“She’s sick. She needs help and understanding. A long rest in a sanitarium is the only answer to her problem.” – Comment by an unnamed colleague, 1949
May 29, 1932: The first night of a two-night engagement for “Baby Gumm” (Judy) and a boy named Galen Reed at her father’s theater, The Valley Theater, in Lancaster, California. Judy and her family had settled in Lancaster in 1926. Galen Reed was allegedly Judy’s “first love.”
May 29, 1938: These posed snapshots of Judy, Mickey Rooney, and their schoolmates were featured quite a few articles in the late spring and summer of 1938, usually accompanying articles about “Hollywood Youngsters” and even one in March about “Judy’s Gang.”
The published captions for each photo are in the captions for each photo and repeated below, from left to right:
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES EVEN A FILM STUDIO A DULL PLACE
In the carefully allotted time of a child film actor play is not forgotten. Here M-G-M school youngsters are seen at recess, boys opposing girls in a game of keep-away. In the noisy group are Judy Garland, Suzanne Larson, Cosmo Millardi, Ronald Sinclair, Frieda Starr, Elena Quirici and Betty Jaynes.
LUNCH TIME AT SCHOOL
School hours sometimes vary with studio requirements. But this day Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney were in school at the noon hour, and, like village students, sat on the schoolhouse steps as they ate their lunch.
JUDY GARLAND AND MICKEY ROONEY DO THEIR LESSON
They are seen working on their French assignment at the M-G-M studio school. Here, as at other studios, a school offering studies from primary grades through high school is maintained. For California state law requires that every screen actor of school age shall devote four hours daily to study.
May 29, 1942: Judy covered a lot of ground filming scenes for For Me And My Gal. One hour in the morning (10 a.m. – 11 a.m.) was spent on the “Interior Theater” set, whiled 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. was spend filming scenes on the “Interior Cathedral” “Interior YMCA” and “Interior French Cafe” sets.
May 29, 1945: Filming on The Harvey Girls continued with scenes shot on the “Exterior Train in Desert” set. Time called: 10 am.; dismissed: 3:50 p.m. This was most likely the scene at the end of the film that was filmed on location in the Chatsworth area of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley.
May 29, 1947: Filming on The Pirate continued with scenes shot on the “Interior Don Pedro’s Salon” set. Time called: 9:45 a.m.; Judy arrived at 10 a.m.; dismissed: 5:55 p.m.
May 29, 1949: Judy entered Peter Brent Bringham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, to cure her dependency on prescription medicine. The newspapers reported that she was on “a rest.” She had just been fired from Annie Get Your Gun and it was finally realized by the studio (at least a little bit) that she needed serious help.
Judy stayed at the hospital through the summer, with occasional trips away, once to Los Angeles to discuss Summer Stock and once to Cape Cod for the July 4th holiday (with daughter Liza Minnelli visiting). She returned to Los Angeles in early September but did not return to MGM for Summer Stock” rehearsals until early October. In that short month, she pre-recorded appearances for “The Bing Crosby Show” on CBS Radio. Crosby always came through for Judy!
As you can see from these “Annie” costume test photos, Judy was obviously not well.
May 29, 1953: Judy entered St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica for a check-up. Thankfully everything was fine. Judy was getting ready to begin rehearsals for her big film comeback in A Star Is Born. Her first official day of work on the film was on August 18th.
May 29, 1959: Judy and husband Sid Luft arrived on the Chief at Chicago’s Dearborn Station. She was in town for the second stop on her “Opera House Tour.” She opened at the Chicago Opera House on June 1st. These photos are small, but all I have as they were shared with me by a member of The Judy Room’s Facebook Group.
May 29, 1964: In Hong Kong, Judy came out of her 15-hour coma (see yesterday’s post) only to find out that her sister, “Susie” (Mary Jane Gumm), had committed suicide the previous Tuesday (May 26th) in Las Vegas. The newspapers reported that she died from “a chronic infection of the pancreas” as told by her friend, John Morrissey, at whose home she succeeded in taking her life. Sister “Jimmie” (Dorothy Virginia Gumm) later stated: “It was a sordid domestic mess. Living in Las Vegas, that’s not a particularly tranquil atmosphere – the gambling, the girls, the temptations – that was the end for her. She went the sleeping pill routing. Somehow the Garland females can’t stand loss of love.” Judy did not address it publicly but it’s assumed that, naturally, she took the news badly. As with her relationship with her mother, Judy’s relationships with her two sisters were complicated and although she had some contact with Susie in the early 1960s Jimmie had broken ties with Judy over Judy’s behavior towards their mother, Ethel, and towards Susie.
May 29, 1965: Judy was in concert at the Cincinnati Gardens in Cincinnati, Ohio. Judy completed the first act in fine vocal form, but had to cancel the second half when her doctor announced – with Judy on-stage – that she could not continue, as she had a virus infection and a temperature of 102. Judy had reportedly been paid $20,000 for the concert, according to one report: a $5,000 advance, then the remaining $15,000 apparently an hour before the concert; another report had Judy earning a guaranteed $40,000 against 60% of the gross; 4,500 people had paid from $3.75 to $7.50. Judy’s songs in the 32-minute first half were: “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands”; “When You’re Smiling”; “Almost Like Being In Love”/”This Can’t Be Love”; “What Now My Love?” (standing ovation); “Do It Again”; and “San Francisco,” all backed by a 30-piece orchestra.
[from “Judy Garland – The Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Legend” by Scott Schechter]
Margaret Josten of The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that prior to the intermission “Miss Garland was visibly annoyed several times … by fans running to the stage to pop flashbulbs in her face. The guards worked overtime keeping them back. Finally, at intermission, it was announced that Judy would be very happy if nobody else tried it.”
Newspapers reported that the crowd was not happy that Judy canceled the rest of the concert, with approximately 1,000 people demanding their money back and then they “besieged her dressing room, not allowing the singer to leave until more police arrived.”
May 29, 1967: This agreement was signed by Judy and 20th Century-Fox. It states that she would be paid $37,500.00 and that to the studio for Valley of the Dolls would be canceled, “…with the same force and effect as if the same had never been entered into between us.” As noted in the agreement, Fox took $5k out of that $37,500.00 per a previous promissory note. You might note that the agreement was stamped as approved by Fox on June 2, 1967.