Sunday, February 8, 2009

SUPER BOWL 2 And JUDY GARLAND











Super Bowl 2 was held at Miami's Orange Bowl on January 14, 1968.
The Oakland Raiders were expected to be destroyed by the Green Bay
Packers, then the toughest team in the Black And Blue, the NFL's
roughest division.
Scheduled to sing the National Anthem was the pretty and popular Joey
Heatherton, and the halftime show was to be provided by television's
The Monkees.
However, two days before the event, The Monkees had to bow out due to
a contractual dispute between their parent company, Screen Gems, NBC,
and CBS, the network broadcasting the game.
Producers started doing a quick scramble to find suitable replacement
entertainment, and on the advice of George Schlatter, contacted Judy
Garland with an offer.
As it turns out, not only was Judy a big footaball fan, but she was
available, and excited to do the show.
So with less than forty eight hours notice, she packed up her kids and
orchestra leader Gene Palumbo, and flew from New York to Miami,
arriving on January 13th just in time for a sound check and short
rehearsal.
Kick off for the game was at 3 P.M. on the 14th and commentaors Frank Gifford
and
Pat Summerall seemed just as excited by the prospect of
the halftime show as they were by the game itself.
The day was clear, sunny, and a warm 86 degrees. Judy had originally
planned to wear the sequined pants suit that had been designed for her
to wear in the film Valley Of The Dolls, but because of the heat she
opted to wear a pink and silver chiffon mini dress borrowed from her
fifteen year old daughter Lorna.
By the end of the first half of the game the Packers were dominating
the Raiders, as had been expected. But the real excitement was yet to
come.
As soon as announcer Gary Owens announced Judy's name there was
a roar in the Orange Bowl that could be heard a mile away.
Gene Palumbo hit the downbeat to Judy's chart of For Once In My Life
and Judy trotted out and practically skipped to the center of the arena.
Palumbo and the orchestra had to vamp for a full three minutes before
the audience quieted down enough to let Judy sing.
Judy's rendition of For Once In My Life was new to the audience and
they were estatic to hear her sing a current popular song, and with
such warmth and control to her voice. The ovation at the end of the
song was as strong as it had been when she first entered the arena.
Her second number was her movie medley, another popular choice, which
became obvious as over 75,000 people sang along with her when
prompted to during For Me And My Gal. Next came Just In Time with all
of it's difficult key and tempo changes, Judy sang it to perfection,
and with a freshness that made it seem as if this were the first time
she had sung the song.
She then introduced her daughter Lorna, who joined her for a joyful
and swinging Jamboree Jones. After that, as Lorna was leaving the
stage, Gene Palumbo and the orchestra started up Judy's reprise of For
Once In My Life, which she sang with as much power and heart as she
had at the begining of her set. Then it was over. Or was it?
After Judy finished the reprise of For Once In My Life the orchestra
started playing her bow music of Over The Rainbow, which was drowned
out by the cheers, whistles and screaming of the audience, who were
all on their feet. Judy bowed and blew kisses as she ran off the
playing field and the cameras cut back to Frank Gifford, who was
trying to announce the start of the second half of the game, but to no avail.
The crowd could not be stopped, the cheeering and stamping eventually
gave way to the chant "We want Judy, we want Judy."
After a full five minutes of this the producers had no choice but to
prevail upon Judy to sing an encore. She agreed and reentered the
playing field to absolute pandemonium!
After the crowd died down Judy started singing Over The Rainbow solo,
without the orchestra. Gene Palumbo and the musicians had to scramble
to find all their parts, and one by one they joined Judy, all to great
dramatic affect. Judy sang the song with all the longing and heartache
that she had when she first sang it in The Wizard Of Oz, and as
she sang the last line "why oh why can't I" a hush fell over the
stadium. After a few seconds the still was broken when the voice of a
young woman called out "Bravo, Mama." then all bets were off and it was
New Years Eve again. Another five minutes later order was restored and
the game continued without further incident.
The Packers beat the Raiders 33 to 14 that day, Bart Starr was named MVP, but
he gallantly presented his trophy to Judy saying that he "may be the game's MVP
but Judy is the world's most valuable player" (unfortunately for her he
didn't also give her the 25,000 cash prize that went with the the
award).
Another player in the game who received considerable attention was
Greenbay Linesman Jerry Kramer, who would be befriended by Judy. In
fact, they would later appear together in a fun and flirtatious romp
on the Tonight Show.

To learn more about Judy Garland please read The World's Greatest Entertainer by John Fricke, or Rainbows End By Coyne Steven Sanders. To learn more about this period in the NFL's history please pick up a copy of The Black And Blue by Bob Berghaus.

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