Thursday, February 04, 2016

Born Yesterday

On February 4, 1946 the comedy play Born Yesterday opened at the Lyceum Theatre in New York City. In the part of Billie Dawn was a newcomer named Judy Holliday. By the end of its run Judy Holliday was a star.

1946 Playbill for Born Yesterday

Judy Holliday around the time she was staring in Born Yesterday on Broadway

In 1947 Columbia pictures paid one million dollars for the screen rights to Born Yesterday.  In 1951 Judy Holliday won a Motion Picture Academy Award for Best Leading Actress playing Billie Dawn on the screen in a field that included Bette Davis for All About Eve and Gloria Swanson for Sunset Boulevard.  Holliday, a very intelligent woman, was so identified with Billie Dawn, a stereotypical dumb blonde, that when she was summoned by the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security in 1952 to explain why her name was linked to what the committee called "Communist Front Organizations" she was advised to play dumb.  Billie Dawn returned to Washington and even though she was cleared by the committee, Holliday was blacklisted from television and radio for three years.

Below is the entire movie version of Born Yesterday staring Judy Holiday, William Holden and Broderick Crawford.  This upload is a bit difficult to watch as for some reason the person uploading it has put a spotlight in the center of each frame of the film.  If this proves to much for you I suggest you at least watch the Gin game between Billie Dawn (Judy Holliday) and Harry Block (Broderick Crawford) to understand Holliday's appeal and comedic genius.
(The Gin game starts at about 25:33 minutes.)

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