“C’mon, Get Happy: The Making of Summer Stock” Now Available for Pre-Order!

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Starting today (May 1) and extending just two weeks the University Press of Mississippi is offering 40% off the pre-order price C’mon, Get Happy: The Making of Summer Stock!  The hardcover retailing for $35 now only costs $21!  Just click on the link below and when you click on the orange pre-order button that says $35, you’ll see the $21 charge when you checkout.

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The 1950 MGM musical Summer Stock was the end of the road for Judy Garland at the studio she called home for 15 years.  On the other hand, her close friend and co-star Gene Kelly was at the peak of his abilities and would star in An American in Paris just one year later.  Falling at a critical point in both of their storied careers, Summer Stock would be their final pairing together.

C’mon, Get Happy: The Making of Summer Stock is written by David Fantle and
Tom Johnson, film historians and the award-winning* authors of Hollywood Heyday: 75 Candid Interviews with Golden Age Legends (2018).  It includes a foreword by Tony Award-winning choreographer, director, and dancer Savion Glover.  The book will be available for pre-sale in April 2023.  C’mon, Get Happy has already received advance praise from Lorna Luft (Garland’s daughter),
Michael Feinstein, David Shire, Rob Marshall, Richard Maltby Jr., Tommy Tune, Alan Bergman, and Susan Stroman.

While at MGM, Hollywood’s fabled dream factory, Garland starred in such classic films such as The Wizard of Oz (1939), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Harvey Girls (1946), Easter Parade (1948) and In the Good Old Summertime (1949).  However, her personal trek became progressively bumpier due to studio pressures, a rocky marriage to director Vincente Minnelli, and a growing dependence on prescription medications.

The book tells the backstory of how this film was brought to the screen – a tale with enough drama, heartache, and genuine selflessness to fuel the plots of a score of MGM melodramas.  It took a herculean effort and the bottomless empathy of Kelly, co-stars Phil Silvers, Eddie Bracken, Carleton Carpenter, and director Charles Walters to “pull” a performance out of a drug-addled and emotionally-spent Garland who was the locus of some production delays and made completing the fraught project one that defied the odds makers.  And yet, despite the Greek tragedy that played out sometimes daily (thankfully, offstage when the cameras weren’t rolling), Summer Stock is a film packed with musical gems, including two of the best solo numbers that Kelly (his Squeaky Board/Newspaper number) and Garland (“Get Happy”) ever performed, as well as a duet—a challenge tap dance in the barn that’s chock-full of nuance and is the very definition of chutzpah.

It has become gospel in almost every book that references Summer Stock to charge Garland as the sole reason for the production problems that plagued the film.  C’mon, Get Happy: The Making of Summer Stock dispels that persistent, commonly-held myth, as well as others.  In a final section that brims with fresh insight, contemporary artists offer their perspective on Summer Stock.  This “Taking Stock” chapter features the voices of Luft, Feinstein, Kerry Kelly Novick (Gene Kelly’s daughter) Marilyn Michaels, Mario Cantone, Ben Vereen, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, among others.

C’mon, Get Happy: The Making of Summer Stock
By David Fantle and Tom Johnson
Foreword by Savion Glover
University Press of Mississippi
ISBN 978-1-4968-3839-1
Hardcover $35.00

Publication Date:
October 2023
For more information or review copies contact: Jordan Nettles Rueffm Publicity and Promotions Manager (jnettles@mississippi.edu)


DAVID FANTLE, mostly in collaboration with Tom Johnson, has been interviewing, writing, and speaking about Hollywood’s Golden Age stars for 40 years where their work has appeared in media outlets throughout the world.  Fantle’s career also includes more than three decades working as an award-winning marketing and public relations professional, including a tenure as Deputy Tourism Secretary for Wisconsin.  He resides in Milwaukee, Wis., and is an adjunct professor in film at Marquette University.

TOM JOHNSON began his collaboration with David Fantle in 1978 as a student journalist at the University of Minnesota by co-writing an award-winning arts and entertainment column for the Minnesota Daily called “Entertainment Ltd.”

Johnson was a senior editor at Netflix and has written movie reviews and features for E! Online, Moviefone, and People magazine, among other publications.

Johnson’s entertainment writing has been recognized with a Minnesota Newspaper Association achievement award and a National Hearst Foundation award for news writing.


Founded in 1970, University Press of Mississippi (UPM) is the largest and only non-profit publisher in the state.  Affiliated with and supported by Mississippi’s eight state universities, UPM has more than 2,200 active titles and has distributed more than 3,200,000 books worldwide in print and digital editions, each with the Mississippi imprint.

* Hollywood Heyday was the recipient of three prestigious book awards: The National Indie Excellence Award (entertainment category), the New England Book Festival (wild card division), and the New York City Big Book Award.


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  1. Wow! Never thought a book would be written about a (relatively) minor film in the MGM library, a picture I enjoy, but don’t love. It will be fascinating to read, though.

    Thanks, Scott!

  2. Thanks for this! I just pre-ordered. I am interested to see a fresh perspective of the filming ordeal of Summer Stock

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