“Judy blossoms out in her first formal evening dress.” – Louella Parsons, 1938
April 23, 1930: Frances (Judy) and her two sisters performed at the “Third Annual Antelope Valley Jubilee,” held at the Lancaster High School auditorium in Lancaster, California.
April 23, 1938: In her column, Louella Parsons notes that Judy was set to wear her “first evening dress” in the upcoming production of Love Finds Andy Hardy. Judy began work on the film that May. The “blond vamp” Parsons talks about ended up being played by Lana Turner, a new contract player at the studio who made quite a name for herself at the studio.
April 23, 1940: Two pages from MGM’s “Studio News” mention Strike Up The Band.
April 23, 1940: Louella Parsons’ column reported on a recent tennis fundraiser for the British War Relief that Judy took part in. The event took place on Sunday, April 21, 1940, which was Judy’s only day off during the week although this event didn’t give Judy a real “day off.” The preceding week was devoted to working on Strike Up The Band, including rehearsing the “Gay Nineties” number as well as the start of filming on April 19th which consisted of filming scenes on the “Interior Library” set. Most days lasted from 9 a.m. through 6 or 6:30 p.m.
Several pictures of the tennis event were taken including those shown here. The caption (provided by MGM who sent a photographer to the event) for the photo above reads STARLETS AT TENNIS … Judy Garland and Paulette Goddard against Lester Stoeffen and Bill Tilden, at the tennis matches staged at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles for British War Relief. Miss Garland and Mickey Rooney took time off from their work at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for the matches. Left to right, Lester Stoeffen, Judy Garland, Paulette Goddard and Bill Tilden.
Parsons wrote: Outstanding event of the week-end, the tennis matches at the Ambassador with Bill Tilden and Paulette Goddard meeting Lester Stoeffen and Judy Garland for mixed doubles and Tilden and Mickey Rooney teaming against Stefan and Rudy Valle for men’s doubles. The gals made hits (both literally and figuratively) but Mickey stole the show, rolling his pants to his knees and admonishing Tilden “Uncle Bill, you’ll have to do better than that!”
April 23, 1940: Judy was at work on Strike Up The Band pre-recording the “Nell of New Rochelle” production number with the rest of the cast. This is also the date sometimes given for Judy’s deleted solo of “The Curse of An Aching Heart” when in reality she pre-recorded that short rendition of the song on July 10, 1940.
The 19-minute sequence includes excerpts from “The Sidewalks Of New York (East Side, West Side)”, Walking Down Broadway”, “Light Cavalry (Overture)”, “After The Ball”, “I Just Can’t Make My Eyes Behave”, “Over The Waves”, “Heaven Will Protect The Working Girl”, “While Strolling Through The Park One Day” (aka “The Fountain By The Park)” (deleted), “Home Sweet Home”, “Flower Song”, “Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-Dee-É”, “Father, Dear Father, Come Home With Me Now”, “Wintermarchen”, “Curse Of An Aching Heart” (deleted), and “Jingle Bells.” The complete sequence was included in the 1995 Rhino Records 4-CD set “Mickey & Judy – The Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney Collection” which is to date the only comprehensive collection of the soundtracks to all four of the Rooney/Garland film musicals.
Listen to the entire sequence here:
As if that wasn’t enough work, later that evening Judy made her weekly appearance on “The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope” on NBC Radio. No information is known about the show other than the fact that jazz bandleader “Skinnay” Ennis and series regular Jerry Colonna also appeared. It’s safe to assume that Judy sang two songs as she usually did.
April 23, 1941: This amusing tie-in to Ziegfeld Girl (first image) ran in the Chicago Times. Ontra Cafeteria cleverly used Judy’s image as well as the current popularity of the film to bring in customers. I hope it worked! The cafeterias listed in this ad were part of a popular chain that began in Chicago in 1909. The third location “uptown” could seat more than 1,200 people at a time. Sadly the cafeterias no longer exist, the last one having been sold in the early 1960s. A McDonald’s now occupies the uptown spot on Wilson & Sheridan. Progress.
