On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – June 25

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“She has only to open her throat, and send her voice, pleading and appealing, up to the roof, to leave no doubt that talent like hers is independent of age and appearance.” – Kenneth Tynan, 1951




Judy Garland in Lancaster, California circa 1926

June 25, 1926:  “The Gumm Sisters” performed with The Meglin Kiddies at the Elks Lodge in Ventura, California.  No other information about the show is known.  Photo:  Judy, circa 1926, in Lancaster, California.



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June 25, 1938:  Judy filmed two scenes and numbers for Love Finds Andy Hardy:  “In Between” and “Meet The Beat Of My Heart.”  Even for MGM, this was a fast turnaround as Judy had just pre-recorded the two songs the day before.  “Meet The Beat Of My Heart” was trimmed for the film, with Judy only performing the latter half.  It’s unknown if the first section of the song was filmed or not.  In the narrative, it’s a quick encore after she wows the holiday party crowd with “It Never Rains But What It Pours.”

This completed Judy’s work on the film.  It would be released on July 22, 1938.  It was Judy’s first of three appearances in the Andy Hardy series as “Betsy Booth.”  Love Finds Andy Hardy was the quintessential Hardy film.  Some consider it to be the best of the series.



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June 25, 1940:  Judy graduated from University High School.  She spent the day, not at the school, but at the studio rehearsing the “La Conga” number for Strike Up The Band.  Time called: 10 a.m.; dismissed: 5:40 p.m.



Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in "Life Begins For Andy Hardy"

June 25, 1940:  MGM prerecording session for Life Begins for Andy Hardy.  Judy recorded a partial retake of “Easy To Love” which was ultimately deleted from the film.  In fact, all of the songs Judy prerecorded for the film went unused.  She does sing a quick acapella version of “Happy Birthday” but for all intent and purposes, this is technically Judy’s first non-singing role for MGM.

Six-sheet poster image above provided by Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!



Judy Garland in "For Me And My Gal"

June 25, 1942:  MGM pre-recording session for For Me And My Gal.  Judy recorded retakes of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” and the revised finale (“For Me And My Gal”).  Time called: 1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 5 p.m.

Judy also recorded “Smiles” which was trimmed in the film, being part of the “Y.M.C.A. Montage.”  The complete version has survived.  It was first released on the laserdisc set “Judy Garland – The Golden Years at MGM” then on the official CD soundtrack to For Me And My Gal from Rhino Records in 1996.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Page on For Me And My Gal here.



Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra "Command Performance"

June 25, 1944:  “Command Performance #122” aired.  The show was recorded on June 3, 1944.  Discs of the recording were sent out to military facilities around the world for airing over the Armed Forces Radio Services network.

This episode was hosted by Bing Crosby and Judy, Frank Sinatra, and Bob Hope were the guests.  Judy performed “The Dixieland Band” and duetted with Bing on “Something To Remember You By.”

The show was released on CD in 1992Download the CD here.

You can listen to, and download, the entire show here.

Judy’s performance of “Dixieland Band” has been remastered and was featured on the 2010 4-CD set from JSP Records, “Lost Tracks.”

Also on June 25, 1944:  Judy appeared on the NBC-Radio show “The Chase and Sanborn Hour” with Gracie Fields as hostess.  According to the papers, Judy was Fields’ first female guest.  Judy sang “The Boy Next Door” and “Long Ago and Far Away.”



Judy Garland and Gene Kelly on the set of "The Pirate"

June 25, 1947:  The third of six days of rehearsals of the “Be A Clown” number for The Pirate.  Time called: 2 p.m.; dismissed: 5 p.m.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on The Pirate here.



