7 March 2008 | movibuf1962
As Long as We Need Her.
Judy Garland's one foray into series television was not perfect, but that was not entirely her fault. She was more anxious than anyone to make this a success, but the show's producers tweaked and ravaged the show's format so much that it ended up a flawed gem. Audiences would've been more than happy to see Ms. Garland just belt out one song after another, but early on her show was a musical variety hybrid, co-starred with 'second banana' dimwit Jerry Van Dyke, and featuring an uneven roster of guest stars, comedy sketches, and interviews over tea. Still, subsequent shows featured unforgettable appearances by Mickey Rooney, Mel Torme,' Lena Horne, Donald O'Connor, Ray Bolger, Jane Powell, George Maharis, and two honorable mentions: her own teenage daughter Liza Minnelli, and a 21-year-old Barbra Streisand who had not yet begun her own star launch with 'Funny Girl.' But then there was Judy herself- 41 years old, slimmed down to a gorgeous waif in beautiful gowns by Bob Mackie and Ray Aghayan doing incredible things: one-woman concerts, clown skits, comic improvisations, pantomime, and of course, the songs: 'Ol' Man River,' 'Live Your Life Today,' 'You Go To My Head,' 'Too Late Now,' 'Swanee,' a stunning up-tempo version of "Come Rain Or Come Shine,' and a positively blazing rendition of "As Long As He Needs Me-' with the voice in the unforgettable quiver and vibrato that always brought audiences to their feet, even in a darkened theater. The DVD's render a marvelous B&W picture, as these shows are digital transfers from the original, show quality, 2-inch videotapes. Kudos to Pioneer Entertainment for making this series possible.