“Garland is one of the theater’s great entertainers, a fact that nobody has ever been fool enough to deny”
– Wood Soanes, 1952
May 27, 1937: The second day in a row in which “The Hollywood Reporter” alerted readers about Judy’s actions (career-wise), see May 26 for earlier notice.
This time it was announced that Judy would be dropping out as a vocalist on the Jack Oakie radio show. This was most likely due to her schedule at MGM becoming busier. The Oakie show ended up being canceled, with Judy actually staying with the show until its final broadcast a month later on June 22nd.
Listen to, and download, some of Judy’s performances on the Oakie shows at The Judy Room’s “Judy Sings! – On The Radio” pages here.
Also on May 27, 1937: Louella Parsons reported that Judy was allegedly up for the role of “Velvet Brown” in National Velvet. The film wasn’t made until 1944, with Elizabeth Taylor in her star-making role as Velvet.
May 27, 1939: Babes in Arms filming continued with scenes on the ‘Interior Patsy’s Bedroom” and “Interior Bus” sets, including Judy’s heartfelt rendition of “I Cried For You.” Time called: 9 a.m.; lunch 12:43-1:43; time dismissed: 6 p.m.
May 27, 1940: Strike Up The Band filming continued with scenes shot on the “Interior Holden Home” set. The footage shot this day may or may not have been part of the “Our Love Affair” number.
May 27, 1942: Pre-recording session for For Me And My Gal. Judy recorded “Three Cheers For The Yanks” which was cut from the film although the stereo pre-recordings survive. Time called: 12:50 p.m.; dismissed: 4:15 p.m.
May 27, 1952: The reviews of Judy’s opening night at San Francisco’s Curran Theater were, of course, stellar. Here is the review by Wood Soanes of the Oakland Tribune. He is the same critic who predicted great things for “Little Frances Garland” the vaudevillian who performed at the Curran with her mother and sisters in 1934, also in the Oakland Tribune and part of which he quoted in his article about Judy’s return on May 25, 1952. It’s safe to say that Soanes was a Garland fan!
Note that Soanes gives us some great detail as to the content of Judy’s show at this point, which was still in the vaudeville format.
Judy Garland Triumphs as Light Opera Series Opens
By WOOD SOANES
Cafe society and the carriage trade were in evidence in large numbers at the Curran Theater last evening to participate in the launching of the 1952 Civic Light Opera Series in general and the welcoming of Judy Garland in particular.
It must have warmed the cockles of la Garland’s heart to receive the tribute, in applause, flowers, and a standing salute, to her courage in attempting the comeback trail and her artistry as an entertainer. She responded with a magnificent performance.
The Judy Garland Show is divided into two parts. In the first Miss Garland does not appear and the entertainment chores are divided among five vaudeville acts; in the second she takes over with a special pit conductor, a stage accompanist and a male octet.
MAX BYGRAVES CLICKS
The vaudeville portion of the bill is, with a single exception, purely standard stuff made up of acts that would be lucky to get a three-spot billing in the hey-dey of variety.
Opening act is The Shyrettos’ bicycle and unicycle turn which has been in evidence from time to time since it was imported back in 1939 by Clifford C. Fischer for a novelty item in his “Folles Bergere” at the San Francisco World’s Fair.
Jesse, James, and Cornell, a trio of Negro acrobatic dancers, followed. They in turn gave way to Reggie Rymal, erstwhile yo-yo champion and now working with paddle-balls. Giselle and Francois Szony offered a dance turn, and then Bygraves went to work.
A talented young English comic with a better than average voice and an un-billed dead-pan accompanist who is very funny, Bygraves had the audience in the palm of his hand as he did his monologue, comedy bits, and songs. As a matter of fact the applause was deafening for every act on the bill. Last night’s audience was in nothing if not a generous and receptive moove.
After the intermission, in the fashion of the late Sir Harry Lauder used to work with his fabulous “concerts,” Miss Garland arrived decked out in a black jacket and a voluminous white skirt and obviously apprehensive.
She opened with a topical song called “Meet the Press” and moved into another special number, “This Is the Palace” which included a medley of famous songs introduced by famous stars of yesteryear. Oddly enough, the Nora Bayes hit “Shine on Harvest Moon” didn’t evoke any memories, but the Sophie Tucker, Fannie [sic] Brice and Eva Tanguay offerings ran up the applause meter to a feverish height.
Actually, Miss Garland didn’t hit her stride until she did the “Trolley Song.” After that she could have done “Three Little Fishies” or “Mairsie Doats” and had the customers rolling in the aisles.
Miss Garland took time out for two costume changes while the male chorus did chatty song and dance numbers. One, “Come on Get Happy” found her in a lively song and dance routine; the other, with Jack McClendon was “We’re a Couple of Swells,” a tramp bit from the film “Summer Stock.”
Apparently it was her intention to bring the evening to a close with “Over the Rainbow” but the audience had different ideas when the flowers began to go over the footlights and the applause was insistent, she borrowed a page from Al Jolson’s book and settled down – still in comedy get-up – to do a series of encores, chiefly requests.
It looked for a time as if old home week were going to be celebrated and the performance would continue indefinitely, but the curtain finally descended, and the audience went chattering gaily into the night. Taken by and large, it was a gratifying evening but if the vaudeville section is indicative of current quality in the field there is no reason to expect that the Judy Garland Show will restore the two-a-day to ist old estate.
What was demonstrated, beyond question, was that little Garland is one of the theater’s great entertainers, a fact that nobody has ever been fool enough to deny.
May 27, 1959: Judy’s only real concept album received a nice mention from “Felix (The Cat) Brown.
May 27, 1984: This Danish article is about the 1983 restoration of A Star Is Born. I don’t know Danish so I can’t transcribe it. 🙂
Scan provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!