Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
In this collection of clips from The Judy Garland Show, which ran for 26 episodes on CBS television in 1963 and 1964, the legendary singer and actress performs a number of songs, several of them collaborations with up-and-comer Barbra Streisand, grand dame Ethel Merman, and Garland's own daughter, the then-teenaged Liza Minnelli. Garland's solos include several of her signature numbers, from "I'm Nobody's Baby," which she performed as a fresh-faced MGM star in 1940's Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, to "The Man That Got Away," written especially for 1954's comeback vehicle A Star Is Born. Garland and Streisand alternate friendly banter about hating each other's talent with solo renditions and two extended medleys. The most famous of these pairings is their show-stopping combination of the standards "Get Happy" and "Happy Days Are Here Again"; Garland had performed the former in 1950's Summer Stock, while Streisand recorded the latter the same year the program aired. In another segment, Merman appears in the middle of the audience and joins Streisand and Garland for a leather-lunged rendition of "There's No Business Like Show Business." The Merman and Streisand footage was taped on October 4, 1963, for episode nine of Garland's eponymous program. A sequence featuring three duets and lots of clowning with Minnelli was taped a few months earlier, on July 16, for episode three. Several years after her program was cancelled, Garland was set to play Helen Lawson, a character based on Merman, for the film version of Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls; she was replaced, however, by Susan Hayward. Streisand would go on to star in her own remake of A Star Is Born, while Minnelli would mine her mother's legacy in her own repertoire.