Monday, June 15, 2009
judy garland; always chasing rainbows
Though I'm too late to celebrate the birth of one Frances Ethel Gumm, it is never too late to celebrate the existence of one of the greatest entertainers of all time, especially one that has had a profound impact on my life.
That sounds dramatic but it really isn't. I absolutely would not be where I am right now if it weren't for Judy Garland. If I had not decided one day about 4 years ago to watch Easter Parade (I really don't remember what my rationale was) and had not developed an intense admiration for her talent, I would not have developed the love I have for old movies, for all movies. I would not attend my current University, and I would not be trying my hand at a career in film.
A lot has been written about the little lady with the big voice, and many have lamented that had her life not been touched by such tragedy she might still be thrilling the world at the ripe old age of 87.
I do not mean to diminish the tragedy, the injustices that were done to her at such an early age, but I've always felt that this focus on her personal suffering has in itself done her an injustice because it takes away from the magic and joy that was Judy Garland. She was not just a voice, she was a person. A person whose troubles were magnified and placed on display for all the world to see. It is part of who she was, but I think the real tragedy is when her talent, her gift becomes a side show to her personal pain.
I could be wrong considering I didn't know the woman, but given everything I've read about her I don't think she would have wanted people to focus on the negative, and I also do not believe that she committed suicide. She was a sick woman who needed help, but there are also many happy stories that never seem to get mentioned. My point is summed up best in her own words in Garland Speaks. I've only listened to one part of it because it seems like such an invasion of her privacy, but it is still incredibly poignant. She says "I wanted to believe, and I tried my damndest to believe in the rainbow that I tried to get over, and I couldn't. So what? Lot's of people can't."