“Judy returns with a flourish of versatility.” – “Illustrated” Magazine, 1954
June 12, 1931: Frances’s (Judy’s) ninth birthday party was held on the lawn of the Gumm family’s new, larger home on the corner of Cedar and Newgrove in Lancaster, California.
June 12, 1935: The Nevada State Journal out of Reno, Nevada, named Judy “A Queen of the Castle in the Air” and noted that she was expected to be one of the “stellar attractions” of the Cal-Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe when the lodge’s new show opened on June 15th. Judy’s (then going by her real name of Frances) reputation was such that it’s no wonder MGM snatched her up just a few months later.
June 12, 1936: Just two days after her 14th birthday, Judy recorded two songs for Decca Records which became the first Judy Garland single ever released, “Stompin’ At The Savoy” and “Swing Mister Charlie.” The session took place at Decca’s New York Studios at 50 West 57th Street. Judy was in New York for promotional appearances even though she had yet to make her official film debut under her new contract with MGM (signed in September 1935). Judy had previously recorded test records for the label on March 29, 1935, and November 27, 1935, all of which were rejected. Only two of the three test records from March 29, 1935, have survived (details here).
Listen to “Stompin’ At The Savoy” here:
Listen to “Swing Mister Charlie” here:
This session featured Bob Crosby and his Orchestra backing Judy although the band was not listed on the label of the record. Crosby’s manager did not want Crosby’s name on “the same record label with this unknown girl.”
Judy was in between Decca contracts at this time, having originally signed with the label in late November 1935. That contract did not result in any known recordings. More details about Judy’s early years with Decca Records are in this blog post.
Learn more about all of Judy’s Decca recordings at The Judy Garland Online Discography’s “Decca Records” section here.
Label images from the Rick Smith Collection. Thank you, Rick!
June 12, 1939: In the “Independent Film Exhibitors Bulletin” magazine for 1939, there’s a section called “Production Section – Studio Size-Ups” that lists the various upcoming films on studio schedules. Judy’s name pops up a lot in mid-1939 then late. The studio was getting her name out there. Her name was also listed for films that had been released and a few reviews. Here are some of the projects allegedly planned for her:
June 12, 1939, issue: Judy Garland in “Looking After Sandy.”
This is a title I’ve never heard of and it’s never been listed in any other documents.
July 29, 1939, issue: “Good News” with Judy, Mickey Rooney, Douglas McPhail, Betty Jaynes, and June Preisser.
July 1, 1939, issue: An American “Mr. Chips” has been gathering dust on MGM’s story shelves in the form of a yarn called “Valedictory,” no being dusted as a vehicle for Lionel Barrymore, Judy Garland and Freddie Bartholomew
September 29, 1939, issue, more about Good News:
Judy Garland is another young player to be optioned. Her next assignment will lie opposite Mickey Rooney in “Good News”, under the direction of Busby Berkeley thus reuniting the trio which scored in “Babes in Arms”
December 2, 1939, issue: Good News was still news: Paul Whiteman and his band may appear in “Good News”, the next Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland starring vehicle.
Learn more about all of the film projects that Judy was allegedly in the running for and those she began but did not finish at The Judy Rooms “Films That Got Away” pages here.
June 12, 1939: Babes in Arms filming continued with scenes filmed on the “Interior Barn Theatre” and “Exterior Barn Theatre” sets. Time called: 9 a.m.; lunch 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 6 p.m.
June 12, 1939: Judy signed this one-page addendum to her studio contract giving MGM all rights to her image and likeness in conjunction with her role in The Wizard of Oz, both during and after her “period of employment” with the studio. Because she was a minor, Judy’s mom, Ethel, co-signed.
June 12, 1940: Strike Up The Band filming continued with a rehearsal of the “Drummer Boy” number. Time called: 9:00 a.m.; dismissed: 5:45 p.m.
June 12, 1941: Judy, along with co-stars Mickey Rooney and Lewis Stone, posed for publicity photos for Life Begins for Andy Hardy. It was Judy’s final appearance in a “Hardy” film.
Read about Judy’s appearances in the “Hardy” series at The Judy Room’s Filmography pages about the series here.
June 12, 1943: An MGM ad in the trade magazine “Showmen’s Trade Review” promotes their new slate of films including Presenting Lily Mars.
June 12, 1949: “Rooney and His Friends” plus ads and a nice article with nice artwork regarding the re-release of The Wizard of Oz in theaters around the country.
June 12, 1950: More rehearsals for Judy for Royal Wedding. Time called: 10:30 a.m.; Judy arrived at 2:05 p.m.; dismissed: 5:00 p.m.
Photo: June 9th rehearsal.
June 12, 1950: MGM Records pressed this test record of “Friendly Star” from Summer Stock, for possible release on their upcoming soundtrack album for the film. On this day, Judy was already in rehearsals for Royal Wedding, having completed her work Summer Stock in late March.
Judy pre-recorded the song on November 27, 1949. Listen to that recording here:
June 12, 1952: Judy’s recent marriage to Sid Luft was still in the news, as was Sid’s latest legal issues with his ex-wife Lynn Bari.
