Loves Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore, The Beatles, The Who, The Monkees, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Dean Martin, etc. Definitely born in the wrong era.
29 year old girl from the east bay area in California (read as: nowhere on the map) and also loves all things craft-wise. Is an avid cross-stitcher, knitter, crocheter, photographer, writer, loves drawing, and generally anything that involves making something pretty.
Also loves nostalgia. Both from the 60's/70's, from her own childhood in the 80's/90's, and some even older stuff. You've been warned.
Judy Garland (Movieland, December 1943)
33. Madame Cremetante — Judy Garland & Chorus
OMG!!! <33333 YES! My favorite!
23. Radio Interview, 1965.
(Album Promotion/MGM memories/Vaudeville/Liza’s career/Song: “Together”, with Liza Minnelli.)
When I was a little girl, I always knew I was different from most other children. Sure, my sense of normalcy was a bit skewed – every other kid I knew was the child of someone famous. I just assumed everyone had famous parents and was somehow connected to “the business”. I didn’t realize that normal people were just that – normal people leading every day, normal lives. (Truth be told, it’s something that I even now still have some trouble with trying to comprehend.) But that said, even amongst whom I thought were other normal children like myself, after school most kids would go off to the playground. My “playground” was the MGM film lots. Perhaps it had a lot to do with the fact that both of my parents worked there – my mother as an actress, my father as a director – but I’d essentially grown up there. Most children would have been adverse to this after just a day or two, what with all the hollering for “quiet on the set!” and being told where you can or can’t be, and that you generally have to sit still and just watch. But I was absolutely fascinated by this process at a young age. I wanted to know how it all worked, and how it was all done. And boy, can I tell you… movie making is a very dull process. Even so, I still loved it. I still kept coming back every single day. I wanted to see for myself just what it was my parents did.
Sometimes I’d be told to stand out of the way somewhere and to not move, not speak, don’t do anything – just watch. Sometimes my dad would take me up on the boom or on the crab dolly and let me just sit on his lap, and be able to watch everything from a new angle, up above everybody. Other times, I’d sneak off into one of the director chairs meant for the stars and sit there. I mean, they were working on the set; they weren’t busy using them or anything. They surely wouldn’t miss their seat that much while I could employ perfectly good use for it (and leave my telltale cookie crumbs behind). Everyone came to know that as the signal I’d been there… I may as well have left a big neon sign over the chairs saying “LIZA WAS HERE”, since they always knew it was me. Other times, I’d get myself into trouble for riding around on my little tricycle around the lots and generally getting in everybody’s way and knocking things over that were probably worth a mint before I destroyed them. (Starting to see shades of Eloise here? That’s because the books were written about me. See why?)
But, more often than not, I’d be fairly predictable in where I’d find myself getting off to. As my father would get effectively wrapped up in his work, I’d just quietly sneak off, unnoticed, and start wandering from set to set. And time and time again, I would end up finding my way to wherever some musical was being filmed. Preferrably, while they were working on a dance number. The trifecta of perfect being if Gene Kelly happened to be in attendence. I’d had an innocent little girl crush on him practically from the time I was born, and he thought it was the cutest thing in the world, so he’d play along. I must have only been about 3 or 4 years old when I announced to him – didn’t ask, but told him – that someday, when I grow up, I’d marry him, but that for now, he’s just my boyfriend. I don’t know how he didn’t just laugh in my face for that, bless his soul, but he was a good sport and played along for years (in a completely non-creepy way, I promise). It was all the more to my personal benefit that he just happened to co-star with mama in so many of her films, and that they were such close friends off-camera as well. One of these such films was Summer Stock. It’s also quite possibly one of the only films mama did with Gene that I was old enough to distinctly remember the filming of, even though I was around for a few others – just as a baby or a toddler.
MGM had already sunk their claws into her by this point and were fully responsible for her addictions to pills (they were the ones who gave them to her, as it was in her contract clause) and starving her down to what they felt was a “more ideal” weight. Working 18 to 20 hour days on nothing more than what she gave her, plus a bowl of chicken broth and tea periodically throughout the day, they more or less controlled every facet of her life, because being an actress at MGM meant that the studio owned you as much as they might a piece of property. They could do with you as they liked, and there wasn’t a thing you could do about it – that is, unless you wanted to be blackballed from every studio in the country. Now, try explaining this to a 4 or 5 year old girl.
I’d somewhat forgotten about just how brutal the studio was to mama until I ran across this photo the other day. Look how cute I was in my little matching overalls, wanting to be just like my mama. As usual, I’d snuck into the studio with my pockets stuffed with cookies from at home that I’d snuck behind my nanny’s back. While mama was off-set, she sat there with one of her usual cups of tea. I snuck up onto the chair next to her and offered her one of my cookies, knowing full well that she hadn’t eaten all day.
“Oh, darling, is that for me?” she asked, humoring me in that tone that she reserved solely for me without actually baby-talking.
“Mm-hmm! I brought it just for you, mama! Papa says you’re always hungry.”
“Oh, you are sweet, angel,” she cooed as she leant over and kissed the top of my head. “But I think you’d better eat it for me. Mr. Mayer wouldn’t like it very much if I ate it.”
“Well, he thinks I’ll get fat.”
“Nuh uh! You’re perfect! Tell mr. Mayer to suck eggs!” I insisted, holding my Oreo out to her.
Mama looked shocked. “Liza! Where did you ever hear a phrase like that?”
“Uncle Gene taught me!” I beamed proudly, feeling every bit the adult that I assumed myself to be for using his phrase. I leant further over the side of the chair, trying even more insistently to sway her stance. “C’mon, eat! You make me eat!”
She just smiled and shook her head. “Darling, you’re young enough to where you can eat those and not gain an ounce. When you get to be my age, you can’t eat things that are so loaded with sugar without putting on pounds.”
I thought about this for a moment as I slumped back in the chair and inspected what was now my cookie and twisted it apart. Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea. After my obligatory licking off of all the frosting, I offered the now what-I-assumed-to-be sugar-free cookie to her, not thinking anything about it to be the least bit gross. “Here you go! Now it’s not loaded with sugar anymore!”