of Wimpole Street in the background. Seen here is co-star Ben Blue (performing front and center) and star Gene Kelly watching.
Another film that used the same area as the scene in For Me And My Gal (1942) above, was Till The Clouds Roll By (1946), which had this short scene featuring Robert Walker (as Jerome Kern) going to James Hesler’s home (Van Heflin) when he meets up with Hessler’s daughter Sally (Joan Wells). As noted, Judy did not have any scenes of her guest spot filmed outside of the soundstages on Lot One.