Cast & Crew
In Santa Barbara, California, teenager Judy Foster and her friends are rehearsing songs for their high school dance when the student director of the show, Carol Pringle, complains that the songs, as performed, are too "juvenile." Carol, a senior at the school and a renowned snob, demonstrates how the music should be played, and gives the song a more seductive flavor. Later, Carol tells Judy that famous band leader Xavier Cugat will be the guest of honor at the dance, and urges her to wear her pink dress for the occasion. When Judy learns that her sweetheart, Ogden "Oogie" Pringle, who is Carol's brother, has decided not to take her to the dance, she becomes infuriated and vows to break off her friendship with him. Dejected, Judy visits Pop's Soda Fountain, where she meets Pop's handsome nephew, Stephen I. Andrews. Judy falls instantly in love with the older Stephen, and he agrees to take her to the dance as a favor to Pop. At the dance, Oogie sees Judy with Stephen and becomes jealous. While Oogie tries to divert Judy's attention away from Stephen, Stephen meets Carol and believes he has found "the most beautiful girl in Santa Barbara." After the dance, Carol tries to help Oogie and Judy get back together by telling Judy that she has convinced her wealthy father to give Judy and Oogie a program on his radio station. Meanwhile, Rosita Conchellas, a dance instructor, secretly meets with Judy's father Melvin to teach him the rumba, which he hopes to dance on his wedding anniversary. When Oogie tries to make amends with Judy at a dinner arranged by Carol, a misunderstanding arises that leads to his being further alienated from his sweetheart. Judy, however, shows no signs of a broken heart, and later tells her father that she is in love with Stephen and that she intends to marry him. When Judy discovers Rosita's skirt caught in the closet door of her father's office, she incorrectly concludes that her father is having an affair. Determined to save her parents' marriage, Judy runs home and gives her mother a beauty makeover to make her more appealing to her father. Oogie, in his tireless determination to reunite with Judy, tries to serenade her, but another misunderstanding arises and the plan is spoiled. Judy becomes convinced that her father is planning to leave her mother when she and Carol see him escorting Rosita to his car. Carol and Judy later accuse Rosita of breaking up Judy's home. Rosita misunderstands the accusation and believes that they are talking about Cugat, her fiancé. When Judy and Carol finally realize their mistake, they apologize to Rosita. Judy then reconciles with Oogie after she learns that Carol and Stephen are in love, and Stephen agrees to resume his romance with Carol in a few years, when she is older.
Sir Henry Rowley Bishop
Nacio Herb Brown
Harold F. Kress
John Howard Payne
Richard A. Pefferle
Edwin B. Willis
A Date With Judy
Jane Powell was used to playing good-girl types, but for Elizabeth Taylor A Date With Judy represented a chance to build a whole new image. Taylor had begun her career playing juvenile roles in films like Lassie Come Home (1943) and National Velvet (1944). The role of sultry bad-girl Carol in A Date With Judy gave her the opportunity to show the world that she was no longer a child, but a beautiful young woman. A direct contrast to Powell's girlish wholesomeness, Taylor's character was more mature, and costumes and makeup strategically played up her sensuality. This move would prove valuable to Taylor's career, as she rapidly became one of the screen's most enduring sex symbols. Jane Powell later expressed dismay that Taylor got to play the vampy role while she was stuck playing another good girl - "Elizabeth - who was younger than I - got to wear green eye shadow, show her figure in a tight sweater, and look sexy; that hurt. I was really a little jealous, not of her but of the green eye shadow." However, the two actresses were actually good friends who had been schooled together on the MGM lot. They shared a dressing room during the making of A Date With Judy and served as bridesmaids for each other at their respective first weddings.
Musical number highlights in A Date With Judy include the popular "It's a Most Unusual Day" and "Judaline." However, it's the "Brazilian Bombshell" Carmen Miranda who nearly steals the show in a supporting role as rhumba teacher Rosita. Her energetic rendition of "Cuanto Le Gusta" alone makes watching A Date With Judy worthwhile. Miranda was always a favorite of star Jane Powell "with her big banana hats and her heart as big as all outdoors." Playing Miranda's love interest is famed band leader and "Rhumba King" Xavier Cugat, who as usual plays a part close to himself and livens things up with his rousing Latin influenced music.
Character actor Wallace Beery plays Judy's father, who receives secret rhumba lessons from Carmen Miranda as an anniversary gift from his wife. Beery may have been right for the part, but to Jane Powell he was her least favorite on-screen dad. "He ignored everybody and everything. He never said hello. He never said good-bye. He never smiled," she recalled in her 1988 autobiography The Girl Next Door....and How She Grew. Plus, "He was stingy. If filming on a picture was coming to an end and he suspected there might be some retakes, he'd take home his entire wardrobe. One time he took a canoe that had property of MGM on the bottom, and rented it to the studio for retakes!" Still Powell respected him as an actor and recalled her overall experience on the film a pleasant one. Powell received the honor of getting her first on-screen kiss ever in A Date With Judy bestowed by handsome co-star Robert Stack.
A Date With Judy made a hit with the public, and a television series was eventually spun off in 1952 starring Mary Linn Beller as Judy.
