On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – May 16

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“She’ll outlive, and outlaugh us all, you’ll see.”
– Liza Minnelli speaking of Judy in 1967

May 16, 1929:  The first of a two-day engagement for the “Gumm Family/Gumm Sisters” in the Second Annual Minstrel Show at the Valley Theater in Lancaster, California (owned and operated by Judy’s father, Frank Gumm).  Songs included: “When We Turn Out The Home Town Band”; “Old Man River” (sung by “The Gumm Sisters” in blackface); and “Hellow Sunshine” (the finale with the entire cast).  34 years later Judy performed “Old Man River” on her TV series, “The Judy Garland Show,” thankfully not in blackface!

May 16, 1930:  “The Gumm Sisters” (Judy and her two sisters) performed as part of the “Big Brother Frolic” sponsored by “Big Brother Ken” at the Walker Department Store in Lost Angeles, California.  That evening, Frances (Judy) was a delegate from St. Paul’s Church of Lancaster, California, and participated in the Episcopal ProCathedral Annual Service in Los Angeles, California.

May 16, 1935:  The second night of a one-week engagement (which turned into three weeks) for Judy and her sisters, as “The Garland Sisters” at the Paramount Theater, in Los Angeles.  They’re listed as one of the attractions in this ad published in “The Los Angeles Times.”

Robert Taylor, Judy Garland, Betty Jaynes, Clark Gable in mid-1937

May 16, 1937:  An article in the Chicago Tribune about Chicago’s own 15-year-old Betty Jaynes mentions how she joins Judy in vocal training with Roger Edens as well as being a part of the “Social Living Club” of which Judy was the president!  No rest for the busy Judy Garland, at least according to the always creative MGM Publicity Department.

The clipping above was provided by Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!

[excerpt from “Betty Jaynes Studying for Movie Debut” written by Roslind Shaffer for the Chicago Tribune]

Does All her Studying with Judy Garland
Robert Taylor, Judy Garland, Betty Jaynes, Clark Gable in mid-1937
“I do all my studying with Judy Garland,” says Miss Jaynes.  “We’re both in the tenth grade and we have become good friends.  Miss MacDonald, our teacher, gives us our assignments in history, French, and English, and when we’re ready to recite she asks us questions in turn.”  

Betty particularly likes her history book, which is “Story of the Nations” [Rogers, Adams & Brown].  At present she and Judy are immersed in the grandeur and political perplexities of ancient Greece.  Betty’s French text is “French Language, Literature, and Life” [Smith & Roberts].  In English the whole group of youngsters is in the middle of “Ivanhoe.”

The way in which these talented and highly paid young persons of the movies acquire their common school education seemed highly interesting, so, with Miss Mary MacDonald’s permission, we were privileged to “listen in” on a class. [MacDonald was MGM’s schoolteacher]

“Aw,” moaned Mickey.  “Freddie and I don’t stand a chance with these singers.”

Students Form “World’s Most Exclusive Club.”

In addition to their regular school work the six students recently formed the world’s most exclusive high school club, which they call the Social Living club.  Judy Garland is president.  John Arlington [John Arlington Neutzel, 11 year old ex-St. Louis choir boy who was recommended to the studio by Mary Garden], is secretary.  The “club” holds debates every Friday, discusses current events every Wednesday, and sings songs and write poetry on Mondays.

Betty Jaynes’ school is over at noon, but after lunch she and Judy spend an hour with Roger Edens, the M-G-M singing coach.  Edens has arranged several popular and classical songs which the two girls sing together.  Recently at a party, at Producer Louis B. Mayer’s home, Norma Shearer was so impressed with their duets that she presented Judy and Betty with monogrammed makeup kits.

The Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937) starring Robert Taylor, Eleanor Powell, George Murphy, Judy Garland, Sophie Tucker, Buddy Ebsen, and Charles Gorin

On this day at MGM, Judy was in the middle of production on Broadway Melody of 1938 which was her MGM feature film debut.  At this point, the film was still called Broadway Melody of 1937, at least by the papers which ran this recent photo (above) taken during the filming of the finale sequence, sent out by MGM to promote the lavish production.

Betty Jaynes lived to the ripe old age of 98, passing away on November 22, 2018.  She had been out of the spotlight since the early 1950s.

May 16, 1938:  Judy and her co-stars in Love Finds Andy Hardy posed for promotional photos used to promote the film and for poster/ad artwork.  This was Judy’s first of three appearances in the “Hardy” series.  This installment is generally considered to be the quintessential “Hardy” film.

