“Judy Garland, still raking in consolation letters, decided today she’s “grateful” to be the first Oscar loser in history to receive as much attention and mail as the winner.” – Aline Mosby, 1955
April 12, 1931: This article and ad were published in The Los Angeles Times. Although eight-year-old “Baby Gumm” (Judy) and her sisters (“The Gumm Sisters”) are not listed in the article they were definitely associated with Maurice Kusell at this time and were a part of the show that opened at the Wilshire-Ebell Theater in Los Angeles on July 10, 1931. They were also still associated with The Meglin Kiddies troupe of child performers.
Kusell’s show was an all-child revue. The Gumm Sisters were featured in three song and dance numbers including “Puttin’ On The Ritz” in which they played “Harlem Crooners,” “Garden Of Beautiful Flowers,” in which they played “gardenettes,” and “Floatin’ Down The Mississippi.” Judy was also featured in two solos (the names of which are unknown), and teamed with Miss Betty Jean Allen for “A Plantation Melody.” The girls’ mom, Ethel, directed the show’s eight-piece orchestra.
The article reads:
Maurice L. Kusell’s “Stars of Tomorrow,” a musical comedy review based entirely on adult lines with an entire cast of children, will be presented at the Wilshre [sic]-Ebell Theater here for an indefinite run. The production starts July 10.
Kusell has enlisted the services of such a popular writer as Dorothy Radford, who has composed many numbers for notables such as the Duncan Sisters, and written musical comedies produced both locally and in the East.
REHEARSALS UNDER WAY
The rehearsals for the production are proceeding exceedingly well under the direction of Kusell, who has staged such outstanding talking-picture musical productions as “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “Great Gabbo,” “Be Yourself,” “Reaching for the Moon,” and many others, including stage successes.
The children’s production of “Stars of Tomorrow,” will be the second edition of this performance. The first was staged two years ago at the Mayan Theater and, during its one performance, played to a capacity house. Kusell has resolved that a juvenile production worth doing at all is worthy of at least a run during the summer months. The cast and chorus will comprise a wealth of young talent obtainable in Southern California. There will be singing, dancing, comedy scenes and lever young comedians and comediennes. There will be, in fact, the wealth of variety found in any regulation grown-up revue.
Kusell’s plans for the midwinter have already been formulated. He will produce for one of the leading Los Angeles theaters, a Christmas festival program with a cast of children. The production will be known as “Christmas Fables,” and was written by Dorothy Radford. “Christmas Fables” offers the children many opportunities to display their various talents. Kusell is now interviewing and giving auditions to children, both experienced and inexperienced, who wish to take part in his winter production.
“Stars of Tomorrow,” is aiming to take its place as the most outstanding musical comedy revue ever produced with an entire cast of children. “Christmas Fables” is to be constructed along different lines, with ample opportunity for every child to display his talents.
April 12, 1934: The first night of a week-long engagement for Frances (Judy) as part of the Gilmore Circus a the New Spreckels Theater in San Diego, California. She was billed as “Baby Bumm” among 23 stars of the Gilmore Circus. “The San Diego Union-Tribune” stated: “Little Miss Frances Gumm, a child, sang ‘Why Darkies Were Born’ in such a fashion that she shared the encore honors with ‘The Sheriff’ who is the star performer of the show.”
April 12, 1935: “The Garland Sisters” (Judy and her two sisters) took part in “The Lawlor Profession Review of 1935” at the Grammar School Auditorium in Lancaster, California.
April 12, 1938: Here’s another photo of Judy with the same refrigerator as seen (with her mom Ethel) in yesterday’s (April 11) post. The placement of the “Pure Lard” as well as Judy looking as though she’s going to hoard food is, in hindsight, quite ironic.
April 12, 1940: Here’s Judy demonstrating how accessories make the costume.
April 12, 1940: Judy and Mickey Rooney pre-recorded “Our Love Affair” while Judy soloed on “Nobody,” both for Strike Up The Band. Time called 9 a.m.; dismissed: 4 p.m.
Listen to “Our Love Affair” here:
Listen to “Our Love Affair” Orchestra Only track here:
Listen to “Nobody” here:
“Our Love Affair” was nominated for the Oscar for “Best Song” but lost to “When You Wish Upon A Star” from Disney’s Pinocchio.
Thank you, Mark Milano, for creating this fantastic stereo version of “Our Love Affair” shown here. Be sure to check out his YouTube Channel for more great Garland and non-Garland videos!
April 12, 1943: Louella Parsons reported that Judy was set to film a remake of the 1919 Marion Davies silent version of the original 1897 musical, “The Belle Of New York.” The title was one that MGM producer Arthur Freed had listed for Judy for a decade before finally filming it in 1951/52 with Fred Astaire and Vera-Ellen in the lead.
For more about the unfinished or unrealized Garland film projects, check out The Judy Room’s “Films That Got Away” section here.
April 12, 1944: Here’s another project listed for Judy but never realized, Cabbages and Kings. This time the news was reported by Hedda Hopper. The film was to reunite Judy and Gene Kelly but it was never made.
April 12, 1945: Judy, co-star John Hodiak, and the crew of The Harvey Girls were on location in Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley filming the “My Intuition” number. Time called 10 a.m.; Judy arrived at 10:57; dismissed at 3:40 p.m.
