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Judge Hardy and Son (1939) was the eighth release in MGM's highly profitable Andy Hardy series. The first film, A Family Affair (1937), was followed by 15 more Andy Hardy adventures over the next 20 years. The credited director of this segment in the life of the Hardy family is George B. Seitz, who oversaw eleven installments of the series. MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer, who was a sucker for sentimental films about families, was the most important fan of the series. Not only did he run the studio that made Andy Hardy possible, he took a very personal role in the production of each film. This was a rather odd situation, since Judge Hardy and Son and the other episodes were strictly B-movie productions, hardly important enough to attract L.B. Mayer as their patron saint.
In one telling episode, screenwriter Carey Wilson was laboring on the script for Judge Hardy and Son, when Mayer burst into his office with the pages of Andy's emotional prayer scene for his mother who is hovering near death. Deeply unhappy with the scene as written, Mayer sharply criticized Wilson by saying, "You see, you're now a Hollywood character. You've forgotten your simple, honest boyhood. You don't remember how a real boy would pray. This is how a boy would do it." With that, Mayer dropped to his knees, lifted his hands and eyes up high, and said fervently, "Dear God, please don't let my mom die, because she's the best mom in the world. Thank you, God." The Mayer performance, complete with streaming tears down the cheek, went into the film verbatim and became the standard invocation to the divine in all subsequent studio films under Mayer.
Director: George B. Seitz
Producer: Lou L. Ostrow (uncredited)
Screenplay: Carey Wilson
Cinematography: Lester White
Editor: Ben Lewis
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Music: David Snell
Cast: Mickey Rooney ('Andy' Hardy), Lewis Stone (Judge James Hardy), Fay Holden (Mrs. Emily Hardy), Cecilia Parker (Marian Hardy), Ann Rutherford (Polly Benedict).
By Scott McGee