“Judy Garland still could turn on an audience faster than LSD.”
– Vernon Scott, 1968
June 7, 1937: Here is another full-page spread (along with another clipping) focusing on child stars/contract players. Some of the photos are the same as what was posted yesterday. Of note here is the photo of Judy and other students with their teacher Mary MacDonald. MacDonald ran the schoolhouse at MGM and taught some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. It’s too bad she never wrote a memoir as that would have been fascinating!
June 7, 1939: Babes In Arms filming continued with scenes shot on the “Exterior Moran Backyard” set, specifically the “Where Or When” number which Judy only sings a part of, but beautifully so. It’s a shame she never made a full recording of it. Time called: 9 a.m.; lunch 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:45 p.m.
June 7, 1940: Strike Up The Band filming continued with scenes shot on the “Interior Backstage” and “Interior Radio Theatre” sets. Time called: 10 a.m.; dismissed: 4:35 p.m.
June 7, 1944: Judy was granted a divorce from her first husband, David Rose. The two had been separated for the previous sixteen months. The clippings seen here are from June 8th when the photos of Judy in the Los Angeles courthouse were published.
Judy cited work conflicts as well as Rose’s alleged neglect of her as reasons for the divorce. “The fact is that his work kept him away from home a great deal, but whenever he would stay away, he wouldn’t bother to call me,” she said. She also stated that she bagan to get nervous and lose weight but that her health began to improve after their separation on February 2, 1943.
June 7, 1943: The first of a chain of correspondence about The Belle of New York, which was a project that MGM’s top musical producer, Arthur Freed, wanted to make with Judy as the star. On this day Oscar Hammerstein wrote a letter to Freed about Freed’s recent discussion with Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers which read, in part: … Regarding the Judy Garland picture you spoke to Dick and me about, we are looking forward to receiving a story layout whenever you have one.
Freed had The Belle of New York on hold but at the end of a letter to Hammerstein about the Show Boat project dated that following October 14, 1943, Freed mentioned the film again: Regarding The Belle of New York. We have a fine outline for the story and I am still counting on you and Dick Rodgers to do the score. When would you and Dick had the time to go to work on this along the lines we spoke about? The way I feel about you, Oscar, ‘people will say we’re in love.’
Freed finally made the film in 1952, long after Judy had left the studio. It starred Fred Astaire and Vera-Ellen. The film was not a success but does feature a lovely score and Fred literally dancing on air (thanks to MGM’s special effects department). Unfortunately, the dancing on air effect was not as successful as his dancing on the ceiling in Royal Wedding (1951) or any of his other trick numbers. This, plus the rather pedestrian flow of the film and Vera-Ellen’s bland performance most likely contributed to the film’s failure.
The two clippings above are from April and September 1943 show that Judy and Fred Astaire’s names were attached to the project in the press, and would be over the next several years.
Check out The Judy Room’s “Films That Got Away” pages, which features details about all of the films that Judy was allegedly wanted for or was going to star in.
May 7, 1945: Judy had two films in circulation, Meet Me In St. Louis and The Clock. Both were big hits with Meet Me In St. Louis being the mega-hit. Here is a great review from The Philadelphia Enquirer written by Mildred Martin.
As direct, heart-warming entertainment and as a superb example of screen artistry, “The Clock” struck an emphatic twelve at the Stanley yesterday.
That films need not be “big” to be brilliant is overwhelmingly proved in this poignant, completely captivating romance between a little office worker and a young corporal on leave in Manhattan who meet, “date,” fall in love and marry all within the space of 48 hours.
TASTE AND TENDERNESS
The shrining simplicity of the material is intensified by the seething New York backgrounds, some actual, some extraordinary recreations.
“The Clock’s” chief assets are the taste and tenderness that have been lavished upon it by every one involved, from Judy Garland and Robert Walker, the starry-eyed lovers, and Vincente Minnelli, whose direction is almost too good to be true, to the refreshingly gentle Robert Nathan-Joseph Shrank script adapted from Paul and Pauline Gallico’s story.
From the moment Judy trips over the skyscraper-scared soldier who, after one peek at the city, is sitting it out at the foot of the escalator in the Pennsylvania Station. “The Clock” is off to a series of charmingly human episodes.
The lonely lad from Indiana tags at Judy’s heels, up Fifth Avenue on a bus, toe Central Park, to the Metropolitan Museum. They meet again in the evening under the clock in the Astor for what turns out to be an all-night session thanks to a lunchroom drunk and an incapacitated milkman.
JUDY GARLAND’S BEST
And by the time they lose each other for a while in the subway next morning, love is in bloom and it’s a race against time for the youngsters to clip legal red tape, get themselves married before the boy goes back to camp to be shipped overseas.
Without singing a note, Miss Garland gives the performance of her career and her glowing work is matched at every turn by that of Mr. Walker. Together they make Alice and Joe lovable, touching and a little tragic.
