THE JUDY LIST – PART TWO
NOTE: All quotes and transcripts from The Judy List have been copied verbatim from the List archives, as made available for download on The Judy List website for several years running prior to its demise. These archives include personal email addresses and full names. I have x’d out the email addresses and removed the last names, replacing them with just the first initial – excepting the names of celebrities, known authors, media producers, web masters, those with published works, etc.
Also note that “[snip]” means that a paragraph or section of a post has been removed as being irrelevant to the subject at hand.
1997 – AN EVENTFUL YEAR
1997 was an eventful year for “The Judy List,” Judy Garland’s legacy, and for all the Garfans and Garfreaks running around at the time. The Grammys awarded Judy a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award and The A&E Channel’s long-awaited two-hour biography on Judy was premiered to great success.
This chapter focuses on 1997 (with some lead-in from 1996) as that was the year that most of the people who would drive the discussion and focus of the List became members.
APPLE LOVES JUDY
One of the fun topics of discussion on “The Judy List” in the list’s first year centered around the icon for Apple’s Macintosh Speech Manager. List owner and moderator Mark Harris owned an Apple computer and noticed that the icon (seen below) looked suspiciously like Judy. When I first saw the icon I thought the same thing, as did many others. Harris’ eagle eye helped him determine that the image was cropped from the photo of Judy sitting on the steps inside The Alhambra Saloon in The Harvey Girls just after the big girl fight. It’s the same image used here for “The Judy Garland Wars.” Harris contacted Apple to inquire about it, and posted the results of his conversation in a digest as well as on one of the website’s main pages:
It was the JUDY List that first brought to light the possibility of it being Judy’s face that’s on the Apple Macintosh’s Speech Manager icon (part of the system software that allows for speech and singing on the computer, shown at left). An Apple spokeswoman says that if it were Judy Garland, they could not verify that fact for legal reasons. Then she says to “read between the lines” after conspicuously NOT DENYING that it’s Judy. Sounds like as close to confirmation as Apple will give us! What do YOU think? Let us know on the LIST!
When comparing the two as shown below, it’s obvious that the folks at Apple removed the wisp of hair on Judy’s right cheek and did in fact use that image from The Harvey Girls.
NICE ANALYSIS OF JUDY’S VOICE
“Jeff” was an early contributor to the List. His posts were usually quite long, but almost always very insightful:
November 25, 1996
From: Jeff, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: The Different Voices of Judy
After listening to Judy at different times in her life
for the last 25 years, I have discovered that there are
10 unique voices during the 1935 to 1969 period. Here
is the list of 10 voice periods ranked from what I
personally belive to be best to worst. Best is Number
Judy’s voice in the early 50’s was much better than in
the late 40’s. She had a combination between the young
and the older Judy that is really incredible. This
would include “A Star is Born” Notice that I placed
1935-1936 rather low. This is because Judy had not yet
developed her singing style. I believe “You Made Me
Love You” is the first time she really sang in the
special Judy style that we know so well.
Judy’s voice improved again in the early 1960’s
(Carnegie Hall, etc.) but I don’t think it matched the
perfection of the early 1950’s. By the time of the Judy
Garland Show, her voice was similar to Carnegie Hall,
but she did not have as much physical perfection.
Of course, I think Judy substituted great style and
acting to overcome periods when her voice was not as
She could sell a song like noone else I have ever
heard. Believe it or not, Al Jolson sold a song almost
as well as Judy. This is what separates singers from
Please let me know your opinions since mine our purely
subjective. This would be a good future poll question.
Judy’s best voice years.
Membership in “The Judy List” grew at a slow but steady rate in its first year of existence. It didn’t take long for it to attract people who were well known to Garfans and Garfreaks, including authors, collectors, and even songwriter Hugh Martin. By the summer of 1997, almost all of the “names” and “players” in Garfandom had joined.
The first “name” to join the List was hagiographer and Garland savant John Fricke. Fricke’s first post was on November 30, 1996:
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 1 Issue 060
I haven’t seen the promo to which you referred
(although it’s extremely ironic that they’re using a
clip controlled by Sid when he’s so vehemently opposed
to anybody doing anything on Judy unless it’s him! and
wouldn’t be involved in the A&E show!), but as of the
latest reports I’ve had, the program will debut on
Sunday evening, March 23rd. (Of course, this has
changed three times in the last month or so, so I
wouldn’t circle the date just yet!)
May I just say — while I’m writing — how much I enjoy
waking up to the Judy List every morning, what a great
job I think you’re doing in providing such a forum, and
(especially) how grateful I am for all the public and
private welcomes I’ve received from the on-line
extended “Garland family.” Since I started as,
continue as, and will ever remain first and foremost a
Garland fan, just as everyone else, it brings so much
joy to meet and associate with all the others who feel
the same way. (In other words, I’m very thankful for
the opportunity to play in the same backyard with the
rest of the gang!)
Right away Fricke was a prolific contributor to the List, providing long (very long) posts almost every day, many times several in one digest. I have no room to talk. My posts to the List were usually and embarrassingly long as well. We certainly have that in common!
Fricke and I weren’t the only long winded posters. A “Jeff’s” posts seemed to compete with us (and several others) for the title of “most consistently long posts.” A “Mark” would probably come in a close third. Garfans and Garfreaks are nothing if not passionate and wordy!
Almost immediately, Fricke began his habit of correcting everyone on every tiny bit of minutia. It quickly became his calling card, his reputation, one that he himself would admit to. Some things never change.
At times, Fricke attempted to deflect the content of his more diatribe focused posts by prefacing them with vain attempts at self-deprecating humor, such as: Got cut off! (I think AOL is smart to edit me when I get into too much personal opinion!) – – Okay, I’ll try to be succinct! (But that’s what I thought yesterday, too…) – – Just a few thoughts for the day (!) (who CARES, Fricke!!!) – – All right…do you want “the Fricke correction” up front, or shall we save it until the end?! (What a lousy reputation to have garnered…so soon, too!) – – Sorry for the long silence (I can hear mutterings, “WE’RE not!”…). Some things never change.
December 1, 1996:
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 1 Issue 061
I don’t want to offend or rankle anybody this early in
the game, but there are several comments that need —
if nothing else — factual clarification:
1) The four MAGGIE MAY songs were recorded in London at
two different sessions during the first two weeks of
August 1964…after Australia, Hong Kong, Peter Allen,
and “Night of 100 Stars.”
2) Comparing Judy’s voice at ANY time to that of
Marlene Dietrich isn’t really an accurate barometer. Of
COURSE Marlene always sounded the same — she never had
a voice (per se) to begin with! Not to mention the kind
of husky purring she did was hardly as demanding as the
kind of singing Judy did from the time she was a child!
3) Judy never “lost” her voice in the late 1950s; in
fact, if you read the reviews of all her concert
engagements that year (Miami, the “Met” tour —
Baltimore, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, LA — and
then the Sahara), you’ll find the critics falling all
over themselves to describe her control and power. (For
further proof, listen to THE LETTER…). There’s no
denying she was increasingly and seriously ill as 1959
wore on. But the legend that she lost her voice and
regained it in the shower in London a year later is
just old journalism — and probably a harmless quote
from Judy that has been blown out of proportion. (She
did some extraordinary singing in April 1960 when she
recorded the PEPE song…ditto in June for some of the
Capitol THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT tracks.) You can’t really
take “Rock-a-Bye” from the Martin roast in late ’59 as
indication, either. Remember, Judy got up and sang one
song — a difficult one. She hadn’t warmed up, she
hadn’t been “on” for awhile, she was just singing cold.
Put the song into that perspective (and consider the
fact it was an informal benefit/dinner) (AND listen to
the audience response!), and it sounds pretty much the
way one would expect.
4) As for even the suggestion that Judy would sing a
little under par intentionally strikes me as conjecture
worthy of David Shipman 🙂 ! If she’s less than
Carnegie Hall calibre on the I COULD GO ON SINGING
tracks, again, some perspective is needed. The woman
was physically worn out. Remember: less than 3 years
earlier, she was told she could never sing again. By
summer 1962, she had done some sixty concerts, a movie
soundtrack, two starring roles in films, a television
special, a single, and an album…all in something like
22 months. (Thank you, Freddie Fields and David
Begelman.) ANY singer’s voice (any singer’s ANYthing!)
is going to be depleted after a schedule like
that…and, if one sings, the voice is the first place
exhaustion hits. (Not that I think there’s much wrong
with the ICGOS tracks; I don’t — I like them.) But to
suggest some psychological motivation behind them is —
to my mind, anyway — stretching a little. And I hate
to see things like that get started, because then they
suddenly become fact — and it takes forever to get the
truth back in place.
Sorry — but today’s “List” got the steam worked up!
Best love — and please forgive the rambling!
In early December 1996, “Jeff” told the List that songwriter Hugh Martin (Meet Me In St. Louis) had gotten online but did not want to join the list for fear of getting spammed with too many emails. Martin would send messages to “Jeff” which were forwarded to the List. Martin didn’t say much, but when he did it was always wonderful:
December 7, 1996
From: Jeff, email@example.com
Subject: Hugh Martin Visit
Hugh Martin called me last night and had to cancel our
Sunday visit. He has some minor medical problem and he
has had to cancel all of his appointments these past
However, he spoke to me on the phone for about 45
minutes and we had a great time discussing Judy and her
voice. By the way, he just got a chance to listen to
the 4 CD set of the Decca years and comments how great
Judy’s early recordings are.
His favorite records are those where David Rose
conducts the orechestra (Blues in the Night, etc.)
I told him about our Judy List poll and he was very
interested in the results. I told him “Embracible You
(Girl Crazy)” was the overall favorite and he was
pleased. Did you know that he did Judy’s arrangement
for that song and all the songs in Girl Crazy. I
particulary like his arrangement of “Bidin My Time.”
Judy ALERT for this weekend. The syndicated “It’s
Showtime” radio show with John Regan will feature
Judy’s recording from her new 2 CD set of MGM movie
numbers. In the past, John Fricke has been involved
with some of the Judy shows. I don’t know if he is on
this one, but I hope so. It’s Showtime features Judy
about 3 times a week.
In San Diego, it is on KPOP radio on Sunday nights from
8 to 10.
Martin sent a Christmas gift of sorts to the List by giving these lovely thoughts on his favorite Garland performances:
December 24, 1996
From: Jeff, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Letter from Hugh Martin
I just received a hand written letter from Hugh Martin
addressed to all of you on the Judy list. It is an
honor for me to be the “intermediary” between Mr.
Martin and you of the list.
I wish you could read is hand written letter like I
did. He has excellent printing. Anyway, here is his
letter in type. The following is a direct quote of his
letter to you. I am not adding any of my own words to
“Dear friends of Judy Garland,
Thanks so much for including me in your number. One
would expect the number to be decreasing but the
opposite seems to be true.
I can’t think of a greater tribute. A logical one,
however since, thanks to electronic immortality, she
seems to be as present today as she ever was.
I would never have been able to claim Judy as a close
friend had it not been for the priviledge of
accampanying her on stage during her 19-week Palace
engagement (the first one). She insisted on transfering
me from my little hole-in-the-wall dressing room
somewhere up in the flies _____ to her own spacious
star dressing room just off the stage.
‘Just hang a big sheet across the middle of the room,’
she said to Sid Luft. ‘I want Hugh very near me all the
time. He gives me confidence.’
It was during those nineteen memorable weeks that Judy
and I became friends. One little incident is typical of
her sweetness and generosity. During a performance, I
made a little goof in modulating into her key for an
encore. Instead if making ME look bad, it somehow gave
the impression that SHE had done something stupid. I
couldn’t wait for the curtain to come down so I could
apologize. When I did (slightly teary) all she said was
‘Oh, Hugh, don’t be silly. It wasn’t YOUR fault. I just
couldn’t get into it tonight.’
To answer your question, as to whether Judy’s talents
shone most brightly in films or concerts or recordings,
or vaudeville, my reply may surprise you. It is ‘none
of the above.” I discovered during my long association
with Judy that her most consummate performances were
given at parties! When she was in a living-room with
friends, she relaxed and cast aside all her worries and
hang-ups; she forgot about trying to please audiences
and critics and managers and she just sang, for the
sheer joy of singing. I had the rare privilege being at
the piano. She usually stood just behind me with one
hand on my left shoulder and one on my right. Fer
singing on these occasions was quite different from the
public performances ______ usually the introspective,
tender, subtle ____ the effect was if she were at home,
singing for herself alone. And for me, and I believe
for all those fortunate enough to be present, it was
always an unforgettable abd exhilirating experience.”
Steve Rothaus, who currently covers LGBT issues in South Florida for the Miami Herald, and who has always been a big fan and supporter of most of the Garland related events and products, was also an early member:
October 13, 1996
Subject: The Beginning and The End
I got my copy from Dress Circle in London. It cost
about $25 with shipping. The San Francisco concert is
very similar to the old bootleg of Judy’s closing night
at the Palace. Sound quality is about the same, as is
the concert itself. But several of the lyrics to her
specialty songs are tailored for San Francisco, rather
than New York. The Copenhagen concert is very good
quality, much better than the Talk of the Town
recording by Mickey Deans in Feb. 1969. This album,
recorded on a ’60s cassette recorder, was released
about a year after her death. Judy wasn’t in very good
voice, which she herself admits. (After her voice
breaks at the end of The Trolley Song, she remarks, “I
sound like a train.”)
Still, the record is a great piece of memorabilia. What
I would love to see reissued on CD is Judy’s 1967 At
Home at the Palace concert. It was rereleased on record
in 1976 and I don’t think has been available since.
The album opens with I Feel a Song Coming On and
contains a great recording of Old Man River/That’s
Entertainment, which she sang as a medley, and a few
duets with Lorna. On a slightly different subject, I am
very impressed with the sonic cleanup on Mack the
Black, included on the new Collectors Gems CD. The same
recording, full of hiss and pops, was included in the
laser disc box set. Somehow, they’ve managed to take
out most of the imperfections. This deleted version of
the song is even better than the one they used in the
The late Garland/Minnelli historian and author Scott Schechter joined in December 1996. Schechter would become a somewhat controversial figure in Garfandom. He produced the original “Garlands for Judy” magazines, and as he became more and more involved in Garland-related projects he became competition for the already established “gatekeepers” of Judy Garland’s memory and legacy. By the time the DCC “Gold” edition of “Judy at Carnegie Hall” was released, it was practically open season for people on the List to rip apart his efforts. More on that later. Schechter’s first post was very similar to most first posts in its excitement and enthusiasm:
December 22, 1996
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 1 Issue 082
Am LOVING the Judy List! Just started getting it a
couple of days ago — How did I live without it? …
Gotta have that daily dose of dish, Judy style! ….
ANYWAY … I agree with John’s comments about “ICGOS” :
The acting IS the finest of her career; she never was
more real OR intense on screen … It becomes almost
impossible to focus on anything else when Judy is seen
(even tho Lorna and Joe DO come close to “pulling
focus,” during the boat scene!), her technique had
become that refined, and completely natural. As a
noted journalist said : even “A Star Is Born” could be
seen as “A DRESS REHEARSAL” for her performance in
“ICGOS.” ….. To answer Gloria’s question, the
song Liza sang on the Friday, December 20th edition of
“Live With Regis and Kathie Lee” was “WHO CAN I TELL?,”
(a new song being added to the show), and there ARE
similarities between this and “Boy Next Door” — good
ear, Gloria! (I’ll be seeing Liza in “Victor/Victoria”
at least 4 times — once from front row center! — and
will report on it in the February issue of “Garlands
For Judy.”) …. Since I wanna play fair by mentioning
LORNA, I will note that her Christmas CD single from
last year IS still available, and is here in the shops
in New York (try FOOTLIGHT RECORDS at (212) 533-1572.)
It is still only available as an import : The label,
CARLTON RECORDS, had hoped to sign a U.S. distributor
for their product by the Spring of 1996; their failure
to do so may have been the reason while Lorna’s solo
album for them — with PETER MATZ conducting and
handling the arrangements! — was cancelled around that
time. (I have a tape of Lorna talking in detail about
the album, and it sounds like it would have been a
truly beautiful recording, and would have been —
surprisingly — Lorna’s very first SOLO album!) ….
HAPPY HOLIDAYS to everyone, and “HAVE YOURSELF A
MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS” SCOTT SCHECHTER (E-Mail :
Proposed cover art for
“It’s All For You”
By early 1997 author Al DiOrio (“Little Girl Lost”) became a regular contributor to the List. On October 21, 1996, List member “Mark” (not List owner Mark Harris) asked about the status of DiOrio’s planned “Judy Garland Encyclopedia” (later titles “It’s All For You”) stating that it was “supposed to be released at year’s end.”
Subject: “It’s All For You” Table of Contents
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 21:19:11 -0500
Al DiOrio has sent me a text file of the Table of Contents to his
new book – “It’s All For You – The Judy Garland Story from A to
Z”. I’ve posted it as a link on the JUDY List Home Page:
[Link is no longer active. Click below to read the Table of Contents]
It’s All For You – Table of Contents
In the right pane, scroll down to see the list of Judy luminaries.
Next to Al’s name, you’ll see the line “CLICK HERE FOR TABLE OF
CONTENTS”. Just click THERE. 🙂
Also, if you haven’t purchased the book yet, Al is still taking
orders, hoping to get a large enough order together to not lose
money on his (first? only?) printing. If you haven’t bought your
copy yet, please do so! Follow the other link (the one that’s the
title of the book) to find out ordering information!
