On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – May 15

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“She’s very vague about business matters.”
– Judge Burke, Los Angeles, 1952

May 15, 1931:  Frances (Judy), played a “Fairie Sunbeam” in two operettas at the Lancaster Grammar School Auditorium, Lancaster, California: “In a Florist’s Windows” and “The Magic Wood.”

May 15, 1935:  Judy and her sisters, as “The Garland Sisters,” opened a three-week engagement at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles.  The only known photograph of Judy and her sisters in performance on stage was taken during this engagement, as was this snapshot of the marquee.  The engagement garnered Judy her sixth “Variety” review: Class act on bill is the Three Garland Sisters, which, for the Paramount booking seems to have concentrated heavily on Francis (sic) the youthful member of the family.  Girls do only a couple of harmony numbers, leaving the rest of the performance to kid sister, who is talented beyond doubt, and who scores heavily with her rendition of “Eili, Eili” plus a couple of songs in foreign tongue.

Another critic said that Judy (still going by Frances) was “about as talented an entertainer as one could imagine.”


May 15, 1939:  Another prerecording session for Babes in Arms.  Judy recorded part of “Where or When,” the bulk of which Betty Jaynes and Douglas McPhail recorded.  There was also filming on the “Interior Moran Living Room” set.  Judy had a 9 a.m. call.  Per the assistant director’s notes: “9:00-9:17 – wait for Judy Garland – she arrived on set 9 a.m.; but was putting on wardrobe.  Meantime, rehearse without Judy; 9:17-9:20 – wait for Judy Garland; lunch was 12:07-1:07; time dismissed: 6 p.m.”

May 15, 1940:  Judy was at the MGM portrait studio, posing for glamour portraits with the studio’s famed photographer Eric Carpenter.


May 15, 1942:  Filming continued on For Me And My Gal with more scenes shot on the “Interior Continental Hotel” set.  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; dismissed: 5:00 p.m.

Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!

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

May 15, 1943:  This ad was placed by MGM in the trade magazine “Motion Picture Herald.”

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Presenting Lily Mars here.

May 15, 1945:  The production notes for The Harvey Girls report:  “At 2:30 this morning Judy Garland called Griffin, the second assistant on the picture, and told him that she hadn’t slept all night so far because she was making Decca records until 11:45 p.m. last night. She said that after she came home she wasn’t able to sleep and knew that she wouldn’t look good the next day, and since the scene was an important one she felt she better stay home today . . . She called up as she knew we had people ordered and could cancel before it was too late. People were canceled on quarter checks and company was forced to layoff for the day as there are no scenes we could do without her.”

Judy was apparently conserving her strength and voice as she had another recording session with Decca Records that night from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., the second of three sessions to complete the “Harvey Girls” cast album.  Judy (and the Kay Thompson Chorus) recorded the elaborate studio recreation of “On The Atchison, Topeka, And The Santa Fe” which took up two sides of one 78 rpm record.

Listen to Judy’s vocal here:

As noted yesterday, when the album was released, “March of the Doagies” was not included as it was deleted from the film.  The removal of the song from the Decca album created an uneven number of sides for the album. The intent was to have four discs with eight songs.


Decca remedied this by having Judy come in and re-record “On The Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe” on September 10, 1945.  The number (as originally recorded on May 15, 1945) had originally taken up one disc (two sides) with a recreation of the elaborate introduction segment by the chorus (as it is in the film) on the first side, then Judy’s entrance into the song beginning on the flip side of the disc with her singing the intro “What a lovely trip…”  Decca had Judy re-record the song because since they deleted that full chorus introduction, “What a lovely trip” didn’t make sense.  The re-recording that September had Judy singing “What a lovely day.”  The final album featured only three discs with six songs.

“March of the Doagies” was not released until November 12, 1984, when it was included on the “From The Decca Vaults” LP.

To confuse things even more, when Decca began re-releasing Judy’s recordings in the LP era, they mistakenly released the original “What a lovely trip…” version of “On The Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe.”  The later re-recording (“What a lovely day”) had its LP debut on that same 1984 “From The Decca Vaults” LP.

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

May 15, 1948:  The “Australian Women’s Weekly” published this photo of Judy and costar Gladys Cooper in The Pirate.

The film premiered on this date at the Loew’s Theater in Montreal, Quebec.  This was the “Pre Radio City Showing” meaning that it pre-dated the Radio City Music Hall premiere (May 20, 1948) and the general release date of June 10, 1948.

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

May 15, 1952:  Judy was two hours late for a required court appearance in Los Angeles.  Her failure to be on time resulted in a bench warrant being issued for her arrest.  Luckily she wasn’t actually arrested.  Judy was required to testify in the suit filed on May 6, in which Sid Luft’s former wife, actress Lynn Bari, was seeking more money for the support of their son, John Michael Luft, specifically asking for an increase from $200 to $400 a month.  Bari wanted a piece of Judy’s recent concert earnings of which she was sure Sid was enjoying.  Judy explained that she was late because her attorney, Robert B. Agins, told her she didn’t need to appear until she was called in via telephone.

During the proceedings, it was disclosed that Sid paid $4,329.25 for the care of his three racehorses, worth $16,500, but only paid $3,600 in child support.

