I’m second to none in my love for Judy (she’s one third of my personal trinity, after all…) but I must go on record as saying that I do sometimes question her characters’ choices of residence. (Carrie Fisher and any real estate agent will tell you “location, location, location” and no one would ever argue with Princes Leia and her buns of death. the ones on her head, I mean.)
I mean, Wicked Witches aside, all she could do, the whole time she was in Oz was to complain about getting home…
I may just be a Dandy Lion, but I inestimably rather spend the rest of my days at the Wash & Brush Up Co, rather than reclining in a hay bale…
After all, she offed the green girl, so she had very little to worry about. Would you fuck with her? She throws a mean pail of water.
Plus, if I woke up out of a fever dream with this crowd hanging over me, I’d turn over and go back to sleep.
I’m sure that Kansas must have many things to recommend it, but I always remember its early days, and I must say that “Bloody Kansas” may not be a state nickname geared to haul in the tourists.
And what about Esther Smith in Meet Me in St Louis? It’s hard to believe that the girl who always wanted to put on a show with Mickey Rooney would ever be satisfied with the Muni Opera when beckoned by the lights of the Great White Way, yet she and her whole family were appalled when Mr Smith was ready to pack them off to NYC. (I think they secretly realized they’d probably be stuck in the boroughs, and weren’t gonna have it. Plus, budding sociopath Tootie wouldn’t have any place to hide the bodies if they were in a Manhattan brownstone.) Sure, Tom Drake was cute (another one of Judy’s gays) but I don’t think he had much going on upstairs.
Robert Walker, in The Clock, on the other hand, is bright and earnest and true as a soldier on leave from the war, catching a day of happiness with Judy’s office drudge. (Plus, he’s got that sexy serial killer cache going on from Strangers on a Train. Tootie would just love him.) Not until Allen’s Manhattan and Jewison’s Moonstruck has there been a more tender and beguiling love letter to New York City. St Louis, forsooth!
And no one has conquered Carnegie Hall, before or since, like Judy!
That girl’s never going back to Kansas.
That said, The Wizard of Oz was made at the end of a Depression and on the eve of a war, and Meet Me in St Louis (along with The Clock, both are Vincent Minnelli films) was created at its climax. I can understand that people might enjoy the reassurance of a home to go to at that time (I just think that anyone with a Scarecrow’s brain would rather make it in either the Emerald City or New York–which are kinda the same thing, anyway.) But I still cry along with Mary Astor–another great sociopath, see The Maltese Falcon–who plays Mrs Smith (much more, really, than I ever have in It’s a Wonderful Life)every time Leon Errol has his epiphany and decides the family will remain in St Louis. Actually, I start crying when Grandpa waltzes Esther behind the Christmas tree at the ball and she comes out on the other side with her John, and then I really start crying when she sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and Tootie massacres her snow family, and by the time they all decide to stay in town, I’m just bawling. And I guess that for those of you who’ve never seen Meet Me in St Louis, a) you should just be ashamed of yourselves, and b) I probably should have mentioned a spoiler alert, though you kinda know from the beginning how it’s going to end.
And because, like Mark Twain, I will not tell a lie*, Los Angeles has always been my home (or Santa Monica, anyway, which is pretty much the same thing) and I can’t imagine ever living anywhere else (New Orleans, maybe) I guess that, after all, at the end, there really is no place like home.
*”I am different from Washington; I have a higher, grander standard of principle.
Washington could not lie. I can lie, but I won’t.”