Love Finds Andy Hardy also starred Mickey Rooney (of course!), Ann Rutherford, Lana Turner (her only appearance in the series), Lewis Stone, Fay Holden, Celia Parker, and Marie Blake.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on the Hardy series here.

May 16, 1939:  Another day of Babes in Arms filming on the “Interior Moran Living Room” set.  The assistant director’s notes state:  “Judy’s time called: 9 a.m.; 9:00-9:12 – rehearsed to playback without Judy; 9:12-9:20 – wait for Judy. She arrived on set at 9 a.m.; but was putting on wardrobe.  Lunch was from 12:00-1:00 p.m.; 2:53-3:23 – new set was arranged and lit (note that the company had to shoot around Judy until 4:30 p.m. since she had to finish her school work); Judy was dismissed at 6 p.m.”

Featured with Judy and Mickey Rooney in the photos above are their co-stars, Betty Jaynes, and Douglas McPhail.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on Babes in Arms here.

Judy Garland at her flower shop,

May 16, 1939:  The photo and caption above appeared in the papers throughout most of 1939 and into early 1940, promoting Judy and her alleged business, “Judy Garland Flowers,” supposedly opened by Judy and her mom, Ethel.  The photos were all posed and shot by an MGM studio photographer, possibly on January 22, 1939.  Obviously, Judy was too busy at the studio to spend any real-time arranging flowers at the shop’s location on 5421 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.  The location was eventually turned into a bakery.  The building was torn down in the 1980s and a Staples store now occupies the space.

In the photos above, Judy is seen with director George Sidney, an unidentified “customer,” and her two sisters.


May 16, 1940:  Filming on Strike Up The Band continued with scenes shot on the “Interior Gym” and “Exterior Carnival” sets.  Time called: 9:00 a.m.; dismissed: 4:30 p.m.


May 16, 1942:  Filming on For Me And My Gal continued with scenes shot on the “Interior Continental Corridor” set.  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; dismissed: 5:55 p.m.

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

May 16, 1943:  According to this blurb, which was printed in several newspapers during this time, Judy’s sister Jimmie worked at MGM as a script girl.  Contrary to the urban legend that Jimmie was a dancer in some of Judy’s early 1940s films, neither of Judy’s two sisters ever appeared on screen in any of her films or any other MGM films.  Unfortunately, the misinformation has been added to some IMDb pages but we know that information is not true.  However, Jimmie did work at the studio behind the scenes as described in this newspaper blurb.


May 16, 1945:  MGM trade ad for The Clock.

May 16, 1945:  Filming on The Harvey Girls continued with scenes shot on the “Interior R.R. Coach” set.  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; Judy arrived at 10:20 a.m.; dismissed: 5:45 p.m.

May 16, 1946:  Judy was still on maternity leave after giving birth to daughter Liza Minnelli on March 12, 1946, when MGM sent out the first portraits of Judy, Vincente Minnelli, and little Liza, jokingly noting that Judy while Judy was a big star at the MGM studios, she was now “playing second fiddle” at home.

Although Judy was on maternity leave for over a year (November 8, 1945, to December 2, 1946) she was still very much in the movie-going public’s consciousness thanks to two films playing in theaters at the time, The Harvey Girls and Ziegfeld Follies of 1946, and Till The Clouds Roll By.  She also appeared on the radio and cut some singles for Decca Records.

May 16, 1947:  In stores, while the film was still playing in theaters, the very first MGM Records soundtrack album, Till The Clouds Roll By.  Note the ad for the Philco Radio-Phonograph published on the same date.  I bet the records sounded great!

Also on this day, Judy was at MGM filming more scenes for The Pirate.  Time called: 9:45 a.m.; dismissed: 5:35 p.m.  It’s not noted which scenes were shot.

Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s pages devoted to the Till The Clouds Roll By soundtrack here.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on Till The Clouds Roll By here.

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

May 16, 1948:  Judy plays Judy.  The papers noted that in the upcoming production of Words And Music Judy was the only star playing herself.  She quipped (which is probably true as it’s definitely something she would jokingly say), “I just hope audiences won’t decide I’m not the type for the part.”  Judy began work on the film on May 20th.

May 16, 1951:  Louella Parsons reported on a proposed sequel to 1944’s Meet Me In St. Louis titled Meet Me In New York.  The sequel was the idea of Barron Poland, whom Judy had dated in the late 30s and early 40s.  The photo above shows Judy with Poland at the Hollywood premiere of Gone With The Wind (1939).