June 12, 1954: The UK “Illustrated” magazine featured this two-page spread devoted to A Star Is Born.
Scans provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
June 12, 1957: Judy was enjoying great success with her Dallas engagement, which included a reunion with her sister, Jimmy, who lived in Dallas. Judy opened at the Dallas Auditorium on her birthday, June 10th, and was the first in a series of shows that were part of the Texas State Fair.
Also, this fun ad for a late showing of Life Begins For Andy Hardy was published in the Kansas City (Missouri) Times.
June 12, 1964: Judy and her boyfriend, Mark Herron, were on the President Roosevelt ocean liner having just left Hong Kong for Tokyo where they were reportedly “married” by a Buddhist priest. Judy’s divorce from Sid Luft would not be final until late 1965 so it’s uncertain if this actually happened. On this date (June 12), Judy told reporters that she and Herron had been married that day in their Hong Kong hotel suite in a traditional Chinese ceremony. The couple was legally married in the United States on November 14, 1965.
Photo: Peter Allen performs on the President Roosevelt ocean liner while Judy, Mark Herron, and other passengers look on. Below, is a recent column written by both Robert S. Allen and Paul Scott. The subject is Judy’s friendship with U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy and how that friendship helped to quickly get a doctor to Judy when she was on her deathbed in Hong Kong.
June 12, 1964: This article about Judy, written by Dick Kleiner, was published. Kleiner tells the story of how Judy contacted a local radio station asking them not to go through with the announced change in their nighttime scheduling. Apparently, she was a regular viewer due to her insomnia.
Kleiner also quotes a “cynic” as saying her recent troubles would ensure ticket sales, “The public will be dying to see if she’ll fall on her face.” In just a few years her concerts took on a macabre air with hysterical concertgoers attending just to see not only “if she’ll fall on her face,” but if she’d show up at all and then see what shape she would be in and finally see if she could finish out the concert that night.
Judy Garland … Lots Of Talent, Lots Of Trouble
By DICK KLEINER
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Those who know Judy Garland best think her latest flirtations with death and disaster were no more serious nor permanent than previous adventures.
“Judy is a girl,” says one old acquaintance, “who always approaches the brink of destruction and then steps back.”
Her friends and associates feel that what she needs – and quickly – is a major concert appearance, such as an engagement in Carnegie Hall in New York or the Hollywood Bowl here [Los Angeles].
They think that, like the boy who fell off the horse’s back, she must go into action again very soon, before she has a chance to grow afraid.
The only possible impediment to that course of action might be her health. Her pleurisy attack in HongKong, some say, could be at least partially a result of stress. The Melbourne, Australia, concert, which turned out so badly for her, easily could have contributed to her subsequent physical ailments.
In Melbourne Judy was late in starting the concert, the audience was unappreciative, and Judy walked offstage without finishing her final song.
Yet there is little doubt that she is, and has been for some time, in less than perfect physical condition. Before she left on her trip to Australia and the Far East, she weighed in at 85 pounds. Her normal weight should be between 95 and 100.
She has been working very hard for at least a year. Ther had been severe dieting necessary to get her trim for her television show. The combination of the work, a crash diet and the trip undoubtedly weakened her. Her recent domestic troubles with third husband, Sid Luft, have probably not helped.
Judy has never been a strong person. she has a normally slight frame. She is troubled by insomnia and averages perhaps three or four hours of sleep a night.
They tell the story which illustrates her lack of sleep. A Los Angeles television station telecast old movies all night, until the Late, Late, Late Show melted into the Supremely Early Show. They announced a change in policy, with a new schedule that signed off around 1 a.m.
Judy, a devoted viewer, told her agent to make a deal with the station – if they would reinstate all-night films, she would make an appearance on the station. The agent, of course, made no such proposal, but the station went back to the 24 hours of oldies anyhow.
And yet you will find no one to fault her abilities. Most critics think of her as a fine actress, although her acting has gone unrecognized in the main. Her singing is spotty; her last few television shows (“When she got her way and sang concert style,” as one observer put it) found her as good as ever. Other times, she has appeared to have lost her once-great skill.
“She is singing better than ever recently,” says one man who heard her just before she left for Australia.
The consensus seems to be there are still plenty of songs left to be sung in Judy’s talented throat. And plenty of people want to hear them sung.
“What happened in Melbourne and Hong Kong,” says one cynic, “will make her bigger box office than ever. The public will be dying to see if she’ll fall on her face.”
Most people here think that, if her health holds out, she’ll come through with flying colors – rainbow-hued.
June 12, 1964: This report (two versions presented here) of U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s using his clout to help Judy during her crisis in Hong Kong was published. Kennedy was able to cut through the international red tape to assist Judy’s doctor and manager in getting to her in Hong Kong without delay. It’s no secret and was no secret then, that Judy was close with the Kennedy family.
June 12, 1965: Judy suffered an allergic reaction to one of her prescribed medications, and was rushed back to the UCLA Medical Center where she had recently gone through withdrawal from her medications.
June 12, 1997: Here is another article about the alleged connection between Pink Floyd’s album “The Wall” and The Wizard of Oz.