Friday, September 12, 2008

Andy Hardy Meets the Blog World

I just assumed everyone knew who Andy Hardy was and loved his movies, but it seems not everyone does, and introductions are in order. Andy Hardy was the fictional subject of a series of movies made between 1937 and 1946, plus one extra film in 1958. Andy was played by Mickey Rooney as a trouble-finding teenage boy who first looks to his surroundings for answers and then finally checks in with his father, the always wise and kind-hearted Judge Hardy.

Andy's mother is sometimes clueless and sometimes insightful, and his older sister is just sort of present in the films. The main relationship is between Andy and his father, and together they work through the struggles of life—figuring out girls, the importance of personal integrity, growing up, leaving for college, becoming a man.

Here is a trailer from one of the films that covers the summer between high school and college:

Judy Garland played Patsy, the adorable neighbor girl who was a little younger than Andy but who loved him with all her heart. He saw her as a pesky child and reserved his affections for Polly Benedict. There was always some other girl who was either new to town or more sophisticated than Polly to attract his attention. Or sometimes Polly was distracted by a new boy or a visiting soldier in uniform, but in the end, all was well.

When Andy left for college, his troubles still seemed to revolve around girls, but he learned to deal with them without the instant help of the judge. In this scene, Andy has ended up at a college dance with a girl no one else would invite because she was too tall. Andy's first choice was called home unexpectedly, and Andy takes the high road so he and the tall girl could both be included in what was evidently an extremely important social event. His parents watch on from the side.

Why do I like these films so much, I ask myself? I first discovered them when I was a kid and watched old movies like it was my job. WGN in Chicago played them nearly as much as Turner Classic Movies, when they weren't airing Cubs games, and I was hooked. Andy was one of the first characters that drew me in, and his wise and loving father was like no one I had ever met before. Maybe I was a little jealous of Andy—I didn't know anyone like Judge Hardy, and I could only imagine being the recipient of such wisdom and unconditional love. As a little kid, I wanted to live in Carvel with the Hardy family and grow up saying things like "Hey, let's scram," or "Gee, that's swell."

No matter how many scrapes Andy found himself in, and no matter how melodramatic he was about something like the upholstery of his car, he always had a loving and accepting safety net at home that allowed him to sort things out without fatal results.


Rich said...

Andy sounds like he was a real dawg.

dive said...

Gee, that's swell, Robyn.
I'll have to watch these clips when I get home and then see where I can find Andy Hardy movies. I'd never heard of them until you brought the subject up; they must be a peculiarly colonial phenomenon.

RoverHaus said...

We Helloooo Andy Hardy!

I just love these old clips. They are completely irrelevant to today's society, but I love them just the same.

Why can't life be as simple as it was then, or at least as simple as Hollywood made it look back then?

Buzz Stephens said...

Speaking of Judy Garland, some of the files currently posted over at Yahoo's The Judy Garland Experience are:
Judy's complete Orchestra Hall closing night performance from September 1958, Judy's appearance at London's Russell Hotel on November 29, 1964, an episode of the Bing Crosby show from February 7, 1951 that features Judy, Carol Burnett singing selections from the Judy Garland Songbook, Billie Holiday's last concert appearance in California (Oct, 1958), JOan Crawford in the lurid 1950's radio drama When The Police Arrive, The final chapters of our audio documentary The Rainbow That Got Away, and an installment of Interpretations featuring Judy, Barbra Streisand, Ann Richards, and Chris Connor.
To hear all of this and more, please visit The Judy Garland Experience on Yahoo:

Don't delay, these files won't be up for long, new ones will be posted early Sunday morning.


Shan said...

I can get entirely sucked into old movies like these. I think I'll see if we have them at our video store tonight when I take the boys.
I feel the same way about those times. I think I would have really enjoyed growing up in those days with more of an innocence to them. Of course, our "days" were much more innocent than the ones our children are experiencing. I'm a little scared of this instant gratification society we are in.

Ms Mac said...

I'd never heard of Andy Hardy movies either until I got married and promptly discovered my new mother-in-law was a fan!

18 years later and I've still never watched one!

dive said...

Woohoo!I'm just home and watched the clips, Robyn.
Fantastic stuff. They just drag you in and make you grin.
Looks like I'm going to have to try to track some down on DVD for rainy Saturday afternoons.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...


savannah said...

they were great fun, sugar, pure escapism then and now. thanks for the reminder! ;) xoxo

Alifan said...

Hope all is well Robyn.. missing you. xx