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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Excerpt

From Me, Judy: A Life In (and Out of!) Pictures by Judy Garland, As Told to a Highball Glass

A little known fact about Wizard of Oz. Would you like to know this? The dog. The fucking, goddamn little dog, Sherry was its real name. No, Barry. No, it was a girl, so Sherry. Sherry the Toto wonderdog made nearly one hundred dollars a week more than I made for working on Oz. Can you believe that? Here I was, just coming off of success after success, and who was Sherry? Some nobody just off the animal catcher bus, new in town with not a piss to pot in. Probably gave Lou Mayer better head than I did. The little bitch's breath always smelled like peanut butter.

Terry! Toto was Terry, not Sherry. Do we have any sherry? No. No sherry. And no more Terry either--she died many years ago. As did Mayer.

The hilarious thing about Terry. One of the hilarious things, but the one I found more hilarious of all, like break your whale-bone corset laughing hilarious, was the public relations people at MGM decided, while promoting the film, to leak a story about how I'd grown ever so attached to that money-grubbing beast, and desperately, ever so desperately, wanted to adopt it. Not true, of course, but it made a nice story, and helped sell my fictional relationship with Toto. Which, to be honest, never made sense to me as an actress. Here's a farm girl, raised in Kansas--how the fuck could she be so delicate and so attached to animals. She'd probably seen many animals die in horrid, abrupt ways, and if she were so incredibly delicate she would never have lasted on a rural farm to begin with. No attachments, Dorothy! You're on a farm! Even the dogs are commodity, darling.

My stars! Dorothy almost had panic attacks at the slightest hint of violence. Well, I'm sorry, dear, but life is hard, as any farm girl knows. Read some Willa Cather and get back to me.

But the studio insisted I wanted to keep the dog. Terry. Terry the dog. Yes. They also, the year before, just as Love Finds Oliver Hardy was being released, wanted to plant an item in Louella Parsons' column about how I wanted to adopt Mickey Rooney, but--I'm sorry, not Oliver. Andy. Love Finds Andy Hardy. We all know no one ever wanted to adopt Oliver. And oh my god, I just saw Oliver! and could not believe musicals have become such dreary, colorless affairs. Bring back Minnelli, I say. Put some color in there, dazzle the people. They're already sitting in the dark--they don't need to see the darkness on the screen as well. Would a nice, vibrant purple literally kill the director?

Apparently, Mayer really wanted to sell me as a matronly type that would adopt simply anything. Mickey, the damn dog, simply anything. So I adopted the habit of accepting whatever the PR people wanted me to say.

Love finds Andy Hardy. Isn't that divine as a title? It's so... destiny. As if, when you're lost, you merely need to stand still long enough, and love will find you.

Of course, on the set of Oz, when I stood still, the only thing that would find me was that fucking dog. The only things that got humped more than the Munchkins during that shoot were my goddamn legs.

So the dog made one hundred dollars more than I each week. Couldn't sing. Couldn't dance. I carried her furry ass around for most of the scenes. But there she was, Terry the Totodog, raking in a good chunk of money while I attended countless fittings and screen tests and reshoots. The dog spent most of the downtime licking her nonexistent balls or being petted by the crew, while I had to carry this clunking hulk of a film on my shoulders, and get paid scale for my efforts. Victor would yell at me. With the dog, he was a dear.

Is it any wonder I turned to self-medication? My self-worth was ruined. I was literally worth less than some dog to the studio, to MGM--me, a singing, dancing, performing wingless monkey who had been called 'the greatest entertainer in history' by Fred Astaire himself. Fucking Toto.

Honestly, people think my greatest disappointment is my love life, or my failure to win the little golden fella for A Star is Born. True. True all, those were great disappointments, and there have been many more in my life besides, but knowing I worked for one hundred dollars less than a tiny dog with no lines and no big numbers stung me to my core.

I get the last laugh, however. I suppose. I mean, history knows I am female. Poor little Toto shuffled off this constrictive mortal coil with most everyone in the world assuming she had a penis. And she probably died with a needle in her arm too. Ah, Toto. Not in Kansas anymore. Or anywhere really, since dogs don't go to heaven.

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