Judy Garland at the Dorchester in London, England, 1951

June 25, 1951:  Judy returned to the London Palladium for an “All-Star Midnight Matinee Benefit” for the family of the late comic Sid Field.  Judy sang “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby” and “Over the Rainbow.”  Critic Kenneth Tynan stated:  She has only to open her throat, and send her voice, pleading and appealing, up to the roof, to leave no doubt that talent like hers is independent of age and appearance.  The show had lasted 3 1/2 hours before she came on, stood in a pale violet spot, and sang “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody.”  The house rose to her in great crashing waves of applause, the kind for which the Palladium was built.



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June 25, 1954:  More rehearsals of the “Born in a Trunk” number for A Star Is Born.  Judy started at 2 p.m. and finished at 5:30 p.m.

Check out The Judy Room’s Extensive Spotlight Section on A Star Is Born here.

Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!



June 25, 1963:  The first day of a nine-day break in the production of “The Judy Garland Show.”  Although just the first episode had been filmed, there were months of pre-production work.

This time off from CBS wasn’t much of a vacation for Judy.  Sid Luft gave her the news that her manager David Begelman had allegedly “misappropriated” Judy’s money on several occasions, totaling anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000, with $78,967.20 already documented.  If this had been made public it would have affected the fate of the series so in order to not jeopardize the series Judy did not press charges. Judy chose to ignore the situation altogether.

By the end of 1961 she had supposedly paid off her debts and had money in the bank (thanks to her career resurgence) but bills were not being paid by Begelman, who had a power of attorney and complete control of Judy’s money.  In July 1963 Judy would be sued by a London hotel for $3,000 in long-distance phone bills for the time she was filming I Could Go On Singing (May to July 1962).  There were also old IRS and other debts from the late 1950s.  Thanks to Begelman, Judy’s financial woes would haunt her for the rest of her life.



Judy Garland in Copenhagen June 26, 1964

June 25, 1964:  Judy and Mark Herron left Tokyo by plane for Denmark, where she arrived in Copenhagen on June 26th after a stopover in Anchorage, Alaska (where she told the press “I am very happy – We are very happy!”).  Judy and Herron stayed in Copenhagen overnight at the Royal Hotel and then traveled to London.

Photo:  Judy at the airport in Copenhagen taken on June 26th



June 25, 1968:  Judy opened at The Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey.  She was the first artist to play the new $10 million dollar indoor/outdoor theater.  On the afternoon of the opening, she had someone hastily write an arrangement of Barbra Streisand’s “Free Again”; She sang it once that afternoon, then said “I’ll never sing it as good as she does,” and never sang it again!

Download the concert here (zip file).



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June 25, 1969:  The first in a series of four articles reprinting parts of Judy’s own memoirs as published in the Ladies Home Journal in 1967, titled “The Plot Against Judy Garland.”

Judy’s Memoirs – Her Troubles with Love and Money

By JUDY GARLAND

I AM NEVER going to eat lunch again.  Never.  Bad things seem to happen to me at lunch.  years ago, when I was fired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, I was fired at lunch.  I always wondered why.

And this past April (1967), an odd thing happened at 20th Century-Fox studio in Hollywood, where I was making “Valley of the Dolls.”

I got fired again.  Oh, I know – the studio says I “withdrew for personal reasons.”  But don’t believe a word of it.  Judy Garland was fired, canned.  Why.  I do not know. 

There I was, eating lunch in my dressing room – and not feeling particularly well.  I’d been fighting a flu bug all week long, and I had a low-grade fever to prove it, just ask my doctor.

Even so, I had reported to the set on time every day.  And I had been working smoothly and hard.  Nobody had complained that I wasn’t.

I had recorded the song I was to sing in the picture, and they all said it was great.  I was delighted with my wardrobe – and with the nice salary, I was earning:  $100,000.

THEN INTO MY DRESSING ROOM WALKED Owen McLean, talent executive under young Richard D. Zanuck, who now runs 20th Century-Fox. With him came a studio attorney.

“We’re tired of your foolishness,” McLean said.  “We’re just not going to put up with it anymore.”

“What foolishness?” I asked.  I wondered what in heave this man was talking about.