Judy testified that there was no written agreement under which she employed Sid (as her “advisor”) paying him $450 to $500 a week and that he was able to draw on her “production enterprises” for “anything he needs.”  After all of that, the hearing was adjourned until May 29 after Bari’s lawyers asked that Judy’s records of Sid’s salary be produced in court.  That court date never happened.

On June 11th Sid was ordered to increase the weekly amount from $200 to $400 and to pay $750 for fees to Bari’s lawyer, S.S. Hahn.  The $400 to Bari broke down as follows: $200 a month for a governess, $75 a month for rent, $50 a month for nursery school, $50 a month for food, and $25 a month for clothing.

In the interim Judy opened a month-long engagement at San Francisco’s Curran Theater and on June 8th she and Sid were married.

Sid failed to reveal the marriage at the June 11th hearing, so on June 12th Hahn threatened another lawsuit demanding an increase to $1,000 per month because of his failure to disclose.

Apparently, the proceedings were not very civil.  Bari accused Sid of being deceitful in hiding his recent marriage to Judy.  Hahn asked the court to hold Sid in contempt for withholding that information.  “He deceived the court as to his financial standing,” Hahn said.  “Luft pleaded he was paid only $500 a week by Miss Garland to act as her manager.  He is now at least half a millionaire.  Under California law, her earnings become half his because of community property statutes.”  Hahn also called Sid’s behavior “deliberated concealment of his financial condition.”

According to the L.A. Times:
Hahn also commented on the testimony given last month by Miss Garland.  He declared she “parroted” luft’s statements and called her “a little Charley [sic] McCarthy.”

Miss Garland testified Luft handled her finances and she said she had no written agreement but paid him “from $450 to $500 a week” as her business adviser.

“This girl gives him all her money,” said Hahn.  “He can write as much of a check as he wants, judge.  He takes anything he wants that she has.”

Judge Burke commented that he thought Miss Garland had been an honest witness but said, “She’s very vague about business matters.”

Hahn talked of the manner in which Luft lives, declaring:  “He lives high.  Sure. Like people in Hollywood do.  Live high.  End up in the street later.  But until he ends up in the street, this child should be cared for.”

The case wasn’t settled until six days later on June 17th at which time Sid and Bari agreed on a sum, the amount is unknown but it was probably the $400 plus $600 to make that requested $1,000.  It was reported that a trust would be set up for the boy, which is probably where that $600 difference went.

Meanwhile, up in San Francisco, Judy was performing to sell-out crowds.

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

May 15, 1953:  Both Louella Parsons and Sheilah Graham reported on Judy’s return from the South.  Judy took part in the recent Blue Grass Festival in Lexington, Kentucky, then she spent time in Sulphur Springs (Alabama?) where, according to Louella, she lost 22 pounds in anticipation of starting production/filming on A Star Is Born.  That’s a lot to lose in just two weeks!  Graham reported that Judy and husband Sid Luft arrived back in Los Angeles on this day “from the Greenbriar’s in Virginny.”  It’s unclear just exactly where Judy and Sid returned from.

Production on A Star Is Born officially started on August 18, 1953.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on A Star Is Born here.

May 15, 1955:  Dorothy Killagllen noted in her column that producer Mike Todd was going to star Judy in a film version of the Broadway hit “South Pacific.”  At this point, Judy was a bit old for the part but probably could have still pulled it off.

Check out more about the unrealized Garland films on The Judy Room’s “Films That Got Away” page here.

Judy Garland with Betty Comden and Adolph Green May 15, 1966

May 15, 1966:  Judy attended the “Tribute to Judy Holiday/Cancer Benefit for The American Center in Denver” held at the Americana Hotel in New York City.  Judy had flown to New York the previous day specifically to attend this event.  She sang: “When you’re Smiling”; “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby”; “Just In Time”; “The Party’s Over”; and encored with “You Mabe Me Love You”/”For Me And My Gal”/”The Trolley Song” and “Over The Rainbow.”

The photo above was taken at the event.  Judy is seen with Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

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

May 15, 1967:  “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Hollywood” aired on NBC-TV.  This Jack Paar special was videotaped in color on May 7, 1967, although only a B&W film print survives.  The show was taped at NBC’s Rockefeller Center, Studio 6B, in New York City.

On the day of taping, Judy was escorted by Sid Luft and Tom Green.  She arrived at 6:20 p.m.; the taping started at 8 p.m.  Judy is in good form but not sounding or looking very well.  Several stories that Judy told were cut from the show: Judy told the story of Elvis pulling up in his car only a week before the taping to say he was a big fan, but ignoring Paar who was in the car with Judy; A “recreation” of her dance down the yellow brick road; “The time she sang “God Bless America” on stage with a model who was made up as The Statue of Liberty but was so plastered she fell flat on her face while Judy was trying to sing the song!

May 15, 1972:  Another installment of excerpts from Mickey Deans’s book about his time with Judy.  Deans was Judy’s fifth and last husband.  He was also the only one to release a book about his life with her.

May 15, 2011:  The first of a two-day auction of various Hollywood items by the auction house Profiles in History.  Included were several Garland items.  Check out The Judy Room’s “Year in Review” for 2011 to see the other auctions in 2011 including the auctions of Debbie Reynolds’s legendary collection.

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