TJGS Episode 13: With Special Guest Peggy Lee

While the thirteenth episode was pretty routine in some ways, there are a few things that set it apart. 

First, there is Jack Carter, who is essentially taking Jerry Van Dyke's place for this show and who somehow manages to make the slightly insulting banter with Judy work.  He just throws it out there, lobs it out and is able to make Judy look Judy completely normal while he comes off as some kind of schmoozy, boozy nut.  And yet, he's still charming in this old school comedian way that no one could carry off today.  I can't quite put my finger on it, and I'm not saying I love the material, but he makes it work better than anyone I've seen so far.  He also has a number in which he complains about the youth of America, and while the material is a bit stale, again, he is so comfortable and confident in his delivery, spitting out "babes" and "honeys" left and right.  How can I not hate him?  And yet, I don't.  Of course we have The Judy Garland dancers to spread the corn around in an already corny number.  Thank God for them. 

Jack and Judy also share a routine in which they play different musical comedy teams throughout history, finishing with a tribute to "Mr. Wonderful" in which Jack Carter had appeared with Sammy Davis Jr.  For my money they could have done away with the rest of the routine and focused on the last material, as the earlier parts seem a bit gimmicky and forced, even if Judy does do a wonderful Ethel Merman impersonation.
Peggy Lee is the Special Guest of the episode.  Beautiful, bountiful Peggy Lee.  She's so meaty and sensual, poured into her dress, all topped with hair like cotton candy, her voice so smoky and rich.  I just love her.  And yet... part of the magic of Judy is that you don't even realize how wonderful she is until you see other people attempt the same thing.  Peggy never quite seems comfortable with the camera, and is a bit of a deer in the headlights; a gorgeous, busty deer in the headlights.
The "Trunk" spot of the show is wonderful, as Judy sings two terrific numbers.  She starts with Irving Berlin's "How About You" and sounds lovely (even if she doesn't quite give herself over to the sorrowfulness of the song) and closes with "When Your Smiling" and the finish is stellar, with Judy selling it in typical fashion.