April 23, 1943: Filming on Girl Crazy continued with more scenes shot on the “Interior Assembly Hall” set. Time called: 10:00 a.m.; Judy arrived at 10:35 a.m.; dismissed: 5:40 p.m.
Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
April 21, 1945: Filming continued on The Harvey Girls with a rehearsal of the “Wedding Procession.” Judy also pre-recorded a short version of “In The Valley” which is not in the film. During this session, Judy and Kay Thompson were recorded singing an impromptu version of “In The Valley.” This is the only known recording of Judy and her friend and mentor (and Liza’s Godmother) Kay Thompson singing together.
Listen to “In The Valley” with Judy and Kay Thompson here:
Wedding photos provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
April 23, 1947: Filming on The Pirate continued with scenes shot on the “Interior Manuela’s Rec Room.” Time called: 10:05 a.m.; Judy arrived at 10:15 a.m.; dismissed: 5:45 p.m.
April 23, 1949: Annie Get Your Gun filming continued with the “U.S. and European Montages” scenes. Time called: 8 a.m. in makeup; Judy arrived at 7:50 a.m., 10 minutes early; due on the set: 9 a.m.; arrived at 9:42 a.m. at Backlot #3; ready at 9:57 a.m.; lunch: 12:00-1:00 p.m.; time dismissed: 4:35 p.m. The footage for these scenes no longer exists.
April 23, 1955: In his “Platter Chatter” column for “The Chicago Tribune” columnist Fred Reynolds didn’t care too much for the soundtrack record for The Pirate which was recently reissued by MGM Records as part of their new “2 Big Original Cast Musicals” 12″ long-playing records featuring two soundtracks on one record. Oddly enough, Reynolds didn’t mention Summer Stock at all.
April 23, 1956: Syndicated columnist wrote this article about Kay Thompson and her recent phenomenal success on the cabaret and nightclub circuit. Kay downplayed her influence on both Judy and Lena Horne while she was tenured at MGM: Miss Thompson also worked with Judy Garland and Lena Horne, but she denied reports that she taught them their stuff. “They were too accomplished to be taught,” she said modestly. “All I did was go over the songs once with them.”
Kay was Judy’s lifelong best girlfriend and Godmother to Liza.
Photo: Judy and Kay after Judy’s opening at the London Palladium on April 9, 1951.
April 23, 1958: Judy received a clean bill of health. It didn’t last too long. Judy entered Doctor’s Hospital in New York City on November 18, 1959, with a life-threatening case of hepatitis. She almost didn’t recover but thankfully she did!
April 23, 1961: “The Greatest Night In Show Business History” occurred when Judy took the stage at New York’s Carnegie Hall. The concert was a stunning success as well, of course, and the apex of Judy’s 1960/61 concert tour. Gone were the vaudeville trappings of her previous shows, it was all Judy and the band in what was, to steal a phrase from Time Magazine’s review of Judy’s 1954 masterpiece A Star Is Born, “the greatest one-woman show” in history. “Judy at Carnegie Hall” was and is the gold standard by which all other one-woman concerts would be judged.
Brilliantly arranged and conducted by Mort Lindsey, “Judy at Carnegie Hall” was recorded by Capitol Records and the resulting 2-record set was a stunning success, spending 13 weeks in the #1 spot upon its release that July, and winning 5 Grammy Awards. It has never been out of print.
For information about all of the various releases of the album, check out The Judy Garland Discography’s “Judy at Carnegie Hall” pages here.
April 23, 1962: On the one-year anniversary of “Judy at Carnegie Hall” Judy reminisced about the concert on the live radio show “Make Believe Ballroom” broadcast out of New York.
Listen to the complete interview here:
April 23, 1965, to May 3, 1965: Judy and Mark Herron returned to New York on April 23, catching a 2:35 flight from Charlotte, North Carolina (where Judy had just given a concert), and then spent several days rehearsing some new songs for her next concert. Judy and Mark also went to some film premieres in New York, including Ship of Fools. In a phone interview on May 3, with Ann Masters of the “Chicago American,” Judy said she would be doing “some new albums, at least one of them will be with Liza.” Unfortunately, those never materialized.
Photo: Liza, Judy, and Mark Herron on December 19, 1964.