The JUDY List Manager & Webmaster
March 6, 1997
From: Diorio Al, xxx@FCB.COM
Subject: The List, March 5
Still trying to wrap up It’s All For You. Hope to have
it ready to bring with me to Grand Rapids in June.
Hope you’re all well. Take care and thanks for any
On October 27, 1997, DiOrio posted this lengthy notice about the book, including the price and how to purchase it from him:
Subject: RE: The JUDY List Digest – 10/26/97
From: “Diorio, Al”
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 17:24:00 -0500
Sorry that I haven’t been much of a contributor to the list
lately, my jobs has been crazy-busy, and there’s been a lot going
on at home – but for the most part every available spare moment
has been taken up trying to get It’s All For You: The Judy
Garland Story, From A to Z completed. August made four years
since I started working on the project and I just had to bring
some closure to it. As I’ve said before, it’s the type of book
that I could keep working on forever, and perhaps there should be
regular updates, but I am anxious to move on to some other
projects as well. More importantly, I’m anxious to share the book
with Judy’s fans. No publisher yet-so I’m self-publishing.
I’m ready to start taking orders and have put together a lovely
ad but I haven’t yet managed to get it on the internet so (with
Mark’s permission) I’m going to reprint the text of the ad here:
“It’s All For You: The Judy Garland Story, From A to Z
by Albert John DiOrio, Author of Little Girl Lost: The Life and
Times of Judy Garland
At last, after four years of preparation, my enormous book about
Judy Garland’s life and career is ready for publication. Formerly
known as The Judy Garland Encyclopedia, It’s All For You is the
most comprehensive volume of information about Judy’s career and
life ever assembled.
The statistics speak for themselves: the book is 940 pages in
length and includes over 700 black and white photos (many never
before published.) Its appendix includes a complete (and
accurate) discography, an extensive list of Judy’s radio
performances, complete credits for Judy’s television series, as
well as complete lists of Judy’s video and laser disc releases.
Also included: over 1,000 listings detailing everything you want
to know about Judy Garland. All of the films are included, as
well as all of her TV appearances, a complete list of her concert
performances (as well as over 400 live performances as part of
The Gumm Sisters), entries on most of her co-stars, each of her
children (and husbands!) and many of her friends. Readers can
look up everything from “Kay Thompson” to “Illnesses”, “Frank
Avent Gumm” and “Vivienne Della Chiesa” (yes, at last you’ll know
who the heck she is!)
It’s All For You covers the tragedies in Judy’s life, and the
humor with which she dealt with life’s challenges. More
importantly, it includes reams of information about the joys and
triumphs she experienced throughout her forty-seven years. Both
in her career and in her personal life.
The size of the book, in fact, has created significant problems
in getting it published. Althoiugh I have a file full of letters
from mainstream publishers who love what they’ve seen of the
manuscript, they all feel the book is just too big to publish. So
suddenly-I’m a publisher.
I’m anxious to get the book into the hands of Judy’s fans-it was,
after all, written for them. So I’m going to put out a limited
edition myself. This edition will be soft-cover, 8-1/2″ x 11″ and
spiral bound. It will be 940 pages in length and include all 700
black and white photos as well as color covers.
Each copy of the book is $70.00 (including shipping and
handling.) Orders should be sent to Albert J. DiOrio at [snip]. Checks
or money orders should be made out to Albert J. DiOrio. Please
allow six to eight weeks for delivery.”
I’m disappointed in the price of the book – but believe it or not
– there’s no profit in there. It’s just that ordering in the
comparably small quantities that will be involved – that’s the
best I can do. (The darn thing is so big-the size of a ream of
paper-that just mailing it is a pricy endeavor.)
In January 30, 2000, DiOrio was still working on the book. Here is one of his explanations for the delays. The book’s title had been changed to“It’s All For You” (that name change was announced by DiOrio on February 12, 1997):
Subject: It’s All For You
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2000 22:23:29 EST
Carol (and company):
Sorry for the silence lately (again). Things haven’t been too good
Regarding It’s All For You: Still have not been reimbursed by the
printer of the awful copies, and although I had expected a
significant bonus from my employer at the end of the year that has
not come to pass–due to some health issues. (Sorry to get so
personal but everyone has been so patient they deserve the facts.)
I have taken the situation in hand and have started sending out
copies of the manuscript to those who have ordered the book. (10
so far). Once you’ve received the manuscript each of you can
determine what sort of rebate (if any) you want.
Meanwhile, my E-Mail address did change. It is email@example.com
Hope you’re all well.
Things began to get dire for DiOrio. In late 2000 he posted to the List, selling some items. Then on February 12, 2001, he posted:
From: AL DIORIO
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 11:55:29 -0500
Due to continued severe financial and health difficulties, I have
reached the point where I will have to sell the two or three most
treasured and valuable pieces of my forty year old Judy
Before offering them through one of the internet collection
houses, I would rather off them to members of the Judy list first.
If you are interest, please contact me as soon as possible since I
need to accomplish this as quickly as possible.
Thanks (especially to Mark) for letting me address this on the
Sadly, DiOrio passed away on September 22, 2003 from complications of diabetes. He was 53. His Garland project “It’s All For You” never got past the self-publishing stage, if one can call it that. He had taken quite a bit of money from various fans over the years with the promise that they would receive a copy of his book. A few photocopies did go out to a few people, but DiOrio encountered too many difficulties and then of course his health issues to see the project through. From what I’ve been told by the folks who have copies, it was a noble but very flawed effort.
The late Eric Hemphill joined the List in early 1997. Similar to Scott Schechter, Hemphill was a controversial figure in Garfandom. Unlike Schechter, Hemphill spoke his mind, and then some! He had amassed a huge Garland collection and was quite knowledgeable about her, so he could be quite aggressive and accusatory in his tone and words. Because he spoke his mind, usually without any filters, he alienated quite a few people out there. Knowing him as I did, I think he enjoyed being the “bad boy” of Garfandom. He was quite the character, to say the least! In early 1997 he hadn’t alienated anyone just yet. Yet.
February 11, 1997
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 040
Right ON, John Fricke!
You needn’t be apologetic, however, in your summation of
Liza. She’s great, but let’s FACE IT…. To the
collector that bought the Liza autograph and is looking
for Judy-I know a dealer that has excellent stuff. Two
dealers, actually. The fellow that I got all of my Judy
autographs from is David Parker of Reel Memories. You
can reach him at (602) 264-1556. I bought Garland
signatures from him as well as the shirt collar she wore
for “Born in a Trunk” from “A Star Is Born.” For other
stuff, contact Wayne Lawless at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Wayne is a great guy, a fan
from WAY BACK (he met Judy on several occasions). But
be forewarned, you will pay a helluva lot more for
Garland than you did for Liza or What’s her
name…er…Esther Williams, was it? Peter Gennaro or
somebody…… Well, these daily postings are rah-ther
fun. All of this SPASTIC GARLAND MANIA is quite
interesting. Let’s just not get histrionic, okay? One
lil’ old P.S. to John…please e mail me sometime and
see if you remember who I email@example.com.
Yours ’till you buy a DeSoto,
The late Steve Sanders (author of “Rainbow’s End: The Judy Garland Show”) joined in April 1997. He became one of the List’s most prolific contributors, usually in regards to information about Judy’s TV series. After the demise of the List, he didn’t contribute much to any of the later discussion forums or social media, not even the “new” Judy List on Google Groups.
April 13, 1997
From: Mark Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: It’s A Great Day….
….for us “Judyists”, as we welcome Steve Sanders, author
of “Rainbow’s End: The Judy Garland Show” to the JUDY List,
and thank Scott Schechter, editor/writer of “Garlands For
Judy” for helping Scott find the List.
For those of you here who, like me, are great fans of Judy’s
counterpart as Legend of Comedy – Lucille Ball – Steve also
co-wrote the compelling “Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball
and Desi Arnaz” with Tom Gilbert. The book assumes you are
familiar with the details of their early personal lives and
examines the marriage-cum-business relationship of the two
television pioneers in great depth, accompanied by many
seldom-if-never-seen photos. I highly recommend it if you
are interested in the “behind the scenes” goings-on in the
Business of Hollywood of the 50’s and 60’s or these two
Again, welcome Steve. I won’t divulge your address until
you’re ready to speak, although I’m sure many Internet-savvy
listers won’t have much difficulty finding it. Scott – did
you warn him what he’s getting into? 🙂
The JUDY List Manager
From: [Steve Sanders] email@example.com
Subject: Judy’s TV tracks/Capitol Records
By way of brief introduction, I am the author of “Rainbow’s
End: The Judy Garland Show.” While I was researching that
book in 1988-1990, I contacted Capitol Records and asked if
they were aware of the ’62 “Judy Takes Broadway” session.
Surprisingly, Larry Hathaway (no longer at the company
today) phoned me one week later. After he got my letter, he
search and found the complete session and asked if I wanted
to coordinate it, and essentially put it together with him.
No pay (!), but I had carte blanche with the project. Also,
they were reissuing “Miss Show Business” and “Judy” and
“Alone” and I mentioned missing tracks. I went into the
studio with them for about 2 months and DID find “I’m Old
Fashioned” and “Never Been Blue” — on two misnamed ’50s
promo reels after searching through thousands of reels —
but no “Atchison” from “MSB.”
We did put the Broadway album together — I fought for SOME
dialogue and the false start of “Never Will I Marry” as they
originally only wanted song after song, with fade in-fade
out like a “normal” album. So we did get win on that,
although I didn’t want the TV tracks; instead I wanted the
four solos from ICGOS, done very soon after with Judy in
roughly the same vocal condition. But they insisted on the
Which gets me to the question at hand. Unless a special
arrangement is made, I don’t think Capitol can release any
TV tracks other than the 11 from “Just For Openers.” No one
seems to have those original contracts — including Sid
Luft, who now ows the video and audio of all series material
— but that’s what I think. When I was in the Capitol
vaults, I did find some audio TV series material there (for
proposed but never realized albums), but I don’t think
Capitol can do anything with them. They may own those
tapes, but not the rights.
Sid may allow it, but I do know he has plans of his own for
What happened with the altnerate take on “I Wish You Love”
from the CD boxed set is that the earlier performances (not
nearly as good, and a bit less sure as she seems to be
learning it as she goes) is included I assume by mistake
because the second one (included in the original
“JFOpeners”) is on the same reel. I assume they didn’t know
which performances was which, so they used the first one
they hit on the tape, not realizing.
But John Fricke may have more information about Capitol’s
plans, if any, for other TV series tracks.
Nice to join you here!
When the topic of Lucille Ball’s comments about Judy came up, Sanders gave this nice explanation that included an interesting anecdote:
April 18, 1997
Subject: Re: Judy/Lucy
Your take on Lucy as far as the last years of her life is on
the money. By the time she made those comments, the worst
in Lucy for the most part had overtaken much of her. Not to
say that she wasn’t a decent person, but age, ill health and
alcohol were certainly affecting her state of mind. Plus,
she was angry and bitter about herself, her life, the
failure of “Life With Lucy,” and Desi. So, I would take her
quotes in that context. Also, her claim that Liza “lived
with them for six months” is nonsense. Liza was around and
was a guest during the time they worked with Vincente on
“Long, Long Trailer” but not more than that.
I found an interesting item in the Reporter during my
research. I had to leave it out of the book for space and
it really didn’t add too much. But it’s interesting for US.
The night that Judy’s ’62 special aired (Feb. 25), she and
Sid were at that moment together and were renting a house.
They had three televisions set up to watch the show, and
invited three couples to join them — among them Lucy and
Gary. Which I found very interesting.
And in the book I mention that Robert Obsborne went to
Lucy’s home for the first time and met Roger Edens and
others for a screening there of “Funny Face.” And Maury
Thompson (with Lucy from the first days of “ILL” through
“The Lucy Show”) said that during the ’50s, Lucy, Judy and
Ann Sothern got together all the time “for girl talk over
drinks.” He said it was great fun, none of them held back
on anything. (Wouldn’t you have liked to have been THERE?)
Sid told me a very interesting story. At the party
following the “Star” premiere, Lucy went over to Judy and
told her how much she loved the movie. Sid and Roger stood
next to them. Judy — completely in jest — said, “Oh,
thank you, darling, but I’ve never cared for that show of
yours. I’ve never found it funny at all!” Judy said it
laughing — thinking that Lucy would get it from her
delivery of the line — but Lucy (without a real sense of
humor) ran to the bathroom, shut the door and cried. Judy
was horrified at the reaction and went up to see her and the
two had a private chit-chat for about a half hour before
they finally came out…and they were in the bathroom
apparently dishing everyone and having a grand time…Judy
instantly smoothing it over.
All I can think of is that in later years, Lucy twisted it
around and harbored some issues about it.
And, to add more conjecture, Judy’s last few years were so
difficult, and with Desi, Jr.s own drug problem — and the
tumultous relationship her son had with Liza — who knows if
those things colored her latter-day opinion of Judy? Lucy,
particularly later in life, had no tolerance for people with
“weakness” — the way Desi was “weak” with his drinking, so
she probably didn’t really understand Judy’s addiction —
particularly when it got to the point of everything falling
apart at the end, so maybe Lucy “shut down” about Judy.
I better close now…I think I’m taking up much too
CAPITOL BOXED SET
Capitol Records had planned to release a boxed set featuring all of Judy’s albums/recordings for the label. John Fricke was involved with Capitol on the production of the set in some capacity and noted in late 1996 that the set was planned for a May/June 1997 release. Information came and went, including members giving their thoughts about whether Judy’s concert albums should be included, or if they should have their own single edition releases with the set focusing on just her studio recorded albums (with outtakes). The set never became a reality. Judy Garland is probably the only singer on her stature who recorded for the Capitol label who’s work for that label has not seen a complete and comprehensive boxed set release.
December 10, 1996:
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 1 Issue 070
Hey — one bit of good news. Spoke to Capitol last
week…box set once again on the schedule. Pending
final confirmation, they’ll aim for late May/early June
as a celebration of her 75th b’day anniversary! (So
don’t run to your stores YET…but maybe late next
December 13, 1996:
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 1 Issue 073
Gee, what else can we line up for ’97?: the Grammy in
February, the A&E Biography in March, the Capitol set
(hopefully!) in May/June, the Judy Jubilee in Grand
Rapids in June…nice start to the75th birthday year!
February 22, 1997:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [John Fricke]
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 052
Regrettably, Wayne Watkins has left Capitol (as of
about ten days ago)…so there’s no telling if/when a
Garland compact disc boxed set will ever happen there.
February 27, 1997:
From: Mark Harris, email@example.com
Subject: THE man of the day….
I hope we can get an answer straight from the horse’s
mouth, so to speak. Wayne Watkins joined the JUDY List
today. Wayne…..is the Capitol Box Set project dead?
We’re all kinda antsy….it’s been on again and off
again for a year now, and it’s real hard for us to keep
ridin’ this rollercoaster….
Thanks and welcome! Please jump into the conversations
anywhere you feel comfortable.
The JUDY List Manager
February 28, 1997:
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 058
Dear Judy Listers –
The news of my demise has been greatly exaggerated. I
am, indeed, still at Capitol (in the same capacity as
Executive Producer of all reissues) and the Judy Box
set from Capitol is still on the schedule awaiting a
date. We’ll keep you posted.
On March 2, 1997 Fricke gave more info about Watkins, ignoring Watkins’ previous post that already included his email (at this point all of the digests had everyone’s full email address) or the fact that he made it sound like Watkins had disappeared:
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 060
Wayne Watkins has passed along his e-mail address:
He requests that mail be sent to him urging release of
the Capitol box set. This would give him written proof
of the interest people have in the project and serve as
helpful ammunition in dealing with the Capitol
As always in a “campaign” like this, please don’t
mention that you’re part of a group effort.
(Spontaneity is the hallmark!)
The notes, letters, epistles can offer your own “take”
on the project, what you hope it can include, what you
think it should/must include, your gratitude for past
Capitol offerings, anything. Make the communiques as
positive, impassioned (within bounds!), general or
detailed as you like. Just please take a moment to
(If you’d like — and if you think it’s any of my
business or something that would help me in my work for
the project — I’d be happy to receive cc’s of such
mail as well.)
And pass this information along to any other JG fans
you may know of who don’t get the List. They can email
on their own. And for the fans who don’t have on-line
services, please have them write: [snip].
Many thanks; Wayne says that volume of mail is VERY
important in Capitol’s eyes. So write, write,
write…now, a week from now, a month from now. (All
three times! 🙂 This is something we can all do on
Judy’s behalf: get that music OUT there for posterity
(and, not so coincidentally, for us!).
On March 11, 1997 Fricke mentioned that he had a meeting with Capitol Records “tomorrow.” That next day he posted to the List but said nothing about the Capitol meeting. Several days went by, but no mention of the set or his meeting in any of his posts. On March 16, 1997, Watkins again contacted the List with:
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 074
Dear Judy Listers:
Thanks to every one of you that took the time to write
me concerning Capitol Records upcoming Judy plans. I
apologize for not being able to respond to them all.
The barage of e-mail took the forms of encouragement
(thank you), criticism (severe in some cases),
suggestions (keep ’em comin’), and praise (I like those
the best!). They were (and continue to be)
tremendously valuable to me as a tool to develop Judy
Garland release plans.
Please know, that while I may not be able to respond to
all of your mail, I do read every single one! EVERY
SINGLE ONE. So your time and concerns are not falling
on deaf ears.