Mr. Minnelli has blended humor with pathos to a remarkable degree, alternating deftly between the two. For some of the most memorable sequences he has employed pure pantomime, a principle of screen technique too many modern directors forget, and he has also used the sounds of the city with almost symphonic effect.
Although attention is focused on Miss Garland and Mr. Walker, important contributions are made by James and Lucile [sic] Gleason, the extraordinarily likable milkman and his wife, and by Keenan Wynn, the talkative, flailing-armed drunk.
Then, too, Mr. Minnelli has seen to it that every bit player and extra fits perfectly into the great, sprawling New York tapestry that serves as backdrop for as winning a love story as has ever graced the screen.
Cameron, Missouri, published this nice note about Meet Me In St. Louis.
You’ll meet the tops in entertainment when you see “Meet Me in St. Louis,” starring Judy Garland with Margaret O’Brien, at the Ritz Theatre starting Tuesday. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s charming new Technicolor musical is the grandest kind of fun the screen ever has produced. You’ll love it and so will your family and friends. It’s the story of the Smiths of St. Louis during that city’s World’s Fair days. Remember! “Meet Me in St. Louis” with Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Tom Drake, Mary Astor, Leon Ames, Marjorie Main, Chill Wills and many others. It’s a must-see picture!
June 7, 1954: Rehearsals for the extensive “Born In A Trunk” number for A Star Is Born officially began. Judy had begun working on the songs and narration a week prior, but this was the first official day as noted by Warner Bros.
Photos provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s “Capitol Records” section for details about these and all of Judy’s albums for the label as well as re-releases and compilations in all audio formats.
June 7, 1965: Judy and Mark Herron attended Jack Jones’s opening thing at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles. Judy wore her “poppy dress’ which she had worn on Episode #21 of her TV series on January 31, 1964.
Judy had just been released from a short stay at the UCLA Medical Center (she checked in on May 30th) to withdraw from the medicine she had been taking.
June 7, 1968: The third, and final, installment in the Vernon Scott three-part series about Judy titled “The Life And Times of Judy Garland.”
This installment is titled “Judy Garland Remains Top Attraction”
HOLLYWOOD (UPI) – Judy Garland was never box office poison.
The problem was to get her on film without touching off World War III at one of the studios.
She remains to this day a top attraction whenever she makes a public appearance or sings at a concert.
Her voice isn’t what it once was, but to the Garland fans it doesn’t seem to matter.
In the past decade Judy has made only three movies. She received an Academy Award nomination for two of them – “A Star Is Born” and “Judgment at Nuremberg.” The third, “A Child is Waiting,” bombed.
Between pictures Judy vacillated between concert triumphs, wretched health, and stirring up the populace with a series of romances and disappearances from the public eye.
Then came a series of triumphs. She gave a Carnegie Hall concert that had fans standing on the seats screaming her name.
Then she topped herself with a television special that had the critics reaching for superlatives. Judy Garland still could turn on an audience faster than LSD.
Thereafter CBS-TV gave her a weekly musical-variety show. It was good, bad and indifferent. Judy was on top again and her word was law, sending more than one network functionary to the gallows. When the show slid off the air, Judy plunged out of sight with it.
Shen she was heard from again the locale was Melbourne, Australia, where she was hooted off the stage for being late and-or in bad voice or simply indifferent.
Judy made still more news en route home from Down Under. She stopped in Hong Kong and almost died of an undetermined illness. mark Herron, her fourth and most recent husband, was at her side.
Persona non grata in Hollywood for movies or television, and not exactly the darling of New York, Judy decided to recuperate from her problems at a London nursing home. From the stories out of England, one expected she would never leave alive.
But after a few days confinement she attended the London Palladium, scene of an earlier triumph, for England’s “Night of 100 Stars.” The Beatles, and every top British star, were on hand for the charity show.
It turned out to be the “night of one star.”
Judy was introduced from the audience and the proper British blew their cool entirely. They screamed and cried for Judy to get on stage. This she did.
She sang “Over the Rainbow” and a couple of other patented Judy Garland songs ad the solid old Palladium rocked with cheers and shouts of love for the girl with the rainbow in her throat.
When she’s of a mind, Judy can transform an audience into a cult with the deftness of a maharishi yogi.
Judy is a creature of impulse. When conditions are right there is no one to compare with her magnetism. But, like a butterfly, she can’t be kept captive and retain the qualities that hypnotize her fans.
In testifying in her divorce against Herron she said “he drank two big bottles of scotch a day and would kick me when I was down.” Herron said he struck her only in “self defense.”
What Judy will do next perhaps even she couldn’t tell you. One prediction, though, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow Judy Garland will be thrilling audiences somewhere – perhaps again at the London Palladium; possibly in New York’s Carnegie Hall, or at the Hollywood Bowl.
It won’t be easy. I never has been for Judy.