He looked at me as if I were a child.  “We can’t use you,” he said.  “You’re through.  And you’re not going to get a cent.”

I was stunned.  “Would you please repeat that slowly?” I asked.

He did.  I had signed a contract.  I was going a good job.  But I was still O-U-T.

BEFORE LONG THE NASTY RUMORS began to drift around again:  “Judy Garland blew another big chance.”

Blew another big chance?  I did not!  I will not believe it till I hear just what the studio says I did, what terrible crimes I committed against their movie.

Maybe young Zanuck wanted to show he was just as tough as his old man, Darryl.  Alright, they convinced me.

It’s just as well, though.  I wanted the part, I needed the money, but I have to be honest: “Valley of the Dolls” isn’t my kind of motion picture.

I don’t want to be a harridan on the screen, and I don’t think people want me to be.

ACTUALLY, THIS LATEST SETBACK isn’t the end of the world for me.  Things were a lot worse last year when I literally didn’t have a quarter and faced the possibility that the Internal Revenue Service would take away my house because I was behind on my tax payments.

My car was repossessed and there were a few times when I wondered if I would be able to pay my grocery bills.  I had no income whatsoever.

I’ve been in show business for 42 1/2 years.  I’ve earned about $10 million in salary and royalties from movies, television, concerts, and recordings.

And I’ve earned hundreds of millions of dollars more for the companies I worked for.

But I’ve never lived like a wealthy woman because I’ve never been a wealthy woman.

I never saw most of the money I earned.

Never had a million dollars in the bank or anything near that amount.

At one time I was one of the greatest movie starts – with the most ragged underwear, I didn’t have one petticoat that didn’t have a rip in it.

I CAN LIVE WITHOUT MONEY.  But I find that I cannot live without love, without friends.  And, until very recently, I have too often been a woman alone.

I don’t approve of Arthur Miller as a person, because I don’t think he understood Marilyn Monroe very well.  But I do love his line from “Death of a Salesman”; “Care must be taken; attention must be paid.”

Miller was talking about his aging salesman, Willie Loman.  But that’s the way I feel about myself, too: “Care must be taken, attention must be paid.”

ONE OF THE BEST FRIENDS I ever had was President John F. Kennedy.  When I was doing my TV series, there were times when I didn’t think I was getting the right advice.  So I would telephone President Kennedy at the White House, and he would accept my calls.

It’s funny, but the Los Angeles operators would never get used to my calling the White House, person-to-person.

I’d ask for the President, or his secretary, Mrs. Evelyn Lincoln, and I could hear that operator tell another that “Judy Garland has flipped again – she thinks Lincoln is still in the White House!”

I remember that Mr. Kennedy was in a meeting when I called one evening, but he came right on the phone anyway.

“Hi, theah,” he said.  How’s the television show going?”

I told him I had some problems, but I said that I knew he was busy and certainly didn’t want to take up his time.

He said, “That’s not important.  You’re just as important to me as the meeting.  We love your show, and we’ve changed the White House dinner hour on Sundays so we can watch you.  Now, what’s the matter?”

IT TOLD HIM: “NORMAN JEWISON is coming in to direct the show for $10,000 a week, and I don’t think I can afford him”

“Do you ant Jewison?” the President asked.

“I don’t mind him” I replied, adding that it was CBS’s expensive idea.

“Well, then,” Mr. Kennedy said, “CBS should pay him – and they will.  You see to it that they do.  Don’t you put out one cent.”

When I told him I would try to follow his advice, he said: “All right, now sing me the last eight bars of ‘Over the Rainbow.’ Make my day a little easier.”

So I sand for him, by long-distance: “… if happy little blue bird fly … beyond the rainbow … why, oh why, can’t I?”

THURSDAY:  Good friends and fly-by-nights.



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June 25, 1969:  The third in a series of articles about Judy published immediately after her death.  This installment was not kind at all about Judy’s TV series, among other things.

