On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – April 11

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On this day…

For more details and more photos, check out The Judy Room’s Facebook Page where daily “on this day” updates are posted chronicling Judy Garland’s incredibly rich and busy life!

Judy Garland and her mom, Ethel M. Garland, showing off the new 1939 Coldspot Refrigerator

April 11, 1939:  Judy and her mom, Ethel, promote the new Coldspot Refrigerator.

“Home from MGM’s Hollywood studio and a hard day’s work before the cameras, Judy Garland, 15-year-old film thrush, smiles happily as her mother, Mrs. Ethel M. Garland, fetches a bottle of milk from their Coldspot refrigerator.  The model pictured is similar to those in the new shipment of 1939 refrigerators shown by Sears, Roebuck and Co.”

April 11, 1941:  David O. Alber’s syndicated column makes it seem as though Judy had recently been in New York but there are no records of her traveling there in early 1941.  In early 1941, Judy was busy completing the filming of “Ziegfeld Girl,” appearing at the Academy Awards, appearing on radio, and beginning work on her next film, “Life Begins For Andy Hardy.”  Also shown here is the April 1941 “Movie Life” magazine cover.

Check out The Judy Room’s Extensive Spotlight Section on “Ziegfeld Girl” at http://www.thejudyroom.com/ziegfeldgirl.html

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on the Andy Hardy Series here: http://www.thejudyroom.com/andyhardyseri.html

April 11, 1942: A long day for Judy. From 10:55 a.m. to 6:05 p.m. she was filming scenes for “For Me And My Gal” on the “Interior Hotel Lobby” and “Interior Jo’s Room” sets. From there she went to the MGM portrait studio to pose for publicity photos.

According to this article published in the Tampa Bay Times (Tampa, Florida), that evening Judy was scheduled to appear on the “United China Relief” radio show broadcast by NBC.  There is no information about this broadcast aside from newspaper notices.  No recording exists either so it’s unclear if Judy participated or not.  What’s interesting is that in spite of the stellar lineup of guest stars (including Bob Hope, Lynn Fontanne, Loretta Young, Claude Rains, Tallulah Bankhead, John Garfield, and Madeleine Carroll), the paper chose a lovely photo of Judy to accompany the article which indicates someone was either a Garland fan and/or knew that her image would attract readers.Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on “For Me And My Gal” at http://www.thejudyroom.com/gal.html

Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney on the April 11, 1943 Filmjournalen - Sweden

April 11, 1943:  Judy and Mickey appeared on the cover of the Swedish fan magazine “Filmjournalen.”  The two are seen in a promotional photo for “Babes on Broadway.”

Scan provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!

Also on April 11, 1943:  This article, written by Kate Holliday, appeared in quite a few papers around the country.  It’s fiction from the creative minds at the MGM publicity department with just enough facts to make it believable.  Note how each version of the article has a different headline.

April 11, 1943 WANTS TO BE WOMAN The_Des_Moines_RegisterThe text reads:

JUDY GARLAND, at 20, is neither child nor woman, a circumstance which often obtains with youngsters who grow up in the theater.  She is neither entirely mature nor her own age, yet she is completely charming.

At present, she is also a little pathetic.

She would be the last to admit that.  The seeming failure of her marriage has left her confused, but not sorry for herself.

She has been around show business long enough to know that anything can happen.  She and Dave Rose may remain man and wife.  They may not.  She still thinks he is a great guy, particularly for his music.  And her statement is, “Whichever way it works out will be the best way for both of us.”

Apartment Of Her Own

Judy has been closely concerned with the running of her own life since she was a child.  So she did not return to her mother’s house when she separated from her husband.  Instead, she took an apartment.  It is her present pride and joy. 

It’s a small, sunny place, merely a living room, bedroom, dining room and kitchen.  It is furnished in French provincial, with much brass and many growing plants.  Only the bathroom presents a different note.  What was formerly a little dismal is now a riot of red and white.

The apartment is too tiny to house a maid, and Judy says she wouldn’t have one if she could.

“You get dependent on people when you have a big house,” she says.  “I don’t ever want to be that dependent again.”

Sunday For Housework

She does her own work.  Sundays, particularly, find her madly vacuuming and sweeping.  She is a fiend for washing ash trays.  She likes dusting, but hates to make beds.  And she’s a good cook.

Show business is an old story to her; so old, in fact, that she needn’t make a production of being a star.  She knows she is good.  The studio knows it.  So she is completely natural.

April 11, 1943 WANTS TO BE WOMAN The_Central_New_Jersey_Home_News (New Brunswick)

Occasionally she makes a remark that sounds even younger than her 20 years.

“I’ve heard that the years from 20 to 30 just fly by,” she said.  “Is that true?”

“I’d like to get to the graceful age – between 30 and 40.  I’d like to be the tall, suave type with two children.  You know, the kind that doesn’t show it!”  Then she laughs.  “Instead, I’ll probably be in the dumpy division!”

No Appetite For Detail

Childishly, too, she hates to fill out forms of any kind.  Detail is her pet hate.  Getting a ration book is worse than making a picture.

She also hates to talk on the phone and to look up numbers in the telephone book.  She likes people who greet her over the wire, state their business and hang up.  She gives mad, horrifying excuses not to have to go through the directory.  One of these included a plaintive statement to the information operation: “But I have no hands!”

She has a collection of records, ranging from Sibelius to Louis Armstrong, from Delius to Artie Shaw.  Music is music to Judy.

She has taken but one singing lesson in her life.  That was enough.  The teacher asked her to put a pencil across her teeth and sing.  Judy did.  The woman claimed her diction was bad.  Chewing lead, said Judy, didn’t help it any.  Then the coach said that if she wasn’t careful she’d end up singing like Kate Smith.  Judy’s reaction was, “Is that bad?”

