Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mickey Rooney turns 90!

Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in 'Babes on Broadway'
Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in Babes on Broadway

It's hard to believe, but prolific juvenile star Mickey Rooney is today celebrating his 90th birthday. TCM is marking the occasion by showing several of his movies, although to be honest they're not quite the movies I'd prefer to see or recommend. Perhaps the best movie Rooney was ever in was not any of the many, many musicals he made with Judy Garland, but instead A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which Rooney plays Puck, the impish fairy who makes everybody fall in love with the wrong people. Another juvenile role I would have liked to see again is in Hide-Out, although this one doesn't seem to have many (if any) photos of Rooney floating around on the Internet. Then again, as the kid brother, Rooney is clearly a supporting character in Hide-Out.

Rooney kept active into his adult years, and even as an octogenarian. I'm not sure which of Rooney's adult roles is his best. One that's certainly worth recommending is The Bridges at Toko-Ri, in which Rooney plays a scarf-wearing, top-hatted helicopter pilot rescuing downed American fighter pilots in the Korean War. For something lighter, you could watch him in a comedy like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Finally, for those who like Rooney together with Judy Garland, there's always Youtube, where you can watch them singing "Good Morning" from Babes in Arms.

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