Check out The Judy Room’s extensive page about all of “The Films That Got Away” here, which featured information about films Judy was allegedly either going to play, signed to play, or rumored to be associated with.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Meet Me In St. Louis here.

May 16, 1953:  This column written by Baroness Stackleberg was published.  The Baroness notes Judy and her husband Sid Luft’s attendance at the recent anniversary ball at The Greenbrier Resort in Sulpher Springs, West Virginia, on May 9.  Sid played golf in the pro-am golf tournament during the day.

This snapshot was taken of Judy on the 9th, with Robert R. Young (Chairman of the C&O Railway that owned The Greenbrier at the time) and Charles Cushing.  According to the Greenbrier History Group, they are posing at the first hole of the Old White Course, with the clubhouse behind them.

May 16, 1959:  Coming soon to the Chicago Opera House.

May 16, 1959:  More legal issues for Judy, this time pertaining to the fiasco of her March 30, 1958, engagement at the Town and Country Club in Brooklyn, New York.

May 16, 1961:  Columnist Dorothy Kilgallen updated readers on Judy’s career being guided by Freddie Fields (who would become her new manager), and her husband Sid Luft’s business pertaining to an “invention” that could make him a millionaire.  It’s unknown what invention Kilgallen is referring to, as nothing happened to make Sid a millionaire.

May 16, 1964:  Judy’s second concert at the Sydney Stadium in Sydney, Australia, was an even bigger success than her premiere night at the venue on May 13th.  A recording made from the audience survives, see links below.  After the concert, a promoter insulted Judy by calling her a “freak” singer because of what she had done to her audience.  He meant it as a compliment, but Judy slapped his face after asking him to repeat what he had said, and from there everything began to unravel.

Listen to “That’s Entertainment!” here:

Download the surviving recordings from this night here (zip file).

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


May 16, 1966:  Though Judy had said that she would perform at the March of Dimes Salute to Ed Sullivan at the Hilton in New York, she decided to return home to Los Angeles, California.

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

Judy Garland is strong, says daughter Liza Minnelli

May 16, 1967:  Sheilah Graham’s column featured an interview with Judy’s daughter, Liza Minnelli.

“My mother is a strong woman,” said Liza Minelli [sic].  Her mother is Judy Garland who was recently fired from the “Valley of the Colls” movie.

“She’s not the tragic figure people make her out to be,” continued Liza who sounds like Judy but looks like her father, director Vincent Minelli [sic]].  “When things get hard, she gets upset, then it’s over and she back on her feet, she’s built up resilience.”

“The things that have happened to this woman – if she hadn’t been strong she could not have survived.  And what a sense of humor she has.  She’ll outlive, and outlaugh us all, you’ll see.”

Mother and daughter are close, as you can see, but they do not encroach on each other’s lives, privately or professionally.  It was Judy who introduced Liza to her practically new bridegroom, singer and composer, Peter Allen

“Mama met him in Hong Kong where he was appearing with his brother Chris and when we were in London doing the Palladium together she kept saying to me, ‘you’ve got to meet him,’ and she kept telling him, ‘you’ve got to meet my daughter!’ and we both thought we’d hate each other because that’s the way it usually goes, but it didn’t go like that.  We were simpatico at once.”

“My husband is Australian.  He’s 23, Chris is 22 and I’m just 21 and in July we’re going Australialia to appear in Sidney and Melbourne, on the same bill but not together.  We tried singing together and we sounded like Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers.”

“After Australia, Princess Grace has asked us to come to Monaco for the big gala in August – Peter is very well known in Europe.  And somewhere along the line we’ll take a honeymoon because we haven’t had one yet.  It was my idea not to have a honeymoon at the beginning.  It’s like New Year’s Eve when you feel you have to put on a show and you look at each other and say ‘so what?'”

“Are you sorry about your mother losing the role in ‘Valley of the Dolls?’ I asked Liza.  “No I’m glad and so is she,” she assured me.  “It isn’t exactly a classic is it?  She’s too good for that sort of thing.  I’m not worrying about her.  Like I said she’s a strong lady, but a sensitive lady, and somehow these people survive.”

