On this weekend 75 years ago, The Wizard of Oz premiered in Hollywood and New York. Its musical centrepiece was Judy Garland's rendition of Over The Rainbow, which became her signature song and was voted the best of all time in a 2001 poll. Yet it was initially cut from the movie because MGM chief executive Louis B. Mayer thought it “slowed down the picture”. It was reinstated only after lobbying from Garland's vocal coach, Roger Edens. Years later, Garland wrote a letter of thanks to composer Harold Arlen, telling him Over The Rainbow was the song closest to her heart. “It's so symbolic of everybody's dreams and wishes that I'm sure it's why people get tears in their eyes when they hear it,” Garland wrote. On a less personal, though nonetheless positive note, the song's lyricist, Yip Harburg, said he was expressing hope for America under president Franklin Roosevelt's “New Deal” program, designed to drag the US out of the Great Depression of the early 1930s.
OVER THE RAINBOW JUDY GARLAND, 1939