Judy Garland Show
only place I ever felt useful as a person was in my work."
By 1963, Judy was pinning her future on her new agents Freddie Fields and David Begelman. Both were Hollywood sharks, but Begelman in particular led a shameless lifestyle of dicey deals and outright scams that ultimately resulted in his suicide in 1995. It was Begelman and Fields that landed Garland the CBS deal, she was their fledgling talent agency's first client.
Begelman promised the TV series would leave Judy financially independent. Offices were set up and The Judy Garland Show was an instant, bustling, multi-million-dollar business with a mandate to knock off the most popular show on television, Bonanza.
Instead of positioning Judy for success, Begelman ripped her off at every turn, even scamming her with a phony blackmail scheme just weeks before the show premiered. "He told me that there was a picture of my trying to commit suicide in England and within 24 hours, somebody had to fly over so he could get the negative," Garland recounted years later. "Nobody ever heard of that negative, or saw it. Nobody saw it."
The series got off to a rousing start. The LA Times reported from the first taping that, "Judy, almost paper thin, stood on her spike heels, feet wide apart in that way of hers, rolled those wide, haunted eyes at the lights above, and sang her heart out. The audience was with her all the way."
Unfortunately CBS didn't share that optimism, firing the show's producer and revamping the program before the first episode premiered; it was one of those retooled shows that kicked off the series.
"Thinking of CBS executives apparently was to develop a 'new' Judy, one who will indulge in light banter and make way for suitable guests to share the weekly tasks."
Judy earned strong numbers on the first broadcast but ratings dipped slightly for the second week with special guest Barbra Streisand. After that, audience numbers hovered in the low twenties and thirties before dropping in November to 66th out of 80 shows.NEXT: Part Four: The Show is Cancelled
Judy cries out in her own voice from the depths of despair!
Judy Garland's Comeback
Judy Garland on TV
Judy Garland TV Show
Judy Garland & TV - part 4
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