Judy still has her home in Hollywood, but Liza prefers to live in New York.  “When I go back to Beverly Hills I’m astounded at all the luxurious homes.  It seems ludicrous to me, after pounding around New York City and coming home to my two-room apartment.  I came to live in New York when I was sixteen.  I’d been around movies all my life and there was nothing.  I didn’t feel any glamor or mystery.  It just seemed long and tedious and everyone getting up at six in the morning which I hate. Then I saw a Broadway show and that was it.”

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

Also on May 16, 1967:  In his column, “After Last Night,” Will Jones reported on Judy’s recent appearance on Jack Paar’s TV show.  The show was taped on May 7th and aired on May 15th.  Watch Judy’s segment below:

The Third Judy Is The Real One

Judy Garland, the real Judy Garland, the wan but sharp-minded little girl who observes the mixed-up world around her and then reconstructs it in her own special way, turned up with Jack Paar on TV Sunday night.

There’s Judy the crying performer, and there’s Judy them mixed-up kid who misses performances and blows movie contracts.  There’s also Judy the wit, the one who sees the world very clearly, if from her own peculiarly off-center and refreshing point of view.

It’s this third Judy, who sits around juicing and cracking up her friends with her fragile, candid observations, who is seldom seen in public.  But Paar succeeded in bringing a fragment of this side of her personality to a national TV audience Sunday night, in a brief but remarkable interview session during his “A Funny Things Happened on the Way to Hollywood.”

Paar chatted with her about the old days at MGM, where she and Mickey Rooney and Lana Turner were attending the same studio school, and she was making “The Wizard of Oz.”  Paar, who obviously had heard the same sort of observation before, asked her about the Munchkins in the Oz movie.

“They were little drunks,” blurted Miss Garland.

She told about a 40-year-old Munchkin who tried to hustle her for a date, and mentioned a Culver City hotel where they all stayed during the making of the movie.

“They’d get smashed every night, and they’d pick ’em up in butterfly nets,” said Miss Garland.

In other portions of the interview, which was certainly not calculated to win friends and influence people, an activity of which her attitude clearly indicated she’s had quite enough, she characterized Deanna Durbin’s principal talent as consisting of one very large eyebrow.

“A caterpillar,” suggested Miss Garland.

Paar’s own view of Hollywood, which was fortified with a batch of hilarious and hilariously used film clips from studio archives, was hardly any more reverent.

The collection included everything from a sequence of a Jello-busted Jayne Mansfield causing pint-sized Mickey Rooney no end of visual problems as they shared the platform at an awards ceremony (a strip of film that has been making the round of the har-de-har stag circuit for some years) to a seemingly endless collection of shots of Jimmy Cagney hitting people in one fil after another.

Another good sequence showed how Busby Berkeley dance production numbers look perfectly ok when set to such current musical hits as “Downtown” and “Winchester Cathedral.”

Less inspired, and hardly fair, but still fun, was a phony press conference with Paar asking the questions of Gov. Ronald Reagan’s answers coming from clips from old Reagan films.  Reagan also figured in a brief reel of out-takes, the shots with bloopers in them that never get into the final version of the film, but that are carefully saved for laughs at studio parties.

Paar wove all these odds and ends together with a commentary that drew heavily on his own experiences in Holywood, including the time he was bucking for an Alan Ladd kind of image and, in his Ladian best, impressed an RKO executive as being “a Kay Kyser with warmth.”

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

May 16, 1968:  After spending the day with Mickey Dean’s roommate, Charlie Cochran, at their apartment in the East 80s in Manhattan, Judy and Cochran went back to the St. Moritz Hotel to find Judy was locked out of her two-room suite.  She owed the hotel $1,800, which was reportedly just for one week although that’s a high number so that information might not be correct.  Judy was under the impression that “Group Five” was to pay the bill which they didn’t, although Sid Luft later told a reporter that he had personally been paying Judy’s bill until the previous week, and had even left spending money for her at the hotel.

For the next week or so, Judy stayed at Deans and Cochran’s apartment, while something was done with the bill.  However, some of Judy’s possessions had been confiscated by the hotel.

Also on this date, Judy and “Group Five” reportedly filed a suit in the New York state’s Supreme Court against Madison Square Garden, in the amount of $251,000, for failure to provide Judy with a microphone and proper lighting.  As a result, she was “rendered sick, lame, and disabled, and compelled to seek medical assistance.”

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

May 16, 1972:  The last installment of a series of excerpts from the book “Weep No More My Lady” written by Judy’s last husband, Mickey Deans.

May 16, 2011:  The final day 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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