On March 20th, Fricke mentioned the set again:
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 079
Part Three (!) [Fricke was referencing his multiple posts to the List in one day]:
Finally, Wayne Watkins and I spoke at length during my
time in L.A. The boxed set has been given a definite
green light by Capitol. I’m preparing a formal memo
now. We will try (with NO guarantee; DON’T get excited,
and DON’T refer to it or talk about it as definite! 🙂
to license the four Columbia, one Colpix (PEPE), and
six Warner Bros. (GAY PURR-EE) tracks. The set will
probably require eight cds…a late fall or Christmas
release is anticipated.
So…once more on track, keep your fingers crossed, and
— as Wayne has already stressed — the mail really
helps! So keep writin’!
And — especially today — many thanks for reading.
Hope this wasn’t too boring…but hoped/thought you
might like to share in much of it.
On February 13, 1997, Harris felt the need to clarify the rules, due to some minor bickering. Things would get worse in just a few months:
From: Mark Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Cuz that’s the kinda guy I’m…..
Yep, I’m here! 🙂 Maybe you can state your questions
again? I usually answer questions if I know the answers
and someone else doesn’t beat me to it. Maybe I was
clueless (again) in this case. 🙂
Did I hear someone say “rules”? 🙂
Just for the record, there are no rules that say every
opinion must be “positive”. Only that you confine your
opinions to the subject at hand, and NOT to each other
(especially if there’s a disagreement…TAKE IT TO
Everyone has an opinion, and if yours is negative about
anything Judy-related (yes, people have even hammered
on Judy’s HAIR!), you should never feel too intimidated
to express it. If someone doesn’t like what you say, as
has been pointed out, they don’t have to READ it. One
word of caution, I’d think that if you have a negative
opinion, you back it up with reasoning.
And as the sole “judge/censor/decider-of-what-is-OK-and-
isn’t” on the JUDY list (despotic? maybe, but it’s the
only “price” I insist on in return for my work…just
call me “LB”), I don’t believe there’s been a single
NEGATIVE thing said about Liza. All I’ve seen is that
Liza can’t BOTH “not sing” her mother’s songs and then
turn around and perform Judy Garland tunes. It was also
said that Liza probably would NOT have made it to the
public spotlight without her parents’ influence. What’s
wrong with that? I’ll be even MORE daring and say that
it’s quite possible that JUDY would not have made it to
the public spotlight without HER parents’ influence!
Lots of kids want to sing, drive race cars, be an
astronaut, etc. Without the support (active or passive)
of your parents, it’s not easy to make a living out of
your dreams. I’m quite sure that Judy and Liza were
BOTH aware of the role their parents played in their
Not picking on any one person here…although when this
topic comes up it inevitably seems so because of recent
instances. But as new folks join (3-5 per week now),
some things we’ve already said have to be repeated. If
anyone disagrees with something someone else says
vehemently enough to want a retraction or cessation on
a subject, PLEASE…write ME and let ME handle it…or
write the offender yourself and work it out like two
adults. I don’t want public spats or quarrels spoiling
our wonderful JUDY talk, and the vast majority (if not
unanimity…those who disagreed left of their own
volition) of the long-timers here have both privately
and publicly supported that policy. 🙂
Thanks for your time.
The JUDY List Manager
Another hot topic is the subject of Judy’s addictions. This will always be a hot topic among Garfans and Garfreaks. People’s feelings on the subject are strong, running the gamut from those who want to whitewash it (referring to the drugs as “medication”) to those who are too harsh (“she was a druggie”). Most of us fall somewhere in the middle. The following is a sampling of some List discussion on the subject.
April 5, 1997
Subject: In my humble opinion
I’ve only contributed to the list once before so let me
reintroduce myself before I get to my main topic. I am a
longtime, Garland fan, having first seen her perform live at
the Palace in ’56 and thereafter attending some of her most
notable stage performances in the 50’s and 60’s. After
moving to CA in the mid 60’s, I attended various TV tapings
when Judy appeared as a guest on other people’s shows. I
believe that she was the greatest entertainer of her time
and no one, up to the present, has been able to combine the
ingredients that made Judy the unique talent that she was.
Some possess one of the qualities and others may possess
several, but the the fusion of characteristics that made
Judy so extraordinary, remain peculiar to her.
I also must point out that I am not a fan who thinks that
every note that came out of Garland’s throat was glorious
nor do I feel that everything she touched turned to gold. I
have always regarded her with an objective, critical eye.
While we’re lucky to have the TV series preserved, with very
few exceptions, it is my opinion that she walked through
most of the shows. The fact is that the Judy Garland
represented on those television programs bares little more
than than a thumbnail sketch resemblance to the vibrant,
magical, in full control performer I saw at Carnegie Hall.
There are moments on the series when you get a glimmer of
what she was truly like, but, they are fleeting, albeit that
much more enticing, for their brevity. I happen to be in the
minority who think that Judy singing “Battle Hymn . . . ”
(either time), was not one of her more brilliant, inspired
moments on television. In truth, I hated it when she did it
originally and, to this day, I find it an embarrassment. It
is schlocky, melodramatic and, worst of all, obvious. Every
time I see that number on tape, I feel as though I am being
hit over the head with a sledge hammer. I suppose I should
be grateful that we were spared The Marine Marching Band and
Chorus, entering through the audience and joining Judy
onstage for the final 18 choruses of that hidious song. Judy
was a master minipulater–it’s part of what made her such a
great entertainer–and I would usually be more than willing
to follow along. In this case, I just was unable to do that.
Her heart was in the right place but something with a little
more subtlety and less ego would have served her, and JFK,
better, I think.
Contrary to what some of you might think by now, I am not
here to bash Judy Garland. I adored and still adore her and
was fortunate enough to have met her on several occasions.
She was never anything but sweet, charming, welcoming and
what you’d expect and want Judy Garland to be. However, I
always realized that she was a human being, not a god and
was not infallible. If there had ever been any doubts, her
well publicized problems cleared them away. I have been
interested and a quite disturbed by the reaction to the
discussion of Judy’s drug addiction in the Biography
special. First of all, folks, this was a biography; it was
about the life of Judy Garland. Judy Garland was a brilliant
singer, actress and entertainer. She was also a drug addict.
You can “pretty it up” anyway you like. (Is “chemically
dependent” easier to accept?) A drug addict is a drug addict
is a drug addict. Of course it should have been discussed.
It was probably the one constant in her adult life. She was
often unable to work. Sometimes she was between husbands,
boyfriends or record companies but her addiction to
prescribed medication, to varying degrees, was with her
always, controlling and, finally, destroying her life. If
you think that’s not the truth then give me a call when you
come back to earth or when you’ve been around the block a
few more times. We’ll have coffee.
Should Mickey Rooney have said that Judy was responsible for
her drug problem? Absolutely! (And this is really the point
of this “contribution” to the list.) When Judy first started
talking publicly about studio doctors administering drugs to
her and Mickey so they could get a few hours sleep before
being awakened with amphetamines to return to the set,
revitalized, Rooney said, at the time, that it simply was
not true. He has maintained that position all along so why
should he change his story at this late date? More
importantly, it is about time that people, not just Garland
fans, stopped buying into the myth that Judy created; that
the big, bad studio made her into a drug addict.
Unquestionably, she was introduced to diet pills at MGM.
Unquestionably MGM could have and should have attempted an
aggressive intervention when the extent of Judy’s abuse of
her medication became evident. However, Judy, and only Judy,
was responsible for her addiction. There are usually
compelling circumstances behind every addict’s or
alcoholic’s dependency–you can go to 12-step meetings any
time of the day or night and hear them–but, ultimately, a
person in recovery comes to realize that they made the
decision to use. It doesn’t matter whether you collect
garbage, write music, work in a department store, or are a
movie star, we all have the same feelings and are under
similar pressures. We choose how to handle life’s
difficulties; Judy chose drugs. I can hear the arguments
now, “But she had the studio breathing down her neck.” ”
Producers were waiting for her.” “She was responsible for
the jobs of so many people.” “She was constantly having to
prove herself.” All true and also true of others who worked
successfully in the heyday of Hollywood without becoming
addicted to drugs. No contest; they were a neurotic, quirky
group and some had alcohol abuse problems but there were
still a fair number of people who came through the fire with
minimal damage. There were brief periods when Judy was free
of medication or the level of her her medication had been
stabilized. Stabilization (or controlled usage), would make
it almost impossible to not, gradually, increase dosage but
being drug free gave her a fighting chance. The bottom line
is that Judy always made the choice to return to medication.
What I find objectionable is that she is always made to be
the victim of addiction when, in fact, she was an active
participant and instigator. A victim does not have several
doctors writing prescriptions for her. This is the nature of
a manipulative addict.
A couple of weeks ago, I think, someone said that they
watched the Denmark documentary and felt that Judy was happy
and at peace at that time of her life. When I first read
that, I fell off my chair. When I got up off the floor, I
banged my head against the wall, intentionally, five or six
times, just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Several years
ago, I was present when the documentary was shown to a
gathering of some of Judy’s greatest admirers and former
coworkers, including ex-husband Mark Herron and former
executive producer of the TV series, Bill Colleran. Both
Mark and Bill found the documentary extremely disturbing and
were quite depressed seeing how Judy’s physical and mental
condition had deteriorated so rapidly over a relatively
short time. Anyone who sees a woman at peace in that footage
should look at it again and listen, more carefully, to
Judy’s voiceovers. This was a dying woman, still trying,
desperately and valiantly, to hang on to a life that she
seemed to sense was slipping away. When she spoke of only
having to work when she wanted to, her words were more like
a wish for how she would like things to be than how they
really were. (One of the more touching and saddest things
about Judy in those last few years, was that she was always
falling in love and always, finally finding the right man
who was going to take care of her [even if, at some later
date, she might have that man arrested. Ah, but that’s
another story.] She was still trying and hoping to “get it
right,” even as she retreated farther and farther from
reality.) There was no life behind her eyes anymore; just a
hollow, vacant expression. Compare that Judy to the Judy on
the TV series who was still very much “present.” If you
think that the Judy in Denmark was happy and at peace with
herself, I suspect that what you’re really seeing is someone
who has come to terms with her mortality and has accepted
the inevitable. I don’t think this is the same as being
happy and at peace with oneself, however. In fact, I think
Judy fought her personal demons until the day she died.
Finally, I think it does Judy a disservice to try to assign
blame for her addiction away from her. Rather, to celebrate
what she was able to accomplish, in spite of her addiction
would be a much greater tribute.
My name is Paul and I’m an alcoholic.
Response was swift. Eric Hemphill chimed in with:
April 7, 1997
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 096
I am going to summarize, without flaming the bejesus out of
you, some points you made about Judy Garland’s addicition to
prescriotion medications. Did it ever occur to you (or to
anyone else for that matter) that Judy Garland had some very
serious emotional problems? That the pressures she was
under at MGM were very similar to those the other stars were
under, but that her particular emotional and mental state
directly related to her “choice” to self medicate? And once
one is an addict, it must be very nice for those around one
to sit on a throne and spew proclamations about how one made
the choice to use these medications, and one made the choice
to openly continue the usage? Why do people self medicate?
Well, DUH, it makes them feel good! Which, by implication,
means that without the substance, they don’t feel good.
Which, to anyone, would indicate that there are emotional
issues at play. From my own clinical perspective (I am a
therapist with a Master’s degree in psychology), Judy
Garland was probably Cyclothymic with depressive features.
In layperson’s terms, she cycled rapidly between up periods
and down periods.
“WOW! I can take these pills and it seems to alleviate some
of these symptoms! I can work! I’ve got a movie to do…I
don’t want to live anymore and I really don’t know why, but
I’ll just take these and get out on the set.” A diagnosis of
cyclothymia correlates directly with Judy’s entire persona.
Her up periods had varying lengths, which could explain her
breezing through “Easter Parade” and “In the Good Old
Summertime” but being unable to complete “Barkleys of
Broadway” and “Annie Get Your Gun.” This could also explain
the periods when she would quit taking medications
altogether, or drastically reduce her doseage. Obviously,
her depressive symptoms had ameliorated to a degree that
she, emotionally, didn’t need as much medication to elevate
her mood and help her work. I do not feel that Judy was
bi-polar (manic depressive) because her up cycles and down
cycles weren’t so drastic, divisive, or easily distinguished
from each other. It is unfair and unwise to speak about Judy
Garland as a woman who glorified the use of these drugs.
Whether or not that was the point you were trying to get
across in your posting is immaterial. True, Judy Garland
could have made the choice to stop using forever, but why
didn’t she? Was it because her emotional/mental
difficulties ballooned within her until she felt she had no
other choice? Was she unfortunate enough to have lived
during a time when most of today’s tricyclic antidepressants
didn’t exist yet, and lengthy hospitalizations were required
to be placed on those that did? And what about the stigma
regarding mental illness that existed in that less
enlightened time? (well, I’ve read some things from you
that indicate that that a lack of enlightenment about these
issues is still quite pervasive.) In the 1940’s, ’40’s and
even ’60’s there were no outpatient mental helth facilities
where someone could see a psychiatrist, be evaluated for
medication, and still live a normal life. The picture of
the mental health system from that period in time (during
Judy’s life) was a system of sterile hospitals with
lobotomized, lost souls shuffling about in the hallways,
padded rooms, straightjackets, and cold metal tables with
metal restraints for the arms and legs of the patient. Is
it any wonder there might have been fear on Judy’s part when
thinking about this? Judy was hospitalized in a mental
health institution and later spoke about it with some degree
of trepidation. Of course, her brilliance and humor made
the event an epic comedy, but the fear was there. So, I will
end my preach by saying again that there was more to Judy ‘s
drug use than someone that wants to get a rush or a high.
This was someone who wanted to try to feel normal, happy,
and productive, live up to her own expectations and the
expectations of millions of fans (of which you were one,
Paul!) and was unable to do so herself because of a
PRE-EXISTING emotional disorder.
Scott Schechter and a few others gave their thoughts:
April 8, 1997
Subject: Judy’s Use of Medication
So …. It’s come to THIS!! (I think I’d rather go back to
discussions of Judy’s HAIR STYLES, or even another
Liza-Bashing episode might be preferable!) …… My dear,
dear, fellow Judy friends, before this escalates any
further, may I calmly suggest that NONE of us will EVER
REALLY, REALLY KNOW what Frances Ethel Gumm Rose Minnelli
Luft Herron Deans was really ABOUT as a PERSON — Which is
why I have chosen to concentrate on her talents and CAREER!!
…… Though the age “check-in” is not complete, we should
ALL realize that there are MANY YOUNG people among us that
adore Judy, and these issues may be a little difficult for
them to take! (Heck, I’m far from a youngster, and I’M a
little thrown by all of this!!!! …. ESPECIALLY reading
this either first thing in the morning, or ocassionally late
at night! …. NOT the way to start or end one’s day, I must
say!) ……. ANYWAY, may I just SUGGEST to “the floor” —
and to Mark — that we TRY — Whenever possible — to leave
the technical discussions of Judy’s problems with prescribed
medications to the REST of the world (who seem to LOVE to
dote on them FOREVER!), and continue to make this something
that perhaps JUDY HERSELF might be proud to read (Or on a
more REALISTIC approach : What about her CHILDREN, or her
GRANDCHILDREN? ….. You don’t think Jesse or Vannessa —
especially Jesse at the age of 13 now — are likely to SURF
the WEB, and come across our list?? …. It COULD happen!!)
TO CLOSE, I’d like to use some words that Judy HERSELF spoke
on Merv Griffin’s show in December, 1968, and suggest that
we all “Just RISE ABOVE” all of this!!
April 8, 1997
From: Leanne, email@example.com
Subject: Judy’s addiction -so what?
I just had to respond to that item about two days ago
concerning Judy’s drug addiction. I wonder why people have
to dwell on it so much? When I listen to her sing, or watch
her in films, I like to simply enjoy the legacy she left for
all us. Her personal life is irrelevant to me. Sure, Judy
had her problems, but must we worry about those things? I
prefer not to because: 1) It’s in the past. 2) Professional
accomplishments are separate from personal lives. And what
exists today are her professional accomplishments. 3) Judy
is in a better place and out of pain now. I think it’s a
waste of time to discuss her addictions and emotional
problems. That’s all over, let’s enjoy what she
professionally accomplished shall we?
By the way, I am aware that she was only a human being and I
never expected her life to parallel the Andy Hardy lifestyle
Anyhow, I had a great evening over the weekend. I decided
to rent two Judy movies, “Gay Purr-ee” and “Babes In Arms”.
I finished watching one and was about to start “Babes” when
I discovered that “MMISL” was on public television! So I
alternated between “I Cried for You” and “Trolley Song”.
What a gal, and what a full night it was!
I also have a general inquiry concerning John Fricke’s book,
Greatest Entertainer – is it still available in bookstores?
I realize it was published a few years ago, is it available
through the publisher, or is it out of print?
Well, I guess that’s it for now. I hope most of us can
consider the more positive aspects of Judy’s life.
April 8, 1997
From: Christopher, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: The Drug Issue
I do not know much about drug addiction or mental health but
as a man who loves everything about Judy I wish to give my
1 cent worth. Paul :- What a brave and heartfelt commentary
on this sensitive matter. Eric:- A fascinating and qualified
opinion. It is clear that for all the doctors,
psychiatrists, and professionals who attended Judy, her
health suffered enormously throughout her life; yet she was
a beautiful, exceptionally talented and a giving woman. As
fans, it is natural to try to protect our memories and
experiences of her, and we can feel sensitive about
controversial commentary. But why do we feel the need to lay
the drug use problem at everyone elses door, absolving Judy
of responsibility and human falability?. Well done Paul and
Eric for giving a different perspective. However, I do feel
that it is easy for the media to sensationalise the drug
use issue and use it to paint a tragic portrait of Judy. She
used drugs, for whatever need or reason. She died from an
overdose of drugs. Many stars, eg Debbie Reynolds, were
offered “medication” from studio Doctors and resisted them.
