Welcome to another Wildcard Wednesday! Today’s post was supposed to be the conclusion of a two part series on my sitcom studies studies in LA over Spring Break, but because of the unexpected passing of Mickey Rooney, I’ve decided to push that post for next week, and dedicate this entry to him. In tribute to this talented performer, I thought it would be interesting to look at this man’s life and career as it pertains thematically to each day of the week here on That’s Entertainment!
Musical Theatre Monday
In 1979, Mickey Rooney made his Broadway debut alongside Ann Miller in a musical revue entitled Sugar Babies, a rollicking vaudeville-esque show that took much of its score from the Jimmy McHugh songbooks. I have live audios and videos of the production, and trust that there is no hyperbole when I say that it looks like this show was one of the most fun evenings ever offered by the American theatre. Below is a clip of Rooney and Miller performing their final McHugh medley on that season’s Tony Awards. So joyful. Hit it!
Situation Comedy Tuesday
Rooney made several forays into the realm of situation comedy; the first was The Mickey Rooney Show: Hey, Mulligan (1954-1955, NBC), which ran for a full season of 39 episodes and centered around Mickey’s life as a starstruck studio page (think Kenneth on 30 Rock). 30 of those installments have been released on DVD. Rooney tried again the next decade with Mickey (1964-1965, ABC), in which he played the owner of a hotel. It lasted only 17 weeks. Below is a 1955 episode of the former series, entitled “Scoop Mulligan.”
I could have included anything here, but given our mutual adoration for Judy Garland, here’s a clip of the duo performing my favorite Burton Lane & Ralph Freed song, “How About You?” (You may remember this as the song Lucy “vanced” with “Dan” Johnson to on a Season Four episode of I Love Lucy.) Here’s the original rendition, performed by Rooney and Garland in Babes On Broadway (1941). (I had to keep the clip under five minutes for copyright purposes!)
Xena: Warrior Princess Thursday
The biggest stretch I have to make in today’s post, Xena‘s Lucy Lawless appeared in a 1993 episode of The New Adventures Of The Black Stallion, originally just titled The Black Stallion.
Mickey made lots of films — hundreds. His greatest success came after the Pre-Code era (and I recommend most of Rooney’s MGM films very highly), but he was featured in one Pre-Coder that will be coming up in a few weeks on Film Friday, Manhattan Melodrama (1934). Here’s Mickey playing the younger version of Clark Gable.
Rest in paradise, Mickey Rooney!
Come back next Wednesday for the second post on my Spring Break research. And tune in tomorrow for more Xena!