“Her story is one of the very saddest Hollywood has ever known in its history of many tragedies” – Louella Parsons, 1950
June 21, 1926: The Gumm family’s working vacation continued with a one-night stand at the Royal Theater in Cashmere, Washington. They were billed as “Jack and Virginia Lee and The Three Little Lees.”
June 21, 1930: “The Gumm Sisters” (Judy and her two sisters) appeared at the “Big Brother Fronick,” sponsored by “Big Brother Ken” at Walker’s Department Store, Los Angeles, California.
June 21, 1937: Judy made another appearance on the 15-minute limited series “Frank Morgan’s Varieties” starring MGM’s Frank Morgan.
Judy was listed as being a part of the shows that aired on June 6th, 14th, 21st, 28th; July 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th; and August 2nd & 9th. She’s not listed in the final three episodes on August 16, 23, & 30. No recordings are known to exist of any of the shows nor is there any information as to what Judy sang.
June 21, 1938: MGM recording session for Love Finds Andy Hardy. Judy pre-recorded “It Never Rains But What It Pours” and “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen.” “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” was cut. It’s unclear if it was ever filmed but it most likely was not. That’s too bad as it’s a great Garland vocal.
Of note is the fact that “It Never Rains But What It Pours” is the earliest known Garland recording that exists that was originally recorded in stereo. MGM recorded most of the music for their films utilizing microphones placed in multiple spots around the recording stage. Those “stems” as they were called were then mixed together to create a balanced mono track for the finished films. Many of these multiple angles survive and have since been remixed utilizing today’s technology to true stereo.
Listen to “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” here:
Listen to “It Never Rains But What It Pours” here:
“Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” has an interesting history in regard to MGM Records’ soundtrack albums. The pre-recording was included in the label’s 1962 release “The Judy Garland Story Vol. 2 – The Hollywood Years.” The LP was a follow-up to the previous year’s “The Judy Garland Story – The Star Years.” It was the first time that the label released Garland soundtrack performances from before the soundtrack era (that began in 1947) presenting recordings made directly from the film soundtracks and, in the case of “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen,” a couple of studio pre-recordings. The other outtake was the prerecording of “You Can’t Get A Man With A Gun” from Annie Get Your Gun (1949).
Both tracks on that LP were not identified as outtakes, like the other songs in the compilation they were listed with just the song titles and names of the films. This no doubt had some fans wondering where they came from and if there were more recordings hidden in a vault somewhere. Many fans had hopes that perhaps MGM Records would begin releasing outtakes. That did not happen, although LPs of poor-sounding copies of all of the Annie songs were released on various bootleg records in the late 60s and 70s in varying levels of poor sound quality before they were finally remastered (some in stereo) and released in the 1990s. MGM Records included both of these outtakes in subsequent re-releases and in each one they never identified them as outtakes!
June 21, 1939: Filming on Babes in Arms continued with a rehearsal of the “Minstrel Number.” Time called: 9:00 a.m.; lunch: 12:15-1:15 p.m.; dismissed: 5:25 p.m.
June 21, 1940: Strike Up The Band filming continued on the “Exterior Holden Home”, “Exterior School” and “Interior Country Club” sets. Time called: 1:45 p.m.; dismissed: 5:30 p.m.
June 21, 1941: This wonderful eight-page ad was placed by MGM in the trade magazine, “Motion Picture Herald.” In that same issue was this two-page ad.
Also in that same issue was the regular feature “What The Picture Did For Me.” F.M. Freisburger of the Paramount Theatre in Dewey, Oklahoma, had this to say about Ziegfeld Girl (incorrectly listed as THE Ziegfeld Girl), “Good picture and good business. It is really three plots and some complained that it was too long.” And in the “Managers Round Table” section, a photo of a great theatre display at the Madison Theatre in Peoria, Illinois.
June 21, 1942: Judy appeared on the NBC Radio show “The Chase and Sanborn Hour” also known as “The Charlie McCarthy Show” featuring Edgar Bergen (Candace Bergen’s father) and his puppet Charlie McCarthy. Judy sang “I Never Knew” which she would record as a single for Decca a month later on July 26, 1942.
Listen to the entire show here:
Photo: Judy with Edgar Bergen and Effie Klinker (the other dummy in the act) and some newspaper clippings.
