On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – May 1

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“I’ll return to Hollywood sometime in June to start work on a new picture, ‘A Star Is Born,’ which Sid and I will produce.”  – Judy Garland to Joe Reister in his article about Judy at the Bluegrass Festival, 1953

May 1, 1930:  “The Gumm Sisters featuring Babe Gumm” had an audition for Universal Pictures and Carl Laemmle, at the Hollywood Dance Studio in Los Angeles, California.  The sisters did not get a film contract.  It’s noted that this event might have happened on May 3rd.

May 1, 1937:  Here’s an article about Jack Oakie.  Judy was a weekly regular on his “Jack Oakie’s College” radio show.


May 1, 1939:  Either this day or on May 2nd, or both, Judy filmed some retakes/pickup shots for The Wizard of Oz with “Glinda” Billie Burke.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz here.


May 1, 1940:  Filming on Strike Up The Band continued with scenes shot on the “Interior Attic” and Interior Sawmill” sets, part of the “Gay 90s” production number.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; dismissed: 4:00 p.m.

Photo:  Judy in costume at the door to her dressing room trailer.

May 1, 1941:  Ziegfeld Girl.

Judy Garland costume test for "For Me And My Gal"

May 1, 1942:  Filming on For Me And My Gal continued with scenes on the “Interior Jo’s Hotel Room/Interior Harry’s Room” set.  Time called: 10 a.m.; dismissed: 5:55 p.m.

Original text on the back of the first photo in the trio above reads JUDY AND GENE . . . Judy Garland, in a dramatic scene from M-G-M’s “For Me And My Gal,” story of vaudeville and its people played against the background of the year 1919, tells Gene Kelly that she isn’t happy his self injured hand will keep him out of the army and enable them to keep on the stage. Busby Berkeley directed and Arthur Freed produced. (provided by Kim Lundgreen, thanks, Kim!)

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on For Me And My Gal here.

May 1, 1943:  Here is a review of Presenting Lily Mars as published in the trade magazine, “Showmen’s Trade Review.”  The magazine noted that the film was “a top-flight production which figures to draw in every possible customer and send them home abrim with satisfaction.”  Of Judy’s performance, “Judy Garland is at her best, adding to her singing and youthful buoyance a poignancy that invests the role with sincerity.”

May 1, 1947:  The Pirate filming continued with scenes on the “Exterior Don Pedro’s House” set which was actually the “Verona Square” set on MGM’s Backlot #2 (originally constructed for the 1936 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet).  Time called: 10:30 a.m.; dismissed: 2:10 p.m.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland on the MGM Backlot” pages for details about the locations on the MGM backlots where some of Judy’s films were shot.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on The Pirate here.

May 1, 1947:  This article about Judy and baby Liza Minnelli was published in “Photoplay.”

Judy Garland at the Bluegrass Derby Week in Louisville, Kentucky May 1, 1953

May 1, 1953:  This great photo of Judy accompanied this article about Judy’s successful opening at the Blue Grass Festival the previous night at the Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky.  The photo was one of many taken during Judy’s visit to the local Shriner’s Children’s Hospital on April 30th.

Judy Garland Sings Fine Tune About Wonders of Bluegrass
By Joe Reister

Judy Garland at the Shriner's Children's Hospital in Lexington, KentuckyLEXINGTON, Ky., April 30 – Petite Judy Garland thinks either Native Dancer or Correspondent will win all the gold and glory in Saturday’s 79th Kentucky Derby.

The talented actress’ opinion about the probable winner of The Run for the Roses jibes with that of most of the so-called turf experts.

Judy, however, insists she doesn’t know one horse from another.  “Honestly, I’m really dull about this business of picking the Derby winner.”

She’s Not A Green Hand

But the hardboots down here in this race-horse section would describe the singing star of the movies and entertainment world as being “better than a green hand” at picking hosses.

Miss Garland appeared last night at huge Memorial Coliseum as one of the stars in the first of the two shows sponsored by Blue Grass Festivals, Incorporated.  The new organization plans to bring top-flight entertainment to Lexington as an attraction for Derby visitors and townfolk.

The dark-haired singer, who isn’t one white over 5 feet tall, appeared with Vaughn Monroe, nationally known band leader, and other entertainers.

Between numbers, Judy took time out to sing the praises of the Bluegrass country.  “Your country around here is simply wonderful,” she said.  “I’m really wild about it.”

Takes Time Out for Praise

In response to a jesting remark that she was “just being nice about saying Lexington and the Bluegrass was wonderful,” the singer said:

“No, cross my heart, I mean every word of it.  You see I am making my first trip to Lexington, in fact, my first trip to Kentucky.  I have heard so many nice things about this section.  Now that I have seen it, I am inclined to believe some things I was told were real understatements instead of the other way around.”

