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"Love Finds Andy Hardy" represented something completely new for its home studio and its young stars. The fourth in a series of family-friendly B pictures, it sur-passed all expectations of success and provided a cultural touchstone of small-town innocence. As author Scott Eyman notes, it captured the way America viewed itself just before the world would enter one of its darkest periods and the quaint life Andy represented would seem lost forever. The MGM that created the wholesome Hardy universe was not the studio of "Ben-Hur" (1925), "Grand Hotel" (1932) or "Camille" (1936). Irving Thalberg, boy wonder producer at the studio, died in September 1936. A dedicated executive with an eye for glamour and prestige, Thalberg had been a major force in the industry, taking risks for the sake of art, valuing quality as much as profit, and es-tablishing a stable of some of the most talented and well-loved stars in Hollywood. But with his death came a change in re-gime at MGM and a change in dire...