Some stars had drug addictions, some had alcohol addictions.
It was a private part of their lives. It is good that this
issue can be debated without sensationalism as Paul and Eric
On a much lighter note, I have just received the Garland
Touch – from Steve, completing my collection of Capitol
records. I don’t know how difficult it is to find in
America, but it is rare in England. It is a fantastic album
with beautiful rendering of each track. The Stereo Sound is
very natural and excellently mixed. I love “Comes Once In
A Lifetime” (not available on any other album as far as I
know), and “Lucky Day” sounds even more amazing on this
release.Many thanks Steve.
PS : Wherefore art thou, Esther B Maine? Missing you on the
list. Incidentally, what did you sing, after saying “Hello
everybody. This is MRS NORMAN MAINE”?.
April 8, 1997
From: Mark Harris, email@example.com
Subject: Regarding Judy’s Drug Problems
I believe that what started and kept Judy Garland addicted
to drugs is now nothing but conjecture – something no one –
not even Mickey Rooney – can state with authority 60 years
after the fact.
While such discussion is not off topic (unless someone
starts getting into generalities about drugs and addiction
and not discussing JUDY’s problem), the subject will be
dropped much quicker if people just STOP RESPONDING to
what’s already been published.
For those who think Judy’s too sainted to be discussed in
such a manner – the keyword once again is “objectivity”.
Nothing in this discussion has been objective – on either
side. Everyone wants to attack (and I *do* mean attack!) the
problem from THEIR perspective, which most assuredly is NOT
factually-based (see first paragraph) when it comes to Ms.
For those who think that endless discussion and conjecture
is a MUST for fulfillment – why not e-mail each other?
There’s only a couple of people that think this is a worthy
subject – it certainly wouldn’t take a lot of effort to
start a “JUDY THE DRUG ADDICT” mailing list.
Many irate requests (nay, DEMANDS) to censor both Paul and
Eric have passed through my personal mailbox these last few
days. Once again I am spending my time playing referee to
people that just can’t be civil to each other no matter how
much nastiness such actions engender in our community. Once
again I make the threat – but this time I make it for a
FINAL time. If I have to do this ONE MORE TIME, the JUDY
List will be history. Period. Be civil, or go elsewhere.
Don’t you people know how to send e-mail to someone whose
opinion disagrees with yours? Or do you think that a “public
lynching” is necessary when you’ve been angered or
Next time someone says something you don’t like, say to
yourself….”What would Judy have done”? Chances are, she
would’ve made a joke of it and gone on with life. Is that
too bland for mere mortals to take to heart?
And my last word on the subject, I thank those that responded
to the thread with no hint of malevolence toward Eric or Paul.
Those published responses were in the minority though, I’m
I don’t know if Mrs. Maine is with us anymore, but I think
she’d answer “It’s A New World”. You can hear the orchestra
start before one of Warner Bros. stock discorporeal dis-
integrators from their Sci Fi department shrinks her into
a really cheap, not-up-to-MGM-standards visual effect.
On March 14, 1997 Harris touted with great fanfare that the List hit 100 members. Member #100 was the well known Garfan Ranse Ransone. In these days of social media groups and pages gathering hundreds if not thousands of members and subscribers practically instantly, the fact that it took the list six months to reach 100 members seems prehistoric.
Just prior to that milestone, the Grammys awarded Judy their Lifetime Achievement Award. The general consensus among the List was, of course, positive – although the actual segment during the Grammy broadcast was short enough to elicit some complaint.
February 27, 1997
Well, finally at 10:40 PM they got around to reading
off the names of this year’s Lifetime Achievement
Honorees, accompanied by some still photos of each of
the recipients. About Judy it was said “The woman
whose career spanned Broadway, film, and recordings,
and whose two-record set JUDY AT CARNEGIE HALL received
an unprecedented five Grammys, the remarkable Judy
Garland”. I guess we should have known better than to
get our hopes up for a for a more suitable, somewhat
lengthier tribute. I’ll restrain myself from
mentioning any of the acts that could’ve easily been
cut from the show to leave more time for such a
tribute. In related Grammy-news, Tony Bennett won his
seventh (fourth for Best Traditional Pop Vocal
Performance), for HERE’S TO THE LADIES which included
salutes to both Judy & Liza. He’s my favorite male
vocalist & I’ve seen him three times in person where
he’s truly electrifying, but the award should’ve went
to either Liza or Rosemary Clooney neither of whom have
won and both of whom were just as deserving. Gordon
Jenkins received a posthumous honor for Best
Arrangement Accompanying Vocals for his original
orchestration of Nat King Cole’s “When I Fall in Love”
along with Alan Broadbent & David Foster who added to
the original & adapted it for Natalie Cole to duet with
her father. The Coles also won Best Pop Vocal
Happy Weekend everyone!……Pat
February 28, 1997:
From: Jeff, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Grammy Awards
My second comment is about the Grammy Awards. Can I
tell you how disappointed I was?! I was expecting
something similiar to the presentation of a Life Time
Achievement Award at the Academy Awards, not a 30
second mention (ok so maybe it was longer than that).
How could they possibly think they could sum up Judy’s
amazing career in about 5 sentences. As I sat there
glued to the t.v., v.c.r. remote in hand, I watched as
countless long haired musical groups (unfortunately
part of my generation) sang seemingly endless songs.
Then I heard the words I’m sure we were all waiting
for- The Lifetime Achievment Award. Then, as quickly
as it came, it was over.
I was disappointed that they did not do more on Judy.
But, I stopped watching the Grammy Awards years ago
except last night. I just don’t know about these young
singers of today.
If any of you saw the 1981 Grammy Hall of Fame show,
there was a nice tribute to Judy on it. The song “Over
the Rainbow” went into the hall of fame. I taped the
show which was hosted by Andy Williams. Peter Allen
sang a rousing rendition of “Quiet There’s a Lady on
the Stage.” It was a nice tribute to Judy.
On the same show, there was a nice tribute for Bing
Crosby and “White Christmas.” The only thing I didn’t
like was Andy Gibb singing “White Christmas.” He never
sang well even when he was alive. A friend of mine took
me to a concert of his in 1978 and I couldn’t stand it,
much less the young girls screaming in my ear.
I really hoped for more last night but didn’t expect
it. I hope TCM gives Judy a big birthday tribute this
year. They are big on stars birthdays. Today, they
shows scores of Elizabeth Taylor movies. Judy always
used to laugh about how funny Elizabeth’s voice was in
the movies. “Whispy” is the word I think. From hearing
Judy talk, it appears that Elizabeth Taylor was in
Judy’s school room even though she was much younger (10
years) than Judy. However, it was a one room school
An odd topic that has since come up in other discussion forums over the years is the topic of those who make money from Judy Garland products. Some Garfans believe that “Judy’s kids” or “the estate” should get every penny from every product sold. As noble as that might seem, it’s impossible due to the wide range of copyrights and ownership of various bodies of Judy’s work. I doubt very much that Warner Bros. (who currently owns Judy’s MGM films, among other holdings) would give the proceeds of their releases to “Judy’s kids.” Other Garfans let their bias get in the way and overlook some releases while complaining about others. On top of that, there’s the question of auction sites and social media. When is it OK to sell a homemade CD of Judy Garland recordings on an auction site? When is it OK to post audio files or videos on social media (or YouTube)? When is it not? The answer depends on who you talk to and who thinks they have something to gain, whether it’s a monetary gain or just ego feeding attention. There’s no simple answer. My own opinion is this: Anyone who writes a book, liner notes, or any other original writings for any product should get paid, even if it’s a one-time payment. Most people assume that the authors of liner notes have a stake in the profits of that release when the reality is that’s not the case. Regardless, anyone who contributes to a project should get compensated for their time and work. That’s only fair.
The issue was brought up, probably for the first time online, on March 17, 1997:
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 075
Hi, I’ve never written to the group before, but I
wanted to stop in and say hi, and to ask about a note I
read yesterday from the list. I’ve been enjoying this
very much. I hope I’m sending this correctly.
> Tom wrote:
> The dedication and hard work certainly is obvious, all
> one needs to do is see the amount of effort put into his
> Judy Garland Database. It is just incredible. With
> absolutely no thought of trying to use her, or make
> some kind of profit off of her. He is the kind of “fan”
> that Judy would approve, and came all to rare in her
> life, and after.
I totally agree with you about the database, it’s
great, but from your comment – my question is: what
kind of “fan” would Judy dis-approve of, and, are there
people here making money off of Judy?
I hope not!
Who in the group, other than John Fricke or Al DiOrio,
in the near future, are making a profit off of Judy?
Please don’t mis- understand me! God bless them both
because they are, if not for their diligence to keep
Judy in the publics eye there would probably be much
less for anyone to see.
Also, when are we going to hear some more stories about
the people here that have met Judy?
[that same day]
From: Mark Harris, email@example.com
Subject: Although a tear may be ever so near…
Who here is making money off Judy isn’t really
relevant, because NO ONE here is making BIG money off
Judy, certainly not even Al or John! Not that I’m
saying these guys are paupers like me , but it’s
not like books, writing CD liner notes, and occasional
TV appearances make millions in perpetuity. These guys
should be highly praised for doing the vast amount of
WORK they do for (relatively) so little financial
compensation. Let’s face it. No matter how great it is
that Judy is still a superstar after all these years,
she just doesn’t generate income like Madonna or Garth
Brooks. Certainly in her day, superstars never made
those obscene amounts of money.
The other guys that are here and making money off Judy
are just as vital and necessary to her fans as are Al
and John. They are the keepers of the film and audio
work of Judy’s that are distributed on the “gray”
market – almost 100% are items that ARE NOT
commercially available in any other form (at least the
dealers that are HERE). In addition to the film and
audio tapes, they also deal in “legit” collectibles,
i.e., Judy’s 78s and vintage LPs, autographed pictures,
magazine covers, etc. These guys do as much (if not
more, over a period of time) work than John and Al do,
but make an even smaller return on their time
investment. Think how long it takes to edit together 2
hour videotapes of twenty different TV appearances! No,
I’m not naming names here in this context – I’ve named
them recently and if you look closely on the JGdb, it’s
all there for anyone to see. If they want to speak up
here on the List and “advertise”, I’ve told them before
to feel free to do so. I think it’s a SERVICE to Judy’s
fans to help distribute the vast vault of un-released
material – until the MGMs, the Capitols, the Sid Lufts,
the networks, etc. all decide to make stop forcing
people into this type of distribution by being so
chintzy with sharing themselves. Enough of THAT, eh!?!
(No opinions here tonight, obviously )
But, the LOWEST “Judy feeders” on the totem pole are
those of us that don’t get paid a red cent to promote
Judy’s name and memory. Scott Schechter (I don’t know
how he even breaks even on what he charges for GFJ! [Scott’s printed “Garlands for Judy” fan magazine]).
Jim Johnson [Webmaster of The Judy Garland Database]. Steve (who never reveals his last name ) [Webmaster of The Live Performances! site]. Chris Balczunas. Me. AND, *most* importantly,
everyone of you guys that contribute here (*including*
John and Al and “those guys”)! We all do it for free.
And, I think I can say for all the above mentioned, we
do it for love. 🙂
The next day:
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 077
Didn’t take ANY kind of “offense” at all about the
thought that I’ve made a profit out of the
Garland-related work of the last 8 or 9 years…but the
reality of what these kinds of jobs pay and what you’re
expected to do for (and cover expenses of yourself
with) the money completely precludes ANY kind of profit
at all, believe me! (I’m sure Al would concur.) I’m
still in the same one-room studio apartment in NYC I
moved into 22 years ago…and those of you who have
visited can attest to the fact that this ain’t Park
Avenue (AND just how crowded with research and paper it
has become!). Truth be told, I was making a much better
living as a singer/entertainer than I ever have at the
Judy/Oz work — but I think it’s apparent that one of
the reasons why I was born is to do the kind of work
I’ve been blessed enough and lucky enough and fortunate
enough to do. I wouldn’t change any of it, and I am
making a living doing something I love to do. (But
don’t expect vacation postcards from the Riviera!) (I’M
going to Grand Rapids! 🙂
(Hiya) Johnny (Fricke)
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 077
It seemed relevant in the original post, it implied
that someone here was making money, and as if someone
else was better because they didn’t make money – kind
of thing – therefor, the ‘someone else’ Judy would have
I just wanted to know. I have no problem with it – I
would gladly pay in order to have better quality
material – videos, music, etc..
March 19, 1997:
From: Diorio Al, xxx@FCB.COM
Subject: Judy List – Wednesday, 3/18
Hey everyone! It’s been a while again since I’ve piped
in and I don’t have much to add specifically.
Couldn’t agree with John more about the profts (or lack
thereof) involved in the Judy work. It’s All For You
will have to hit the best seller list for me to come
close to recover the money and time I’ve poured into it
over the last almost-four-years. But, again as I’m
sure John would agree, the profit is more in seeing the
end result and , of course, in hearing the reaction of
Judy’s fans. I know with It’s All For You, it has been
almost impossible to find a publisher willing to
publish it in the format it demands and at the size
necessary. But I don;t want to see all of this work be
for naught. My agent and I are corrently putting
together an advance run which we will self-publish and
hope that when a publisher sees the final product,
illustrated in the manner we thinl it should be,
they’ll latch on to it.
Nevertheless, my hope is to have the initial edition
ready to take to Grand Rapids in June.
Take care. (Only four more days!)
The Arts & Entertainment Channel aired its long awaited two hour biography of Judy Garland on March 23, 1997. The show was a big success, and deservedly so. It’s a fantastic biography and by far the best to date. The next day, March 24, the “reviews” from the List members came rolling in. There were many. Here is a sampling:
March 24, 1997
From: DAVE, xxx@FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU
Subject: A & E special
Well, the “Biography” special on Judy Garland finally
aired tonight, and I thought it was just excellent. It
covered all of her life and career in an even-handed
way (pretty much as John Fricke’s book “World’s
Greatest Entertainer” did), used a lot of rare film
clips—this is the first time I’ve never seen any film
footage of the early blonde version of Dorothy in “Oz”;
and it was also the first time I’ve seen some of the
60s footage, such as “Just in Time” from the Perry Como
show. I was amazed to see the interviews with Marcella
Rabwin—I thought she had died years ago. Apparently
not! Also, the unexpectedly long film clips of Judy
telling stories on the 1962 Jack Paar show were just
excellent. This was Judy at her best, and I bet a lot
of people had never seen this material before. I also
got a big kick out of Judy’s very witty remark during
the 1967 Valley of the Dolls press conference, when a
reporter asked her if she thought drug use was common
in the movie industry. She said “I find it prevalent
with newspaper people, too.” What a great response!
I also enjoyed seeing the home movies of Judy’s 1961
and 1967 tours—even longer segments than were used in
“The Concert Years” TV documentary from 12 years ago.
The color footage of Judy bouncing energetically around
the stage in 1961 (supposedly filmed at Carnegie Hall,
although nobody actually said so)—wow, that was
The very touchy subject of Judy’s decline during the
last five years of her life—this was handled exactly
right, I thought. They couldn’t have done any better.
Taking the cue from John Fricke’s biography, this part
of Judy’s life was not obsessed upon, nor gossiped
about, nor covered up to make her seem more
wonderful—it was acknowledged, some photos and film
clips were shown, and that was that. Very cool.
I’m glad they showed a clip from the December 1968
Johnny Carson appearance. Judy looked a little tired,
but attractive and fresh; not the emaciated wreck that
she looked like in some of the other shows and still
photos of that time.
Only a couple of very minor complaints about the show,
and keep in mind these are VERY small gripes: #1, I
would have liked to have seen even a small mention of
the Decca records. They talked about everything else:
MGM, radio, Bob Hope, concerts, Palladium, Capitol—-
but there was no indication that Judy was also quite a
prolific recording artist in the 30s and 40s. Don’t
forget, she was making records long before she became a
big movie star. #2, maybe just a bit too much June
Allyson. Ms. Allyson seems to be a lovely lady, but
she got more screen time than Judy during parts of the
show! Apparently the producers felt she would make a
good all-around Garland friend/expert whenever they
needed some outside comments.
#3, I was slightly taken aback by the strong
insinuation, without actually saying so directly, that
Vincente Minnelli was gay. Although I’ve heard that
before, I’ve only heard it ONCE before, and that was in
David Shipman’s notoriously unreliable and tabloid-ish
book. The rather coy way this subject was touched on,
gave the program its one and only bit of
unsubstantiated gossip. It may be true, for all I
know. But if it is, somebody should have said so
directly instead of hinting at it.
Anyway, an excellent show, I thought. A very good
rememberance of Judy Garland, and I hope a lot of
people watched it.
Oh, one more comment: when that one Capitol records
executive said that he wanted her signed up as a
recording artist specifically as a “nostalgia” type of
singer, I just about wanted to strangle him! No wonder
her first album for Capitol, “Miss Show Business”, was
so full of World War 1 / Al Jolson stuff. She was only
33 years old, she did not need that old-person image.
Although her later albums for Capitol got much better,
and very quickly too (thank God), this executive’s
sincere opinion of her rankled me. Why did they not
think of her as a modern, with-it contemporary artist,
as they did Sinatra, for instance? He never had to go
through that whole “vaudeville” bit, and he was older
than Judy! Amazing.
