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20th Anniversary!
The Harvey Girls






December 29, 1944
- June 14, 1945 (Judy)
(last day of principle photography was actually on June 4, 1945)




101 minutes


January 18, 1946




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ABOUT THE FILM:Judy Garland and Dottie Ponedel on the set of The Harvey Girls

The Harvey Girls was Judy's big budget Technicolor musical follow-up to Meet Me In St. Louis (in between the two she filmed her first dramatic role in The Clock as well as her one-scene guest appearance in Ziegfeld Follies). It was based on the 1942 Samuel Hopkins Adams novel of the same name, which was based on the real-life "Harvey Girls": The waitresses who were employed by the Harvey chain of restaurants (still in existence today) placed along the route of the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.

Judy originally wanted the Lucille Bremer role in Yolanda And The Thief (1946) which was filming at the same time and was being directed by her current love and future husband Vincente Minnelli. Producer (of both) Arthur Freed convinced Judy that the role of Susan Bradley in The Harvey Girls was the better of the two. They were right, as The Harvey Girls became one of Judy's (and MGM's) biggest musical hits of the 1940's winning the Oscar for Best Song ("On The Atchison, Topeka, And The Santa Fe") and earning a spot on Variety's list of "all time box office hits".


The book was originally purchased by MGM in 1942 as a possible dramatic film for Lana Turner.

The Harvey Girls was The Freed Unit's answer to the stage mega-hit "Oklahoma!", which was the catalyst for the creation of a "western" musical that became The Harvey Girls.

Judy began her work on the film on December 29, 1944 when she rehearsed the numbers "It's A Great Big World" and "On The Atchison, Topeka And the Santa Fe". Her final day of work on the film was June 14, 1945 even though principle photography on the film was completed on June 4, 1945. Judy married Vincente Minnelli on June 14, 1945.

Angela Lansbury was only 19 years old and already an Oscar nominee (for Best Supporting Actress for the drama Gaslight in 1944) when she made The Harvey Girls. She later remarked (amusingly) that she actually received hate mail from fans berating her for being "mean to Judy"!!

Although she was dubbed in The Harvey Girls, 20 years later Lansbury would have her own career comeback (singing live) with her Tony winning roles in the musicals "Mame" and "Sweeney Todd" among other accomplishments.

Virginia O'Brien is absent from most of the second half of the film because she became pregnant half-way through filming.

While on location in Chatsworth (San Fernando Valley), California, production was shut down for several days due to the devastating news of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's death.

The Harvey Company was very involved in the production, insisting that only MGM could make a film about their company when MGM originally planned to sell the property to another studio (prior to The Freed Unit's involvement). They even dispatched a representative to MGM to ensure that their company was presented with the proper family values. They also insisted that the company's late founder, Fred Harvey, not be portrayed on film.

The Harvey company did not approve of the book on which the film is based. It was only after producer Arthur Freed sent a detailed letter, and associate producer Roger Edens went to the company's headquarters in Chicago, Illinois and basically acted out the story, that the company gave MGM their approval.

This was the second and last time Ray Bolger and Judy would appear together on film.

Cost for the writers: $132,962 *

Cast payroll: $443,766.67 *

Cost of costumes: $75,942.38 *

Cost of the "Sandrock Street" with exteriors and interiors for both the Alhambra and the Harvey House: $395,969.40 *

Cost of extras for the big Harvey House fire & fight sequence: $7,440 *

First preview of the film: July 12, 1945 in Inglewood, California.

The film was held from release until January 18, 1946 (at the Capitol Theater in New York) due to the number of MGM films already scheduled for release in 1945.

The deleted musical numbers "March Of The Doagies" (and reprise) & "My Intuition" have survived. "Doagies" was first seen in the 1994 theatrical release of That's Entertainment! III and its subsequent home media releases. Both numbers are now available on the DVDs of The Harvey Girls and the That's Entertainment! series. That's Entertainment! III is also available on Blu-ray.

"My Intuition" was put in and taken out so many times during production that the director George Sidney referred to it as "My Indecision."

George Sidney has related many times (and on the commentary track to the laser & DVD release) about Judy's genius. When filming the "Atchison" number on Lot 3 of the MGM Studios, Sidney tells how they rehearsed the number all day with a "dance-in" (dancing stand-in) for Judy. When Judy arrived, as Sidney relates: "That day Judy came in at one o'clock. She went through the whole thing and said, 'I'm ready!' We shot it and she did it like she had been rehearsing it for six months. It was sheer genius!"

Judy's solo in "Atchison" until she sings "All Aboard!" is one long, continuous take. It's a testament to the quality and talent of The Freed Unit, especially in these modern times of constant editing.

The soundtrack CD from Rhino Records includes the only know recording of Judy and Kay Thompson singing together on a rare piano demo recording.


