Friday, today I'm entering the musical world again, and talking about one of my favorite Judy Garland films - "Meet Me in St. Louis." Did you get a chance to watch it yesterday on TCM? I hope so.
This is one of the first films I recorded when I was a little girl after saving up my allowance and purchasing my very own VCR for the little television in my bedroom. And I still have that tape from some many years ago. It has been watched over and over and over again, but somehow it has lasted. I wanted to be Judy and dance around a Christmas tree. I got the chance in high school when my theater department did a production of "Meet Me in St. Louis." Sadly, I was just a chorus girl...but I still had fun.
Going My Way"). The studio was going to continue with more films about the Smith family, hoping for an "Andy Hardy" type series, but the sequel "Meet Me in Manhattan" never got beyond the planning phase.
The Boy Next Door," "The Trolley Song," and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas") became hits on the charts, and have since become standards, like "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" during the holidays. Garland had to be persuaded to do "Meet Me in St. Louis" though. Twenty-two at the time, she was tired of playing childhood roles and longed to move into the adult realm. Luckily, she was convinced otherwise, for this film is where she met future husband and director of "St. Louis" Vincente Minnelli. They fell in love during filming, married the following year, and then nine months later had little Liza. As Liza mentioned in the book Directed by Vincente Minnelli, "You can see his love for her in every frame." Garland once stated that she married Minnelli because he made her feel beautiful. Throughout her career afterwards, even after her divorce from Minnelli in 1951, she considered "Meet Me in St. Louis" her absolute favorite film.
Even though the studio did not continue the Smith series of films, a television version was done in 1959 starring Jane Powell, Patty Duke, and Myrna Loy. A weekly non-musical television series was even produced in 1966 starring Shelley Fabares and Celeste Holm, but no network would pick it up. And if you are saying to yourself, "Wait! There was that Broadway version, right?," you are right. It ran for a little less than year in 1989 and received a few Tony nominations too.
(Post-tidbit: Margaret O'Brien's special Oscar for "Meet Me in St. Louis" was stolen when she was young. She finally got it back about 50 years later when some antique dealers came across it and contacted her to give it back.)