March 24, 1997
From: Esther B MAINE, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: A small, inconsequential dissent. . .
I just saw the A&E. . .and it was one of the best of
the Biography series.
There will be a lot of praise, well deserved, lavashed
upon it, I’m sure.
But there was one point that I know was clearly in
error. I was surprised to hear it not only because it
went against the facts as I know them, but it seemed to
be a point superfluous to the context in which it was
Judy did not financially support her mother until “the
day she died”. I was very close to Judy’s sister,
Jimmy (Virginia–the middle child) and her husband,
Johnny. There were quite a few years they supported
Mrs Gumm on Johnny’s postman’s salary.
I know this is a picky point. And as I write it, I
realize I am being overly sensitive. I am only saying
it because I thought the world of those two people, and
though they understood Judy’s feelings for her mother,
they were hurt that she “turned away” from her (as they
use to say).
I never thought any less of Judy because of this point,
and I am certainly not bringing this up to cast any
aspersions. I was just surprised to see a specific
mention was made that Judy always finacially supported
her mother, when no comment at all needed to be made on
Sorry, no jokes this time folks. . .I could just hear
the Thompson’s rolling over in their graves and wanted
to speak up for them. .
March 25, 1997
From: Thomas, email@example.com
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 082
Gracious…..WHEN will this List be up and running
again….WHAT a “time” to go down…..
In reading the last one which was received on Saturday
23rd…..want to say “welcome” to Michael
Harris….(Japan)……Not sure if you were “joking” or
playing it light when “wondering” “WHO” Chris Conner
was/is. She of course is highly regarded in the ranks
of: Anita O’Day and June Christy. She like Christy sang
with The Stan Kenton Band…..and her outstanding work
was recorded via several Bethlehem Jazz Series records.
So many “confusing” thoughts regarding the A&E thing.
At some points thought it might have been taken from
the David Shipman Book. The somewhat “suspicious” gay
connection to so many in Judy’s life seemed
unnecessary. Why was it deemed “important” ?
Especially since poor Mr Minnelli, Gumm or Peter Allen
are not around to defend themselves.
Also, it would have been “nice” to have made mention of
yet her continuing “come back” via all the new young
fans and her entrance into Cyberspace. That could have
caused the entire perspective to end with an upbeat and
continuance of her amazing and cross generational
appeal. Who knows A&E’s reason(s) for not including
Was relieved that I constrained myself by not ordering
the tape prior to it’s airing. There was a commercial
tape which came out a few years back called: The Judy
Garland Scrapbook…..only “die hard” fans who insist
on having “anything” and “everything” be it good or
bad…would want it. This could also apply to this
latest . Judy’s words are apropos in attaching a label
to these things……….”The Judy Garland
Business”…..also her haunting words…….”I don’t
want to be rolled out like pastry, so everyone can get
a nice big bite of me”……
It’s onward and upwards now….waiting for what surely
will prove to be an honor to her artistry….The
Capitol Box Collection. There is NO WAY that can be a
March 25, 1997
From: RANDY, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Randy’s take on Judy and Biography
I am sure I speak for many people when I say that
watching the A&E special brought up a range of intense
feelings and thoughts. I am so thankful to have this
venue to share them. Otherwise they would stay trapped
inside and unexplored.
Biography: I have watched a few of these shows but not
very many because I find them typically uninspired,
lacking insight and stylistically bland. The formula
for Biography may work for great men where the
chronilogical listing of deeds tells us some of the
impact of their lives. However for artists, this
formula fails to capture the spirit of their art, the
quality that makes them the subject of such a show in
the first place. The second aspect of the formula is
to present a life as a story and so as not upset
anyone, to present the story as one we’ve already
heard. This is the context in which “Beyond the
Given these severe limitations as well as lack of
access to MGM and TV materials, the special is
excellent. It is obvious that great heart and passion
went into the making of the documentary. It is also
clear that the makers know their subject extremely
well. It is very stylish, elegant, and at times
visually stunning. It not only does a good job of
telling the much of the story of Judy’s life but for us
fans we see wonderful and unusual footage and photos.
We hear stories like Shana Alexander’s comment about
Judy getting ready to go onstage that are priceless. I
particularly enjoyed the segment on her Capitol work
which looked and sounded wonderful. I don’t think any
other Judy documentary has even mentioned her time at
Capitol. I loved the woman who trashed Busby Berkeley
and pointed out how damaging he was to Judy’s psyche
during a extremely hectic period of her life. The
documentary also did an excellent job of explaining how
Judy’s drug problem grew out of her exhausting work at
MGM in the early forties. And although I have problems
with the little that was said about her series, I
thought it great that Norman Jewison participated and
said the things he did about Judy.
I’ve read John’s comments on the film and feel we are
very lucky to have him share them with us. He
obviously put his heart and soul into this film and it
shows. Congratulations John. I appreciate his
comments about the ending and agree with him that it
would have been nice if something could have been said
about her continuing impact as an artist.
What I say next is important for me to say and I hope I
can say it in a way as to not sound disrespectful and
negative. I felt that John’s take on Judy’s life in
“The world’s greatest entertainer”, was that we should
focus on is the tremendous quantity and quality of her
work. I completely agree with that perspective and I
love that book. I feel that the message of the film
was that Judy Garland’s talent was so great that it was
exploited and left her unhappy, alone and in the end a
shadow of her former self. These messages are very
John in his email says he feels that critics got the
message that the film showed Judy as a “warm, funny,
bright, caring, compassionate human being…and
arguably the world’s greatest entertainer.” That is
the problem. Being a wonderful person does not make
you a great entertainer. I don’t think the film even
begins to answer the question, “what made Judy Garland
a great entertainer/popular artist?” To argue that this
was a film about her life and not her work is to make a
distinction which is hard to support. Why do we care
about Judy? Because she was funny and compassionate?
Or because she is the most rivetting performer we have
I have to believe that A&E wanted more melodrama
because that would sell and as this special is being
used to renew interest in the Biography series, there
was pressure to make sure the film appealed to broadest
audience. As Judy herself said, no one is interested
in a happy Judy Garland.
So yes, Judy is not the sum total of her work but it is
now what we are left with of her life. That the range,
quality, quantity was largely ignored upsets me. As I
say above, I am glad that Capitol got mentioned but
Alan Livingston made it sound like her work at Capitol
was a preservation effort! To make sure there was a
historic record of her previous work. What about
Alone? Judy in Love? The Letter? These were risky
efforts that I believe are a critical part of Judy, the
artist’s legacy. I didn’t expect them all to be
mentioned but the impression was left that her work at
Capitol was just recording her old stuff. And Shana’s
analysis of Judy’s rebirth was that Fields and Begelman
took this raw chunk of talent…hello? Judy had made
thirty plus films, many albums, cut singles, performed
all over the world, she was not a raw chunk of talent.
She was an amazing artist and if she hadn’t been, all
the “work” F & B “did” for her, wouldn’t have meant a
“bleeping” thing. In fact, I thought the word “talent”
was overused in the special. Yes Judy had tremendous
talent but that is not the point. She honed her talent
into great art. By just talking about her talent, it
sounds like, “boy that Judy, she sure had a lot of
talent, too bad she died young and was exploited and
didn’t get to do much with it”.
That is the problem I have with this tragic Judy
perspective. To make the sad story work, you need to
downplay her joyous, rich, varied, tremendous body of
work. If people hear about all she produced and of
what high caliber it all is, then people are going to
go hummmm….how did this drugged up, exploited,
turbulent personality manage to do all this great work?
Maybe because the truth about Judy is less
melodramatic, more complicated and more hopeful than
people want to hear.
Finally (I can hear the collective, “thank god”) I
realize that footage from the tv show was unavailable.
And we know why (SL). However, there is not one word
about the quality of the series and particularly of her
work on it. Nowhere is it mentioned that she and the
show were nominated for emmys.
Okay more finally. I write all this not just to harp
on the negative. I do think there is wonderful, rich
material found in this film. I will watch it many
times. And maybe now we can lay to rest all the pills,
weight fluctuations, all the husbands, all the gay
stories and all the suicide attempts and concentrate on
awe-inspiring beauty of Judy’s amazing career. In my
lifetime I want to hear people say, “wow! Judy Garland
was one the greatest performing artists/entertainers in
May 1997 was filled with drama. First there was an issue with Harris and people arguing that got out of control, then there was some drama pertaining to the forthcoming Judy Garland Festival in Grand Rapids.
This next post by List owner and moderator Mark Harris seems to come out of the blue. The reality is that, as you’ll see in one of his posts, he deleted the conversations that he references before preparing the archives making them unavailable for inclusion here.
It was also at this time that Harris finally took the steps necessary to remove the display of email addresses and only show names. Interesting how naive and trusting most of us were back then. I have removed the last names of those who are not the well known Garfans or Garfreaks.
May 14, 1997
From: Mark Harris, email@example.com
Subject: More Unpleasantness….
Folks, this is being posted to the JUDY List at the request
of the author, Mr. Robert [snip]. I was warned about this man
by several JUDY List members, members that never have a bad
thing to say about anyone else. You can judge for yourself
if you’d want to do business with someone that “looks a gift
horse in the mouth” and (to use his own words) “blasts” a
forum that has, twice in the past two months, allowed him to
advertise his commercial business freely without
compensation or consideration for what he has received in
return – considerable FREE exposure to a focused, targetted
market for his goods – something other businesses on the
Internet pay thousands of dollars a crack for. I know I sure
wouldn’t. Again, this is at HIS request that this is being
posted. If I’d written it, I certainly would NOT want others
to read my misplaced anger! Believe me, it will be the LAST
post from Mr. [snip] on the JUDY List! 🙂
Again, I urge you to support those that support the JUDY
List – which is all my initial comment said in the first
place, rather than what Mr. [snip] claims in his diatribe
below. Your comments on the matter are welcome. If our
community reacts as I believe they will, perhaps it will
teach Mr. [snip] a bit about how to conduct his business in
the future. If I am wrong about what I perceive to be gross
arrogance and ungratefulness on Mr. [snip]’ part, I would
appreciate THAT being posted, as well, with no
I will be making a decision in the next 24 hours whether or
not the JUDY List will continue. What I hoped would be a
pleasant discussion of one of my favorites has turned into
nothing more than a small group of narcissistic
self-promoters making demands on my time and patience that
are now beyond the limits of my endurance. What a shame that
so few have to ruin it for so many. I have my suspicions
that, although John Fricke *is* busy working on his various
Judy projects, I have a feeling that the nastiness that has
been directed at him personally (albeit privately) by some
of these people because of his participation here, accusing
him of being self-serving and generally slandering his good
name and being very personally hurtful in return for his
hard work and participation here has a lot to do with his
absence as of late. I have to ask myself if it’s all worth
it. If I decide to stop knocking my brains out only to have
them stomped on by the likes of Mr. [snip] and the others (you
know who you are, I don’t need to mention your names), the
JUDY List will cease to exist as of 5/31/97. Perhaps
something like it will continue by private invitation only.
This wouldn’t be the last time that Harris would threaten to shut down the List. It also wouldn’t be the last time that he would edit the digests based on his emotions.
The same day as Harris’ post, and coming right after his in the digest, was the person’s response:
From: Robert [snip – this is the person referenced in the above post by Harris]
Subject: I Am Shocked
Mark, I do not understand why you blasted me in your Judy
List! I asked you and Jim both if it would be o.k. to
simply announce my new Judy re- lated site in the Judy List.
You both said it was fine. You came down on me hard, and
if you had any questions: you should have discussed them
with me–before taking aim pointedly in your list. Please
remember Mark–I am new to all this computer stuff as of two
short months ago–still getting my feet wet! I am trying to
practice proper computer etiquette as I learn of it. I have
simply not had the time to get on the Judy List, or other
lists related to my other interests–because at present, I
don’t have the time each day to read through all the
messages. Certainly, you must understand that if you have a
job, a family, chores/errands etc.,. and you are creating a
website– you can not join and read all the lists and
participate fully. It is well known that I have been a Judy
Garland fan and “torch bearer” for many years, and have
assisted many fans with nice video aquisitions. For over 25
years I have been active in all the Judy clubs-from the
London one, to Roslyn’s, to Sonny’s, to Scott’s etc.,. I
have recently had published 2 articles related to Judy
Garland in the national magazine “The Big Reel”. To put me
down, and to discourage readers of the Judy List to contact
me simply because I have not had time to participate in
information sessions in your list is, I feel, grossly unfair
of you. Let’s be realistic and cut people some slack–this
is just a forum for fans to share information and to
increase and expand their collections– why do you choose to
distort that fact? Give people a break and don’t create ill
will where none exists. This is innocent. Life is short.
Let’s just relax a little bit–realize there is more to a
situation than might meet the eye, and not be so political
and judgemental. Can’t we all just be fans/friends and
avoid these negative exchanges, which have all to often
colored the fan club experience at times. Look at what has
happened to some fan clubs over the years, when people lost
sight of the reason we are involved in the first place. We
are just fans who share and collect–period. Let’s be
friends and enjoy Judy’s talent–and let it go at that.
Hope you will visit my Judy related website at
it, and would be happy to visit your site or any other Judy
website that you would recommend. Thanks for your time and
consideration in the above matter. I remain–a Judy Garland
fan in Texas—R. R. [snip]
P.S. To be fair to me, I think you should print this letter
in your Judy List–to give me a chance to explain myself–
to anyone who might have gotten the wrong idea–by just
hearing one view of the situation. Let’s get it over with,
and go on. I submit this, therefore, to you– and not the
list–to let you be the judge. I know you will be fair.
May 15, 1997
From: Mark Harris
Subject: Here’s The Word…
I really don’t know where to begin. I’ve received an
absolute avalanche of supportive e-mail today, both private
and in contributions to the JUDY List. The vast amount of it
has been supportive of my post last night, indignant that
myself, John, and others have been the victims of some of
the fringe element of Judy’s “fans”, and many contained
personal accounts of their dealings with the person at the
genesis of this latest “List Crisis”.
All were very passionate that the JUDY List should NOT be
discontinued, even the two individuals that disagreed with
what was posted last night and the night before by myself. I
invited comments to be posted to the List, but to tell you
the truth, some very negative things have been included
about participants in this debacle, and in the interest of
NOT keeping this an ongoing debate, I’ve decided to not
publish any of the commentary to tonight’s regular Digest.
Those who are on the “individual posting” subscription List
have been receiving them all day long, and two of THOSE
people have asked that I stop sending them any more
commentary on this incident. I will publish an unnumbered
Digest of all these posts that will be available by request
only to my personal e-mail address. It will NOT be posted to
the web site. I only ask that all those that may receive the
“special” Digest to refrain from commenting on its contents
in future JUDY List postings.
Some very good ideas are included in those contributions,
and I’m going to do my best now to summarize the best of
Everyone agreed that there are some mighty Odd People that
call themselves Judy Garland fans, and that historically,
they always seem to sour and eventually break apart fan
clubs and celebrations of “our gal” (as Al DiOrio calls
her). I guess this is just a reflection on life itself, not
on Judy, me, John, Al, Steve, Steve, Steve (you get my
drift), or any other participants. There are many egos
involved here; and unfortunately, many egos that care more
about themselves and “getting credit” for what they perceive
they have done “in the name of Judy Garland” than about this
wonderful woman and her legacy.
I find that reprehensible myself, for the only person
responsible for the gifts Judy has given us is JUDY GARLAND
herself. Not Lorna or Sid Luft, not David Begelman, not
Vincente or Liza Minnelli, not Louis Mayer or Jack Warner.
Talent like this cannot be hidden, and those people only
FACILITATED Judy in her unquenchable desire to entertain. I
feel if it hadn’t been THEM, it would’ve been someone else
that helped her attain the title of “World’s Greatest
The same goes for everyone who tells us how important they
are at keeping the flame alive now, 30 years after her
death. Strangely enough, those that are most responsible for
the good work being done now and in the relatively recent
past DO NOT take such liberties. They feel that, just as it
is not fair to “kill the messenger”, it is not fair to
worship that same messenger, either.
It has been written that I always seem to be threatening to
kill off the List, and that, in effect, I should **** or get
off the pot. The problem is, I started this List for my OWN
enjoyment – so that I could talk with other Judy Garland
fans about JUDY GARLAND. Killing it off removes that
pleasure from ME, as well as from everyone else that’s
flagged this car down and hitched a ride. Perhaps it IS
unfair to constantly be threatening to quit, but geez, you
folks don’t see even 5% of the nastiness that I’ve had to
contend with as Manager of this List. I’ve attempted to keep
as much of it as possible away from public scrutiny, and the
cumulative result of dealing with so much antipathy takes
its toll on ANYONE sensitive enough to “get” Judy –
certainly on me.
My selfish desire to discuss Judy is still there. To keep it
alive, I’m going to institute new, more restrictive rules
for the JUDY List that obviously MUST be put in place to
keep it going. Those that never get involved in these
problems will find nothing has changed for them. It is only
those that feel they must air the nastiness in public that
will take offense. To those people, I humbly say “the door’s
THAT way”. If anyone feels these rules are too restrictive
for them to enjoy the List, feel free to unsubscribe post
haste. The rest of us will continue to enjoy these
discussions WITHOUT you. As one correspondant said today,
good riddance to bad rubbish!
1) I am no longer the “JUDY List Manager”. I am now the
“JUDY List Editor”. I reserve the right to edit any part of
any contribution. I won’t CHANGE anything, but I most
certainly WILL delete parts which I deem objectionable. My
word is final. If you want to complain about my decision,
fine. Just realize you won’t be receiving any more JUDY
Lists after you do. I don’t charge for membership here, so I
no longer feel I have to justify myself in the interest of
fairness. My main objective is to STOP THE MADNESS NOW and
get back to “what *I’m* here for”.
