Critics of the past half-century have never had much use for MGM’s Andy Hardy movie series of the late 1930s and ’40s, but the films really do merit watching. The series of theatrical films starred Mickey Rooney as the title character, a teenaged boy who wants to get things the easy way and always finds out that doing the right thing always works out the best .
Guided by his wise and strong father, Judge Hardy, and his affectionate and hardworking mother, Andy manages to muddle his way through girl trouble, money problems, car repairs, and the like, and learns something in each film.
Yes, the characters are solidly middle class—upper middle class, really—and the films don’t wallow in an effort to plumb the depths of human evil, which make them entirely uninteresting to most critics.
Those very characteristics, however, are what make the films interesting and edifying for normal people. The problems that Andy and his family confront are the same types of troubles that beset most of us from time to time, and the family’s way of binding together in a crisis and of attacking troubles by taking responsibility for their actions are exemplary, educational, and inspiring.
People who hate such things have serious defects, and we really shouldn’t listen to them. So ignore the critics in this matter.
You can see for yourself on Thursday and Friday as Turner Classic Movies is playing what appears to be all of the Andy Hardy films during the daylight hours. Here’s the schedule:
|8:00 AM||Family Affair, A (1936)|
|In the first Hardy Family film, a small-town judge fights for re-election while dealing with family problems. Cast: Lionel Barrymore, Spring Byington, Mickey Rooney. Dir: George B. Seitz. BW-69 mins, TV-G, CC, DVS|
|9:15 AM||You’re Only Young Once (1938)|
|Andy Hardy and his sister find romance during a family vacation in Catalina. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Cecilia Parker. Dir: George B. Seitz. BW-78 mins, TV-G, CC|
|10:45 AM||Judge Hardy’s Children (1938)|
|A small-town judge’s Washington trip lands his son in hot water with a diplomat’s daughter. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Ann Rutherford. Dir: George B. Seitz. BW-77 mins, TV-G, CC|
|12:15 PM||Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)|
|A small-town boy tries to juggle two girlfriends at once. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Judy Garland. Dir: George B. Seitz. BW-91 mins, TV-G, CC|
|2:00 PM||Out West With The Hardys (1938)|
|A small-town judge takes his family on a western vacation so he can help a friend negotiate water rights. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Virginia Weidler. Dir: George B. Seitz. BW-84 mins, TV-G, CC|
|3:30 PM||Hardys Ride High, The (1939)|
|A small-town family inherits a fortune but has trouble adjusting to society life. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Cecilia Parker. Dir: George B. Seitz. BW-81 mins, TV-G, CC|
|5:00 PM||Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (1939)|
|A teenage boy falls in love with his drama teacher. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker, Fay Holden. Dir: W.S. Van Dyke II. BW-86 mins, TV-G, CC|
|6:30 PM||Judge Hardy And Son (1939)|
|A small-town judge tries to save an elderly couple from eviction while coping with his wife’s illness. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Fay Holden. Dir: George B. Seitz. BW-90 mins, TV-G, CC|
|6:00 AM||Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940)|
|A teenage boy goes into debt to court a Manhattan socialite. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Lewis Stone. Dir: George B. Seitz. BW-88 mins, TV-G, CC|
|7:45 AM||Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary (1941)|
|On the verge of graduation, a high-school boy decides he needs a social secretary. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Kathryn Grayson. Dir: George B. Seitz. BW-101 mins, TV-G, CC|
|9:30 AM||Life Begins For Andy Hardy (1941)|
|A small-town boy tries life in the big city before going to college. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Judy Garland. Dir: George B. Seitz. BW-101 mins, TV-G, CC, DVS|
|11:15 AM|| Cour
tship Of Andy Hardy, The (1942)
|A teenager dates a girl whose parents’ divorce is being decided by his father. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Donna Reed. Dir: George B. Seitz. BW-95 mins, TV-G, CC|
|1:00 PM||Andy Hardy’s Double Life (1942)|
|A new college student lets romance get in the way of his studies. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Esther Williams. Dir: George B. Seitz. BW-92 mins, TV-G, CC|
|2:45 PM||Andy Hardy’s Blonde Trouble (1944)|
|A college boy has to cope with a pair of beautiful twins. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Bonita Granville. Dir: George B. Seitz. BW-107 mins, TV-G, CC|
|4:45 PM||Love Laughs At Andy Hardy (1946)|
|A small-town boy returns to college after the war only to find his sweetheart engaged to another. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Bonita Granville. Dir: Willis Goldbeck. BW-93 mins, TV-G|
|6:19 PM||Short Film: Loews Christmas Greeting (Hardy Family) (1939)|
|6:30 PM||Andy Hardy Comes Home (1958)|
|In a sequel to the popular film series, Andy Hardy returns to Carvel to negotiate a land deal. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Fay Holden, Cecilia Parker. Dir: Howard W. Koch. BW-80 mins, TV-G, CC|