Producer: Joe Pasternak
Director: Richard Thorpe
Screenplay: Dorothy Cooper, Dorothy Kingsley
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse
Cinematography: Robert Surtees
Editing: Harold F. Kress
Music: George Stoll
Cast: Wallace Beery (Melvin R. Foster), Leon Ames (Lucien T. Pringle), Jane Powell (Judy Foster), Elizabeth Taylor (Carol Pringle), George Cleveland (Gramps), Carmen Miranda (Rosita Conchellas), Robert Stack (Stephen Andrews), Lloyd Corrigan (Pop Scully), Scotty Beckett (Ogden "Oogie" Pringle).
C-114m. Closed captioning.
by Andrea Passafiume
A Date With Judy
Robert Stack, 1919-2003
Stack was born in Los Angeles on January 13, 1919 to a well-to-do family but his parents divorced when he was a year old. At age three, he moved with his mother to Paris, where she studied singing. They returned to Los Angeles when he was seven, by then French was his native language and was not taught English until he started schooling.
Naturally athletic, Stack was still in high school when he became a national skeet-shooting champion and top-flight polo player. He soon was giving lessons on shooting to such top Hollywood luminaries as Clark Gable and Carol Lombard, and found himself on the polo field with some notable movie moguls like Darryl Zanuck and Walter Wanger.
Stack enrolled in the University of Southern California, where he took some drama courses, and was on the Polo team, but it wasn't long before some influential people in the film industry took notice of his classic good looks, and lithe physique. Soon, his Hollywood connections got him on a film set at Paramount, a screen test, and eventually, his first lead in a picture, opposite Deanna Durbin in First Love (1939). Although he was only 20, Stack's natural delivery and boyish charm made him a natural for the screen.
His range grew with some meatier parts in the next few years, especially noteworthy were his roles as the young Nazi sympathizer in Frank Borzage's chilling The Mortal Storm (1940), with James Stewart, and as the Polish flier who woos a married Carole Lombard in Ernst Lubitsch's To Be or Not to Be (1942).
After serving as a gunnery officer in the Navy during World War II, Stack returned to the screen, and found a few interesting roles over the next ten years: giving Elizabeth Taylor her first screen kiss in Robert Thorp's A Date With Judy (1948); the leading role as an American bullfighter in Budd Boetticher's The Bullfighter and the Lady (1951); and as a pilot in William Wellman's The High and the Mighty (1954), starring John Wayne. However, Stack saved his best dramatic performances for Douglas Sirk in two knockout films: as a self-destructive alcoholic in Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind (1956), for which he received an Academy Award nomination for supporting actor; and sympathetically portraying a fallen World War I pilot ace who is forced to do barnstorming stunts for mere survival in Tarnished Angels (1958).
Despite proving his capabilities as a solid actor in these roles, front rank stardom oddly eluded Stack at this point. That all changed when Stack gave television a try. The result was the enormously popular series, The Untouchables (1959-63). This exciting crime show about the real-life Prohibition-era crime-fighter Eliot Ness and his G-men taking on the Chicago underworld was successful in its day for several reasons: its catchy theme music, florid violence (which caused quite a sensation in its day), taut narration by Walter Winchell, and of course, Stack's trademark staccato delivery and strong presence. It all proved so popular that the series ran for four years, earned an Emmy for Stack in 1960, and made him a household name.
Stack would return to television in the late '60s, with the The Name of the Game (1968-71), and a string of made-for-television movies throughout the '70s. His career perked up again when Steven Spielberg cast him in his big budget comedy 1941 (1979) as General Joe Stillwell. The film surprised many viewers as few realized Stack was willing to spoof his granite-faced stoicism, but it won him over many new fans, and his dead-pan intensity would be used to perfect comic effect the following year as Captain Rex Kramer (who can forget the sight of him beating up Hare Krishnas at the airport?) in David and Jerry Zucker's wonderful spoof of disaster flicks, Airplane! (1980).
Stack's activity would be sporadic throughout the remainder of his career, but he returned to television, as the host of enormously popular Unsolved Mysteries (1987-2002), and played himself in Lawrence Kasden's comedy-drama Mumford (1999). He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Rosemarie Bowe Stack, a former actress, and two children, Elizabeth and Charles, both of Los Angeles.
by Michael T. Toole
Robert Stack, 1919-2003
Although Xavier Cugat is credited in the opening credits as "Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra," the end credits simply bill Cugat as "Himself." The A Date with Judy radio show ran from 1941 to 1949 on the NBC network, and from 1949 to 1950 on the ABC network. The character of "Judy Foster" was portrayed on the radio by Dellie Ellis, Louise Erickson and Ann Gillis. Pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter indicate that actor Thomas E. Breen was originally set to co-star in the film with Jane Powell, and that Leslie Kardos was set to direct. A December 1947 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that Selena Royle replaced Mary Astor, who withdrew from the film due to illness. A contemporary Hollywood Reporter news item lists Marcia Van Dyke in the cast, but her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. A biography of director Vincente Minnelli notes that a musical number entitled "Mulligatawny," which was created by Stanley Donen, was cut from the film before its release. Actress Patricia Crowley portrayed "Judy Foster" in the ABC television series A Date with Judy, which ran from 1951 to 1953.