April 17, 1940: More music rehearsals for the “Gay Nineties” number for Strike Up The Band. Time called: 9:00 a.m.; dismissed: 6:00 p.m.
Photo: Mid-1980s VHS cover art.
April 17, 1941: This famous Strike Up The Band publicity photo of Judy and Mickey Rooney taken by Ed Cronenweth won first prize for “Best Action Still” in the first year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored film studio still photographers. “International Photographer’s” May issue featured some of the winners in the various categories.
April 17, 1942: For Me And My Gal filming continued with scenes on the “Interior Jo’s and Harry’s Dressing Room” set. Time called: 10 a.m.; dismissed: 5:55 p.m.
April 17, 1945: Filming continued on The Harvey Girls on the “Interior Alhambra” set. time called: 10:00 a.m.; Judy arrived at 10:35 a.m.; dismissed: 5:55 p.m.
Photo: Kenny Baker, Cyd Charisse, Judy, and Angela Lansbury. Provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
April 17, 1946: Judy’s mom, Ethel, flew to St. Petersburg, Florida, to attend the funeral of her father-in-law in Judy and husband Vincente Minnelli’s place. Vincente’s father is reported as “Vincente Minelli” [sic] while he was noted as being a “Jr.” This is partially incorrect. Vincente was born Lester Anthony Minnelli and his father was indeed Vincent (without the “e”) Charles Minnelli.
It’s been noted that Judy suffered from what is now known as postpartum depression and this short notice (published several times in the papers during this time) confirms it with the note that “Judy has been ill since the recent birth of her daughter.”
Meanwhile, two of Judy’s films were playing in theaters around the nation, The Harvey Girls and Ziegfeld Follies of 1946 enjoying great success.
April 17, 1949: Here is another version of the Associated Press article, published on this day (Easter Sunday) as well as in the days prior, Judy was scheduled to take part in the Hollywood Easter Parade. The article describes what Judy was going to wear: “Judy Garland will wear a black and red print dress of silk shantung. Softly draped in the back, the dress has a row of tiny umbrella buttons down the front. The short-basque jacket is red wool and lined in the same print as the dress. She will wear a shiny-black straw hat that tilts to the right. The tilted brim reveals the same silk print as the dress. Her bag and pumps are black calf, and she will wear short black gloves.”
This article was probably put out by the MGM’s Publicity Department. There are no known photos of Judy at this parade. It’s doubtful that she actually participated because she was in the midst of rehearsals and filming on Annie Get Your Gun and probably used the weekend (she actually had Saturday the 16th off as well) to get much-needed rest.
Also on April 17, 1949, this glowing review of MGM Records’ Easter Parade soundtrack album was published in the Miami News:
Returning to the Easter Parade theme, MGM’s spirited recording of Irving Berlin’s “Easter Parade” is a waxing which deserves a hearty bravo. Starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, with Ann Miller and Peter Lawford, it was recorded directly from the soundtrack of the M-G-M technicolor [sic] musical. It’s a sprightly, delightful waxing with much musical expression and much personality appear; for each star contributes happily to the merry festivities of the album. You’ll love the charming way that Judy Garland sings “A Fella With An Umbrella” – one of Berlin’s cleverer tunes, and that Garland personality plus really put it over. Her polished partner, Fred Astaire is heard in a number of catchy songs including “A Couple of Swells”, “When The Midnight Choo Choo Leaves For Alabama” and the title song, “Easter Parade.” Ann Miller and Peter Lawford are also featured in the album; as is Johnny Green and his orchestra. “Easter Parade” stars ten immortal Irving Berlin melodies, and presented in a sparkling, memorable performance by the celebrated cast which thrilled you on the screen.
April 17, 1954: Armand (Army) Archerd’s column reported on the making of A Star Is Born. Archerd suspected that the film wouldn’t be ready for another year but in fact, it premiered on September 29, 1954.
Judy Is Back At Old Stand
By ARMAND ARCHERD
Central Press Correspondent
HOLLYWOOD – The film which has churned up the most excitement in these parts in a long time is not a costume epic made in some far-off place with exotic foreign actors. Strange to say, it’s a locally-made film, about Hollywood.
“A Star Is Born,” starring Judy Garland and James Mason, a remake of the Oscar-winning yarn which starred Janet Gaynor and Frederic March has finally been completed – but not without more-than-average fanfare.
The film was before the cameras six months. And during that time, more rumors, more bizarre yarns about its cast, completion date and cost were tossed around this town than our tender ears have heard in a long time.
