“What a trouper this kid is!” – Harrison Carroll, 1950
May 31, 1935: Judy and her sisters, as “The Garland Sisters,” were enjoying a long run (three weeks) performing between showings of films at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles. Due to the personal appearance of movie star Ramon Novarro, there were write-ups and reviews in the papers which included accolades for Frances (Judy).
Included in one review is a description of part of the show, “The chorus numbers are as pleasant and colorful as usual, and are interrupted occasionally by Rube Wolf, who teaches the Garland Sisters a dance that is called, I believe, ‘the Ducky Wucky’.” This is one of the few times any description of the sisters’ act or in this case, how they participated in other parts of the stage show, was ever mentioned.
Judy gets a special mention in another with, “The whole act is well worth seeing, and is abetted by the Garland sisters, held over by popular demand, of whom Frances, the youngest of the trio, is about as talented an entertainer as one could imagine, and is a show in herself.”
May 31, 1938: This article about the life of child stars, written by Mildred Martin, was published. Judy is noted as receiving a modest allowance each week to pay for “her personal expenses.” A lot of fiction from Ms. Martin!
May 31, 1939: Judy was currently working on Babes In Arms but had the day off from filming, as the assistant director’s notes state that she was in school, plus she had a sitting at the portrait studio.
May 31, 1940: Filming continued on Strike Up The Band on the “Riverwood High School” and “Morgan Dining Room” set. Time called: 9 a.m.; dismissed: 4:05 p.m.
May 31, 1941: Dorothy Boyle of Patterson, New Jersey won the Judy Garland look-like contest. The contest was a tie-in to Ziegfeld Girl which was currently a hit around the country. MGM executive Elliot Forman was the judge and chose Boyle out of an unknown number of contestants. She was announced at a fashion show sponsored by Konner’s which included two “stunning girls” who were in the film, modeling outfits from the film along with seven other costumes “in addition to Judy Garland’s which were used in the promotion and exhibition of original paintings.” Oddly enough, no photos were printed of Ms. Boyle or any other part of the contest/fashion show.
May 31, 1945: The second day of filming in Chatsworth, Los Angeles, on The Harvey Girls, the “Exterior Train in Desert” set. Time called: 10 a.m.; dismissed: 3:45 p.m. Filming continued on location in Chatsworth for the next two days which were the final days of shooting on the film. After everyone was back at the studio, Judy went in for “loops” (post-dubbing dialogue for various scenes) for a few days with the last session of loops on June 14, her final day of work on the film.
May 31, 1947: Filming on The Pirate continued on the “Interior Don Pedro’s Salon” set. Time called: 9:45 a.m. The assistant director’s notes report: “4:35 p.m.: Miss Garland was too tired to continue; Company dismissed.”
May 31, 1950: Harrison Carroll reported on Judy’s alleged happiness at being brought back from her vacation to film Royal Wedding. Sadly we know that is far from the truth. Royal Wedding turned out to be the last straw for Judy and her association with MGM. In actuality, Judy was already in rehearsals for the film when this column appeared, working only ninety minutes according to the studio’s records.
Judy did get to Europe though under slightly different circumstances when she began the next phase of her career (and life) at the London Palladium on April 9, 1951.
On this day, Judy was at MGM in rehearsals for the film. Time called: 11:00 a.m.; dismissed: 12:30 p.m.
HOLLYWOOD – An excited Judy Garland tells me she’ll do “Royal Wedding’ and still maker her trip to Europe.
“I didn’t even have to ask Arthur Freed,” says Judy. “He promised me we’ll finish this picture in time for me to leave with Vicent [sic] (her husband, Vicente [sic] Minnelli) when he goes to Paris in August.”
What a trouper this kid is! She had had only six weeks of what was supposed to be an extended vacation when June Allyson found she was going to have a baby and M-G-M asked Judy to take over the picture.
“I expected to take a long rest,” says Judy, “but as soon as I got to feeling good, the inaction bored me to death. I was tickled to go to work. All I wanted was to be sure it was all right with June for me to take over her part. I called her. She was so happy over the coming baby that she asked me, as a favor, to do the picture.”
“How about your health?” I asked.
“Don’t worry,” says Judy. “I wouldn’t take a chance on that. Believe me, I’m not sick any more at all.”
May 31, 1955: Two items:
1) A blurb about Rita Moreno having dubbed Judy’s voice in Spanish for a foreign-language release of Meet Me In St. Louis. I have no information as to whether this is true or not.
2) In his column, Stu Perry joked about the bad reputations of both Judy and Mario Lanza, stating, “it’s a standing joke that if the two were ever to star in the same picture it would take 20 years to complete.”
May 31, 1965: These home movies were taken by Roddy McDowell at a Malibu beach party. It’s wonderful to see so many stars in a casual setting. Judy is seen briefly and looks great as does everyone.
It’s hard to believe when watching this footage that Judy had just spent the previous day (May 30) at the UCLA Medical Center going through withdrawal from the medication she had been taking. She had been in concert in Cincinnati, Ohio, but had to cancel the second half of the show (May 29) when her doctor announced that she could not continue due to a viral infection and a temperature of 102. Judy was certainly one strong lady!
May 31, 1989: MGM/UA home video announced the upcoming release of the 50th-anniversary edition of The Wizard of Oz. This was the first time the film was presented in a restored format, with extras. The announcement was made at a special media event at the Culver City Filmland Center Building in Los Angeles, California. Munchkin Coroner Meinhardt Raabe and Jack Haley, Jr., were the celebrity guests.