Judy Garland as Susan Bradleyharveyhouse

John Hodiak as Ned Trent

Ray Bolger as Chris Maule

Preston Foster as Judge Sam Purvis

Virginia O'Brien as Alma

Angela Lansbury as Em

Marjorie Main as Sonora Cassidy

Chill Wills as H.H. Hartsey

Kenny Baker as Terry O'Halloran

Selena Royle as Miss Bliss

Cyd Charisse as Deborah

Ruth Brady as Ethel

Catherine McLeod as Louise

Jack Lambert as Marty Peters

Edward Earle as Jed Adams

Virginia Hunter as Janeharvey14

William "Bill" Phillips, Norman Leavitt as Cowboys

Ray Teal as Conductor

Horace (Stephen) McNally as Golddust McClean

Jack Clifford as Fireman

Vernon Dent as Engineer

Paul "Tiny" Newlan as Station Agent

Jim Toney as Mule Skinner

Morris Ankrum as Reverend Claggett

Lucille Casey, Mary Jo Ellis, Dorothy Gilmore, Gloria Hope, Mary Jean French, Daphne Moore, Joan Thorson, Dorothy Tuttle as Harvey Girls

Hazel Brooks, Kay English, Hane Hall, Vera Lee, Peggy Maley, Erin O'Kelly, Dorothy Van Nuys, Eve Whitney, Dallas Worth as Dance Hall Girls

Ben Carter as John Henry

Byron Harvey Jr, Beverly Tyler in bit parts


In The Valley Where The Evening Sun Goes Down
(Judy Garland)

Wait And See
(Virginia Reece for Angela Lansbury)

On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe
(Judy Garland, Cyd Charisse, Virginia O'Brien, Marjorie Main, Ray Bolger, Benny Carter, The Seckler Group, The Williams Brothers (Andy, Bob, and Don), Alice Ludes, Dorothy McCarthy, Lee Botch, Jud Conlon, Ralph Blane, Loulie Jean Norman, Dorothy Jackson, Judy Matson, Mary Moder, Ruth Clark, Jimmie Garland, Dorothy Wilkerson, Vivian Edwards, Joe Karnes, Kenneth Rundquist, Claude Martin, Arnet Amos, Elva Kellogg, and the MGM Studio Chorus)

Training Montage
(The Train Must Be Fed) (Edward Earle, Selena Royle, Marjorie Main, Joe Karnes, Elva Kellogg, Judy Garland, Virginia O'Brien, Cyd Charisse, and the MGM Studio Chorus)

Oh, You Kid
(Virginia Reece for Angela Lansbury)

Wait And See (reprise #1)
(Kenny Baker)

It's A Great Big World
(Judy Garland, Virginia O'Brien, and Marion Doenges for Cyd Charisse)

The Wild, Wild West
(Virginia O'Brien)

Wait And See (reprise #2)
(Kenny Baker and Marion Doenges for Cyd Charisse)

Swing Your Partner Round And Round
(Judy Garland, Marjorie Main and the MGM Studio Chorus)

In The Valley Where The Evening Sun Goes Down (deleted reprise)
(Kenny Baker, Judy Garland, and the MGM Studio Chorus)

Coda/New End Title
(The MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus)

March Of The Doagies (deleted)
(Judy Garland, Joe Karnes, Frank Laine, Don Ellis, Eugene Dorian, Ralph Blane, Don Williams, and the MGM Studio Chorus)

March Of The Doagies (deleted reprise)
(Judy Garland and the MGM Studio Chorus)

Hayride (deleted)
(Ray Bolger, Judy Garland, and the MGM Studio Chorus)

My Intuition (deleted)
(Judy Garland and John Hodiak)



Produced by: Arthur Freed

Associate Producer: Roger Edens

Directed by: George Sidney

Screen Play by: Edmund Beloin, Nathaniel Curtis, Harry Crane, James O'Hanlon and Samson Raphaelson

Additional Dialogue by: Kay Van Riper

Based on the Book by Samuel Hopkins Adams and the Original Story by Eleanore Griffin and William Rankin

Words and Music by: Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren

Musical Direction: Lennie Hayton

Orchestration: Conrad Salinger

Vocal Arrangements: Kay Thompson

Musical Numbers Staged by: Robert Alton

Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons & William Ferrari

Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis

Associate: Mildred Griffiths

Production Manager: Dave Friedman

Assistant Director: George Rhein

Camera: Cliff Shirpser

Costume Supervision: Irene

Costumes Designed by: Helen Rose

Men's Costumes: (Arlington) Valles

Make-Up: Jack Dawn & Dorothy Ponedel

Recording Director: Douglas Shearer

Director of Photography: George Folsey

Special Effects: Warren Newcombe

Photographed in Technicolor

Technicolor Color Director: Natalie Kalmus

Associate: Henri Jaffa

Film Editor: Albert Akst

Singing voice for Cyd Charisse: Marion Doenges

Singing voice for Angela Lansbury: Virginia Reece