Next came the guessing game on its costs – and the nearest-to-accurate figure we can obtain is “around 3 million.” From the first announcement it would be filmed as a musical by Warner Bros. and would return Judy Garland to the screen, its progress has been followed the way Sherlock Holmes tracks a criminal.
Every bit of information and gossip emanating from the set was mulled over in offices and social gatherings in the cinema colony. It was Judy Garland’s first film in three years. During that interlude she had married, had a baby, made P.A.’s and had made many headlines. Some of these stories were about her divorce, marriage, possible marital breakup, a suicide attempt (later denied), illness, etc., etc. So, as you can imagine, the eyes of the industry were upon her.
Judy admitted when she stepped on the “A Star Is Born” set she was plenty rusty in screen technique. “I had become used to projected my voice and gestures to a big live audience,” she said, referring to her long, successful personal appearance tour.
“Looking a camera in the eye again – and especially in a close-up – I had to revise my style.
Because of its huge schedule and countless hundreds of feet of exposed film, and the CinemaScopic process in which it has been made, the film will not be put together for at least a year. So, Judy will once again become a “semi-foreigner” to film techniques.
That way the industry is changing methods these days, in a year photography may very well be one on tape rather than celluloid. So her next offer may again set a time record!
In spite of the expense and time required, the studio went merrily along, pouring everything into it. Why? Simple: they expect the film to make $15 million. At those prices, I guess anybody has the time.
On this day at Warner Bros. Judy was working on the post-recording of dialog for the film. Still to be done were retakes on the “Lose That Long Face” number and the extensive “Born In A Trunk” sequence.
Photos provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
April 17, 1957: “Off the Record” by John Masters, for “The Age” newspaper in Melbourne, Australia, reviews Judy’s 1956 Capitol album “Judy.”
CAPITOL has released one of the year’s finest light records to date, a collection of favorites sung by Judy Garland with accompaniments from Nelson Riddle and his orchestra.
This disc (T-734) will repay investigating even if you detest American crooners and sob-singers, for Miss Garland’s handling of a wide variety of popular songs proclaims her to be an artist.
Her phrasing and maturity come as a surprise; one doesn’t expect much depth of feeling from light vocalists, but throughout the programme there is never any doubt that Judy is projecting real emotion and getting “right under the skin” of her songs.
Her sincerity and range of expression is perhaps most noticeable in Dirty Hands, Dirty Face. To be able to invest this frankly awful dirge written by Al Jolson with any degree of pathos is an achievement.
The same comment applies to Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home. She transforms its mawkish sentiment into something entirely different.
Musically, one of the best songs on the record is Last Night When We Were Young, composted by Harold Arlen.
Here the singer manages to suggest undertones that Edward Harburg probably never thought of when he wrote the lyrics. This is art, and the fact that Miss Garland is delivering popular material in no way detracts from her achievement – her power of holding your attention is as strongly developed in a different sphere as, say, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf’s matters in hers.
And just listen to the lift and warmth she puts into Lucky Day; a galvanic jingle; the bounce in Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries and the pace of I Feel a Song Coming On. These will cheer you up on a wintry evening.
All of the remaining song, Memories of You, I Will Come Back, April Showers and Just Imagine, have some interpretative quality which lifts them out of the rut while Nelson Riddle’s arrangements and the playing of his orchestra can’t be too highly praised. Capitol’s engineers have risen to the occasion by providing life-like sound.
Judy returned to the venue four years later on April 22, 1965.
April 17, 1962: A sad end for “Aunt Em.” Actress Clara Blandick, who played “Aunt Em” in The Wizard of Oz, committed suicide. She was 81-year-old and suffered from extreme arthritis.
Photo on the right provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
April 17, 1964: A “Kingsrow Enterprises” (Judy’s production company) check was drawn on this day from a different bank account: Chase Manhattan Bank at 410 Park Avenue. The check number is no filled in but and it was made payable to Kingsrow for $20,000.
Photo: Judy with comedian Pat Cooper in 1964. Provided by Larry Lomenzo. Thanks, Larry!
April 17, 1970: Here’s an article about the upcoming (soon to be infamous) MGM auction. Columnist Shirley Eder noted: “And Judy Garland’s famous blue-checked gingham dress and red-sequinned slippers from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ sent shivers up and down my back. So far, Judy’s costume is the most requested costume. Thousands of letters are pouring in – some offering $10 for a button or a piece of the material. I can’t help but think that the entire costume should be given to Judy’s children. I’m told Sid Luft has already left a bid for the red shoes.”