Tag Archives: television

When CBS Humiliated Judy Garland

Even though I know my showtunes, I’m not particularly a Liza, Barbara, or Judy Gay. (I didn’t really get the affection for Liza until I saw Liza With a Z which whether you are gay or straight or whatever is a fucking stunning movie of her a musical revue written just for her where she stomps through one song after another like some sort of musical super soldier.)

In 1964, Judy taped the final episode of the first (and only) seasonof The Judy Garland Show. Browbeaten, humiliated, over-medicated, and defeated, she tore through a performance of “By Myself” so raw and dark, CBS cut it from the final episode. Here’s the video and the background:

“CBS execs.. sought to topple the #1 show on TV, NBC’s Bonanza, by treating audiences to Judy every week. … CBS exec James Aubrey, known as ‘the smiling cobra’ for his ability to flatter and wheedle to one’s face while at the same time ruthlessly manipulating situations behind the scenes, played on Judy’s desire for financial and familial stability and convinced her that a weekly TV series was the answer to all her problems. …

“Judy and the production team had been promised a relatively free-hand in creating the format for her variety show, but almost immediately CBS began interfering. … Their version of comedy relief was Jerry making jokes about Judy’s struggles with weight and self-image (Garland had been gotten quite heavy prior to slimming down for her show).

“The humiliation comes into play because, while CBS bought a sophisticated musical variety show for grown-ups, when it came to actually tape the episodes they used a heavy hand in attempting to channel Judy into something she wasn’t.

“Judy, for her part, was a phenomenally good sport for the first 13 episodes and gamely went along with skits and jokes she must have found hurtful and unfunny. The tide began to turn when she was called from taping to a CBS board room for notes.

“Judy was told that her frequent hugging and hand-holding of guests was making audiences uncomfortable – that CBS test audiences didn’t feel comfortable having Judy in their homes. With that, Judy requested a telephone and called her very good friend, President John F. Kennedy, in the presence of the board. After confirming that Kennedy had seen the previous week’s show, Judy asked how comfortable he and Jackie were with having her in their home every week. Kennedy replied he was very comfortable with Judy and looked forward to the next time they could get together. Judy’s power play backfired and William Paley, CBS head, began the process of gutting her show budget, which would hopefully lead to cancellation – his words “I don’t want that cunt bringing down my Sunday evening.” JFK’s death in November of that year saw the loss of one of Judy’s biggest supporters and the struggle she had over performing a tribute to Kennedy on the show sealed the deal. In the end, CBS, allowed Judy to sing ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ but not dedicate the performance to “Dear Jack.”

“As kind and supportive as CBS appeared to be when wooing Garland was as mean and vindictive as they became when it was clear Judy would never beat Bonanza. Instead of moving time-slots and giving the show a chance, as they did with many of Judy’s peers – particularly Danny Kaye – they unceremoniously cancelled the series – WHILE THE FIRST SEASON WAS STILL BEING TAPED!

“Judy Garland not only had to face the negativity of the CBS publicity machine working against her, she had to suffer the humiliation of finishing out her contract when she knew there would be no second season. Her dreams of stability shattered, and with only enough budget remaining for ‘concert-style’ shows, Judy kicked it up a notch and gave some of her finest, rawest performances in the final episodes.

“I’m sad for the circumstances surrounding The Judy Garland show, but it resulted in some of the best performances of Judy’s career and gives us and idea of how electric and amazing Judy was live.”

Full discussion in context.

“Paula Deen’s Style is Part of the Problem”

“I hail from the swampy fug of Beaumont, TX. My father grew up there amid open racists who were otherwise the salt of the earth. He grew up in a segregated world, with black people working as house servants and expected to be second-class citizens, calling Brazil nuts “n- toes” and all the rest of that crap. He is the same age as Paula Deen, and imbibed the same lessons and tropes. He is now an avowed anti-racist and has been since he became an adult in 1966 or so. There is no excuse, folks. All Americans have had a mass media for some time. They have had access to the arguments for and against racism, and have had the opportunity to become extremely well versed in racial politics, should they choose to. If anything, people who want to remain racist and provide themselves some cover pull this mantle of “oh, but its just my Southern culture” over themselves as a protective membrane. Well, puncture it. Theyve had the same opportunity to observe, think, and make decisions as the rest of America had over the last half century. They have made personal choices within that matrix, and they can be held fully accountable for those choices, no matter what their individual context was growing up. This excuse was the one their parents generation used, and its getting pretty darn thin for people who were teens into the 1960s and simply cannot claim that their unthinking racism was just normal and accepted. They knew it was not acceptable when they personally witnessed civil rights and anti-lynching campaigns coming to their schools and cities. Paula Deens style is part of the problem. She willingly took her place as part of the problem, because she had a wonderful slot in the power structure and it was working for her. Its completely fine to expect her to own up to that.”

via “Inappropriate and hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable.” | MetaFilter.

Why Nancy Grace is a Miserable Shrew

“Don’t forget the way she harped incessantly on the Duke LaCrosse case, repeatedly calling them rapists and insisting they were guilty, confronting everyone who stated otherwise or withheld judgment as being rape apologists. … Or the Danielle van Dam case, where she repeatedly flat out fucking lied all over the air – even after being corrected – and said ridiculous shit like how “that DNA must be pretty tough to survive on a [leather] jacket through a shower.” No DNA was found on his jacket, and who the fuck showers in a leather jacket? Or how bout the Melinda Ducket case, where she brutally and repeatedly attacked the 22 year old mom, all but flat out saying she was a murderer and that anything shed been told not to do or speak of by her attorneys was evidence of her guilt. When Melinda broke down and appeared confused, started to cry, and repeat that the media pressure has made everything so much worse, Nancy flat out said she thought she murdered her son and was lying. Melinda shot herself in the head the next day, and her son was never found. Or the Casey Anthony case, where she near single-handidly blew up the trial to a national frenzy. In those months alone, Nancy Grace convinced most of a nation that the legal system failed them, because shed spent months portraying only a partial view of the prosecution and repeatedly hammering into them that she was guilty, no doubt, she needed to fucking burn for what shed done, and now the justice system had failed the entire country by not putting this “tot killer” mom to death. As if the judge, 12 jury members, and a defense attorney had collaborated to get Casey Anthony out of it just to damage Nancy’s reputation. She then hinted out of the blue on the day of her release that maybe vigilante justice was a totally good idea. Fuck Nancy Grace. She’s the single most damaging persona in “journalism,” entertainment, and because of her sick influence and viewership, she corrupts the entire justice system. She doesn’t give a fuck whose lives she destroys, branding them forever as rapists, murderers, child killers, as long as she’s got a missing white girl she can plaster across her banner for 4 hours a day.”

tremens comments on Nancy Grace on Reddit thread