The JUDY GARLAND Story 
Tantrums and Lost Magic Doom Million Dollar TV Series

This is the story of Judy Garland, the star, as written by Leo Guild, a veteran of the Hollywood scene who knew her well as actress, entertainer, and friend.  

By LEO GUILD

NOT ALL WAS TRAGEDY in Judy Garland’s full life.  There were many light moments, many bright moments.  When Judy first met ex-husband, Sid Luft, they had a great excitement for each other.  They met at an informal party in Jackie Gleason’s apartment.

Next day Sid called her and asked her to go to Jamaica that Saturday and said he’d pick her up at noon sharp.  He meant the Jamaica racetrack while she thought he meant Jamaica in the Bahamas.

Judy went on a wild shopping spree for summer clothes, spending some $3000 for whites.

Sid picked her up in a cab with her saying, “Just wait a moment while I get my baggage.”

“You don’t need any baggage,” Sid said.  “You just need a coat because it gets cold there about five o’clock.”

Judy still had no hint that they were going to a racetrack.  She had never been to a racetrack before, and it never occurred to her.

When they pulled up in front of Jamaica racetrack she got the idea, but she was too embarrassed to say anything.  However, after belting several vodka martinis (her favorite drink) she laughed about her mistake.

THE STORY SHE ENJOYED MOST about her life with psychiatrists happened when she had thrown several temper tantrums on the set and Louis B. Mayer had her taken to a sanitarium for psychiatric treatment.

She resisted and they dragged her in the middle of the night across the lawn of the sanitarium.

She relates it:  “As we came across the lawn I felt something or someone grabbing at my ankles at intervals.  The guards had to pull me harder each time I was grabbed.  I told the doctor about this and he just put it down as one more symptom in my neurosis.  But next day when I looked out the barred windows I saw what the mysterious grabbers were – a whole line of croquet wickets in which I had caught my feet.”

SHE ALSO GOT A KICK OUT OF her fourth husband, Mark Herron’s statement to the press that the only reason he hit her was in self-defense.

Judy would laugh heartily at that because Mark towered above her and yet he was afraid of her.

AT THE PALLADIUM IN LONDON Judy was singing “Over the Rainbow” for many of the crowned heads of Europe.  Somehow she tripped over her gown and did a neat pratfall.

People stared in amazement as she sprawled on the stage in a kind of suspended animation.  

Sid Luft was in the front row, and in a stage whisper, said, “Get up.  Come on.  You can get up.  Just sing.”

She slowly arose to one of the great ovations ever given in the Palladium for her courage and ability to overcome even a pratfall on stage.

And talking of “Over the Rainbow,” in an interview one time I asked her if her tears during the singing of that song – and she always cried – were real.
She was hurt.  “Yes, they are.  That is my sad song.  Every singer has one sad song.  During the making of ‘A Star Is Born’ when I needed to cry I only had to think of those lines in ‘Over the Rainbow’ and I cried.”

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DURING HER ENGAGEMENT at the Palladium she received a bouquet of two dozen roses.  The card was signed by Robert Donat and read, “May I come and visit you?”

Donat had always been Judy’s idol.  She was always in love with him from afar.

At this time MGM had tossed her out for being too fat, and yet this handsome English actor wanted to visit her.  She was thrilled.

She told Donat’s Chauffeur, who was waiting, that she would like to see him as soon as possible.  She then got a telegram from Donat saying, “Impossible to see you tonight but will see you Saturday night.”  Another wire said, “Hold on.  Will be there.”

She thought all this was strange and she had her husband look into it.  Donat had been admitted to a sanitarium.  He had read that she was suffering from the same thing he was, a mental breakdown, and that’s why he had used the term, “Hold on.”

She never did get to see him.  It was one of those strange stories that she liked to relate.

JUDY HAD THE ABILITY to laugh at herself upon retrospection.  She was two Judys.  She could look back and talk about herself as if she couldn’t get over what a strange, funny thing Judy did.