Judy and her husband, Sid Luft, are house guests of Mrs. Edward S. Moore at nearby Circle M Farm.  They will watch the running of the Derby from a vantage point in one of Mrs. Moore’s boxes.

Judy Garland at the Shriners Hospital in Lexington, KYWhen told that all the girls around would want to know what she planned to wear to the Derby, Judy replied:

“By golly, I haven’t thought much about that.  If it is a dull, rather cool day, I’ll wear a suit.  If it is nice and bright, I’ll wear a light dress.”

Outside of the charms of the Bluegrass countryside and the “oh, so very nice hospitality of all its people,” Judy likes best to talk about her husband’s plans to produce a film centered around the great Man o’ War.

Will Make Movie About Great Horse

“You see, Sid and I are associated in the production of movies in Hollywood.  He has a wonderful script on this story of Man o’ War.  I have read it and it is really good, I think.  The story will tell of the racing career of the great horse and the effect that career had on the lives of people closest to him.”

Luft spent some time today and will spend more later this week in looking over farms and countryside here as possible sites for scenes of his Man o’ War movie.

Judy’s plans for the future?

“I’ll return to Hollywood sometime in June to start work on a new picture, ‘A Star Is Born,’ which Sid and I will produce.”  The story is a remake of the one in which Janet Gaynor starred.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

May 1, 1956:  Here’s a nice article about “Wizard of Oz” author L. Frank Baum.

Judy Garland at the Flamingo in Las Vegas 1957

Judy Garland at the Flamingo in Las Vegas May 1957May 1, 1957:  Judy returned to Las Vegas for a three-week engagement at the Flamingo Hotel.  Her 90-minute act included “Lucky Day”; “How About Me?” (soon to be released on her new “Alone” album from Capitol Records); “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby”; “Mean To Me”; “By Myself”; “The Man That Got Away”; “Come Rain Or Come Shine”; “A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow”; “A Couple of Swells”; and “Over The Rainbow.”  Judy was joined by Sid Krofft & His Puppets, and she joked to the press that the puppets’ wardrobe cost more than hers, allegedly a $50,000 Balmain wardrobe.

Liza Minnelli joins her mother, Judy Garland, on stage at the Flamingo in Las Vegas 195711-year-old Liza was part of the act on May 18th singing “In Between” and four-and-a-half old Lorna sang “Jingle Bells” (which was Judy’s official stage debut song at Christmas way back in 1924).

Louella Parsons reported in her column that the opening night audience surprised Judy: Judy Garland nearly fell apart when, as a tribute to her singing “Over the Rainbow,” the entire first-night audience at the Las Vegas Flamingo rose to its feet in the middle of the song and stood silently until she finished.

Columnist Mike Connolly reported:  Pearl Bailey stayed over in Las Vegas after her engagement at the Flamingo to catch Judy Garland’s gala opening, same spot.  Pearl phoned me next day with this – “Who can top that Judy?  I’m coming back in October, Honey, but I’m not coming alone – I’m gonna have 16 Navajo Indians backing me up!”

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.


May 1, 1958:  Columnist Earl Wilson told the story of an argument he had with Judy.

A memo under my phone elbow said: “Judy Garland on 2.”

Judy’s famous voice wasn’t singing, it was snapping.

“Why are you scare people about my health?  I’ve had calls even from Hollywood.”

“I wrote that you had round-the-clock nurses and a lung specialist,” I said.  “Wasn’t it true?”

“Yes, but –.”  Suddenly we both exploded.  I got rude.  Judy hung up.  I felt real bad.  You can’t stay mad at Judy.  I phoned an apology.

“Oh, I’m sorry, too,” Judy said.  We fell on each other’s necks on the phone.  “I had night nurses because I hate being alone,” she said.

The lung doctor was her husband Sid Luft’s uncle.  Feeling rested, she and Sid were leaving for Hollywood.  They return soon to live here.  Sid’s doing a B’way show. “He doesn’t want me in it,” she laughed.

“Bye Judy, have a nice train ride,” I said.

“Bye, honey,” Judy said.  As a result of the battle, we were closer friends, I felt.  Then – wowee!

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

May 1, 1961:  Judy fulfilled a prophecy.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

May 1, 1962:  Judy began rehearsals for I Could Go On Singing at the Shepperton Studios in Shepperton, Surrey, England.

May 1, 1962:  Also on this day, the story of how Judy “seized” her children and “fled” with them to London was all over the papers.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.


May 1, 1989:  In celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, Paramount International Coin Corp offered these “Silver Proof Collection” coins.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz here.

May 1, 1998:  This blurb notes that Rhino Records had signed a second contract with Turner Entertainment to release soundtrack CDs.  Unfortunately, the contract wasn’t renewed after 2003.

May 1, 2009:  Here’s an article about the 70th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, and the coupling of the film with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra playing the score, live, while the film is shown.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz here.


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