Andy Hardy Series

MGM (1937-1958)

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The Andy Hardy series of films from MGM is said to be the most successful and most popular series of films ever made in the US. There are a total of sixteen films in the series, beginning with A Family Affair in 1937, and ending with Andy Hardy Comes Home in 1958. Technically, these two films weren't really a part of the series. The series actually began with the installment You're Only Young Once (1938) and ended with Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1946). The first film, A Family Affair wasn't intended to be the beginning of a series, but it proved so popular that it, in fact, launched the series. The last film, Andy Hardy Comes Home was a sort of reunion, made a dozen years after the series final installment.

A Family Affair, released in 1937, was based on a play entitled "Skidding" by Aurania Rouverol. The main characters in the series are based on her play. In this first film, however, Lionel Barrymore played Judge Hardy, and Spring Byington played Mrs. Hardy. The film was a box-office success, so it was sequeled with You're Only Young Once, wherein Judge Hardy was played by Lewis Stone and Mrs. Hardy was played by Fay Holden. Only Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker and Sara Haden made it to the second episode. Ann Rutherford replaced Margaret Marquis as Polly Benedict (Andy's girlfriend) and Andy's second sister, Joan, was dropped from the family. The cast was gelled at this point with Lewis Stone, Fay Holden, Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker and Ann Rutherford. Sara Haden was replaced for two episodes by Betty Ross Clarke, but Miss Haden returned as a regular in the remainder of the series.

Early episodes did not focus on any one particular person; they were about the adventures of the family as a whole. But Mickey Rooney's exuberant portrayal of the All-American teenager delighted audiences and by the fourth episode, Andy became the central focus and most subsequent film titles included his name. Love Finds Andy Hardy was, in many ways, the true beginning of the series. The formula was established with this episode, and would remain virtually unchanged through 1946. This episode is often cited today as the best of the series. Judy Garland and Lana Turner were guests on this episode, adding another dimension to the film.

On August 15, 1941, a ceremony was held at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, where the series and principal cast members were presented with a plaque, reading "I, Mayor Fletcher Bowron, on behalf of the citizens of this community, do hereby proclaim the family of Judge James K. Hardy, the first family of Hollywood." The plaque was affixed to a wall at the theater, but is no longer there. A special Academy Award was bestowed upon the series in 1943 "for it's achievement in representing the American way of life in the production of the 'Andy Hardy' series of films."

Aunt Milly, Marion, Judge Hardy, Andy and Mother





Ann Rutherford autographed photo





Title card from Love Finds Andy Hardy





The Judge James K. Hardy family ceremony at
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, 1941
(l-r) Fay Holden, Mayor Bowron, Judy Garland,
Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Ann Rutherford,
Sara Haden
Episodes:

A Family Affair (1937)
Judge Hardy solves numerous family problems while working on a problem of his own - reelection.
Lionel Barrymore [Judge Hardy], Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Cecilia Parker [Marian Hardy], Eric Linden [Wayne Trenton], Charley Grapewin [Frank Redmond], Spring Byington [Mrs. Hardy], Julie Haydon [Joan Hardy], Sara Haden [Aunt Milly], Allen Vincent [Bill Martin], Margaret Marquis [Polly], Selmer Jackson [Hoyt Wells], Harlan Briggs [Oscar Stubbins]


You're Only Young Once (1938)
Judge Hardy and family go on vacation to Catalina Island. Marion falls in love with a lifeguard who turns out to be married.
Lewis Stone [Judge Hardy], Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Cecilia Parker [Marian Hardy], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Frank Craven [Frank Redmond], Ann Rutherford [Polly Benedict], Eleanor Lynn [Jerry Lane], Ted Pearson [Bill Rand], Sara Haden [Aunt Milly], Selmer Jackson [Hoyt Wells], Charles Judels [Capt. Swenson], Oscar O'Shea [Sheriff]


Judge Hardy's Children (1938)
The Hardy family travels to Washington DC when Judge Hardy is called on to sit on a public utilities hearing. Andy teaches the French ambassador's daughter how to dance the "Big Apple."
Lewis Stone [Judge Hardy], Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Cecilia Parker [Marian Hardy], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Ann Rutherford [Polly Benedict], Betty Ross Clarke [Aunt Milly], Robert Whitney [Wayne Trenton], Ruth Hussey [Margaret Bee], Leonard Penn [Steve Prentiss], Jacqueline Laurent [Suzanne Cortot], Janet Beecher [Miss Budge], Boyd Crawford [Radio Announcer], Don Douglas [J.O. Harper], Edward Earle [Peniwill]


Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)
Andy strikes a bargain with Beezy: He'll date up Cynthia while Beezy is away for Christmas for the eight bucks he needs for final payment on his new car. Judy does some nifty scene stealing and sings, "In-Between," "It Never Rains But What It Pours" and "Meet the Beat of My Heart."
Lewis Stone [Judge James Hardy], Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Judy Garland [Betsy Booth], Cecilia Parker [Marian Hardy], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Ann Rutherford [Polly Benedict], Betty Ross Clarke [Aunt Milly], Lana Turner [Cynthia Potter], Marie Blake [Augusta], Don Castle [Dennis Hunt], Gene Reynolds [Jimmy MacMahon], Mary Howard [Mrs. Tompkins], George Breakston [Beezy Anderson] Raymond Hatton [Peter Dugan], Frank Darien [Bill Collector], Rand Brooks [Judge], Erville Alderson [Court Attendant]


Out West with the Hardys (1938)
Judge Hardy takes the family to a friend's ranch where he attempts to help with a battle over water rights. Typical Hardy family adventures ensue.
Lewis Stone [Judge Hardy], Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Cecilia Parker [Marian Hardy], Ann Rutherford [Polly Benedict], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Sara Haden [Aunt Milly], Don Castle [Dennis Hunt], Virginia Weidler [Jake Holt], Gordon Jones [Ray Holt], Ralph Morgan [Bill Northcote], Nana Bryant [Dora Northcote], Thurston Hall [H.R. Bruxton], Tom Neal [Aldrich Brown], Anthony Allan (aka John Hubbard) [Cliff Thomas]


The Hardys Ride High (1939)
The Hardy family is riding high when they learn they've inherited a fortune. But they return to earth much wiser after life hands them a few hard knocks.
Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Lewis Stone [Judge Hardy], Cecilia Parker [Marian Hardy], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Ann Rutherford [Polly Benedict], Sara Haden [Aunt Milly], Don Castle [Dennis Hunt], John King [Phillip Westcott], Virginia Grey [Consuela McNish], Minor Watson [Terry B. Archer], Halliwell Hobbes [Dobbs], George Irving [Jonas], Aileen Pringle [Miss Booth], Marsha Hunt [Susan Bowen], Donald Briggs [Caleb Bowen], William Orr [Dick Bannersly], Truman Bradley [Clerk], John T. Murray [Don Davis]


Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (1939)
Andy falls in love with his drama teacher and writes a play in which he and Polly have the lead parts.
Lewis Stone [Judge Hardy], Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Cecilia Parker [Marian Hardy], Ann Rutherford [Polly Benedict], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Sara Haden [Aunt Milly], Helen Gilbert [Rose Meredith], Terry Kilburn [Stickin' Plaster], George Breakston [Beezy Anderson], Sidney Miller [Sidney], Charles Peck [Tommy], Stanley Andrews [James Willet], Byron Foulger [Mark Hansen], Robert Kent [Lt. Charles Copley], Maurice Costello [Member of Audience]


Judge Hardy and Son (1939)
Judge Hardy tries to prevent eviction of an elderly couple while Andy tries to find a girl to enter his essay in a contest when he finds out first prize for boys is a set of encylocpedias, but first prize for girls is fifty bucks.
Lewis Stone [Judge Hardy], Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Cecilia Parker [Marian Hardy], Ann Rutherford [Polly Benedict], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Sara Haden [Aunt Milly], Maria Ouspenskaya [Mrs. Volduzzi], June Preisser [Euphrasia Clark], Martha O'Driscoll [Elvie Norton], Leona Maricle [Mrs. Norton], Margaret Early [Clarabelle Lee], Egon Brecher [Mr. Volduzzi], Edna Holland [Nurse Trowbridge], Jack Mulhall [Interne], Henry Hull [Dr. Jones], George Breakston [Beezy Anderson], Marie Blake [Augusta], Joe Yule


Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940)
Andy has a crush on Daphne Fowler, America's Number One Debutante, who turns out to be a friend of Betsy Booth. Judy sings "Alone" and "I'm Nobody's Baby."
Lewis Stone [Judge Hardy], Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Cecilia Parker [Marian Hardy], Judy Garland [Betsy Booth], Sara Haden [Aunt Milly], Ann Rutherford [Polly Benedict], Tom Neal [Aldrich Brown], Diana Lewis [Daphne Fowler], George Breakston [Beezy Anderson], Cy Kendall [Mr. Carrillo], George Lessey [Underwood], Addison Richards [Mr. Benedict], Clyde Willson [Francis], Charles Coleman [Head Waiter]


Andy Hardy's Private Secretary (1941)
Andy is so busy with extracurricular activities he flunks English and nearly misses graduation. Kathryn Grayson sings "Voices of Spring," "The Mad Scene" and "I've Got My Eyes on You."
Lewis Stone [Judge Hardy], Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Ian Hunter [Steven Land], Ann Rutherford [Polly Benedict], Kathryn Grayson [Kathryn Land], Todd Karns [Harry Land], John Dilson [Mr. Davis], Addison Richards [George Benedict], George Breakston [Beezy Anderson], Margaret Early [Clarabelle Lee], Gene Reynolds [Jimmy MacMahon], Don Douglas [Mr. Harper]


Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941)
Andy decides to go to New York and get a job in order to experience life before he commits to going to college. Judy sings "Happy Birthday to You" a capella (all of her songs were cut!)
Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Lewis Stone [Judge Hardy], Judy Garland [Betsy Booth], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Ann Rutherford [Polly Benedict], Sara Haden [Aunt Milly], Patricia Dane [Jennitt Hicks], Ray McDonald [Jimmy Frobisher], George Breakston [Beezy Anderson], Pierre Watkin [Dr. Waggoner], Frances Morris [Operator], Tommy Kelly [Chuck], Robert Winkler [Private], William Forrest [Commandant], Paul "Tiny" Newlan, Duke York [Truckmen], Byron Shores [Jackson], Hollis Jewell [Ted], Sidney Miller [Boy], Roger Daniel [Boy], Arthur Loft [Policeman], James Flavin [Policeman], Charlotte Wynters [Elizabeth Norton], Bob Pittard [Delivery Boy], Lester Matthews [Mr. Maddox], Don Brodie [Clerk], John Harmon [Taxi Driver], Gladden James [Man], Frank Ferguson [Stationer], Leonard Sues [Kelly], George Carleton [Florist], George Ovey [Janitor], Robert E. Homans [Watchman], William J. Holmes [Dr. Griffin], Manart Kippen [Rabbi Strauss], Ralph Byrd [Father Gallagher], Ann Morriss [Miss Dean], Mira McKinney [Miss Gomez], Nora Lane [Miss Howard], John Eldredge [Paul McWilliams], Joseph Crehan [Peter Dugan], Mary Jo Ellis [Drugstore Cashier], Yolande Mollot [Drugstore Waitress], Estelle Etterre [Secretary], Bess Flowers [Secretary], Kent Rogers [Tough Boy], Purnell Pratt [Dr. Storfen]


The Courtship of Andy Hardy (1942)
In a custody battle, Melodie is about to become a ward of the court. Andy tries to help Melodie forget her troubles by taking her to a school dance.
Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Lewis Stone [Judge Hardy], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Cecilia Parker [Marian Hardy], Ann Rutherford [Polly Benedict], Sara Haden [Aunt Milly], Donna Reed [Melodie Nesbit], William Lundigan [Jeff Willis], Frieda Inescort [Janet Nesbit], Harvey Stephens [Clarence O. Nesbit], George Breakston [Beezy Anderson], Todd Karns [Harry Land], Frank Coghlan Jr. [Red]


Andy Hardy's Double Life (1942)
Andy finds himself in an awful mess when he thinks he's engaged to marry two girls!
Lewis Stone [Judge Hardy], Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Cecilia Parker [Marian Hardy], Ann Rutherford [Polly Benedict], Sara Haden [Aunt Milly], Esther Williams [Sheila Brooks], William Lundigan [Jeff Willis], Susan Peters [Wainwright College Girl], Bob Pittard [Botsy], Arthur Space [Stedman's Attorney], Howard Hickman [Lincoln's Attorney], Frank Coghlan Jr. [Red], Mantan Moreland [Prentiss], Bobby (Robert) Blake [Tooky]


Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble (1944)
Andy gets involved with a beautiful blonde at college, but thinks she has a split personality. The Wilde Twins sing a bit of "Easy to Love."
Lewis Stone [Judge Hardy], Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Sara Haden [Aunt Milly], Bonita Granville [Kay Wilson], Jean Porter [Katy Henderson], Keye Luke [Dr. Lee], Herbert Marshall [Dr. M.J. Standish], Lee Wilde [Lee Walker], Lyn Wilde [Lyn Walker], Marta Linden [Mrs. Townsend], Jackie Moran [Spud], Tommy Dix [Mark]


Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1946)
Andy thinks his life is over when Kay announces she's going to marry her guardian. Wonderful scene of Mickey Jitterbugging with a very tall Dorothy Ford. A very cute and young Lina Romay woos Andy and sings two songs (titles unknown).
Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Lewis Stone [Judge Hardy], Sara Haden [Aunt Milly], Bonita Granville [Kay Wilson], Lina Romay [Isobel Gonzales], Fay Holden [Mrs. Emily Hardy], Dorothy Ford [Coffy Smith], Addison Richards [Mr. Benedict], Hal Hackett [Duke Johnson], Richard Simmons [Dane Kittridge], Clinton Sundberg [Haberdashery Clerk], Geraldine Wall [Miss Geeves], Charles Peck [Tommy Gilchrest], John Walsh [Freshman], Lucien Littlefield [Telegraph Clerk], Holmes Herbert


Andy Hardy Comes Home (1958)
Middle-aged and married with children, Andy returns to Carvel on business only to get caught up in local politics.
Mickey Rooney [Andy Hardy], Patricia Breslin [Jane Hardy], Fay Holden [Mother Hardy], Cecilia Parker [Marian], Sara Haden [Aunt Milly], Joey Forman [Beezy Anderson], Jerry Colonna [Doc], Vaughn Taylor [Thomas Chandler], Frank Ferguson [Mayor Benson], William Leslie [Jack Bailey], Tom Duggan [Councilman Warren], Jeanne Baird [Sally Anderson], Gina Gillespie [Cricket], Jimmie Bates [Chuck], Teddy Rooney [Andy, Jr.], Johnny Weissmuller Jr. [Jimmy], Pat Cawley [Betty Wilson]



Click on link titles to visit corresponding movie pages.
Videos:

Only seven episodes are available on videotape; six from MGM/UA Home Video and one in public domain. The remaining episodes can be seen on TV once in a while (keep an eye on TNT and TCM - I now have all of them on tape).

Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever, MGM/UA M201719
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, MGM/UA M201717
Andy Hardy's Double Life, MGM/UA M201720
Andy Hardy's Private Secretary, MGM/UA M201718
Life Begins for Andy Hardy, MGM/UA M201716
Love Finds Andy Hardy, MGM/UA M201715
Love Laughs at Andy Hardy, Madacy Music Group HCV-3-6069 (and others)
Tidbits:

  • The credits of the films never list a producer. Apparently, Lucien Hubbard was the producer of the first episode (A Family Affair) and J.J. Cohn (or was it Carey Wilson?) produced the rest of the series. Sources disagree on who the producer actually was.
  • Beezy Anderson's full name (Beezy was his nickname) was Frances Bacon Anderson. This is pointed out by Judge Hardy in Love Finds Andy Hardy.
  • Carvel is an imaginary town in Idaho, population 25,000 (the original setting of the play, Skdding upon which the series is based). However, MGM never made it clear exactly where Carvel was. In fact, it seemed to move from time to time. One episode finds Andy and Betsy making a (seemingly) short trip to New York City, while another depicts an amateur radio operator with a west-coast call sign.
  • Bobby Blake, who played "Tooky" in Andy Hardy's Double Life was one of the members of Our Gang, later to become well-known as Robert Blake, star of the "Baretta" television series.
  • Clyde Willson, the young orphan boy in Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (You said a mouthful, toots!) also appeared in the finale of Strike Up the Band.
  • Though all of the series were low-budget films, they generally ranked among the highest grossing films at MGM.
  • Andy's Girls:

    The Andy Hardy series often showcased new or up-and-coming actresses at MGM, generally as "Andy's latest crush." It has often been said by film historians that this was done to help get new starlets before the public - the Andy Hardy series was so popular, it was sometimes a boost to an actress' career to appear in one of the episodes. In fact, several young actresses made their debut in one of the Hardy episodes. However, just who was doing whom the favor is highly questionable. Many of these starlets already had an established career. And certainly all of these young ladies did much to brighten the episodes they appeared in, and were doubtless an important factor in the series' success.

    Whatever the motives of MGM, several episodes poke fun at the sheer number of these "crushes" by showing a shelf-full of publicity photos, generally referred to as "Andy's Girls". In Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, the final scene has Andy adding Judy Garland's picture to his collection, saying, "My, how one's women do mount up!"

    Patricia Dane   [Jennitt Hicks], Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941)
    Life Begins for Andy Hardy
    Andy Hardy and Jennitt Hicks

    Patricia Dane


    Margaret Early   [Clarabelle Lee], Judge Hardy and Son (1939) and Andy Hardy's Private Secretary (1941)

    Dorothy Ford   [Coffy Smith], Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1946)
    Love Laughs at Andy Hardy
    Coffy Smith and Andy Hardy

    Judy Garland   [Betsy Booth], Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940) and Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941). For detailed reviews of these films, click on the links below:

    Love Finds Andy Hardy
    Love Finds
    Andy Hardy Meets Debutante
    Debutante
    Life Begins for Andy Hardy
    Life Begins

    Helen Gilbert   [Rose Meredith], Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (1939)
    Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever
    Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever
    (Helen Gilbert far left, Ann Rutherford far right)

    Bonita Granville   [Kay Wilson], Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble (1944), Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1946)
    Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble
    Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble

    (Kay Wilson and Andy Hardy)

    Bonita Granville


    Kathryn Grayson   (debut) [Kathryn Land], Andy Hardy's Private Secretary (1941)
    Andy Hardy's Private Secretary
    Andy Hardy's Private Secretary

    (Mickey, Kathryn, Lewis Stone)

    Kathryn Grayson


    Virginia Grey   [Consuela McNish], The Hardys Ride High (1939)

    Virginia Grey

    Jacqueline Laurent   [Suzanne Cortot], Judge Hardy's Children (1938)

    Judge Hardy's Children
    Judge Hardy's Children
    (Mickey far left, Jacqueline far right)


    Diana Lewis   [Daphne Fowler], Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940)

    Andy Hardy Meets Debutante
    Andy Hardy Meets Debutante

    (l-r: Diana Lewis, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney)


    Eleanor Lynn   [Jerry Lane], You're Only Young Once (1938)

    Jerry Lane and Andy Hardy

    Margaret Marquis   [Polly Benedict], A Family Affair (1937)

    Martha O'Driscoll   [L.V. "Elvie" Norton], Judge Hardy and Son (1939)

    Martha O'Driscoll

    Susan Peters   [Wainwright College Girl], Andy Hardy's Double Life (1942)

    Susan Peters

    June Preisser   [Euphrasia "Phraisie Daisie" Clark], Judge Hardy and Son (1939)

    June Preisser


    Donna Reed   [Melodie Nesbit], The Courtship of Andy Hardy (1942)

    Donna Reed


    Lina Romay   [Isobel Gonzales], Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1946)

    Lina Romay

    (shown here with Xavier Cugat)

    Lana Turner   [Cynthia Potter], Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)
    Love Finds Andy Hardy
    Love Finds Andy Hardy

    Andy and Cynthia

    Lana Turner


    Virginia Weidler   [Jake Holt], Out West with the Hardys (1938)

    Virginia Weidler


    Lyn and Lee Wilde   (The Wilde Twins) [Lyn and Lee Walker], Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble (1944)
    Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble
    Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble

    Lee (left) and Lyn (right)

    Esther Williams   (debut) [Sheila Brooks], Andy Hardy's Double Life (1942)
    Andy Hardy's Double Life
    Andy Hardy and Sheila Brooks

    Esther Williams




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    original material ©1997-2006 Jim Johnson