Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Life Begins for Andy Hardy

"Life Begins for Andy Hardy"
Does that take you back in time?
Main Street, USA, in the thirties and forties?
Few movie series were quite as quintessential America as the 16 Andy Hardy films with Mickey Rooney as our juvenile hero . . . even well into his twenties!
M-G-M based the first Hardy movie on a Broadway play called Skidding (1928) by Aurania Rouveyrol (and if you can pronounce that name than you're a better man than I am!).
"A Family Affair" stared Lionel Barrymore as the father, Judge Hardy; Spring Byington as Mrs. Hardy; and Sara Haden as her sister, Millie. Cecilia Parker played Andy's sister, Marian; and Julie Haydon was Joan, his sister that was dropped after the first entry.
(Lewis Stone)
Come to think of it, Judge Hardy morphes into Lewis Stone and Mrs. Hardy is a clone of Fay Holden after the first one! Hey, how did M-G-M learn how do to this back then?!?!
Each one revolved pretty much Andy getting into trouble and then getting himself out of it, usually with the help and/or support of his family and especially Judge Hardy. Part of what made these movies fun to watch was seeing the wonderfull sets, clothes and cars. How could you pass up a couple of young people back then in their innocence of young love's struggles?
Hey, how could you pass up the burger joints, dances and ice cream parlors--forget young love!!
"Life Begins Andy Hardy" is a good entry in the series that Maven rates as at least a "wannasee," possibly keeping in your video collection.
(Judy Garland as Betsy Booth and Mickey Rooney as Andy Hardy)
Andy has graduated from high school and wants to earn some money before going off to college . . . and I suspect wanting to try his wings in "the real world" on his own. Andy runs smack into trouble when the roommate he gets in New York ends up with trouble that makes Andy realize that the place for him is college.
"Life Begins . . ." also stars Judy Garland as Betsy Booth, a sort of junior Polly Benedict, Andy's girl friend up to this movie who was played by Ann Rutherford.
For all of you character actor watchers, see if you can see Ralph Byrd as Doctor Gallagher. This was after he had played Dick Tracy in several Republic serials!
This "episode" of the series will be on Turner Classic Movies late tomorrow night at 3:30 (EDT). Just be sure the popcorn's fresh and the sasparilla's cold!

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