Constantly Singing

She says her father had a naturally beautiful voice, completely untrained.  That’s where she got hers.  She sings constantly in private life, thus keeping her voice flexible.  She’s a little worried about the effect of this on her new neighbors.

April 11, 1943 WANTS TO BE WOMAN Tampa_Bay_Times

“The guy upstairs probably thinks, “We liked her voice, but don’t run it into the ground!”

She hates to get up in the morning, though she presents a smiling exterior. (“You don’t know what’s going on inside!”).  She has a temper which has been quiescent for years.  When it erupts, she is actually ill.  She can never feel the same toward the object of her wrath, no matter how pretty the subsequent apology.

Fond Of Small Hats

She usually is dressed in a suit with a frilly white blouse or a printed dress, over which she throws a fur coat.  Her hats are small, feathered and wonderful.

Through she was included to pudginess as a child, she is now thin.  Her skin is translucent, accentuating her vital brown eyes.  Her cheek bones are positive and her hair is red-gold.  She has been more or less run down for a year and is planning to take a vacation for three months as soon as “Girl Crazy” is finished.  Then she will rent a house in New England.

Has Two Good Hands

She is ambidextrous: writes and eats with her left hand, plays all sports with her right.  She wears her platinum wedding ring and the large square diamond Dave gave her.  She likes long, bright red finger nails.  She plays a shrewd game of poker.

She is on the level, this kid.  Her best friends are her sisters, a worker in the publicity department, and the thousand “little” people on the lot.  And they are the ones who wish her the most happiness.

She’s a little confused now, as I say, because she thought she had found everything with Dave and perhaps didn’t.  But she’s handling herself and the situation with calmness, quietness and honesty.

Also on April 11, 1943:  This photo of Judy and Script Clerk Bill Doran on the set of “Presenting Lily Mars” made the rounds.  On this day Judy was in the midst of rehearsing the song “Embraceable You” for “Girl Crazy.”  She recorded the song on April 15, 1943.

Check out The Judy Room’s Extensive Spotlight Section on “Presenting Lily Mars” at http://www.thejudyroom.com/lilymars.html

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on “Girl Crazy” at http://www.thejudyroom.com/girlcrazy.html

Judy Garland and Gene Kelly in "The Pirate" (1948)

April 11, 1947:  Filming on “The Pirate” continued with scenes shot on the “Exterior Plaza” set. Time called: 3 p.m.; dismissed: 6:05 p.m.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on “The Pirate” at http://www.thejudyroom.com/thepirate.html

Dottie Ponedel and Judy Garland

About Face

April 11, 1948:  This “Around Hollywood” celebrity page features a photo of Judy on the set of “The Pirate” with her make-up woman and friend, Dorothy “Dottie” Ponedel, mistakenly named “Dot Plodell.”Be sure to read the new book about Dottie Ponedel, written by her niece Meredith Ponedel and titled “About Face,” now available here.  Ponedel was quite a woman who had to fight for respect in a male-dominated industry.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on “The Pirate” at http://www.thejudyroom.com/thepirate.html

April 11, 1961 ELSA MAXWELL BING CROSBY Philadelphia_Daily_News.jpg

April 11, 1961:  Elsa Maxwell’s column featured a nice photo of Judy and some really nice words from Bing Crosby:  “… and then he [Bing] said something so nice about Judy Garland, who had just arrived in Palm Beach with her husband, Sid Luft and their three children.  Bing said, ‘Judy is the greatest woman in show business.  There is nothing she can’t do and do better than anyone else.  As a low comedienne, there is no one like her.  For pathos and schmaltz she can hand it out and wring tears from a stone image.  She can play any character she wants on the screen, for she is a gifted and brilliant actress.’  I thought that was terribly sweet.”

April 11, 1963: This review of “I Could Go On Singing” appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Judy Garland in "I Could Go On Singing"

Scan provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!

The review:

A Film to please The Garland Fans

Three elements are combined in “I Could Go On Singing,” starring Judy Garland and Dirk Bogarde, which opened yesterday at the Esquire, Royal and Mission Drive-In.

They include the songs which Miss Garland sings; a melodrama in which a young boy learns to his surprise that the American stage personality who has been kind to him is actually his mother; and that curious blend of emotion and self-pity which characterizes a “woman’s picture.”

Miss Garland plays a singer who comes to London at the height of her career.  Years before she had had a song, fathered by Bogarde, whom she rejected for the sake of her career.  Since that time, Bogarde, a surgeon, adopted the boy, his wife died, and Miss Garland decides she wishes to see your lad.


At first, the action is honest, for as a self-centered star, Miss Garland endeavors ruthlessly to buy his affection.  But after tears and misunderstandings, Bogarde finally declares his love for her.  This seems to be enough for her to continue with her career, while he and the boy, a winning British youngster, Gregory Phillips, apparently go back to their former way of living.

The picture was made in England and there are several pretty views of the countryside, of Stoke Poges, and of London.

The songs are sung long and energetically by Miss Garland, during which she is costumed and photographed in an unkindly fashion.  One red dress is particularly unfortunate as it reveals the ravages times has worked on her figure, and neither make-up nor the camera conceal the effect her troubled years have had on her face.


As a result, in contrast with Bogarde, who is extremely contained as the boy’s father and the eager young Phillips, she is an alien and grasping force.  After the hopeful start, the picture bogs down into sentimentality and the initial contrast is dissipated.

Jack Klugman and Aline MacMahon lend their polished talents to making more believable Miss Garland’s life in the theater.  The songs miss Garland sings are old and not well-known, except for the title number.  Ronald Neame directed.

– P.K.

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