But the Judy who stood there telling it was a stable normal girl.

For example, one day in her dressing room at MGM, she told me how the studio got her to do “Annie Get Your Gun” even though they had promised her a vacation and even though she had promised herself she would rest for six months before doing another film.

Studio boss Mayer called her into his office and handed her the script of “Annie Get Your Gun.”

“Just look at it,” he said smiling.  “While you enjoy your long rest on vacation.”

She fingered the script and said, “Fine, I’ll read it while sunning in Mexico.”

MAYER WENT ON, “YOU KNOW WHO I’m going to sing to support you in the film?  Howard Keel.  Plus we have decided to spare no expense for the music.  Everything will be pre-recorded by the best musicians in the world.”

“Fine,” Judy said.  “I’ll be looking forward to it.  I really do need this vacation.”

“I know you do.  And I hope you have a wonderful time and come back rested.  Just don’t go with Joe Mankiewicz.”

He was a married director that Judy had been dating and Mayer didn’t like the publicity.

Judy promised she wouldn’t.  “I just want to rest.  No heartthrobs.  No romances.  No work.  Just sun and sleep.”

“Wonderful.  And here is a little bonus to help you get that rest and relaxation.”  Mayer handed her a studio check for $5000.  “There’s just one little favor I’d like to ask of you.  A tiny one.”

There was a moment of silence.

Well, Judy had just taken a bonus check from Mayer and it was very sweet of him.  How could she turn down a “tiny favor”?

“Of course,” she said, “What is it?”

MAYER PUT HIS HAND on Judy’s shoulder.  “You know you are my favorite.  My little Judy.  It will always be that way.  I know we love each other.  That’s why I will never refuse you a favor nor will you refuse me.  We care what happens to each other.”

Judy waited.

“I would like you, Judy, to do one little thing on film before you leave.  I would like to have the title song recorded by you because it will let us work on everything else while you’re gone.  It will set the tempos and tell us where you and the music are going.  Will you do that for me?”

“How long will it take?” Judy asked.

Mayer smiled.  “You’ll do it!  Just a day, the most two days.”

How could Judy turn him down?  Inwardly she groaned.  She felt it was a trick.  But if it was, it was done so subtly she couldn’t accuse Mayer of it.

The one or two days to record the title song stretched out to two weeks and then Mayer asked her the “final favor” to record one more song.  After the sixth week of recording, Judy broke down.

The rest you know.

Judy always suspected that every move was planned and MGM had no intention of giving her that vacation.

ALSO ONE OF JUDY’S FAVORITE CONVERSATIONS with Louis B. Mayer happened in her early years at MGM when someone reported to Mayer (and that someone was probably Judy’s mother) that Judy was taking too many pills.

Mayer called her into his office and said, “Judy, I hear you’re ailing and taking all sorts of pills and they are having an effect on you.  I want to tell you, you are a strong healthy girl and you don’t need any pills.”

“I’ll tell you a secret.  I’m a middle-aged man and yet I’ve only taken two kinds of medication all my life and they keep me healthy.  Now you listen.  I take laxatives and aspirins.  That’s all a person needs.”

“I don’t want you taking anything else, no matter what ails you.  Cleopatra, Moses, Ruth, they never took any pills and they were healthy.  But laxatives and aspirin I allow myself.”

Judy promised she’d try to give up the pills for aspirin and laxatives.

THURSDAY:  Judy, as the wife of Sid Luft.



June 25, 1988:  Ethel Meglin passed away at 98.  She was famous for her Meglin Dance Studios and the Meglin Kiddies troupe and shows.  Judy and her sisters, along with other young performers, were a part of the studio and the shows, and early films, in the late 1920s and early 30s.  It’s a shame that no one conducted an in-depth interview with her.  Imagine the stories and the insight she must have had.

Photos:  AP notice of Meglin’s death; Judy and her sisters as part of the Meglin Kiddies group in their first film, The Big Revue.




 

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