June 21, 1945: These photos were taken of Judy, her new husband Vincente Minnelli, and Judy’s pet poodle, during a stopover at the Dearborn station in Chicago. The newlyweds were on their way to New York for their honeymoon.
June 21, 1950: The fallout from Judy’s suicide attempt on June 19th continued. Once the shock of it was relatively over the talk turned to Judy’s future and whether she was washed up at the young age of 28. Note the very tacky image of a publicist showing how Judy cut her throat.
MGM mistakenly thought that the news would turn fans against Judy. On the contrary, Judy’s fans proved to be quite loyal and the letters of support and sympathy poured in. The studio had to change their tune and actually considered keeping Judy under contract. That didn’t happen and within a year of this event, Judy began her legendary concert years with her April 9, 1951, opening at The London Palladium.
June 21, 1950: Here is a very detailed contract between Judy and MGM Records, which was in addition to her current contract with the studio, detailing the use of four songs (“(Howdy Neighbor) Happy Harvest,” “If You Feel Like Singing, Sing,” “Friendly Star,” and “Get Happy”) for release as part of the soundtrack album for Summer Stock.
The contract gives interesting details about the royalties she would receive and also required that she not record any of the songs for the next five years: “…for the making of phonograph records, or which might be used for the making of phonograph records, for any other person, firm or corporation, or permit or authorize any other records from said compositions which you may make for any other person, firm or corporation, during said period for other purposes to be used for the purpose of making phonograph records...”
This contract is dated June 21, 1950, which is just a couple of days after Judy’s well-publicized suicide attempt. Her signature is not dated so it’s unclear if she signed this contract on this date or later.
June 21, 1951: Louella Parsons reported that the audience at Judy’s recent concert appearance in Manchester, England, sang “Happy Birthday” to her. Judy played at the city’s Palace theater from June 11 through June 17. Currently, she was at the Empire Theater in Liverpool.
June 21, 1953: Hugh Martin, who co-wrote the songs for Meet Me In St. Louis, joined Judy’s A Star Is Born team at Warner Bros. Martin would later leave the production due to creative differences, specifically Judy’s rendition of “The Man That Got Away.”
June 21, 1954: The last day of pre-recording the extensive “Born In A Trunk” sequence for A Star Is Born. The pre-recording sessions began on May 28, 1954.
The film was almost completed when in late April, Warner Bros. Studio chief Jack Warner approved an additional $250,000 budget for the sequence. Retakes of portions of “Lost That Long Face” were then rehearsed and filmed just prior to the beginning of work on “Born In A Trunk.” The sequence was not completed until July 28, 1954.
June 21, 1961: Judy took a rental out on a home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, near the Kennedy compound. Judy was close friends with JFK and the rest of the family. At the time she was also living in Scarsdale, New York, and had just completed her return to Carnegie Hall on May 21st.
June 20, 1962: Here is a photo of the recent interruption on the set of Judy’s final film, I Could Go On Singing. See the June 19 post for more info. Filming hit a temporary snag while on location for retakes of some of the Canterbury scenes. The “Red Dean” of the school objected to the appearance of the kid extras in the school’s uniform. Apparently, this created an argument between the dean and the director, Ronald Neame. Things were worked out and shooting resumed.
June 21, 1963: More legal woes for Judy. At times it seemed as though Judy was in the news more for her legal issues than for her performances.
June 21, 1968: Columnist Vernon Scott’s latest article about Judy.
June 21, 1969: Judy had a difficult time sleeping the night from June 20th into June 21st, even with barbituates. Biographer Anne Edwards (who worked with Mickey Deans on the final draft of his book about Judy) claimed that Judy had taken a heavy dose of Nembutal. She was very restless and still awake when the postman came at 8:00 in the morning. She went down to collect the mail but didn’t bother to read it. Judy wrote Deans a note, as he was asleep, leaving it on the television set. The note talked only about where Judy had placed their mail, that she was going to have some food, and, after that, she was going to bed.
Saturday, June 21, 1969, was spent as a quiet day at home. Deans said they listened to their favorite records, and he played the piano for Judy, taping “some of her favorite numbers. I still have the tapes, and I can feel when I listen to them, the intensity of Judy listening as I played them for her. Her voice comes through clearly: ‘Great-groovy-brilliant, darling …'” These tapes are not known to have surfaced. According to one fan’s written report, Deans was apparently big on taping Judy, he had been known to be “taping candid conversations between Judy and others as private practice.”
