Streisand Superman & Garland Supergirl: Superdivas Rule The World

Garland Supergirl

I recently came across quite a wonderful historical article posted on facebook in which Judy Garland said that the fantasy person she’d most like to be is Supergirl. The article reads:

If she had to come back to earth, she’d want it to be as something utterly fantastic, like a character out of a comic book. But never, never as Judy Garland.

‘Supergirl’, said Judy, as she hurriedly packed five suitcases in her London hotel room for a flight back to the States. ‘That’s who I’d like to be if I came back to earth.

‘I’d have all those marvellous powers you pretend to have as a kid. I could zoom into the air and travel to anywhere in the world, faster than lightning.

‘I’d have the strength of 50 men, the courage of the bravest, and maybe a few other assets that no comic-paper artist never dreamed of.

‘I’d spend my life zooming around the world, putting all the wrongs right, foiling all the baddies, bopping people over the head I didn’t like, and generally having a ball.

‘Wheee,’ the singer yelled suddenly. ‘Here comes Supergirl now, helping poor little Judy Garland with her packing.’

She held out her arms like the wings of an airplane, then bounded around the room, gathering up the clothes, magazines, handbags and other articles scattered about on the floor.

In 15 minutes, everything except part of a glass of milk, an orange and a half-eaten sandwich had been stuffed into the suitcases.

Judy sat exhausted on the foot of the bed, breathing heavily but with a big grin on her face.

‘And that’, she said, pushing back a strand of hair from her face, ‘was Supergirl to the rescue. Supergirl doing her good deed for the day.’

Garland Supergirl

I would never in a million years have guessed that or sensed that side to Judy. Oh sure, I know that she could be very funny and silly but – Supergirl?! How simply wonderful. I was gleeful at this discovery. A few days later I was considering (as I very often do) one of my favourite albums and looks by my other favourite diva – Babs, for her album Streisand Superman.

Streisand Superman vinyl

I’ve loved this album and Babs’ Superman get-up for years. It was one of the first albums of hers that I bought. I also adore the part in A Star Is Born where she wears the short shorts, Superman t shirt and knee socks and pretends to stop Kris Kristofferson’s bulldozer with her fist of superpower.

Vinyl back Streis Super

Everything about Streisand Superman the concept makes me happy. Her bubble perm is my fave Babs ‘do, her tukus looks amazing in those shorts, the combo of cute and sexy, and her embracing of superheroes. Swoon. But – and this is the subversive thing – Babs is Streisand SuperMAN. She genderfucks this shit.

Judy wanting to be Supergirl is its own subversion – here was a woman in her late forties, who’d been in the public eye for decades, a mother of three kids, stating the very unexpected. Not that she wanted to be Wonder Woman even, no. She wanted to be Supergirl. She wanted the power to fly (presumably over that sodding rainbow). And to bop hated people over the head. Atta gal.

In The Greatest Moment on TV, Babs sang with Judy on The Judy Garland Show and caused goosebumps that still pop up for millions of viewers more than 50 years later.  They meld together so gorgeously that it almost stops me breathing each and every time I watch it. They are, in terms of singers on a TV show, superheroes in this instance. Be it the up-beat love medley or the mashup of their signature tunes Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again, they fucking RULE when it comes to singing period, let alone duetting. They are a superhero duo, belting and breaking hearts with their voices.

So, with the revelation that Judy wished to be Supergirl and my decades-long obsession with Streisand Superman, it all clicked into place. Babs and Judy had such a special connection it seems only right that they’d hook up to form a superhero team.

On the Judy Garland Show, they joked about Judy handing over her belting mantle to Babs. But there was not only a mentoring relationship to their duetting, but a mutual love, respect and an incredible alchemy. When I listen to both of them – apart or together – I am transformed. It’s spiritual. They are my goddess divas. And it would make perfect sense to discover that they, in fact, had superpowers and that is why their singing gets us so. Together, they are invincible.

SuperDivas

Here’s the words to the song, Superman:

Baby, I can fly like a bird

When you touch me with your eyes

Flying through the sky

I’ve never felt the same

But I am not a bird

And I am not a plane

I’m Superman

 StreisSup 1

When you love me it’s easy

I can do most anything

Watch me turn around

One wing up and one wing down

I never thought I would

Fall in love for good

 StreisSup 2

I’m Superman

When you love me it’s easy

My sweet life has just begun

I’m in love this time

And I know I have it

Fell into my life

So I grabbed it

There’s nothing I can’t do

When I’m with you

I’m Superman

 ColumbiaSuperman

Cause I’m with you

It’s easy

My sweet life has just begun

I’m in love this time

And I know I have it

Fell into my life

So I grabbed it

There’s nothing I can do

Cause I’m with you

I’m Superman

No matter the gender of Babs’ love object here, she still genderfucks it. In my scenario I – of course – like to think that the object of SuperBabs’ power-amour, who is giving her these superpowers through love, is Garland Supergirl.

I would simply ADORE it if some ‘comic paper artists’ could turn this superhero pairing into a comic. Just think: Babs as Superman and Judy as Supergirl. Don’t worry about DC Comics; when they hear about this and the potential market – Babs fans, Judy fans, comic fans, queers of many decades and diva lovers the world over – how could they not get behind this?! And then the animated films will follow.

I can just see their adventures now: Judy shattering everything with her belting power, Babs’s superpowers coming from her bubble perm, Judy hurling bottles of Blue Nun as weapons, Babs Superman stopping Kristoffersons in their wake…

A Star is Superman

By Corinna Tomrley

You may also like:

Corinna Tomrley & David Munk discuss Barbra Streisand on The Judy Garland Show

Judy Garland in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane: The Musical!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s