George Murphy


  1. Robert Young, Navy Blue and Gold, 1936.     Murphy had been first choice to join James Stewart as football players joining the Naval Academy at Annapolis. 
  2. James Stewart, Born to Dance, 1936.    When Ted met Nora… Ted was a toss-up between Allan Jones, George Murphy and the surprioe winner, James Styewart (sinbging, undubbed, for his supper). Nora was aimed at Judy and the UK’s Dancing Divinity, Jessie Matthews, before Powell was signed.
  3. Gene Kelly, For Me and My Gal, 1941.     Kelly’s debut was Murphy’s 26th but the veteran had to bow down and accept that Broadway’s Pal Joey had his choice of roles and preferred Murphy’s Harry Palmer (!) to his Jimmy Metcalf. So, they swopped. Oh and Murphy’s big number – combining jitterbug and soft-shoe – was suddenly…gone !  Musn’t outshine the new hoofer in town.
  4. Dan Dailey, Panama Hattie, 1941.      Still billed for 17th and last time as  Dan Dailey Jr, he became Hattie’s rich intended in what Vincente Minnelli expert Michael Grost called  “one of the most lowbrow musicals ever to come out of Hollywood… relentless dumb dialogue, a song celebrating getting drunk… and mugging by Red Skelton that makes the Three Stooges look like Olivier.”  
  5. Van Heflin, Presenting Lily Mars, 1942.       MGM bought Booth Tarkington’s novel for Lana Turner. And then gave it to Garland. Not among her best known works. And, therefore, a cult! Heflin took over as the Broadway producer beset by Judy’s start wannabe (shades of 42nd Street). Never mind, Meet Me In St Louis, was just around the corner.  
  6. Van Heflin, Presenting Lily Mars, 1942.   What had been seen as a drama for Lana Turner was churned into a musical-comedy screwballer for Judy Garland. Lana was already busy – and wouldn’t do two films at once. While poor Judy had to do three – Lily Mars, Girl Crazy and her number for the Thousands Cheer ensemble.  MGM was milking – and pill-popping – her for all it could make.
  7. Ray Milland, A Life of Her Own, 1950.   Or The Abiding Vision when Vincente Minnelli was due to direct Cary Grant opposite Lane Turner’s comeback after three years away. When Cary proved unavailable, new director George Cukor  looked over James Craig, Howard Keel, James Mason, George Murphy, and Robert Ryan. Cukor chose Wendell Corey – La Turner did not and had him fired.. Enter: Mr Milland.  
  8. Walter Pidgeon, Hit The Deck, 1954.     Change of the Rear Admiral father of Russ Tamblyn and Jane Powell in  the old MGM chestnut of the three swabbies on leave.  Think Anchors Aweigh and On The Town – then go watch them instead of this tired offering.  
  9. Walter Pidgeon, Deep In My Heart, 1954.     “To all those who love the music of Sigmund Romberg.” Pidgeon subbed Murphy as another Broadway legend: theatre owner  and producer JJ Schubert while José Ferrer played the schmaltzy Hungarian-born composer in the star-stuffed bio-musical. Numbers from Cyd Charisse, Rosemary Clooney, Vic Damone, Howard Keel, Tony Martin,  Ann Miller, Jane Powell, Russ Tamblyn… even Gene Kelly with his brother Fred. 


 Birth year: 1902Death year: 1992Other name: Casting Calls:  9