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Girl Crazy

Girl Crazy(1943)

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Charles Walters' onscreen credit reads: "Dance Direction and Solo Dance with Miss Garland by Charles Walters." In addition to the above-listed numbers, excerpts from George Gershwin's Girl Crazy score are also heard, including "Broncho Busters," "Sam and Delilah," "When It's Cactus Time in Arizona," "Barbary Coast" and "Boy! What Love Has Done to Me." According to modern sources, a "Broncho Busters" production number, sung by Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney and Nancy Walker, was cut from the final film.
       Rooney plays the piano with Tommy Dorsey's orchestra during the "Fascinating Rhythm" number. Although CBCS lists Sidney Miller in the role of "Ed," he did not appear in the final film. Hollywood Reporter news items add the following information about the production: In August 1939, M-G-M announced that Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell would star in the picture. Later, Richard Quine, Virginia Weidler, Ray McDonald and Van Johnson, who was to make his singing debut, were announced as cast members. None of these actors appeared in the final film, however. Busby Berkeley began as the film's director but was replaced by Norman Taurog in early February 1943. According to a February 1, 1943 Hollywood Reporter news item, Berkeley left the production due to illness, but modern sources contend that he was fired by producer Arthur Freed because of excessive spending on the "I Got Rhythm" number. Modern sources add that Freed later claimed that Berkeley, who received an onscreen credit for his direction of the "I Got Rhythm" number, was dismissed due to a personality clash with Garland. According to Hollywood Reporter, Jack Donohue worked on the film as dance director, and Sheila Rae was his assistant. Although not credited onscreen, it is possible that Donohue and Rae worked on the film while Berkeley was directing. In mid-January 1943, Hollywood Reporter announced that dancer Jack Boyle was "helping with the dance routines," but the exact nature of his contribution has not been determined.
       Girl Crazy was the last film in which Garland and Rooney, a popular M-G-M team, appeared together. Prior to being cast in the film, Garland made a best-selling recording of "Embraceable You." Showgirl Kathleen "Kay" Williams, who some years later married Clark Gable, made her screen debut in the film. Gil Stratton, a former Broadway musical player, also made his debut in the picture. In later years, Stratton worked as a television sports announcer in Los Angeles. Frances Ward and Aileen Morris were announced as cast members in December 1942, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to Hollywood Reporter, the Leo Diamond Harmonia Band accompanied Garland and The King's Men on the "Bidin' My Time" number, but their appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. Some scenes in the film were shot in the desert, 150 miles from Los Angeles. According to modern sources, Girl Crazy was one of the top box office films of 1943.
       The Gershwins' musical was first adapted for the screen in 1932. William A. Seiter directed Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey and Dorothy Lee in the RKO Radio picture, also titled Girl Crazy. Norman Taurog directed retakes for the earlier film (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.1587). In 1965, Alvin Ganzer directed Connie Francis and Herman's Hermits in When the Boys Meet the Girls, M-G-M's second version of the musical (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70; F6.5521).