On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – May 22

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“[The Man That Got Away] may be the greatest song Harold Arlen ever wrote.” – Dorothy Kilgallen, 1953

May 22, 1930:  Local girl Frances Gumm (Judy Garland) performed at the piano class recital of Mrs. J.C. Shapland at the Lancaster High School, Lancaster, California.  Frances was the emcee and closed the show with a ballad and a dance.

Also on this date, this notice was published in “The Los Angeles Times,” noting the Annual Milk Fund Benefit which began the following day.  Judy and her sisters, going as “The Hollywood Starlets Trio,” took part in the event on May 23, 24, & 25.

May 22, 1932:  The first of two nights during which Frances (Judy) and her two sisters sang at their father’s theater, the Valley Theater, in Lancaster, California.

May 22, 1935:  “The Garland Sisters” got another mention in this article in the “Los Angeles Times” (first clipping) as well as the ad (second clipping).  They were part of the Fanchon and Marco stage show at the Paramount Theater that accompanied the film Goin’ to Town starring Mae West.  The fourth clipping is from “Variety” as is an example of the trade paper’s standard listings.  The sisters are listed as “3 Garland Sis.”

May 22, 1938:  Judy’s star was definitely on the rise.  Everybody Sing was in theaters getting good reviews (see above) that singled out Judy as one of the highlights of the film.  The two articles here (one is more of a featurette) are examples of MGM’s giving Judy the soon-to-be-star build-up.

The first article is an example of the press’s focus on Judy’s weight, which as we know, they would harass her about it until her death.


Judy Garland Diets to Keep Childish Figure for Kid Role

Judy Garland is 14 and definitely precocious.  But good fun.

Her wisecracking is garnished with modesty, and her trim little figure is obscured by unflattering, juvenile frocks.  Judy is trying her very best to remain a child until Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer decides that she can be an ingenue.  That will be in a little more than a year; her sixteenth birthday will be June 10, 1939.


The studio decided she didn’t look childish enough for her role in “Everybody Sing,” so she put on a routine of diet, exercise and massage which reduced her hips three inches.  She’s still on a diet.  I had lunch with her and her mother the other day and she was grumbling about it.

“Everybody in the restaurant is watching to see that I don’t snitch an extra dessert or something,” she said.  “At least I feel that everybody’s watching.  Maybe it’s my conscience.”

She recently was announced for the role of Dorothy in Metro’s version of “The Wizard of Oz.”  The selection drew a good deal of adverse comment, and as much from Judy Garland fans as from anyone else.  She herself seems a little uneasy about it.


Miss Garland has a great deal of vitality, a love of excitement, and a chronic detestation of routine events.  In a rapid, sarcastic sing-song she recited her Hollywood working schedule and it was easy to guess that she doesn’t like it much.  Rising, acting, classes, luncheon, acting, recording, more classes, lying on the roof in the sun (“That’s a rip-roaring experience, I can tell you”), radio rehearsals, radio broadcasts, study, reading, bedtime – all these are mapped out pretty rigidly.  

Those are some of the reasons.

This next article (actually it’s more of a featurette) presents posed photos of Judy and her contemporaries at the MGM schoolhouse.  


SCHOOL days, school days, dear old golden rule days, readin’ and writin’ and ‘rithmetic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick . . . that was the old order.  Now the tune should go, “School days, school days, hectic, rushing school days, grab at a sentence, and rush to the set, hear the director and learn a few words, take your exams and be plenty smart, stage school teachers are ever alert.  Pity the kids who try to get by.”

But, here’s school days with a few very popular screen youngsters.  One can hardly call Mickey Rooney a youngster any longer, but here he is.  Also Betty Jaynes, Frieda Starr, Cosmo Mallardi, Ronald Sinclair and Suzanne Larson.  Judy Garland struggles with her French lesson, while Mary MacDonald is the teacher in command.

Often, the youngsters are spread all over the studio, and Miss MacDonald posts a notice outside of the school house as to where she may be found.  Sounds like schooling at a movie studio would be a problem but it isn’t.  The youngsters have the same as private lessons most of the tie, and their progress is fast as a result of it.  IN fact, the teacher is eager to have the pupils pass rigid examinations to prove that this method of work is equal to or surpasses the public school systems.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Page on Everybody Sing here.

May 22, 1939:  Babes In Arms filming consisted of scenes on the ‘Interior Mrs. Barton’s Dressing Room” and “Interior Sorro’s Office” (Judy was not in that scene) sets. Judy had a 9 a.m. call; lunch was 12:38-1:38.

