Judy Garland Show: The Christmas Special

The Judy Garland Show: The Christmas Special

3.6 3
Director: Dean Whitmore

Cast: Dean Whitmore, Judy Garland, Jack Jones, Joey Luft

     
 

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In this 1963 holiday episode of The Judy Garland Show, a large crop of guest stars, including Judy Garland's three children, joins the singer for a bevy of classic and contemporary songs, most of them Christmas-themed. Opening with one of her signature tunes, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" from Meet Me in St. Louis, Garland makes her way

Overview

In this 1963 holiday episode of The Judy Garland Show, a large crop of guest stars, including Judy Garland's three children, joins the singer for a bevy of classic and contemporary songs, most of them Christmas-themed. Opening with one of her signature tunes, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" from Meet Me in St. Louis, Garland makes her way through "Consider Yourself" (from Oliver), "Little Drops of Rain" (from Gay Purr-ee), and, of course, "Over the Rainbow" (from The Wizard of Oz). Jazz singers Jack Jones and Mel Torme also turn up; Jones solos on "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and "Lollipops and Roses," while Torme duets with Garland on one of his own classics, "The Christmas Song" (also known as "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire"). Joey Luft and Lorna Luft, Garland's two school-age children by third husband Sidney Luft, get their chance to shine, as does eldest daughter and future superstar Liza Minnelli. The entire program is staged as a mock Christmas party, complete with dancing Santas, visiting carolers, and a couple of medleys featuring the entire ensemble. Garland begins the show by inviting viewers into her "home" -- actually a split-level set dressed to resemble a palatial living room. Episode 15 of Garland's short-lived CBS television show, The Judy Garland Christmas Show was taped on December 6, 1963, and broadcast a few weeks later on December 22. Astute viewers will note that Garland flubs a line from Torme's "The Christmas Song," earning a chuckle from its composer, and then deliberately substitutes the word "rainbow" for "reindeer" in the next line -- an allusion to her own signature tune. Torme served as a consultant for almost the entire run of Garland's show and their sometimes contentious relationship has been documented in numerous books, including Torme's own The Other Side of the Rainbow.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
This holiday classic encapsulates everything that is both ridiculous and sublime about Judy Garland -- as a singer, if not as an actress. The throaty perfection of her voice enjoyably roughened by years of booze and pill abuse, the star begins with a touching rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," originally written for her by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane for the Vincente Minnelli-directed chestnut Meet Me in St. Louis. Here, though, instead of singing to her onscreen sister, Garland sings to her real-life children, Joey and Lorna, with a mixture of maternal tenderness and interpretive pathos. Forty-five minutes later, Garland closes with her signature tune "Over the Rainbow," still managing to wring melancholy hope from it almost 25 years after The Wizard of Oz. In between these two tour-de-force songs, Garland plays ringleader to an absurd holiday circus that veers from precious, but off-key, performances by the aforementioned children to the smooth songcraft of Mel Torme and Jack Jones. The show also features proto-Sally Bowles swagger from Garland's other daughter, Liza Minnelli, age 17. There's plenty of showbiz hokum on display, but Garland's interpretive gifts and strong choice of collaborators turn even the show's stagiest moments into solid entertainment. Her duet with Torme on one of his own tunes, "The Christmas Song," features plenty of backstory for Garland fanatics; for everyone else, it's simply a wonderfully off-the-cuff rendition of a holiday favorite. The group hymns go on a little too long, while Garland's woozy banter seems both comic and tragic given her eventual death from a drug overdose. But with the possible exception of her post-JFK rendering of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" a few weeks later, the bookend classics from The Judy Garland Christmas Show represent the singer's defining television moments.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/27/2007
UPC:
0020286111429
Original Release:
1963
Source:
Megaforce
Region Code:
0
Sound:
[stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:00:00

Special Features

Biographies; Music only option

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Judy Garland Actor
Jack Jones Actor
Joey Luft Actor
Lorna Luft Actor
Liza Minnelli Actor
Mel Tormé Actor
Tracy Everitt Actor

