Monday, November 9, 2015

BOTB SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW: IT'S IZ

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell.

I apologize for my tardiness in announcing my Nov. 1, 2015, Battle of the Bands results. The song was Somewhere Over the Rainbow. The competitors were IZ and Katharine McPhee. To see the original post, please click HERE.

My son suggested IZ's version to me. I had never heard of him, and wasn't aware that he had passed away at an early age after creating his much-loved interpretation of Rainbow. I knew the name Katharine McPhee because, although I don't watch the show, she was the runner up in 2006 on American Idol and has experienced continued success.

It became obvious early on that IZ's mellow rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow would be the winner. I admit I was shocked when some of you commented that if Judy Garland had been the other contender, you still would have voted for IZ. That says a lot about the quality of his performance.

Here's the final count:

IZ                                       21
KATHARINE MCPHEE 2

Again, it doesn't bother me that the first contestant hit one out of the park, while the second contestant hit a pop fly. I enjoy what I learn from the battles. I wouldn't have heard IZ's beautiful voice if I hadn't paid attention to Favorite Young Man when he said, "There's this guy named IZ . . . . . "

And the rest is history.

Let's talk more about the history of Rainbow, too. We'll also listen to the one of the greatest vocalists ever, who made it her signature song.

Of course, the songstress was Judy Garland. She introduced Rainbow when she played Dorothy in the  classic 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz. Harold Arlen wrote the music; E. Y. Harburg wrote the lyrics. It won the Best Song Academy Award.

The Internet Movie Database has the following to say about this classic number:

"Over the Rainbow" was nearly cut from the film; MGM felt that it made the Kansas sequence too long, as well as being too far over the heads of the children for whom it was intended. The studio also thought that it was degrading for Judy Garland to sing in a barnyard. A reprise of the song was cut: Dorothy sang it to remember Kansas while imprisoned in the Witch's castle. Judy Garland began to cry, along with the crew, because the song was so sad.

Judy Garland was sixteen when she played Dorothy, the girl in my home state who is carried away by a tornado. Here's how I remember my first sight of Judy Garland:



During the Dark Ages, a.k.a. my childhood, The Wizard of Oz was on TV once a year. We watched this special event together. I was horrified by The Wicked Witch of the West, played by Margaret Hamilton.

We sort-of knew that when Dorothy came out of her house in Oz that the film switched from sepia to technicolor. We couldn't imagine it, though. We needed to see it to believe it--to understand how special it was. I was about fifteen years old when I finally saw Dorothy enter the brilliantly colored world of the Munchkins.

Judy, will you please sing us out with another of my favorite performances?


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


24 comments:

  1. She was so talented and so beautiful. I remember watching an interview with her several years ago, somewhere around the age of eight. Even though they wanted Shirley Temple first, the directors always told her that she was "perfect for the role but..." They wanted her to strap down her breasts to seem younger and use rubber to make her nose seem smoother and other things. The thing that made me remember it so clearly was because she said, "If they thought I was so perfect, why did they try to change me? It never made any sense." and that stuck with me ever since.

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    1. Shirley Temple didn't have the voice to pull off the role of Dorothy. I understand the corset Judy had to wear was quite uncomfortable.

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  2. How did I completely miss this BOTB? Well, it looks like the voting went the way I would have voted anyway.

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  3. Plus this song is a gay anthem. It's the reason a rainbow is the symbol of the LGBTQ community!

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  4. Hard to not vote for Judy Garland. A tragedy in her story.

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    1. I can't imagine voting for someone over Judy, but we old people grew up with Judy as one of our biggest idols.

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  5. Wow-Iz did hit it out of the park. I am surprised by the votes but interesting how it all works. Poor Judy really knew how to sing songs to make your heart break. I can't imagine her not getting the votes over Iz. During the making of Oz they had to strap her boobs down since Dorothy was only supposed to be 12. This was also, around the time, when the studio started to give her uppers and downers to get through the picture. Remember, though, that the studios had no idea how addictive these pills were otherwise they would not have given them to her, not because of being good souls, but because they had money invested in her and wouldn't want to lose her. The last # is another priceless one from a film called "Summer Stock." Have you seen it? When you first see Judy, she is on a tractor and has about 30 or more pounds on her. Shortly after completing the picture, she entered a sanitarium to deal with her "nervous energy"-aka drug taking and mental breakdown. She got healthy, lost weight and felt good. When she came out, MGM wanted one more number for the movie so they made this one. She seemed to go from heavier to very thin to heavier again in 2 shakes. Sadly, MGM wanted her to work before she was ready and she started work on Annie Get Your Gun but was fired since she started missing days so Summer Stock is her last MGM film

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    1. Oh, yes, I've seen Summer Stock. It's ridiculous. She looks like a farm woman with some meat on her bones, and then all of a sudden she's super skinny when she does the Come On Get Happy number. MGM decided Summer Stock needed one more number. Have you seen the little bit of footage of her making Annie Get Your Gun? She's great. Betty Hutton had her good points, but she was no Judy Garland.

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    2. Yes I have seen the out-takes and she would have been great as Annie Oakley. I could see that she was tired though. What an amazing talent

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    3. MGM used and abused Judy, then cut her loose.

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  6. Like you, the yearly showing of The Wizard of Oz was a huge deal at my childhood home. Mark-the-calendar huge! Then we would play "Wizard of Oz" outside for days. It really was, and is, a great movie - and Judy Garland is why!

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    1. It was a triumph when I could sit in a chair by myself, instead of sitting on someone's lap, when the wicked witch came on the screen. She was terrifying even in black and white.

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  7. I liked the movie but liked it even more when my Daughter got interested in it.
    Wow I have pick a winner for once.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I love all the details about making the movie.

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  8. My dad made fudge and the whole family sat together in the den and watched the yearly airing of The Wizard of Oz. The wicked witch scared me but the flying monkeys were what gave me nightmares.

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  9. This was a great battle. I'm glad to see IZ won.
    No worries about posting late, sometimes it happens. Especially when the battle and/or results fall on a weekend. I always see low attendance when it falls on such. But glad I came to check this battle out, it's a great song.

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    1. I've been super busy with my editing work and leaky furnace and broken dishwasher and appointments here and there. It's difficult to keep up with everything.

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  10. Wow, McPhee really got crushed in this match. But I expected that.

    I remember watching this every year when I was in elementary school. We had a 21 inch b&w TV at the time so it was years later that I got the full impact of the movie. I recall how the day after the showing all the kids would be discussing the film and doing their best imitations of the guards at the witches castle singing "O-ee-o-ee-o-o"

    Great film. I have copies on DVD as well as video.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. We imitated the guards, too. Kids probably do it now, but they don't have to wait for that once-a-year show. When my daughter was a young teenager, the movie was restored and show in some theaters. Seeing it on a big screen was a thrill.

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