The assistant director’s notes state: “2:29-2:55 – move to Int. Sorro’s Office.  Note: We could not finish this seq. in the dressing room until later on in the afternoon after Judy Garland could finish her schoolwork. She will be finished with same about 4:45”; “4:34-4:58 – Move back to Int. Mrs. Barton’s Dressing room – line and light original setup that we had to abandon due to Judy Garland’s schooling; 4:58-5:01 – wait for Judy Garland – getting on wardrobe/fixing hair; dismissed at 6 p.m.”

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

May 22, 1942:  MGM records note that Judy was not on call and not needed for the production of For Me And My Gal although this photo of Judy in costume taken on the set is also dated for this date.

It might have been taken the week before.  Judy is in costume for her scenes on both the “Interior Continental Hotel” (“Eve Minard’s” hotel suite) and “Interior Joe’s Hotel Room” sets.  Those scenes were shot from May 13th through the 16th.

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

May 22, 1948:  Here are two separate two-page spreads published by MGM in the trade magazine “Motion Picture Herald.”  The Pirate and Easter Parade (both released in 1948) are mentioned.

May 22, 1950:  Louella Parsons reported that Judy was in the running to replace June Allyson in Royal Wedding.  Parsons noted that Judy was resting in Carmel, California, and also noted that she would be excellent in the role “if she is strong enough physically.”  Unfortunately for all involved, when MGM called Judy back she was not yet strong enough, and just before the pre-recording sessions were about to begin, she was taken off the film.  The result was her final exit from MGM.

May 22, 1953 The_Journal_Herald (Dayton OH)

May 22, 1953:  The news of Harold Arlen’s new song for Judy to sing in her upcoming film, A Star Is Born, “The Man That Got Away,” made Dorothy Kilgallen’s column.  Kilgallen gets the name of the song wrong (“A One Man Woman Waiting for the Man Who Got Away”) and also states that Marlon Brando will play “Norman Maine,” but at least she’s right in her estimation that the song might be Arlen’s greatest.


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

May 22, 1954:  Judy and her husband Sid Luft were recently seen out on the town.

May 22, 1958:  Judy’s recent remark about her hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, “The train stops in Grand Rapids, Minn., just for laughs” prompted this response from the town’s columnist, Ken Hickman, published in the Minneapolis Star:

POOR JUDY GARLAND has her foot in her mouth again.  Columnist Leonard Lyons quoted her as saying that “The train stops in Grand Rapids, Minn., just for laughs.”  Ken Hickman, Grand Rapids columnist, pipes back with, “Grand Rapids has always felt kindly toward the Gumm (Judy’s real name) girl.  It’s too bad she ever left town, really.  Here she’d be a soloist in some church choir, she’d have had one husband, a normal life and real friends.  Instead, she has fame, money, a crazy, mixed up life without any of the important and worthwhile things.  She could have stayed here and laughed right back at the train every time it stopped.

The anger was shortlived.  Judy returned to Minnesota a year later (but not to Grand Rapids) to be one of the star attractions at the state’s centennial celebration (see clipping above right).

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


May 22, 1962:  Advertisement from the Newport Daily News promoting Judy’s upcoming appearance on July 3rd.  Notice how Judy is given the star (literally with two stars) billing and is the big finale.  Check out the rest of the performers listed – what a lineup!

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

May 22, 1962:  The annual Emmy Awards took place.  Judy’s recent special with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, originally titled “The Judy Garland Show,” was nominated for four Emmys: Best Program of the Year, Outstanding Variety or Music Program, Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program (Judy), and Best Art Direction.  Unfortunately, it did not win any.  The show originally aired on February 25, 1962.


May 22, 1962:  Judy sent her agent, David Begelman a wire, originally written in pencil on 33 Hyde Park Gate stationary, that was received in New York on this date.  It was a short, informal note expressing how she had just had dinner at Sir Harry’s Bars and how she wanted to hear from him.  It also said that she loved him.  She signed it “Pussy Cat.”

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

May 22, 1963:  Three ads for I Could Go On Singing.  Note how two of the ads make good use of an image from Judy’s big hospital scene, including a quote from that scene.

May 22, 1964:  Judy and Mark Herron flew from Sydney to Hong Kong on an 11 p.m. flight, checking into the Mandarin Hotel.  These photos were taken of Judy and Herron leaving Mascot Airport, Sydney, to catch that flight to Hong Kong.

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

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