Technical Credits
Dean Whitmore Director
Ray Aghayan Costumes/Costume Designer
Leroy Anderson Score Composer
Harold Arlen Score Composer
John Aylesworth Screenwriter
Lionel Bart Score Composer
Felix Bernard Score Composer
Ralph Blane Score Composer
John Bradford Associate Producer,Screenwriter
Bill Colleran Executive Producer
Jack Elliott Choreography
Peter Gennaro Choreography
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg Score Composer
Gene Hibbs Makeup
Robert Kelly Art Director
Mort Lindsey Musical Direction/Supervision
Johnny Marks Score Composer
Hugh Martin Score Composer
Mitchell Parish Score Composer
Frank Peppiatt Screenwriter
J.S. Pierpont Score Composer
Richard B. Smith Score Composer
Gary Smith Producer
Bud Sweeney Makeup
Mel Tormé Score Composer
Robert Wells Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Judy Garland Christmas Show
1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas [2:31]
2. Consider Yourself [:45]
3. Where is Love? [1:12]
4. Steam Heat [1:26]
5. Little Drops of Rain [:46]
6. Wouldn't it Be Lovely? [:40]
7. Lollipops and Roses [2:08]
8. Santa Claus is Coming to Town [:49]
9. Alice Blue Gown [3:28]
10. "Holiday" Medley [:31]
11. Here We Come A-Caroling [3:03]
12. The Christmas Song [1:30]
13. Traditional Christmas Carol Medley [1:34]
14. Over the Rainbow [2:53]
1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas [2:31]
2. Consider Yourself [:45]
3. Where is Love? [1:12]
4. Steam Heat [1:26]
5. Little Drops of Rain [:46]
6. Wouldn't it Be Lovely? [:40]
7. Lollipops and Roses [2:08]
8. Santa Claus is Coming to Town [:49]
9. Alice Blue Gown [3:28]
10. "Holiday" Medley [:31]
11. Here We Come A-Caroling [3:03]
12. The Christmas Song [1:30]
13. Traditional Christmas Carol Medley [1:34]
14. Over the Rainbow [2:53]

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The Judy Garland Show: The Christmas Special 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was interesting watching this, got to see her children, a young Liza. Good variety of songs, great guests. Brought me back to my youth watching something in black and white.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you remember 1963, and unfortunately I do, you'll recall a very sweet, almost cloying wholesome atmosphere on television. So what is CBS to do when it's time to tape a wholesome TV Christmas special hosted by the world's most unwholesome woman? Step back, hold its corporate breath, and hope she'll show up. Well, she did, and the results make for a sweet 1963 Christmas time capsule starring Judy Garland, featuring her favorite jazz singer Jack Jones (known today primarily for singing The Love Boat theme), obnoxious but talented Mel Torme, plus all three of her children. As to Judy's mental condition- was she disoriented due to a whole barrelful of psychiatric medication? Here's a clue: the entire show is shot in a set furnished and decorated to be Judy's home, and at the beginning, Judy invites us, the audience, into her home. While inside, she encourages her children to sing, "just like we do at home." Poor Judy, she forgot she's supposed to be in her home. CBS decided to humanize and normalize Garland to ordinary proportions to cut into NBC's megahit Bonanza's audience. Mission Impossible. Nomatter what she did, Garland seemed like a diva, and not knowing what to make of her, people found her nervous and tuned her out, except for her gay urban fan base. The show was a ratings failure, but still, there were bright moments. The Christmas Show is one of them. Toward the goal of making Judy seem everyday, the show trotted out all her kids, as if at a church social or school pageant. Lorna, barely 10, already handled her songs like a pro. Liza, about 17 at the time, was a real trouper. Judy's only son, Joey Luft, son of agent/manager/grifter Sid Luft, aside from being tone deaf... well, do you know how some kids seem to be gay even by age 8? Y'know, the parents feel pleased that they build a treehouse, then discover there's a spice rack in it? Well, that is the case with Joey. The highlight of the hour is a Judy and Mel duet of "The Christmas Song," which Mel co-wrote. Oddly, she calls him "Mort." More oddly, she wrecks the lyrics of his song. Judy also, on a couch setting, slurs her way through "What Child Is This?" to which Jack Jones fawns, "Beautiful!" Well, looking back through the gauzy filter of memory, it was a beautiful show during a beautiful decade. Of course, at the time, I, like most people, watched Bonanza. But Bonanza didn't pass the test of time as Judy did. See any Bonanza Christmas specials for sale?