“I could sing all night for you.” – Judy Garland, Las Vegas, June 15, 1965
June 15, 1935: A fateful event in the life and career of Judy Garland. She and her sisters, as “The Garland Sisters,” were appearing at the Cal-Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
It was during this engagement that Judy adopted the name “Judy” as her stage name. She had been going by her birth name, Frances. The agent Al Rosen was on hand and would be partly responsible for Judy’s successful audition at MGM that following September.
June 15, 1937: Judy’s weekly appearance on CBS Radio’s “Jack Oakie’s College” featured her renditions of “There’s A Lull In My Life” and “Johnny One Note.” “Johnny One Note” was most likely the same arrangement as Judy’s premiere of the song on April 20, 1937, also on Oakie’s show. That performance has survived, check out the video below:
The note below was also published on this date, telling the story of how Judy received birthday presents in January but held onto them until her real birthday, only to discover two stale birthday cakes. The MGM publicity department was certainly creative!
June 15, 1939: Babes in Arms filming continued with scenes shot on the following sets: “Interior Barn Theater,” “Rosalie’s Dress[ing] Room,” “Night Interior Palace Theatre.” Judy wasn’t in any scenes on the last two sets. Time called: 9 a.m; lunch 12:20-1:20 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:40 p.m.
June 15, 1941: Judy’s engagement celebration (to her first husband, David Rose) was attended by over 600 guests at Judy’s home. The event was covered in the fan magazines.
June 15, 1945: Judy married her second husband, Vincente Minnelli, at her mother’s home. MGM Studios chief, Louis B. Mayer, gave the bride away. Judy and Vincente left that night on the Santa Fe Super Chief for their honeymoon in New York City.
Also on June 15, 1945: This fascinating article about Vincente’s dad, V. C. (Vincent [without the “e” at the end]) Charles Minnelli, which includes this rare photo. Although they were originally from the midwest (Vincente was born in Chicago), the elder Minnelli and his late wife (Marie, stage name Mina Gennell) had settled in St. Petersburg, Florida, five years prior for Mrs. Minnelli’s health. The article provides some great details about V.C.’s career as a director, like his son. Click on the image to read the article.
June 15, 1948: Columnist Sheilah Graham reported in her June 14 column (published on June 15) that Judy would travel to London and “the Bohemian part of” Paris to make a film for MGM. Whatever that overseas project was, if there ever was one, it never happened. At this point in her life, it might have done Judy some good to get away, even if it was connected to making a film for MGM. Graham also notes that Judy and Fred Astaire’s new musical finally had a title, the (incorrect) “The Barclays of Broadway.”
On this day, Judy was in rehearsals for The Barkleys of Broadway. Time called: 1:30 p.m.; Judy arrived on time; dismissed 5:15 .m.
Check out The Judy Room’s “Films That Got Away” section for details about The Barkleys of Broadway.
June 15, 1949: Here are a couple of fun ads promoting the recent re-release of The Wizard of Oz in theaters. This was the first time the film was re-released. Note how the larger ad promotes: “Over The Rainbow” and other hit songs on M-G-M RECORDS!. MGM Records did not release a soundtrack album for the film until 1956 (check it out here) but it did release albums with other performers who performed a variety of songs, including “Over The Rainbow.”
June 15, 1950: Judy had another rehearsal for Royal Wedding. She was due on the set at 2:00 p.m.; she arrived at 2:50 p.m.; Dismissed: 4:25 p.m.
Columnist Edith Gwynn reported that Judy’s personal and professional life was back on track and she was very happy.
June 15, 1954: Judy pre-recorded “I’ll Get By” and “You Took Advantage of Me” for the “Born in a Trunk” number for A Star Is Born. Time started: 2 p.m.; finished at 4:45 p.m.
After the pre-recordings, Judy then rehearsed more of the “Born in a Trunk” number until 5:30 p.m.
Photos provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
June 15, 1965: Judy was released from UCLA (she had suffered an allergic reaction to prescription medications on June 12th) and immediately flew to Las Vegas for her opening night at The Thunderbird Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Judy’s two-week engagement outdrew every other hotel on the strip and garnered, again, amazing reviews. Judy’s shows started at 10:30 p.m. and she was backed by the Allen Brothers and a 31-piece orchestra under the direction of Nick Perito.
The opening night was a filled-to-capacity house of 900 people who gave her several ovations and as one report noted, even the waiters stood and cheered, “and waiters haven’t been known to cheer in recent years, oldtimers here noted.”
June 15, 1969: The last time Judy sang on stage.
Judy appeared at The Half Note nightclub in Greenwich Village, NYC. Anita O’Day was appearing there. O’Day was staying with Judy and Mickey Deans at friend Charlie Cochran’s apartment. The latter three went to see Day at the nightclub, where Day invited Judy on stage to sing “Day In, Day Out” and “Over the Rainbow.” An audiotape of Judy and O’Day having an impromptu “jam session” which was restored and remastered and released on the wonderful 2014 CD set “Swan Songs, First Flights.”
These two photos above are dated this day and are believed to be the last photos ever taken of Judy Garland. Provided by Bobby Waters. Thanks, Bobby!
June 15, 2009: This article about the upcoming Blu-ray debut of The Wizard of Oz in celebration of its 70th anniversary was published in the weekly trade magazine “Home Media Magazine.”
Unfortunately, the extended “If I Only Had A Brain” was not remastered into high definition as touted in this article and other press releases. When the set was re-released with new packaging and new collectibles in 2013 for the 75th anniversary it was still in standard definition.
Check out The Judy Room’s DVD page for details about this release and tons of photos of the various versions here.