Directed by Dean Whitmore, Bill Hobin
Starring Judy Garland and more crooners than you can shake a stick at.
- Running audio commentary by Garland historian Coyne Steven Sanders
- Deleted sequences
- Photo Galleries
- Garland Biography
- Trivia Game
- Show and Guest Index
Released by: Pioneer Entertainment.
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Fans should consider it.
[ad#longpost]Nowadays, an actor primarily known for film work doing a TV series isn’t that remarkable. The work is steady and the role they have is usually more interesting than what they could get in the movies. But in 1963, when Judy Garland announced she was going to do a variety show, it was a bombshell. Think about it: this was Judy “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Garland, doing the small screen. The buzz on The Judy Garland Show was massive, but it only lasted one year. The pressure of producing a quality show every week coupled with Judy’s own problems meant a short life for this series. But before it went, it recorded some amazing performances of Garland and some of Hollywood’s most famous singers, often singing Judy. So it is appropriate that this collection is called The Judy Garland Show: Legends.
I should explain that this disc doesn’t have the actual shows, but just the performances by Judy and her guests. That said, what we’ve got here is remarkable. Judy was able to get heavy hitters like Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, and Ethel Merman to name a few. Seeing people like Lena Horne, Peggy Lee, and Martha Raye in their prime is a nice reminder that these icons were young once. Of course most of the clips are of Judy. For those who have just seen her in The Wizard of Oz, you are missing a powerhouse of a singer. At this time, she’d been singing and performing for decades, so her performances look effortless and natural. But the emotion, the joy, the sadness, the pain she puts in is her real strength. It’s amazing that she doesn’t have to be helped offstage after every song. It’s also interesting to see her perform with other singers. She manages to keep her presence felt but she never tries to upstage whose she’s singing with.
This disc is filled to the brim with extras. The only real weak one is a couple of deleted performances from the show. There is a handy index of shows that detail what was on each show and another index that show which star was on each show. The photo galleries feature both publicity stills and behind the scene shots. And they have captions! You can tell what the pictures are actually supposed to be! Bliss! The Garland biography is much more detailed than you usually get on a DVD. There’s even a cute little trivia game to play. The commentary is full of behind the scenes information but talks mostly about the problems the show had which led to it being cancelled after one season. The producers even tried to control Judy’s drug habit by getting a doctor, not to cure her, but to check her dosage so she wouldn’t overdose.
If you are a fan of Judy Garland or a lover of old standards, this is a disc for you. One thing, I didn’t give this disc five coffee cups because there isn’t a performance of Judy singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” That is my grandmother’s favorite song and she was not happy it wasn’t on here. It’s not good when my grandmother isn’t happy.