Deans said he was suffering from a sore throat this day, and that Dr. Traherne had sent over some penicillin tablets for him. They had planned, with Matthew West, to see Danny LaRue’s closing nite, but decided that Matthew should go on his own. Later in the day, Philip Roberge, a 29-year-old American friend of Deans, who had said in the “Daily Sketch” to be a “close friend,” and someone who assisted Deans in his “recording and show business deals” (who Deans said “has a theatrical agency”), “dropped by.” As, by then, Judy “felt a little ill too,” Deans says Phillip offered to fix dinner; Judy claimed she had eaten earlier, which is doubtful if she wasn’t feeling well, and hadn’t slept well the night before. She excused herself and went upstairs to bed. Deans says Phillip “broiled hamburgers, and [we] ate as they watched the television documentary ‘The Royal Family.’ He left before midnight, and I went to our bedroom. Judy was still awake.”
Deans said he didn’t think it would be wise to sleep in the same bed, as his throat was very sore. Judy apparently pointed to her own throat, and laughed, with Deans getting into bed with her. Deans does not mention that Matthew West had called from the theater during intermission and had spoken with Judy. West has said that Judy and Deans were going back with him to his country home the following day (where Judy had stayed the first week in April). Matthew would be the last person to talk with Judy Garland, and he told Garland historian Scott Schechter during an interview that Judy “was not panicky. She had a lot to live for – including three great big reasons to live: Liza, Lorna, and Joe. She sounded happy and serene, and rather mellow.”
In David Shipman’s controversial biography “Judy Garland: The Secret Life of an American Legend,” published in the United States in 1993, Shipman claims that after watching the television documentary (as noted above) “Deans and Garland began another of their interminable quarrels, during which Garland ran screaming into the street, waking neighbors. Deans left the house . . . Sonia Roy, the wife of the dance band leader, Harry Roy, later claimed that she was visited by Garland on the evening of June 21. Garland told the Roys that she intended to kill herself. The Roys tried to talk her out of it, and believed they had succeeded . . . When Deans returned, he thought Garland was sleeping. A transatlantic telephone call at 10:40 a.m. London time woke him.” Deans makes no mention of any of Shipman’s claims, although much of what Shipman wrote has been deemed controversial and unsubstantiated by those who were around Judy at the time.
There have also been unsubstantiated rumors among Garland fans that Deans was one for taking late-night walks without Judy, in a park near their mews cottage, and that Deans had only just returned home at the time of the 10:40 a.m. phone call. Matthew West told biographer Scott Schechter that Judy told him that Deans was home, upstairs in bed with a sore throat. It was noted that in the summer of 1980 when Deans overdosed – though not lethally – he was reported by the press at the time to have been living over a garage in a Hamptons, New York home with a young male lover and that he was currently believed to be running a gay bar in Dayton, Ohio. “The New York Post” reported in November 1995 that he was seen in a New York City Greenwich Village gay bar, Julius, “sporting gold chains and a potbelly.” There have also been questions raised about the strength of the medication Judy was taking during the week, including the unfounded rumors that she may not have known she was taking medication that was double the strength of her normal dosage. According to a new-wire service report, reprinted in the July 11, 1969, issue of “Life Magazine,” there had been meditation (barbituates) “prescribed on Thursday, June 19, 1965, 25 tablets, found half-empty, and on Saturday, June 21, a bottle of 100 – found unopened.”
Although a clear and precise picture has yet to be painted of Judy’s final hours (and probably never will be), at some time during the very early morning hours of June 22, 1969, sometime between 2:30-4:40 a.m., Judy Garland passed away.
The above was transcribed (with a few minor corrections) from Scott Schechter’s wonderful book “Judy Garland – The Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Legend.”
June 21, 1974: Another article about the recent surprise hit in movie theaters, That’s Entertainment! Athur Unger of the Des Moines Register enjoyed the film’s revue format but apparently didn’t like musicals in general. He ends the article warning readers not to seek out the represented films, “Most of us have forgotten just how awful many of these films were when shown in their entirety – often an hour and a half of a hackneyed story line waiting for a production number. What director Haley has done is extract the best. it’s not a true picture of what the old musicals were – it’s what we like to think they were.”