Babes on Broadway

Babes on Broadway is a 1941 American musical film starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland and directed by Busby Berkeley, with Vincente Minnelli directing Garland's big solo numbers.[2] The film, which features Fay Bainter and Virginia Weidler, was the third in the "Backyard Musical" series about kids who put on their own show, following Babes in Arms (1939) and Strike Up the Band (1940). Songs in the film include "Babes on Broadway" by Burton Lane (music) and E.Y. "Yip" Harburg (lyrics), and "How About You?" by Lane with lyrics by Ralph Freed, the brother of producer Arthur Freed. The movie ends with a minstrel show performed by the main cast in blackface.

Babes on Broadway
Theatrical Film Poster
Directed byBusby Berkeley
Vincente Minnelli (uncredited)
Produced byArthur Freed
Written byFred F. Finklehoffe
StarringMickey Rooney
Judy Garland
Music byScore:
Leo Arnaud
George Bassman
George Stoll
(all uncredited)
Burton Lane (music)
Roger Edens (music)
E.Y. Harburg (lyrics)
Ralph Freed (lyrics)
et al. (all uncredited)
CinematographyLester White
Edited byFredrick Y. Smith
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
December 31, 1941 (1941-12-31)
Running time
118 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3.8 million[1]



This was the third film in the "Backyard Musical" series, which included Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940) and Girl Crazy (1943).

The film was stalled in the middle of production when Garland secretly flew to Las Vegas to wed her first husband David Rose. She was 19 years old.

Judy Garland's sisters, Virginia and Mary Jane Gumm, appear uncredited as chorus girls in this film.[3]

Musical numbers

  • "Babes on Broadway" (Main Title) (MGM Studio Chorus)
  • "Anything Can Happen in New York" (Mickey Rooney, Ray McDonald, and Richard Quine)
  • "How About You?" (Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney)
  • "Hoe Down" (Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Six Hits and a Miss, The Five Musical Maids, and MGM Studio Chorus)
  • "Chin Up! Cheerio! Carry On!" (Judy Garland, St. Luke's Episcopal Church Choristers, and MGM Studio Chorus)
  • Ghost Theater Sequence:
  • "Bombshell from Brazil" (Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Richard Quine, Ray McDonald, Virginia Weidler, Anne Rooney, Robert Bradford, and MGM Studio Chorus)
  • "Mama Yo Quiero" (Mickey Rooney)
  • Minstrel Show Sequence:
    • "Blackout Over Broadway" (Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Ray McDonald, Virginia Weidler, Richard Quine, Anne Rooney and MGM Studio Chorus)
    • "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" (Ray McDonald)
    • "Franklin D. Roosevelt Jones" (Judy Garland and MGM Studio Chorus)
    • "Old Folks at Home" (Eddie Peabody on banjo, dubbing for Mickey Rooney)
    • "Alabamy Bound" (Eddie Peabody on banjo, dubbing for Mickey Rooney)
    • "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee" (Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Virginia Weidler, Anne Rooney, Richard Quine, and MGM Studio Chorus)
  • "Babes on Broadway" (Finale) (Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Virginia Weidler, Ray McDonald, Richard Quine, and MGM Studio Chorus)

Box office

According to MGM records the film earned $2,363,000 in the US and Canada and $1,496,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $1,720,000.[1][4]

Home media

Babes on Broadway was released on DVD for the first time as part of a 5-disc DVD set The Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland Collection on September 25, 2007. The set contains Babes on Broadway, Babes in Arms, Girl Crazy, and Strike Up the Band, as well as a fifth disc containing bonus features on Rooney and Garland.[5]


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. Higham, Charles; Greenberg, Joel (1968). Hollywood in the Forties. London: A. Zwemmer Limited. p. 172. ISBN 0-302-00477-7.
  3. Babes on Broadway (1941), "Complete Cast & Credits" section at IMDb
  4. "101 Pix Gross in Millions", Variety 6 Jan 1943, p. 58
  5. The Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland Collection (Babes in Arms / Babes on Broadway / Girl Crazy / Strike Up the Band): Movies & TV: Mickey Rooney,Judy Garland
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