Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My Dad Loved Judy Garland

My dad was a huge fan of Judy Garland. When I was growing up, we had all her records. I honestly think he would have left Mom and married Judy Garland if he had a chance. Well, maybe not. But he really, really liked her.

In the movie "Broadway Melody" in 1937, she played a teenager who was madly in love with the movie star Clark Gable. In a classic scene from the movie, she writes a fan letter — a love letter, actually — to Mr. Gable (as she calls him). His picture is sitting on the desk and she gazes at it fondly as she sings of her love for him.

I heard the song on XM Radio today, and I thought I'd share the lyrics:


You Made Me Love You
words by Joseph McCarthy,
music by Jimmy Monaco, 1913
Arranged by Roger Edens, with special lyrics

Dear Mr. Gable,
I am writing this to you
and I hope that you will read it so you'll know
My heart beats like a hammer
and I stutter and I stammer
every time I see you at the picture show.
I guess I'm just another fan of yours
and I thought I'd write and tell you so.

You made me love you
I didn't wanna do it,
I didn't wanna do it.
You made me love you
And all the time you knew it,
I guess you always knew it.
You made me happy,
Sometimes you made me glad.
But there were times, sir,
You made me feel so sad.

You made me sigh 'cause
I didn't wanna tell you,
I didn't wanna tell you
I think you're grand, that's true
Yes I do, 'deed I do, you know I do.
I must tell you what I'm feeling
The very mention of your name
Sends my heart reeling.
You know you made me love you!


Aw, gee, Mr. Gable, I don't wanna bother you!

I guess you got a lotta girls that tell you the same thing.
And if you don't wanna read this, well, you don't have to.

But I just had to tell you about the time I saw you in
"It Happened One Night". That was the first time I ever saw
you, and I knew right then you were the nicest fella in the

I guess it was 'cause you acted so, well, so natural like —
not like a real actor at all, but just like any fella you'd
meet at school or at a party.

Then one time I saw you in a picture with Joan Crawford, and
I had to cry a little 'cause you loved her so much and you
couldn't have her — not 'till the end of the picture, anyway.

And then one time I saw you in person. You were making a
personal appearance at the theater, and I was standing there
when you got out of your car, and you almost knocked me down!

Oh — but it wasn't your fault! Naw, I was in the way. But you
looked at me, and you smiled. Yeah! You smiled right at me as
if you meant it, and I cried all the way home just 'cause you
smiled at me for being in your way!

Aw, I'll never forget it, Mr. Gable. Honest injun. You're my
favorite actor!


I don't care what happens,
Let the whole world stop.
As far as I'm concerned,
You'll always be the top,
'cause you know
You made me love you.


That song will always have special meaning for me. For one thing, it explains exactly what every person who understands "passion" in movies already knows: movies can make you laugh and they can make you cry and it's all because you feel a connection with the character in the show.

Another reason it has special meaning for me is because everybody at some point in their lives have felt about someone exactly the same way Judy Garland's character felt about Clark Gable. It's very easy to identify with that.

Even as she was proclaiming her love for him, she was still very respectful of his stature. She calls him "Mr. Gable". She calls him "sir"! It's kinda like Mary Richards, who could never get past referring to Lou as "Mr. Grant". It's a delicate concession to the fact that the admiration — however intense — will never really be consummated.

I can imagine that, as my dad watched that movie, he was actually singing the same words in his mind to Judy Garland. She made him love her, even though he didn't want to do it.


Yale Schwartz said...

Thanks for posting this tribute ... to your Dad and everyone else who's shared these same emotions. You nailed it. And here's my own amusing story about this tune. I did this song one night at Karaoke. I'm a guy, and I was expecting the normal lyrics but Judy's version came up, so I just did it - with all the emotion that Judy would have put into it. Well, the crowd loved it. And I was kind of glad I did it this way, too.

Joe DeShon said...

Thanks, Yale. I wrote that article many years ago. You made me pause and remember my long lost Dad again.
For others, a link to the marvelous Miss Garland singing the song is here: