The great Judy Garland was born 100 years ago this month, and the Turner Classic Movies channel is saluting her as its star of the month, showing her films every Friday. Given Garland’s status as an icon to LGBTQ+ people, who love her talent, emotion, and vulnerability and sympathized with her personal troubles — and “friend of Dorothy,” as in Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz, is an age-old code for gay men — it’s appropriate that the tribute to her is occurring during Pride Month. While The Wizard of Oz was shown earlier in the month, there are plenty of fabulous Garland performances left to see today and next Friday.
See more about them on the next pages. All times are Eastern; check your local listings.
OK, all the Andy Hardy movies are pretty silly, but some film fans love them just the same. TCM is showing three entries from the series about the romantic problems of Andy (Mickey Rooney), the teenage son in an idealized family in an idealized small town. In Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940), and Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941), Garland plays Betsy Booth, who has a crush on Andy. Among her lines is “I sing, you know.” Understatement of the century! TCM is also showing a non-Hardy film that marked the first teaming of Garland and Rooney, Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry (1937).
Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry, 1 p.m. Friday, June 17
Love Finds Andy Hardy, 2:30 p.m. Friday, June 17
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, 4:15 p.m. Friday, June 17
Life Begins for Andy Hardy, 6 p.m. Friday, June 17
This musical Western, released in 1946, is a typically lavish MGM production with some atypical subject matter — women going west to work as waitresses at the Harvey House restaurant chain in the late 19th century. Garland, as one of the waitresses, falls in love with a saloon owner (John Hodiak) but has a dance-hall performer (Angela Lansbury) as a rival for his affections. The highlight: Garland’s rendition of “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.”
The Harvey Girls, 8 p.m. Friday, June 17
Another example of MGM musical fabulosity, this 1948 film teams Garland with Fred Astaire, Ann Miller, and Peter Lawford. The plot, such as it is, deals with career and romantic complications among entertainers in the early 20th century, but the real reason to watch comes from the great song-and-dance numbers, set to the music of Irving Berlin, including “A Couple of Swells,” “Shakin’ the Blues Away,” and the title tune.
Easter Parade, 10 p.m. Friday, June 17
Garland seems an unlikely farmer, but that’s just what she plays in Summer Stock (1950), her last film for MGM. When a theatrical troupe led by Gene Kelly rents out her Connecticut farm, though, she gets to show off her musical talent. The “Get Happy” number, with Garland in a tuxedo jacket, rakish hat, and fishnet stockings, is one of her best.
Summer Stock, midnight Friday, June 17
This charming 1962 animated musical, co-written by Chuck Jones, has Garland voicing Mewsette, a country cat who seeks the glamorous life in Paris, and another great singer, Robert Goulet, giving voice to her lover, Jaune-Tom, who wants to bring her back home. Red Buttons, Hermione Gingold, Morey Amsterdam, and the legendary Mel Blanc are among the others you’ll hear.
Gay Purr-ee, 4 p.m. Friday, June 24
Garland’s final film, released in 1963, has her taking a dramatic turn as a successful American singer visiting England and trying to reclaim the son she gave up years earlier. Perhaps like Garland herself, though, her character Jenny Bowman is at her happiest when performing. Gay actor Dirk Bogarde plays her long-ago lover and father of her son.
I Could Go on Singing, 1:15 a.m. Saturday, June 25
Many Garland admirers consider her performance as Vicki Lester her greatest. Vicki is a band singer who becomes a film star in the second version (1954) of the much-filmed story about a woman whose career soars while her alcoholic husband’s goes downhill. Janet Gaynor, Barbra Streisand, and most recently Lady Gaga have starred in other versions, and they all have commendable qualities, but it’s hard to top Garland’s display of emotion and vulnerability, plus her great vocals (“The Man That Got Away,” “Born in a Trunk,” and more). James Mason is a worthy leading man as the falling star Norman Maine. Garland was expected to win the Best Actress Oscar, but the award went to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl instead. Grand larceny!
A Star Is Born, 8 p.m. Friday, June 24
Also on TCM that evening: Till the Clouds Roll By, a highly fictionalized 1946 biopic about composer Jerome Kern (played by Robert Walker), with Garland, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, June Allyson, and others performing Kern songs, 5:30 p.m.; and A Child Is Waiting (1962), with Garland as a teacher of children with disabilities, costarring Burt Lancaster and Gena Rowlands, in an early directorial effort by John Cassavetes, 11:15 p.m.