My name is Randy and I believe in Judy Garland. Let me explain. As a young boy growing up in Austin, Texas I believed that Judy, as Dorothy Gayle in “The Wizard of Oz,” could and would and did every year that I tuned into the network broadcast, save the day. Her journey from knee-knocking fear to ruby-slippered belief, from all alone to blissful friendships, from not knowing anything to discovering the greatest secrets of happiness, these and more ‘Judy lessons’ served me well. Today, all I need do is listen to ‘Judy at Carnegie Hall’ to know that all will be OK with the world. Her buoyancy, her verve, her easy happiness on that album is inspiring. This is my medicine: a weekly, sometimes daily dose of Judy Garland. Watching “Girl Crazy” with Judy and Mickey Rooney in the wild west and hearing her unbridled and seemingly unscripted laughter makes me have a better understanding of what really matters in the world. And when the stresses of each day start to overcome me, just a scene or two from “The Harvey Girls” can change my total outlook. In that film when Judy fearlessly retrieves the steaks stolen from her cafe, then I know that I, too, can face the none-too-friendly Angela Landsburys (her character in the movie that is) out there. “A Star is Born” and I’m a better partner, “Meet Me in St. Louis” and I’m a better brother, “A Child is Waiting” and I’m a kinder and more caring human being. But ultimately it is Judy’s singing that makes me stop, that has the power to change me in a moment. When I listen to her recordings of “Just In Time,” “When You’re Smiling,” “This Can’t Be Love,” “Zing! Went the Strings of my Heart” or a hundred others, I hear a truly authentic human being, her highs and her lows, her total understanding of the words, her love of music and people, her pure joy. Then I am joyful. Her unmatched sense of humor, so clearly seen in the underrated “The Judy Garland Show” of the 1960’s, still thoroughly captivates and charms me. No one can slap a smile on my face quite the same way that she can. And thank God for CD’s and DVD’s, where Judy will never grow old, or hit a bad note or fail to ‘zing,’ to be vivacious, funny or real for me. I may never make it over that rainbow but listening to and watching Judy Garland makes me believe that I can skip down my own yellow brick road with at least some compassion and grace and, yes, even joy. Therefore, This I Believe…I still believe in Judy Garland.
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