It was on this day that the news came that President Roosevelt had died. Lela Simone, who was one of producer Arthur Freed’s assistants who specialized in all things pertaining to music, reported the day: “One of the electricians came toward me, tears streaming down his face, and said ‘Roosevelt is dead.’ I was paralyzed. Many of the men were crying. I forced myself to recover and slowly climbed up toward the set, wondering what to do, when [unit manager Dave] Friedman came down. I told him the news. Without a moment’s hesitation, he said most pointedly, ‘Don’t tell [director George] Sidney – we’ll keep going.’ I was appalled; I quickly walked away from Friedman and up to the plateau, determined to pass on the news. Fortunately, I was relieved of it; one of the crew had apparently passed me and told Sidney. Sidney turned to the assistant director George Rhein, and said, ‘I want everybody up here!’ By then a pall had fallen over the company. In a couple of minutes, everyone was assembled around Sidney, on the top of the mountain, in complete isolation. It was like a bad dream. I do not remember Sidney’s exact words. But I do remember that he made a very dignified statement which ended with ‘We are going home.’ Judy’s reaction was pathetic: She completely fell to pieces; her hairdresser and friend walked her down the hill and drove off.”
The above was originally reported by Hugh Fordin in his wonderful book about The Freed Unit, “The World of Entertainment!”
April 12, 1946: Toot! Toot! All Aboard! The Harvey Girls are coming to town!
April 12, 1947: Filming on The Pirate continued with scenes shot on the “Exterior and Interior Show Tent” which were the scenes surrounding the ultimately deleted “Voodoo” number.
Photo: 1990 VHS cover art.
April 12, 1949: “We’re Off To See The Wizard!” – the first theatrical re-release of the MGM masterpiece, The Wizard of Oz, was advertised as being released for MGM’s silver anniversary.
April 12, 1951: Judy was added to the list of “grass widows.” “Grass widow” was a term used to describe wives whose husbands were often away for long periods of time usually due to business (sports players, doctors, businessmen).
April 12, 1955: Judy might have recently lost the Oscar as “Best Actress” for A Star Is Born she was, as United Press Correspondent Aline Mosby pointed out, “the first Oscar loser in history to receive as much attention and mail as the winner.” Time was on Judy’s side. While people still know who Grace Kelly was they rarely know of or have heard about The Country Girl which is the film that won her that Oscar. Today, A Star Is Born is recognized as a masterpiece.
The article reads:
Judy Garland, still raking in consolation letters, decided today she’s “grateful” to be the first Oscar loser in history to receive as much attention and mail as the winner.
Since the Academy presentations when the top award went to Grace Kelly, Judy has been the center of a reaction that localities regard as unusual even for tinseltown.
I called on Judy to see how she was faring at home with her own “Oscar” – her new son, – and she appeared bright, happy and gay.
“I’ve counted more than 300 telegrams and hundreds and hundreds of letters and cards,” the pug-nosed singer said.
“I feel such warmth from this. There isn’t a thing wrong,” she added firmly, “if people like you. I’m terribly grateful. For people to take the time to write and let me know how they feel, well, I’m overjoyed.”
Groucho Marx wired Judy, “This is the biggest robbery since Brinks.” Bing Crosby, and Oscar loser to Marlon Brando, sent a telegram to Judy, “I don’t know about you, but I’m renewing my subscription to Look.” Bing and Judy won the Look magazine awards.
Judy sat down in her living room today to recall that March 30.
“They built a tower for the TV cameras outside my hospital window,” she laughed. “There were cameras, people, microphones all over the place. When Grace won it was the greatest anti-climax. The NBC fellows said, ‘Well, goodnight'”, and went away.
“About five minutes after the program the phone calls started to come in, from Texas, Georgia, New York, every place. Then the wires started. Some seemed to be angry and expected I would be upset. But I didn’t feel too badly. I really hadn’t planned on winning. I was busy thinking about my baby. He was more important.”
Toys for Baby
Toys and dolls still are arriving from fans for the baby, a cute fellow with black hair. He sleeps in a room with blue, white and yellow plaid wallpaper and yellow chairs and bassinette.
“I just came back from borrowing baby weighing scales from Lauren Bacall,” said the domesticated star.
And her future? Judy plans a New York musical revue this fall, and a picture after that.
Losing to Grace hasn’t discouraged Judy, she admitted. She still would like to have an Oscar on her mantelpiece.
“Sure, I’d like to win,” she said. “I hope some day I do.”
“A person just has to forget what has happened and look forward to the future.”
April 12, 1957: For Americans, it’s the last week to file taxes. This is nothing new, although most don’t have the tax woes that plagued Judy for most of her adult life. Here it’s noted that she’s among a number of stars who owe large amounts to the Internal Revenue Service. $20k was worth much more than today, of course. Adjusted for inflation, it would be approximately $188k now!
April 12, 1961: Atlanta was set to welcome Judy in concert on April 13th. Paul Jones of the “Atlanta Constitution” interviewed Judy by phone while she was in concert in Birmingham, Alabama on April 11th.
April 12, 1964: Walter Scott’s “Personality Parade” featured this Garland Q&A.
April 12, 1966: Judy was escorted by her A Star Is Born director, George Cukor, to the opening of an adaptation of Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” starring her then-husband, Mark Herron. The show was staged at the Ivar Theater in Hollywood. Herron played opposite Kathie Browne.
Judy & Cukor arrived 45 minutes early. Judy sat in the front row with Cukor, singer Marti Stevens, and actress Hermione Gingold.
Judy and Cukor gave a cocktail buffet at Martoni’s after the show, where Judy sang “Play Orchestra Play” and “Someday I’ll Find You” with Stevens, and then Judy ended the night (at 4 a.m.) by soloing on “The Party’s Over.”
This wonderful snapshot was taken of Judy arriving at the theater.