2) E-mail addresses will no longer be posted on the Digest.
People that want folks to be able to write them private
e-mail may post their e-mail address as a signature to their
contributions. This will help maintain privacy for our
members (I believe Jeff told us that Hugh Martin declined
membership for this very reason) and keep unsolicited
nastygrams from being sent by these “Odd People” when they
see something they do not like. E-mail addresses will also
be expunged from the individual postings if possible (I’m
still investigating this). If that’s not possible, the
individual post subscriptions will be stopped and the
contributions will be available only by subscription to the
Digest or by reading the Web version. There are ways to get
these e-mail addresses if someone digs hard enough, but the
JUDY List will no longer facilitate such shenanigans.
3) No commercial advertising that profits an individual
member will be allowed. The Judy Garland Database maintains
an advertising page for dealers. Krista or Jim can give us
the URL if they wish to. This does not disallow
dissemination of information that does not profit individual
members, such as the recent postings on how to obtain the
Ford Star Jubilee from Critic’s Choice video or the offer to
obtain a special pressing for our members on a non-profit
basis to that poster. Since there are only two members here
that this applies to, and since they have not yet chosen to
take advantage of their membership in this way, I don’t
think this will be a problem. It will also stop NON-members
from USING the JUDY List for their personal financial gain.
4) I will also retain the right to strike any offenders of
these rules from the List membership and deny ALL POSTS
(whether offensive or not) that they may send in response to
reading the List on the Web. I won’t attempt to even justify
that action, and any harrassing e-mail I may receive as a
result of that decision will be forwarded to the offender’s
Internet Service Provider as harrassment. Most ISPs will
pull a user’s account for such actions.
I really *hate* having to institute these prohibitive,
restrictive rules on the JUDY List, but feel that at this
time, the only other alternative *is* to stop its
publication. You can comment on them on the List if you’d
like, but PLEASE keep the comments minimal and try to
include your comments in a “regular” posting that does what
this List is meant for – discussion about Judy Garland.
There’s no need to dwell on this turn of events. Putting it
all behind us is the fastest way to get back to what we’re
all here for.
I cannot possibly respond in kind to everyone who has
written me the past 24 hours, but would like to acknowledge
and thank each and every one of them by name: Leslee Short,
Steve Jarrett, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Christopher Ward, Scott
Schecther, John Fricke, Joseph Skop, Pat Vign, Al DiOrio,
Dave Hill, Robert Barrett, Wayne Lawless, Ken in San Marcos,
Jeff Freeman, Steve Sanders, Taylor Maddux, Big Al, Kelly
Anderson, and one “Steve” that goes by “Garcia Leila”. Sorry
if I got any names wrong, but these are the only names I
have to attach to your wonderful responses.
Now let’s get back to the Judy discussion…..
The JUDY List Editor
May 16, 1997
Subject: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 136
Dear Mr. Harris,
it is unfortunate that your role has changed to that of a
policeman, but personally your move to do so is the correct
decision to make. It has been those elements that have kept
me from actively participating thus far. We should all keep
in mind that this is **YOUR LIST** and participation is by
invitation, albeit an open invitation. Your passion and
most importantly the time you have invested in keeping the
Judy List going is honestly appreciated.
To quote a line from The Pirate ,(let’s) “remove the
Once again, thank you and keep up the good work!!!!!
May 17, 1997:
From: Steve Sanders
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 136
Hooray! I’m glad you’re still “in” and willing to give it
another go. I think the “rules” you have set down are
absolutely necessary and if people don’t like them, well,
for them, as you say, that’s that for them.
They can start their own god knows what and see how long
before THEY don’t go crazy from these peculiar people!
If possible, I’d love to get the “unmarked” edition, and
whatever other correspondence has been flying around about
all of this. Can I be put on that individual list, or
whatever it is that you were writing about?
At any rate, thanks again for everything, for staying in and
for laying down the law. As Judy would say, “It’s high
May 19, 1997
From: Mark Harris
Subject: Editor-Type News
If you didn’t get the “special” Digest (that had all the
comments about last week’s problems) and want it, please
request it by 5PM EDT tomorrow, as I will be getting rid of
it permanently from my hard drive at that time.
All told, there were two unsubscribes as a result of last
week’s rule tightening and one person that said he wouldn’t
be posting anymore because of the new rules. I thank the
*62* (yes, 62) people that wrote either privately or
publicly in support of the new rules. Most of the 62 felt
that the rules wouldn’t change their own JUDY List habits at
all, since they’d been adhering to the “new” rules all
along. I really do appreciate those sentiments!
Finally, notes such as this one are administrative in nature
and necessary to a structured, moderated discussion. If you
don’t wish to read them, perhaps an unmoderated discussion
would be better for you. Yes, I want to discuss Judy
Garland, too (and I believe I do, quite often). But for the
single person still here that says he actually prefers a
“free for all” to moderation and civility, I can recommend a
few Lists that would warm even Dore Schary’s cold, cold
heart with the daily flame barrages . Many of the 62
supporters sent along horror stories of un-moderated
discussions they’ve been a part of only to leave after a
short while. I’ll put you in touch if you’d like. 🙂
Enough “meddling” for today….take care all!
The JUDY List Editor
May 20, 1997
Please send me a copy of the controversial postings. To be
honest, reading your synopsis, I didn’t quite understand
what exactly was happening, or what people were accusing you
of, but I thought your rules were perfectly fine and
I’m sure this list is an enormous amount of work for you,
but please know that your efforts are truly appreciated by
many, foremost me.
The dust from that drama hadn’t settled before a new drama had popped up regarding the Judy Garland Festival. The allegations centered around the late Sid Luft (Judy’s third husband). Luft was, among other things (good and bad), a great bullshitter. And as the saying goes: “It takes one to know one.”
May 19, 1997
Subject: Judy Garland Festival – A VERY revised schedule
Just wanted to point out that a revised schedule for the 97
Jubilee is now posted on the Judy Garland Museum site which
is run by John Kelsch, museum director. For those of you
who are going, you might like to have a look at this.
The address is:
I have emailed John K. tonight with a list of questions
regarding how these changes will effect those who have
already purchase tickets for the events that where
previously listed (Since my original contact-Laura Pilot- is
no longer involved in the festival, I am just as much in the
dark about how this is going to work as you are). I am
hoping to hear from John in the next few days and will
forward his response on to you.
If you prefer, you can contact John directly with your
questions, his e-mail address is posted on the Museum site.
May 21, 1997
From: John Fricke
Subject: Grand Rapids
For any one who has NO interest in the Grand Rapids
(hereafter GR) Festival, PLEASE feel free to jump over this
Some of you have been aware of dissonant rumblings about the
Festival over the past three months or so. These have come
to a head several times, with the end result being — as of
last week — a virtually complete change in the events’
schedule assembled by Laura Pilot, myself, and several
others since last July.
Briefly: Laura has been regularly volunteering in GR for the
last couple years, donating her time, her money, and her
Judy material, despite the seven-hour round trip from St.
Paul. The Birthplace director, John Kelsch, asked us during
last year’s Festival to take responsibility for planning the
1997 events, which we were delighted to do. As the autumn
and winter went on, Laura met with alternate resistance and
acceptance from Kelsch in the ideas we were putting forth,
although he ultimately happily promoted the rundown as we
devised it. But Laura was increasingly disturbed by what she
felt was careless treatment of the Garland archival material
either purchased or received by the GR concerns, as well as
(once again) the cavalier attitude being manifested toward
the memory of Judy herself. It all eventually came down to a
confrontation during which Kelsch offered — in so many
words — that the purpose of the Birthplace and use of the
Garland name was centered in arranging for an eventual
children’s museum in GR. This is indeed a worthy goal but
has precious little to do with celebrating, displaying, and
putting forth in a positive light the Judy Garland about
whom so many of us care, along with her achievements and
accomplishments. (The fact that GR seems to vacillate
between its interest in Judy and in their desire to promote
the community via her name is nothing new…but to have the
latter stressed at this time as vehemently as Kelsch did
left Laura shaken and unhappy.)
In March, she was — by mail — “relieved” of her duties
attendant to the Festival. Everything began to hit the fan,
and I tried to ascertain what was going on. I talked a
couple of times to a grand GR gal, Jo Ann Hoffman, another
volunteer at the Birthplace, who was also unhappy about the
situation there. In April, Jo Ann resigned from the
Birthplace board, after they refused to address or read the
detailed letter she wrote manifesting concern about the way
Laura was treated, and the way Kelsch and others were
running things. (When I then tried to call the retiring
Board president, Jerry Miner, to get a handle on things, he
hung up on me.)
By this point, I was beyond caring about GR, but — when
Kelsch wrote me in mid-April and asked if were still
participating (he’d just put out the newsletter announcing I
would be there) — I faxed him the next day and stressed
that I would definitely attend and that (whatever the
politics and problems) I felt an obligation to those
attending to see the programs through. A week later, I
received another letter from Kelsch, announcing that “the
Luft family” was unhappy with me (purportedly over the A&E
“Biography” comments about Frank Gumm and Vincente Minnelli)
and that I would have to, in effect, mend my fences with
them, as Sid had delvered an “either Fricke or us” ultimatum
re: the Festival.
Well, NO question that the Luft involvement is (and should
be) of paramount and much greater importance. In a
subsequent phone conversation with Kelsch, he was unable to
tell me if “the Luft family” was in this case Sid or if the
situation extended to (and reflected the feelins of) Lorna
as well. Kelsch then became angry and defiant on his own
about the Frank Gumm comments. (However, as I pointed out: I
didn’t make the statements; the program was not “mine”
insofar as creative control was concerned; I imagine the
show would have been much less balanced and pro-Judy if I
hadn’t been involved; the “news” about Frank and Vincente
has been spread by any number of very reputable books — and
some tacky ones — in the last 22 years; the issue of
Frank’s bisexuality was openly addressed in the TV movie
RAINBOW, which has been shown in national and cable-casts on
dozens of occasions in the last 15 years; etc.) Anyway, I
told Kelsch I would try to ascertain Lorna’s take on the
situation, and Kelsch said he’d go back to Sid.
I left the next day for the OzFest in upstate New York and
was not able to immediately find Lorna (I learned later she
was back in the States; I thought she was still in London).
A couple days later, while I was still in Chittenango,
Kelsch left a message on my answering machine in New York
City, saying that any possibility of me participating in the
Festival was nonexistent, that he’d found new guest speakers
and events, and that I was still welcome to attend if I
liked (and MAYBE run the Fan Club Forum as he didn’t feel
the Luft family would participate in that).
To be honest, I can’t at this point see much reason for
supporting a Festival that has continued to treat so many
people so poorly in so many ways. As far as the revised
schedule, I looked at it this morning and can offer the
Richard Glazier bowed out this week as well. We saw each
other in NYC after his solo piano concert in Carnegie Hall’s
Weill Recital Auditorium last Wednesday; he’s a world-class
musician as well as someone who loves Judy and (however
briefly) knew Ira Gershwin. I think his proposed program of
Gershwin piano music related to Judy, his estimations of her
as a singer, her association with George and Ira, and the
accompanying clips of her performing Gershwin in 1963-64
would have been a genuine contribution to the weekend.
I’ve known and liked Steve Cox, and Roger Baum and his wife,
Charlene, for years. Steve is a genuinely nice guy, and the
newly-revised and expanded version of his book on THE
MUNCHKINS OF OZ is a really good job. But I don’t think
neither he nor Roger would ever classify themselves as major
Garland fans; their participation in the Festival is that of
professional authors with books to sell. (Before anyone
points a finger, BOTH of mine are now out-of-print!)
Michelle Russell worked very hard on the “Living History”
music program last year and will doubtless offer the same
kind of performances again in June. Moderators for the panel
discussions on the Gumms in Grand Rapids, Judy in Concert,
etc., had not — as of three days ago — been located. And
it will be up to others of those attending to supply any
film and video of Judy; certainly the GR powers-that-be
don’t seem inclined to acquire anything out of the ordinary
or anything to entertain the Garland fans who are coming
because of HER. (Apart from Lorna and Joe, the sole saving
grace on the schedule — for me — is Tony Landini; that man
is a PRINCE, his wife is a dream, and no one cares more
fervently for Judy than he does.)
I’m sure it’ll all come off….and there is ALWAYS great joy
and atmosphere given off by a crowd of people come together
who love Judy. However, it won’t be the Garland-oriented
weekend that Laura and I and a number of others had wanted
to provide (under the title WE devised — Judy Jubilee! —
thank you very much! 🙂 And for that, I’m sorry, as we all
seemed to have a great time last year, specifically because
what went on was so Garland-centered. I don’t get that
feeling from reading the revised GR schedule…but there
have been many festivals there without Pilot and/or Fricke
(and there’ll probably be many more!). My major personal
regret, of course, is that I won’t have the chance to renew
old friendships and meet so many of the fans who are coming
to celebrate our love for and joy in Judy. But maybe one
day…! And we can have a mini-celebration any time any of
you can make it to New York.
Sorry for all the upheaval (and lengthy explanation); I
think we really tried, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
Thanks for reading.
May 21, 1997
Subject: The Low Down…
By now I’m sure that all of you have read John Fricke’s
email regarding the situation in Grand Rapids. For those of
you who didn’t receive it, I’ll be happy to send you a copy.
To summarize, in short, John will not be at the festival due
to problems which he encountered with the festival
organizers, as well as problems that have arisen due to Sid
being there (this having to do with Sid’s not so warm
reception of the A&E Biography).
Although I’ve known for some time now that things have not
been going well up there, I was hoping that the problems
would sort themselves out. John Fricke was working so hard
at getting things back on track, but was running up against
a wall at every turn. Anyway, I’m not going to get back
into the nitty gritty on this, since John’s email explains
so well what has happened.
I can’t express the disappointment and anger I feel about
this whole mess. However, I am trying to be optimistic about
going up there and having a good time, no matter what kind
of presentation the Festival organizers “slap” together. (As
an aside, it is my understanding that there is not a single
Judy fan on the Festival committee. I don’t know how a
Festival meant to honor Judy can be run by a committee made
up of non-Fans…..) Hmmm…..
Well, I will be at this years festival simply because it
offers me the opportunity to gather in one spot with other
fans (and especially the members of this fan club!) to talk
about our favorite entertainer. As many people have told
me, and as John also said in his email, the atmosphere alone
should make it enjoyable.
It has been suggested to me that we all get together and
create our own presentations. For those of you who ARE
attending, and are interested in doing this, please feel
free to bring your memories, memorabilia etc. I’m sure that
we could all cram into one of the rooms at the Sawmill, or
in the lounge and make our own mini Judy Fest. If anyone
has any other suggestions, please let me know.
Our fan club party is still on…that’s a good point and, to
give them some kind of credit, the Festival Organizers will
be loaning us (free of charge) the use of the one of the
big Conference rooms, as well as the TV and VCR.
So, I don’t think that the festival will be a total loss
(although it could have been much, much better!). We still
will have Tony Landini’s presentation (I hope!)…that
should be wonderful, and for those of you who are
interested, Lorna and Joey and (gasp!) Sid will be doing an
open “conversation” about Judy with the fans. Should be
interesting to see what’s said to Sid…hahaha….
Anyway, I hope those of you who planned on going will still
attend. If you decide not to…that’s perfectly
Personally, in the future, I will not be providing my
support to THIS Festival in any way (not unless they get
their act straightened out and get rid of the offenders who
don’t know how to treat people, and Judy’s legacy, with
Well…What more can I say….If I really told you how I
felt about this whole situation, you’d have to censor this
Anyway, I thought I’d end on a positive note…..
There has been some talk of starting up a new Judy Festival
(in a different location) at some point in the future.
Let’s hope this becomes a reality…..
If you have any questions, please let me know…..I know
that for some of you this may be confusing and very
upsetting…I’ll try to respond to your e-mails as quickly
as I can.
May 21, 1997
Subject: Schoolmarms from Grand Rapids
What a crying shame to read of John’s and Laura’s (and
several others’) dealings over the past few months with the
supposed “caretakers” of Judy’s memory in her birthplace.
The situation’s sad but hardly unique. I’m reminded of a
lengthy article I read a few years back about the
townspeople of Winchester, Virginia, many of whom are still
torn about how to memorialize their “hometown girl” Patsy
Cline (or whether to even memorialize her in the first
place, for that matter, since to this day she is viewed by
some townspeople as having been a potty-mouthed floozy from
the “wrong side of the tracks”). Unfortunately, some of the
individuals at the helm in Winchester had no real
appreciation or knowledge of Patsy as a performer, and
simply viewed Patsy Cline celebrations as a sort of
glorified pig-roast! Granted, many of these folks have the
best of intentions, but to those of us out there who are
continually staggered by an artist’s talent (Judy, Patsy, or
whoever), who have read and listened to and followed
*everything* we possibly can about someone, an annual
celebration for that artist should *not* center primarily
around bobbing for apples!
To me, it boils down to this: Small towns that gave birth to
big stars sometimes just can’t cut the mustard when it comes
to honoring their own with an appropriate focus. Wouldn’t it
be great if there were such a place as a “Popular Song Hall
of Fame,” similar to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in
Cleveland, which would serve as 1) a museum honoring the
great performers and composers of American popular song, and
2) a central meeting place for folks like us on an annual
…Which leads me to my next question — any millionaires
out there? :o)
Supposedly a Museum of American Music is in its *extremely*
preliminary development stages here in DC. Maybe someday
that will serve such a purpose.
