37 user 7 critic

Babes on Broadway (1941)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | January 1942 (USA)
2:30 | Trailer
Tommy Williams desperately wants to get to Broadway, but as he is only singing in a spaghetti house for tips he is a long way off. He meets Penny Morris, herself no mean singer, and through... See full summary »


Busby Berkeley


Fred F. Finklehoffe (original story) (as Fred Finklehoffe), Fred F. Finklehoffe (screen play) (as Fred Finklehoffe) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Mickey Rooney ... Tommy Williams
Judy Garland ... Penny Morris
Fay Bainter ... Miss Jones
Virginia Weidler ... Barbara Jo
Ray McDonald ... Ray Lambert
Richard Quine ... Morton Hammond
Donald Meek ... Mr. Stone
Alexander Woollcott Alexander Woollcott ... Alexander Woollcott
Luis Alberni ... Nick
James Gleason ... Thornton Reed
Emma Dunn ... Mrs. Williams
Frederick Burton ... Mr. Morris
Cliff Clark Cliff Clark ... Inspector Moriarity
William Post Jr. ... Announcer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Carl Stockdale ... Man (scenes deleted)


Tommy Williams desperately wants to get to Broadway, but as he is only singing in a spaghetti house for tips he is a long way off. He meets Penny Morris, herself no mean singer, and through her gets the idea to promote a show to send orphaned children on a country holiday. But he is only using the kids to get on himself, which Penny soon realises. With his romance off, an engagement in Philadelphia he can't get to, and, indeed, war in Europe, life can be difficult. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Show That's Out Of This World See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Margaret O'Brien's film debut. See more »


As the kids are dancing to "Farmer in the Dell" at the block party, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, and Virginia Weidler can be seen dancing at the front of the group. As it ends, there is a cut to Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland applauding for the kids as they stand up on the stage. They are quickly joined by Virginia Weidler, who had been standing behind them. See more »


Penny Morris: I don't think I like you.
Tommy 'Tom' Williams: Thank you.
Penny Morris: Your welcome!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some older television prints of the film delete the minstrel show finale. See more »


Featured in 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year (2009) See more »


Romance No.2 in G Major, Op.40
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Played on piano by a very young unidentified male prodigy
See more »

User Reviews

Shock over a minstrel show??? How do you think Al Jolson became famous?
7 August 2005 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

This big MGM "let's put on a show" musical is obviously a showcase for the over-sized talents of JUDY GARLAND and MICKEY ROONEY.

But it amuses me to see young commentators expressing "shock" and dismay at the blackface routines shown in the big finale. They never knew how popular minstrel shows were, even into the 1940s? Where have they have been living? They never heard of Al Jolson and how he rode to stardom on his blackface routines?

The film actually rises above its clichéd plot whenever Judy takes the spotlight with a song. Never has she looked so radiantly youthful and vibrant. Rooney, while of course obviously talented, tends to ham it up a bit too much whenever he's given the spotlight, which is a little too often for my taste. Fay Bainter does nicely as a patron of the arts while James Gleason gets on the nerves with his frustrated bit as a producer.

Amusing to see gangly RICHARD QUINE hoofing it up (before he became a film director). The standout dancer is Ray MacDonald, the fresh faced kid who lights up the screen whenever he dances, resembling, in style and acting technique, Donald O'Connor. Tragically he, like others in the cast, ended his life much too soon.

Judy and Mickey do a fabulous version of "How About You?" and Buby Berkeley's genius at staging intricate dance routines is nowhere more evident than in the "Hoe Down" number, probably one of the catchiest of all the musical routines.

There are slow spots and the film could easily have omitted footage to pare it down to a running time of, say, an hour and forty minutes. As it is, you have to be willing to stick with it for the full two hours, something only likely to occur if you're a true fan of Garland and Rooney.

You can catch a brief glimpse of two up and coming stars, Margaret O'Brien and Donna Reed. Reed has a brief moment as a receptionist.

Trivia note: Shirley Temple was originally considered for the Virginia Wiedler role. Might have been OK too, since the part is not that demanding musically and Temple could certainly still do the required amount of hoofing.

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Release Date:

January 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Babes on Broadway See more »


Box Office


$940,068 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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