Babes on Broadway (1942): Busby Berkeley’s Sequel to Babes in Arms, Starring Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Margaret O’Brien



This superior sequel to “Babes in Arms,” which also was directed by Busby Berkeley, reunites the popular MGM team of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.


Among the highlight are Rooney’s impersonations of George M. Cohan (who James Cagney played in his Oscar-winning role, “Yankee Doodle Dandy”) and Carmen Miranda.  Judy takes on the grand lady of French theater, Sarah Bernhardt, but it’s her rendition of “F.D. R. Jones” and other tunes that warms our hearts.


Rooney’s real-life father, Joe Yule, appears as Mason, and the movie features the debut of the four-year-old child-actress Margaret O’Brien, who in a few years would shine in Minnelli’s nostalgic musical, “Meet Me in St. Louis.


At the time, the finale of a minstrel show, with Judy and Rooney in blackface, was not controversial, though the director was urged to insert a sequence showing the duo applying make-up, when preview audiences claimed they didn’t recognize the performers,

All About Oscar

Oscar Nominations: 1


Song: How About You, music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Ralph Freed


Oscar Award: None


Oscar context


In 1942, the winner of the Best Song Oscar was the unbeatable hit, “White Christmas,” by Irving Berlin, from the movie “Holiday Inn.”


Burton Lane has a long, successful career that unfortunately culminated with writing the scores for two Broadway flops, “”Finian’s Rainbow” and “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” (970), which two years later Minnelli turned into a disappointing musical movie starring Streisand, Yves Montand, and Jack Nicholson.