May 21, 1997
From: Mark Harris
Subject: Smalltown Blues
Yes, it’s really a disgrace the way some small towns treat
their local FEMALE stars (never seems to happen with men). I
grew up in Northern Virginia, and my mom & Patsy’s birthdays
are a month apart. Mom & Dad and Patsy & Charlie Dick were
married within a week of each other. Mom says she remembers
hearing Patsy play at local dances as a strictly small-time
entertainer from 1955-57 while she and Dad were dating. She
says that Patsy “had a reputation” – she certainly didn’t
mind anyone hearing her cuss like a trucker, but felt the
rep was mostly just the small-town belief that entertainers
on the whole were “low class”. You even see a reflection of
those beliefs in those times in I Love Lucy subplots
directed against the Ricardos and Judy bios certainly give
us the impression her childhood was much the same. There was
also some pretty public strife resulting from Patsy’s
difficulty in getting to work on time during her stint on
the (then local) Jimmy Dean Morning Show from Washington,
similar to Godfrey’s public scolding of Julius La Rosa (and
others) on the air. Coincidentally Leesburg (Godfrey’s home
town) and Winchester (Patsy’s) are very close to each other,
and Godfrey gave Patsy her first national exposure on his
Talent Scouts show. What a shame that Winchester STILL has
this attitude towards their most famous citizen.
A friend of mine grew up in Sevierville, TN and went to
school with Randy Parton. He says Dolly was the “bleach
blonde slut” in town and that feeling prevailed among many
until she opened up Dollywood in the mid-80’s and gave most
everyone in that stagnant-economy burg a job. Funny how
money changes people’s minds.
That’s why the recounting of Grand Rapids, Minn. natives
disturbs me so. It makes me feel that they have NO RIGHT to
claim her as their own. We’ve heard this attitude has been
present before here on the JUDY List, not just with the
recent changes John and Krista have told us about.
Why CAN’T a better Judy Celebration for 1998 be organized
somewhere else? We certainly have the resources between List
and Internet Fan Club members to draw most of the crowd away
from GR if we tried and promoted it well. Bet a relevant
city such as St. Louis would be more than happy to host such
a tribute in a manner our star deserves. Something to think
May 22, 1997
From: Steve Jarrett [Webmaster of The Live Performances! website]
Subject: GR Blues………
I was TRULY saddened to read John’s comments to the list
tonight. What a crying shame. It almost seems that Kelsch is
the Wicked Witch of the East, Luft is the Wicked Witch of the
West – and the fans are the munchkins at the mercy of both of
them. Where is Dorothy when we need her?
Per Marks comment: > Why CAN’T a better Judy Celebration for
1998 be organized somewhere else? <
There’s only ONE place for me – New York City! A tour of
Carnegie Hall the Palace Theater – Tony Landini alone could
fill an evening (I’m sure) telling about all the times he’s
seen her! Is the piano bar called Judy’s still open?
ed Judy’s still open?
There’s the TV and Radio Museum, And maybe an honest to God
movie theater…… That maybe she actually WATCHED one of
her movies in – where we could see Judy movies?
Another selling point – dirt cheap air fares…….. You land
in your plane and YOU’RE THERE – no 3 hour drives etc…
John, have you EVER had 200 Judy fans to your apartment for
Oh, HECK, with John, Eric, Scott (and Al?) up there – WHO
NEEDS GR? Who needs her home town, and WHO needs Sid. Do I
sound aggravated? I am, it seems that they want the fans
money for their own purposes, but they don’t want to give the
fans what they want. ‘You’ll take what we have and enjoy it’
seems to be the message I got from John’s comments.
Anyway, on the last day we could go to Ferncliff and pay our
respects in a way that the folks at Grand Rapids have no clue
of how to do PROPERLY….
Just my 2 cents.
( o o )
Who is the World’s greatest entertainer?
May 22, 1997
From: Al DiOrio
Not much to offer today except my own reaction to the
commotion surrounding the Grand Rapids situation.
It’s really a shame that the interests of a few (such as Mr.
Luft) who are really only interested in self-promotion have to
get in the way of what could have been a beautiful time for
those who really care about Judy and her work.
Obviously, with the most recent turn of events, I’ve cancelled
my own intended attendance at the Festival. It wasn’t a very
difficult decision to make.
I know of no one who has best served Judy’s best interest or
that of her fan’s than John. Conversely, Mr. Luft makes his
priorities known over and over. He has ripped off Judy’s fans
at every turn, and obviously would continuie to do so if he
could. As for the Museum personnel involved: they seem to have
lost touch with subject of their museum. It has always seemed
to me, to a certain degree, that the purpose of the museum was
more formthe grandizement (is that a word?) of Grand Rapids
rather than to honor Judy. It’s absurd that a town the size of
GR would feel that they have done anything to deserve the
attention on their own. Had Judy not been born there who would
have ever really realized that there was a Grand Rapids,
At any rate, enough of my ramblings on the subject. I, for
one, intend to make sure that the management of the Museum and
the Festival understand why I won’t be attending. Perhaps if
Sid’s performance as Ida in ICGOS had been a little better –
he could have moved on to an acting career – and gotten out of
the Judy Garland business!
May 22, 1997
Subject: Re: NYC and Judy!
WOW!! What a GREAT idea!! Judy party in NYC! I would certainly
love to participate in such a tribute to Judy. We could also
visit the Judy Garland Memorial Rose Garden while there. I was
in New York last summer but was unable to visit it(I was with
non-Judy people). I did however get away from my friends for a
visit to Hartsdale and Ferncliff Cemetary. I took a dozen
yellow roses and was very pleased to see a bunch of bright
yellow crysanthemums already there. It was a very emotional
experience for me and would be a truely beautiful way to end a
weekend of honoring Judy.
My reason for being in NY was to attend a friends wedding
later in the day that I “visited” Judy. The reception was held
in a large ballroom at a Marriot Hotel. The ballroom had an
excellent sound system and a D.J. was hired for the evening.
While sitting and waiting for the bride and groom I was trying
to follow my friends conversations but my mind was miles away
thinking about Judy and my experience earlier in the day. Then
all of the sudden… “Ding dong Ding dong. Do you hear the
bells go ding dong? Do you know…” That glorious voice rang
loud and clear throughout the ballroom! He played about half
the song and I almost cried I was so happy! It couldn’t have
happened on a more appropriate day for me. Goose bumps!
May 22, 1997
Subject: Judy Festival
I just finished reading last nights list and it really is sad
about all the grumblings in Grand Rapids, but maybe it could
be an invitation to start something much more exciting- like
having a festival in New York City (Judy’s favorite city). I
could really go for that! Touring the Palace Theater, etc.-
even visiting Judy’s gravesite. Maybe we could even get Liza
involved- and just think how strongly New Yorkers have felt
about Judy, giving her some of her most triumphant moments. I
know there’d be lots of support. Just a thought, but I love
My best to everyone,
May 24, 1997
Subject: Tickets for the Festival
Here’s the response from the festival organizers regarding
exchanges, refunds etc. If you have any further questions,
please let me know….
From: The Judy Garland Children’s Museum
Dear Krista, Thanks for your e-mail. In answer to your questions:
1. Yes, we will be sending one ticket for each talk or seminar
to all who purchased a Fricke lecture ticket. This way, people
will get a free ticket, and they’ll be able to choose among
the new offerings.
2. Yes, if people do not want to attend the new offerings,
they will be able to submit their tickets at the Museum (not
at the events) for a cash refund.
3. All who purchased Glazier tickets may submit this ticket at
the Museum for a cash refund during the Festival.
4. Yes, we will be sending an explanatory note with all
tickets sent. ALL TICKETS WILL BE OUT IN THE MAIL BY THIS
COMING MONDAY Hope this answers your questions for now. Best
regards, John Kelsch
May 28, 1997
From: Steve Sanders
Subject: Re: JUDY Volume 2 Issue 146
I’m very sorry to hear about the problems with Grand Rapids,
and John Fricke being “uninvited” by the people in charge due
to Sid Luft’s dictum. All I can say about that is that Sid
indeed has been very upset with “Biography,” claiming factual
errors, but mostly that “Ford Star Jubilee” and the “Star”
premiere footage is owned by him and is not in public domain
as A&E claims.
So I assume he’s going to take it to court; in the meantime,
he’s obviously chosen John in the direction of his anger.
This is deeply regrettable.
Things calmed down and the list went back to its non-drama business as usual. On May 29th “Krista” posted about the Festival and a planned fan club party. The post did not elicit any more drama which I’m sure made all of the List members quite happy. There was a bit of Sid Luft bashing, but mostly regarding his ponderous LP and CD releases. There are rumors that persist to this day that the reason for the abrupt change was partly due to Sid’s feelings but also because of, allegedly, Fricke’s own bad behavior at one or more past Festivals.
It wasn’t until after the Festival happened that Steve Sanders posted a rare (for him) bitchy post about the Festival:
June 20, 1997
From: Steve Sanders
Subject: Grand Rapids
Just wondering if anyone out there can provide eyewitness
accounts of the already-infamous Grand Rapids gathering. I
could be wrong, but I’m hearing that (sans John Fricke) they
were down to about two events and about six attendees — and
that may include the three Lufts. (Sounds like one of those
lousy vaudeville acts..!)
All things considered, despite their Big Plans, I still think
Grand Rapids, if you will, doesn’t quite know what to do with
Judy Garland. She’s fine as Dorothy, sure, but they haven’t
quite forgiven her for growing up, having problems, becoming a
huge star. And, of course, her just getting OUT of Grand
Rapids opens out a whole other kettle of fish. They still may
be steamed about that one. After all, even the MAYOR of Grand
Rapids is still living in Grand Rapids. Which I’m sure is a
fine place to be.
And all of those stories about Frank and his private exploits
around town with other townfolk. Why, they just won’t have
it. They are apparently very upset that this aspect of Grand
Rapids local life was included on the “Biography” program
(although this information is far from new). They would like
to believe certain things don’t happen in Grand Rapids.
Well, one thing didn’t happen. A first-rate festival that
Judy really deserves.
All in all, this event might have been little more than, as
they said in “Summer Stock”…little more than, well,
On July 7, 1997, “Mark” gave the news that the Festival was well attended:
Subject: festival news?
I have heard some second hand accounts about the festival.
That it was a lot of fun, quite successful and well-attended.
I do hope that people who attended will share their
experiences with those of us who were unable to go.
I have a friend born on Judy’s birthday who is becoming a fan.
She has requested to see MMISL. I asked if I could show her
some television performances as well and she agreed. I’m so
excited to be able spread around some more Judy joy.
The next day, Tony Landini, the well known collector who owned a pair of the Ruby Slippers, gave this “review” of the Festival, as did “Krista.” They both pointed out that in spite of the rumors, the Festival was a big success. Also at this time, the full email addresses of members were again being displayed. Perhaps it was due to the fact that also on this day Harris noted a new software for the automation of the List, as well as its new email address:
Subject: Judy Festival
From: Tony , firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 08 Jul 1997 21:37:27 GMT
You asked for it:
We thought the Grand Rapids 22nd Annual Judy Garland Festival
was a great success — the only real “down side” being that
John Fricke was not there. It was well attended, with visitors
from 35 states and seven countries.
The three Lufts attended and mingled with the fans throughout
the festival, especially Sid and Joe. We spent much time
talking to Sid and Joe, at the airport,at dinners and at the
bar sipping on Riedel wine glasses 🙂 . Sid has a number of Judy projects on the fire which
sound good. Whether they materialize or not remains to be
seen. He and Joe obviously enjoyed the festival and seemed to
be touched by the love and affection the attendees had for
Judy. Joe is a great guy who spent most of the time with the
fans. This was his first visit to Grand Rapids, the
historical society museum and the new Judy Garland Children’s
Museum, and he was very much moved by the whole experience.
Thursday night there were opening ceremonies in front of
Judy’s childhood home, followed by a get-acquainted buffet at
the Sawmill Inn, an ideal place to hold such a festival and an
opportunity to connect faces to the names we’ve been talking
to on the list for all of these months!
Friday morning Jim Sazevich, a Grand Rapids historian who
researched the Gumm family as well as the home, talked about
his experiences and his findings, plus answered many
questions. Interesting — he provided insight into what
makes Grand Rapids tick and into Judy’s early background.
That afternoon Roger Baum, L.Frank’s great-grandson, talked
about Great Grandpa and about his books which are again
delighting youngsters around the world. Later, packed houses
saw the Wizard of Oz on the big screen at one of the local
theaters three times that afternoon and the munchkins were
kept busy after each showing. The three of them are
absolutely delightful and very approachable. They dashed to
the 5:30 reception back at the Sawmill where light
refreshments were served.
Friday night a big crowd went to the Reif Performing Arts
Center to hear the discussion by Sid, Lorna and Joe — “Judy
Garland: The Facts Only.” I guess we, like many others,
wondered what to expect! They sat on the stage behind a
table, facing the audience, with Jon Miner serving as
moderator. They did not screen the the questions so the
opportunity was there for all kinds of questions. But most of
them were of a general, non-controversial nature; no one
asked questions of great depth. Lorna and Joe told stories of
their childhood with Judy. Sid added the father’s viewpoint,
and the three of them bantered back and forth about their
remembrances — like whether Judy sang around the house. Sid
said yes, she sang to her records; the kids don’t remember
that at all. Lana Turner lived next door, the Bogart kids
were down the street and Luci Arnez was Lorna’s best friend —
little tidbits like that. The audience seemed to enjoy it.
Saturday was the day for the outdoor activities on the grounds
of the house. A highlight was the performance of three young
girls who portrayed the Gumm sisters as they might have sung
on the landing in the living room. Michelle Russell, who
played Ethel Gumm, did a marvelous job. She wrote the
program, auditioned young singers via video tape and the
telephone, and selected three girls from different states
(Alaska, New York and Wisconsin) who belted out those songs
like we could not believe! Congrats to her, the girls and to
our own fan club member Josh Smith who accompanied them on the
We had a Ruby Slipper contest which was judged by Ruth and me.
There were 20 entries and two winners — the local kids did a
nice job making their slippers. There were many activities
going on during the day — 20 some vendors, stage shows, Miss
Minnesota, an aerobic demonstration, and munchkins.
Unfortunately, the rain started in mid afternoon and put a
damper on some of this.
Next was “My Ruby Slipper Story,” by yours truly — with
video and story on how I obtained the slippers and what I’ve
done with them so far. Some 175 people attended and many of
them told me they enjoyed it. The “Judy Garland In Concert”
panel discussion followed. It was moderated by Roger Cogar of
England. The panel consisted of a woman who first saw Judy
singing publicly in 1935 when she (Judy) was 13, a British
woman who is a long-time Judy concert goer, a man who did not
discover her until 1967, and myself . Others in the audience
recounted their experiences at her concerts and we were kept
busy answering questions.
The gala dinner Saturday night was great. There were about
320 there and Lorna did a wonderful job singing a two-song
medley, with her husband Colin at the piano. Last but
certainly not least was our fan club party hosted by Krista
Pugsley and Jim Johnson (Dutch treat next year, kids?). These
two, with Jim’s wife Kelly, did a marvelous job the whole
weekend, of identifying and introducing fan club members to
each other and arranging this gettogether. About 40 of us
attended the party; we talked and drank, played Judy songs and
watched “Presenting Lily Mars.” The British contingent was
invited and plans are being made to somehow merge our fan
clubs (more computer time for Krista and Jim!)
That night and the next day there were hugs and kisses as new
friends said their goodbyes. Watch for Aly, 15 years old!
She sang Judy songs for us — has a great stage voice. Maybe
our next Judy!
On a personal note, it was wonderful to meet all of the fan
club members who attended. We were delighted to meet the
group of enthusiastic (!!!) teenage fans (can you believe
one’s dad brought him here from Belgium?).
We had a wonderful time and we can’t wait to follow the Yellow
Brick Road to Grand Rapids again!!
Subject: For the Record
From: Krista, email@example.com
Date: 08 Jul 1997 21:36:28 GMT
I have been hearing so many rumors since I got back about the
supposed “bad” time that we all had at the festival, that I
thought I’d better set the record straight. I don’t know where
these stories are coming from, but they are very untrue.
Everyone who I had the opportunity to chat with before or
after the festival all expressed to me that they had a
wonderful time at the festival, and at our Fan Club party. I
personally had a ball…haven’t had so much fun in a long
You will be hearing more about the festival & party on the
Website shortly. Pictures, accompanied by “articles” from
those who were there, will be posted on a page on the
I will be sitting down over the next few to summarize the
Festival. Right now I’m just trying to get things settled
down at home after what was a wonderful, but very busy two
weeks off. I promise to tell you all more about the festival
after I get myself re-organized.
I’ll leave you with some interesting news to ponder: During
our time in Minnesota, we had the opportunity to meet with
three members of the British fan club. We discussed very
briefly a pooling of resources between the two clubs. I don’t
have any further details on what this will involve yet, Jim
and I will be discussing this with the Committee members of
the British Fan Club over the next few weeks/months (?).
Since the rumor has also gotten around, yes, I was
interviewed. This was for a BBS documentary that the British
Fan Club is working on. Jim Johnson was also interviewed as
were many other members of our club…too numerous to list
here. Much of the festival was filmed, and hopefully we will
be able to watch it on TV in the near future.
Also, you may be surprised to see who some of our newest
members will be! I’m not going to spill the beans yet, but
keep your eyes peeled during the next few months.
