Monday, July 13, 2009

"Rainbows I'm Inclined to Pursue"

I've been searching the web for a clip of Judy Garland singing "Call Me Irresponsible," because, after listening to the lyrics...

...really listening the lyrics and not just thinking the song is great because it has a good beat and you can dance to it...

...
I now realize that it's the theme song for my entire life. Come on...

"Call me irresponsible
Yes, I'm unreliable

But it's undeniably true

That I'm irresponsibly mad for you"


Yep, that pretty much sums up my "How can I be overdrawn? I still have checks!" way of life. It's my mantra, actually.


And even though Jackie Gleason sang "Call Me Irresponsible" in a movie, and Frank Sinatra famously recorded it, and Bobby Darin really swung it, and Michael Bublé stole a lot of Bobby's version and a little of Frankie's version and dropped a cd with a lukewarm, bullshit version that is so much of a carbon copy, I refer to it as "sampling," I want to see and hear the Garland version. Which is, apparently, only available on the "Volume 5 dvd of "The Judy Garland Show."

I want the Garland version because I just read that, according to Mel Tormé, "Call Me Irresponsible" was written specifically for Judy to perform at a CBS dinner.

Judy had just signed with CBS to do "The Judy Garland Show" and if she actually did sing the song at the dinner (before she sang it on the show), it was probably an hilarious icebreaker of a performance.

Think about Judy the next time you hear Bublé sing this song like "Bobby Darin 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold"...

Think about how hilarious and biting those lyrics would be when sung to a room full of suits by a woman who was as famous for taking Dorothy over the rainbow and belting "The Man That Got Away" as she was infamous for her erratic behavior that resulted in her being fired from the films "Annie Get Your Gun," "Royal Wedding," and "Valley of the Dolls."

The "Valley of the Dolls" firing is my favorite. For two reasons.

First, before filming began on the picture, Judy appeared as a Mystery Guest on "What's My Line." After answering the panelists with only a clicker and a bell, discussing the flu she's suffering through and gushing about how much she "adores" her new son-in-law, Peter Allen (the Liza doesn't fall far from the Gumm tree, does it?), Judy delivers the greatest exit line in the history of broadcast television.

She mentions that she will be in "Valley of the Dolls," and as she rises to leave, she tells the audience that...


"I'm the only one in the book that doesn't take pills!"

Hilarious. Ironic. Genius. And yet, nothing compared to what she did after she was fired from "Valley of the Dolls" and replaced with Susan "I Want to Live!" "Among the Living" "With a Song in My Heart" Hayward.

You know that gold lamé pantsuit that Susan wears in the catfight between Helen Lawson and Neely O'Hara? Well, that was originally designed for Judy. One was made for her. She had tried on that gold lamé pantsuit and probably taken some test shots in it. And when she was fired from the film, Judy Garland stole that gold lamé pantsuit.

'Atta girl.

Not only did Judy steal that pantsuit, she wore it. In public. On stage. In concert. At the Palace!!!

This is why I love Judy Garland. Because at times, my life feels like her life. Well, my idea of what her life was like - - messy and unfocused, yet always thrilling and rarely if ever boring. At times irresponsible. Unpredictable. And what I love about her is that Judy didn't hide that part of her life, she made a parade of it.

Wearing a costume stolen from a movie you were fired from in concert at the Palace. Amazing.

Then again, where else was she going to wear a gold lamé pantsuit? There were no gay and lesbian proms back then. It was the Palace in concert or nothing.

6 comments:

Polt said...

I'm pretty sure Judy Garland could have worn any damn thing she wanted to any damn place she wanted and it would have been okay, cause, dammit, she's JUDY! :)

HUGS...

Michael Rivers said...

Aren't the Garland stories wonderful! In that interview for Valley of Dolls, I love when the reporter asks about movie stars taking pills. Judy responds by saying she knows many reports who take pills too. Her humor was so sharp and fast.

Mark in DE said...

OK, now I believe in reincarnation. You ARE Judy!

Stephen said...

My BF in college- Walter, who is a Prof. in the Dance Dpt. at University of Oregon (we went to collge in LA), was visiting this weekend & he brought all 5 discs of The Judy Garland Show (from netflix) with him. I had seen clips from it & I remember it somewhat from my childhood. We stayed up late on Saturday night & watched while having martinis....& the shows were surreal. At one point she sang a medley of songs from cartoons dueting with Louis Jordan. She sang every song with so much emotion & intensity, it was as if each song was going to be her finale. At the end of each episode, she did a little section with her theatre trunk (The Born In A Trunk schtik). In one, she opened up drawers in the trunk & she said- "oh! there is all that weight that I lost. I wondered where it went to". She had a great sense of humor about herself on all the episodes.

Anonymous said...

.... and the gold pantsuit wasn't yet lined when she stole it. I wonder how scratchy it was to wear??!!

TJ said...

Actually, the song was written for the Gleason movie, "Papa's Delicate Condition", and the lyrics were changed in the parody for the CBS suits. I think at the time, Jack Jones had the biggest "hit" with the song, and he later was a guest on the Garland show.