On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – May 4

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On this day…

“She Never Had A Lesson – That’s Judy Garland”
– Bob Thomas, 1949


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May 4, 1937:  Judy made her weekly appearance on the radio show “Jack Oakie’s College.” She sang “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.”  A recording of this performance has survived and can be listened to and downloaded here.
Judy Garland on the Jack Oakie's College radio show May 4, 1937
This week’s episode featured movie funnyman Edward Everett Horton as the guest professor along with series regulars Shaw & Lee, Georgie Stoll and His Orchestra, and Benny Goodman’s “swing group” joining from New York (the show was broadcast out of Los Angeles).More Judy Garland radio performances, including previously unreleased recordings, can be heard and downloaded at The Judy Room’s “Judy Sings! On The Radio” pages.
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May 4, 1939:  MGM ran this extensive sixteen-page promotion in the trade magazines celebrating the studio’s 15th anniversary (click on the images to see the larger versions).  The Wizard of Oz had not yet been released but that didn’t stop the studio from listing Judy along with the rest of its big stars, and what a lineup it was!



Snapshot of Judy Garland May 4, 1937

May 4, 1947:  Snapshot of Judy out on the town.


May 4, 1949:  Annie Get Your Gun filming continued with the “U.S. and European Montage – London, Italian, French Box (Interior Royal Box).”  Per the assistant director’s notes: “JG – First call: makeup, time first called: 7:30 a.m.; due on set: 9 a.m.; arrived on set: 9 a.m.; time dismissed: 11:50 a.m.”

Judy went home ill and her director did not show up.  She felt so badly about it that she called the production manager, Walter Strohm, at 2:15 p.m. and asked that she not be paid for the day.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on Annie Get Your Gun here.  Photos above are from a “magazine” released in 1970.  Scans provided by Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!



Also on May 4, 1949:  This article written by Bob Thomas (two versions shown above) was published, allegedly written by Thomas after he visited Judy on the set of Annie Get Your Gun.

Hollywood (AP) – For most of her life, people have been telling Judy Garland she will lose her voice if she doesn’t stop singing so loudly.  Today she is still going strong – and as loud as ever.

In one of her rare moments of talking about herself for print, Judy reflected on her voice:  “Sometimes it’s so loud it surprises me.  But that’s the way I’ve always sung.  I’ve never strained my voice, possibly because I use the right muscles in my throat.

Sent to Vocal Coach

“When I was a kid in vaudeville, people would say I’d lose my voice before I got much older.  That alarmed my mother, so she sent me to a vocal coach.

“The first lesson had me trying to blow off a piece of paper pasted to my forehead.  ‘Breath control,’ she said.  Next she had me singing with a pencil in my teeth.  ‘Poor diction,’ she said.  I told her I didn’t usually sing with a pencil in my teeth.”

When Judy revolted against such methods, the teacher said: “You don’t want to sing like Kate Smith, do you?”

“If I’m lucky, yes,” 12-year-old Judy replied.

She hasn’t had a lesson since.  She can’t even read music today.  Her new songs are played or sung to her and she catches on the way.  She never practices between pictures and doesn’t sing in the bathtub.

No Dancing Lessons

And though she has danced with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly on the screen, she has never had a dancing lesson.

“I think a lot of young talent is dried up by too many lessons,” she opined on the “Annie Get Your Gun” set.  “If you’ve got it, it usually comes out anyway.”

To use the words of one of the “Annie” songs, Judy has made her way by doin’ what comes naturally.  It has done well by her, too; she is one of the screen’s highest paid stars.  She is also one of the most misunderstood.

Actually, there is little that is mysterious about her.  When she is available to the press (not always), she is congenial, but not too confiding.  She dislikes crowds of strange people but loves friendly parties.

Many Friends

She is not easy to get to know, but has a wide circle of intimate friends.  They are mostly talented folk such as Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Katherine Hepburn, Fanny Brice, Irving Berlin, etc.

The main thing to remember about Judy is the fact that she has been in show business continually since she was three.  It has been her life.  She has no hobbies, completely flopped when she tried to take up sewing.  Her only exercise is walking.

She has had fears and has indulged in psychiatry.  She knows bad things are often printed about her, but she has learned to disregard them.  She knows that musicals are her strong suit, and has no yen to be a dramatic actress.  Her one non-musical, “The Clock,” didn’t fare too well.



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May 4, 1953:  Columbia Records released “Send My Baby Back To Me” and “Without A Memory” on Columbia single #40010.18199387_10155262656464859_8581274970031250990_n

The two songs, along with “Go Home, Joe” and “Heartbroken” were recorded by Judy for the label on April 3, 1953.  It was Judy’s first studio recording session in 5 1/2 years.  Her last studio recording session was for Decca Records on November 15, 1947.  In the interim MGM Records released a few of her soundtrack recordings in albums and in the single format.

Listen to, and download, the 1990s Robert Parker “surround sound” restorations of the recordings here:



Judy Garland and John Ireland - The Letter - Capitol Records

May 4, 1959:  Judy’s Capitol Records concept album, “The Letter” was released.  It was recorded on January 15 7 16, 1959, with John Ireland, the Ralph Brewster Singers, and Gordon Jenkins’ Orchestra.  The LP was re-released as “Our Love Letter” on September 3, 1963.

Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s “The Letter” pages herePhotos below, scans of the original letter that came attached to the original album release.




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4 comments

  1. “The Harvey Girls” is just a fun musical. I agree, Hodiak was a good leading man for her in the respect that he brought out, as you said, her femininity. And who doesn’t like “March of the Doagies”?? 🙂

  2. P.S.: LOVE that rare still of Garland and John Hodiak. “The Harvey Girls” is my single favorite film of hers, and I thought he was a rare, hunky lead for her. He really brought out her femininity. I refuse to watch the film now without “My Intuition” (and “March of the Doagies”) “reinserted.”

  3. Thank you! I appreciate the feedback. The work can get time consuming but I enjoy finding tidbits of info and especially finding clarifications on events/dates. My goal, barring life events, is to have a post for every day of the year. Then, as I find more info, I can add to the existing pages.

    And you’re so right. MGM really did spin some tales. Some of it is rooted in fact while some of it is pure fantasy although still fun to read. It would have been great to have something actually written by Judy and not gleaned from her file at the MGM Publicity Department. It’s a shame that things like that didn’t survive. 😦

  4. These day-by-day posts are truly fascinating! What hard work this must be! It’s such a drag that in Judy’s MGM era, virtually none of her articles were legit. The studio system was soooo controlling. I would’ve loved to read – and know – that at least one article by/on her in this era, featured genuine thoughts from her. She was so intelligent.

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