Jim and I have a lot of work to do for the next little while,
so please be patient with us. We may be a bit slower in
getting things done until the dust settles.
I encourage those who were at the festival to post their
thoughts and stories about it on the List. Please also submit
these to either Jim or myself so we can add them to the
The List wasn’t ALL drama. Many discussions revolved around various Garland performances, people’s favorites, and members asking questions. On a regular basis, Harris conducted polls for the enjoyment of the members. These polls kept the conversations flowing. On June 1, 1997 he posted the results of his latest poll:
From: Mark Harris
Subject: Favorite Capitol Recordings
The results of JUDY List Poll #5, FAVORITE CAPITOL RECORDINGS:
(13 members voting)
RANK PTS SONG (Album)
1) 30 Come Rain Or Come Shine (Judy)
COMMENTS: (Mark Harris) Can a song get much more fun
than this? She steals THIS one from Sinatra
(Pat Vignola) This is simply breathtaking &
the final “shine” is one of the most beautiful
notes to ever emerge from the glorious Garland
2) 29 What Now My Love (Live At The Palladium)
COMMENTS: (Al DiOrio) What can I say – this has been my
favorite since the first time I heard Judy
sing it on the Paar program.
(Emily) She sang it with such
(Mark Harris) Almost scary in the intensity at
the end. You feel as if Judy is putting her
own life into the rendition, vocal flaws and
all. The Ultimate Suicide Song.
3) 24 It Never Was You (Judy! That’s Entertainment)
COMMENTS: (Emily) Love her voice’s slight
quiver…a songwriter’s dream performance.
24 Comes Once In A Lifetime (The Garland Touch)
5) 20 Happy New Year (Alone)
COMMENTS: (Pat) There’s something about this
song that really gets me. I know that
“heartfelt” is a word that can describe pretty
much every one of Judy’s recordings, but it’s
that quality which makes this one so special.
6) 19 By Myself (ICGOS S/T)
7) 18 Rock A Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody (Carnegie Hall)
COMMENTS: (Al DiOrio) I think that this recording
completely demonstrates the power, the fun,
and the extraordinary showmanship of Judy on
8) 16 Over The Rainbow (Carnegie Hall)
16 It Never Was You (ICGOS S/T)
COMMENTS: (Al DiOrio) Two simply beautiful
performances (referring also to “Just Imagine”
below) – right up there with Danny Boy. (So
many cuts from the That’s Entertainment LP
could qualify also.
16 Come Rain Or Come Shine (Carnegie Hall)
11) 15 I Hadn’t Anyone Till You (Judy In Love)
COMMENTS: (Pat) I know this probably won’t be
anyone else’s number one, and I don’t think
I can put into words why it is for me, but it
15 I Could Go On Singing (ICGOS S/T)
COMMENTS: (Mark Harris) A grand Garland belter for her
“modern” era. Goofy lyrics are part of the
15 Down With Love (Judy! That’s Entertainment)
15 Danny Boy (Miss Show Business)
COMMENTS: (Al DiOrio) I really think this may be the
most beautiful recording Judy ever made.
15) 14 Stormy Weather (Carnegie Hall)
14 Smile (Live At The Palladium)
COMMENTS: (Mark Harris) So sweet, so tender, so
heart-wrenching. Wish she’d done a studio
cut, but maybe it wouldn’t’ve been as
14 San Francisco (Carnegie Hall)
COMMENTS: (Al DiOrio) Again, this is just Judy
the concert performer at her best. The
“Garland” humor was so much a part of her
appeal and it is so obvious in this song –
not just in her intro but throughout.
14 Judy At The Palace (The London Sessions)
14 Do It Again (Judy In Love)
20) 13 The Red Balloon (The Letter)
COMMENTS: (Pat) This is a song that in
the wrong hands could easily become
overwrought, but not with Judy. It is her
restraint that makes this recording so
13 How Long Has This Been Going On (That’s Entertainment)
22) 12 Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart (Carnegie Hall)
COMMENTS: (Emily) Sit back, relax…a fun, fun song!
12 Chicago (Carnegie Hall)
COMMENTS: (Al DiOrio) Judy’s vocal power at its most
24) 11 Old Devil Moon (Judy! That’s Entertainment)
11 Just In Time (Live!)
COMMENTS: (Al DiOrio) She just couldn’t get any better
than this – laryingtis and all.
(Mark Harris) The change in modulation and
tempo is Judy at her finest. She takes it away
from Judy Holliday.
11 I Concentrate On You (Judy In Love)
27) 10 Stormy Weather (London Sessions)
10 Little Girl Blue (Alone)
10 Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries (Judy)
COMMENTS: (Mark Harris) Jaunty Judy. Recorded during a
“good” period, she really sounds as if she’s
conquered the world here.
10 Last Night When We Were Young (Judy)
10 Just Imagine (Judy)
10 April Showers (Judy)
10 Any Place I Hang My Hat (Judy)
10 Alone Together (Carnegie Hall)
35) 9 Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart (Judy In Love)
9 The Worst Kind Of Man (The Letter)
9 The Man That Got Away (Carnegie Hall)
COMMENTS: (Emily) You can sure feel this song!
9 I Hadn’t Anyone Till You (Judy In Love)
9 How About Me (Alone)
9 Do I Love You (Judy In Love)
41) 8 You Go To My Head (London Sessions)
COMMENTS: (Mark Harris) I think this is Judy at her most
erotic, along with “Do It Again”.
8 Lucky Day (London Sessions)
8 If I Love Again (Judy! That’s Entertainment)
8 I Can’t Give You Anything But Love (Judy In Love)
45) 7 Me & My Shadow (Alone)
COMMENTS: (Al DiOrio) I love the Alone album, through
and through but I think this recording is
especially haunting. There is no doubt while
listening to it that Judy certainly knew what
lonely was all about.
7 Hello, Bluebird (ICGOS S/T)
COMMENTS: (Al DiOrio) So perfectly shows Judy’s vibrancy
and yes, her love for life and her music.
7 Blue Prelude (Alone)
48) 6 The Party’s Over (Live!)
COMMENTS: (Mark Harris) Another “blue” Judy tune
dripping with gut feeling. The cry in the
voice at “take off your makeup” sounds real,
6 Day In, Day Out (Judy In Love)
6 By Myself (Alone)
6 Among My Souvenirs (Alone)
52) 5 Lucky Day (Judy)
5 I Am Loved (Judy In Love)
5 Day In, Day Out (The One & Only)
55) 4 This Is It (???)
4 Puttin’ On The Ritz (Carnegie Hall)
4 Memories Of You (Alone)
4 It’s A Great Day For The Irish (London Sessions)
59) 3 When The Sun Comes Out (Garland At The Grove)
3 Maybe I’ll Come Back (Judy)
3 I Get The Blues When It Rains (Alone)
62) 2 Purple People Eater (Garland At The Grove)
2 More Than You Know (Judy In Love)
2 Joey, Joey Joey (Live!)
COMMENTS: (Pat) Thrilling, as only Judy can be.
2 I’ve Got A Right To Sing The Blues (Alone)
66) 1 That’s All There Is, There Isn’t Anymore (The Letter)
1 Sweet Danger (45 RPM)
1 Never Will I Marry (Live At The Palladium)
1 Beautiful Trouble (The Letter)
While at first glance it appears that if the two versions of
“It Never Was You” had been combined, this song would take #1
from “Come Rain Or Come Shine”, that tune, too, shows up
multiple times on the results and would maintain its #1 slot
if both versions were combined.
By adding together the songs from each, we’re able to get a
ranking of favorite ALBUMS, too:
1) 125 Judy At Carnegie Hall
2) 88 Judy
3) 86 Judy In Love
4) 74 Alone
5) 71 Judy! That’s Entertainment
6) 57 I Could Go On Singing S/T
7) 44 Judy In London/London Sessions
44 Judy And Liza Live At The Palladium
9) 24 The Letter
24 The Garland Touch
11) 19 Judy Garland Live!/Judy Takes Broadway
12) 15 Miss Show Business
13) 5 Garland At The Grove
The JUDY List Editor
Steve Sanders gave this fascinating explanation of the story behind Judy’s appearances on “The Tonight Show” surviving over the years:
June 21, 1997
From: Steve Sanders
Subject: Judy on Carson
In reading the surge of discussion about finding Judy’s Merv
Griffin appearances, it reminded me of how someone seemed to
go out of the way to preserve the original color video masters
of Judy’s two appearances on “The Tonight Show.”
I’m pretty certain that the copies floating around came from
either me (indirectly) or the lab that made the transfer from
the original two-inch color video masters to 3/4″
videocassette. This would be about ten years ago, I believe.
I got permission to get copies directly from Carson because
they were going to go to the Museum of Television &
Broadcasting. I was working at NBC in LA at the time and
Johnny Carson very generously agreed to allow the tapes to be
released (he was asked while waiting in the wings to tape his
monologue!) and even paid for the (expensive) transfers; he
normally would never allow it, but his affection for Judy led
to him say yes to my request. I didn’t know if I’d ever do
something with them at the Museum, but I knew it was probably
the only chance for someone to locate the tapes and possibly
transfer them — because I was worked in-house at NBC and I
thought that might make it easier to work out details. And it
But what I later found out after the tapes were given to me —
which was very interesting to say the least — is that those
two shows with Judy are virtually the ONLY surviving color
tapes of the Carson show during that time.
Somebody (and God bless that person) knew that there were
certain to be erased. To save them, he wrote “FOR EMMY
CONSIDERATION” on both of the Judy tapes — not the entire
shows, but only the Judy portions of the show. They obviously
were not for any Emmy consideration — and certainly not both
of them, which both happened to have Judy on them — so all I
can figure is that some Judy fan way back did what he could to
So over the years, they were put aside and not erased and
taken care of just because “Emmy Consideration” was written on
the side of the tape box. Truly amazing! And so they remain
with us — only because of one person “protecting” them.
You might remember that a brief clip of “Till After the
Holidays” was used on the 25th anniversary show; that’s
exactly the time the tapes were located.
Isn’t that something? So maybe someday we’ll have the same
luck with the two “Merv” shows…anything, as we have learned
about these matters, is possible!
“People Magazine” published a list of the 20th Century’s Most Intriguing People in August of 1997, prompting this post:
Subject: Judy is voted one of 20th Century’s Most Intriging
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 21:41:13 -0700
Sorry to be away for so long folks. I have been very busy with
my barbershop group.
Since I have not kept up with the entire list, I don’t know if
any of you have mentioned that Judy has been voted as one of
the most intriguing people of the 20th century. They include
her in the “Gone Too Soon” category along with James Dean,
Patsy Cline, Jean Harlow, George Gershwin, Jimi Hendrix, and
Janis Joplin among others.
This is a vote done by People magazine, the say:
“The magic of her personality inspired a cult of pathos.”
“She never made it over the rainbow. Blessed with a
voluminous, music-hall voice, talent to spare and a disarming
sincerity, the young Wizard of OZ star nevertheless turned
increasingly to drugs and alcohol to assuage the insecurities
magnified by her driven stage mother, even in Judy’s
adulthood, and the furious pace of studio work.”
“She married five fractious times and did her best to mother
Liza Minnelli and Lorna and Joseph Luft. Amid some 35 movies,
albums, and wrenching concerts, she suffered suicide attempts,
breakdowns, and illnesses. Her performances, said one critic,
became ‘tribal celebrations,’ which had fans chanting ‘We love
you Judy!’ But the adulation was not enough. Before she died
of an overdose of barbiturates at 47, she said of Oz, ‘I was
really little tortured Tillie in the whole damn thing.”
They also include the following Judy quote:
“I have a great love of an audience, and I used to want to
prove it to them by giving them blood.”
Wow! This says it all. It is a little more negative than I
would like but it says such nice things about Judy. The
negative side does increase Judy’s appeal to the general
public whether we like that fact or not.
In the summer of 1997, Clinique ran and ad for their product that utilized Judy’s “Get Happy” soundtrack recording from Summer Stock. In it, they replaced the word “Lord” in the line “The Lord is waiting to take your hand” with “world.” Most people assumed it was political correctness that prompted the change, and that “world” was a different singer dubbed over Judy’s voice. The following is an explanation of the switch and where the “world” vocal came from:
Subject: THE WORD On The Clinique Ad
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 97 20:25:54 -0400
This was sent to me by one “firstname.lastname@example.org”, obviously a faked
name. The headers of the message show that it originated from a
customer of the Microsoft Network (msn.com). Whether or not the
story contained is fact or fiction will, I guess, be left up to
the “experts” in the field. Allan….does this sound plausible?
I found your Judy Garland web site in a Lycos search I did to see
if there was any “buzz” about a commercial I recently worked on
for Clinique’s new “Happy” fragrance. I was delighted to see a
group of Judy Garland fans discussing it!
Just to answer some of the questions your people have asked and
points they have raised, the word “Lord” was struck not for any
political correctness, but simply because we felt the phrase “the
Lord is waiting to take your hand” invoked thoughts of imminent
demise, certainly not an image we wanted to promote for our
client’s product. When “world” is substituted, it sounds as if
someone who just used our client’s product is now ready to face
the day. I think you’ll agree it’s more positive that way.
How we did it is another story, and because of what I’m about to
tell you, I’d prefer to remain anonymous if you relay this story
to your fan club (in case Warner Bros. has a problem with our
non-licensed use of their recording, however small). We took a
sample of Miss Garland singing the word in a song called “It’s A
New World” from her movie “A Star Is Born” (specifically the
instance before she sings the words “though we’re in a tiny
room”) that was very close in tempo, pitch, and emphasis to what
we needed. We electronically enhanced it a bit and just dropped
on top of a tape of “Get Happy” with the word “Lord”
electronically stripped out of it and…..voila! A new lyric for
an old song sung by the original (now deceased) artist. It’s done
more often than you may think.
Hope you enjoyed the story and it’s nice to hear that some folks
appreciate our concept! Retro is very hot in the advertising
world right now, and you may see more Garland-connected
advertising soon if Time/Warner/Turner doesn’t ask too high a
price. She connotes hipness (retro) with old-fashioned values
(her screen image) to the general public. The mmost highly-prized
demographic (18-34) is too young to remember the problems and
rumors and only know Dorothy and the warm feelings towards her in
You have an attractive website in both concept and design. Are
you in “the business”? You should be!
Sent this to you in e-mail because your listserv wouldn’t allow
me to send anyhting to it since I’m not a subscriber to your
list. Feel free to pass it along to your group.
——–A Fellow Fan
Certainly sounds possible to me (no, I wasn’t swayed by the
compliment at the end….much )! What do y’all think? I reckon
if anyone wanted to research the advertising agency that produced
the commercial, they might be able to verify this if they thought
it was important enough….
I finally joined the List in July of 1997. “Krista” would post the list of new members on a regular basis. She referred to it as the “club” – the Judy Club which was tied to the List but also independent. She would create a new website at http://www.judygarland.net for the club. That URL then became Rita Piro’s (author of “Judy A Celebration” and “Judy Garland – The Golden Years”). It is now the home of Michael Siewert’s costume collection. I was included in Krista’s new members list on July 6th. She noted that the list of “club” members was up to 327. I wouldn’t actually post anything to the List until November. I don’t recall why. Perhaps I was just busy. For what it’s worth, here it is. Of note to some is my mention of my “Judy room” being on Jim Johnson’s Database. This was before it move to its own URL and became “The Judy Room.” At this point, it was simply photos of my actual “Judy room.”
Subject: Re: The JUDY List Digest – 11/07/97
Date: Sat, 8 Nov 1997 19:42:31 -0500 (EST)
This is my first time on the list! So here goes:
Just saw the Smithsonian travelling exhibition currently here in
Phoenix. Of course, the ruby slippers are heavily featured in
all of the local T.V. spots and all of the ads. The “plaque”
that describes the slippers states that they are the “dancing”
pair – does anyone know if this is true? I saw the pair at the
Disney/MGM Studios in Florida a few years ago and had read
somewhere that their pair are the “skipping” pair.
Anyway, what impressed me the most was the “American Music
Experience” section. There were three T.V. monitors, one for the
history of “black” music in America, one for the roots of rock
and roll, and one for the American Musical. All had huge
“monoliths” illuminated with lights from within. The American
musical heavily featured Judy.
A photo of the Meet Me In St. Louis poster (same as on the CD,
Video, etc), a photo of Vincent, and a huge color photo of Judy &
Mickey from Strike Up The Band. The particular photo was feature
in three places. The text for the larger Judy/Mickey photo
stated that they were “child prodigys from the last days of
Vaudeville”. On the monitor, an approximately 5 minute video
explained the history of the American musical from George M.
Cohan to the present. Judy was the last of three stars actually
mentioned by James Whitmore (?) in his intro as “and the
unforgettable Judy Garland”. Later, Judy is the only star
featured twice, singing Over The Rainbow and The Trolley Song
(from the films of course). It was a nice surprise to see Judy
so heavily featured as the leading lady of the golden age of film
musicals. Too often, it seems, she doesn’t get her due for her
This is a travelling exhibition (old news I’m sure), but keep
your eyes out and go see it if you can.
Side note: Check out my “Judy Room” on Jim Johnsons Judy Page
(it’s pretty crazy!)
Scott in Phoenix
Coming Next: At the end of Chapter Three I noted that I would detail “Scott Schechter’s rise and fall (on the List), the release of the Gerald Clarke biography, and the creation of ‘The Judy Room’ website” in this chapter, but there just wasn’t enough room. This chapter is long enough! But don’t worry, there is a lot more to come…
© 2015 Scott Brogan, The Judy Room & Judy Garland News & Events