When Charles Walters, the director of Good News, took over Easter Parade, Judy Garland was sure to put the director in his place. Skeptical, she told him, “Look buster, you’re in the big time now. You’re not doing a little college musical here. This is a big picture, an ‘A’ picture, and I ain’t no June Allyson.”
With Walters firmly in his place it would take only a few days for Judy to find herself at ease. Judy Garland and Peter Lawford were excellent together. They had a brief romance during the making of this picture, but insead of turning sour like many others for both of them, this relationship would bring them both a lifelong friendship.
Easter Parade was sure to be a hit. And then they got word that Gene Kelly broke his ankle and had to bow out of the film.
But the gods were smiling on Peter and Judy, and Fred Astaire agreed to come out of retirement and step in.
Peter could not be more thrilled. When his parents had come over from England, en route to Los Angeles, his family stopped in New York, and Peter, already enthralled in show business at the age of eleven begged them to go to Radio City Music Hall, where Shall we Dance was playing in 1934. From that moment Peter would strive to be like Fred Astaire. He loved his humor, and he loved his style. Peter would in fact steal his own fashion sense, a huge trademark, and sophisticated elegance from none other than Fred Astaire.
With Fred Astaire and Judy Garland in the film, Easter Parade could not lose. Peter would give a strong performance and sing an unforgettable ‘A Fella with an Umbrella’ to a drenched Judy Garland. With the resounding success of Easter Parade, Peter Lawford was a part of another MGM hit, and beginning to feel better about his acting capabilities. His rate per week was at 900 dollars when the average annual salary in the U.S was somewhere around 1300. It was 1948 and Peter could not fail.