“If I represent people’s dreams, then I represent a lot more than I really am.” – Judy Garland, 1967
June 28, 1930: “The Hollywood Starlets Trio” (Judy and her two sisters) performed in San Fernando, California. No other information about this engagement is known.
June 28, 1937: Judy’s fourth appearance on Frank Morgan’s limited series of 15-minute shows. Little is known about these shows outside of what the newspapers tell us, which do not include the actual contents, just schedule listings. No recordings are known to survive.
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 28, 1938: In the curio department: This article proves that the “Garland Cult” began early. One wonders what these two guys would have done if they had social media at their fingertips. Were they Garfans or Garfreaks? Making the claim of being Judy’s “No. 1 fan” sure sounds familiar!
On this day at MGM, Judy posed for wardrobe tests for Listen, Darling. The test above may or may not have been taken on this day. Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
June 28, 1939: Babes in Arms filming continued with more filming of the “Babes in Arms” number on the “Exterior Lumber Yard” set (on MGM’s Backlot 2). Time called: 9 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:30 p.m.
June 28, 1940: After a long day (the first of several) shooting the fantastic “La Conga” number for Strike Up The Band, Judy, co-stars Mickey Rooney and William Tracey, and a couple of contract dancers (including Leonard Sues), went to MGM’s portrait gallery to pose in their “La Conga” costumes, for publicity photos.
June 28, 1941: Here is a rare advertisement (at the bottom of the movie ad) for a short that Judy was featured in. It’s an entry in the “Meet The Stars” series specifically #4 which included footage of a benefit for the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper. Judy attended. I have never seen the short so I can’t verify its content.
June 28, 1944: This 1941 colorized photo of Judy appeared on the cover of the “Allas Veckotidning” magazine. The photo was taken by MGM’s staff photographer Eric Carpenter.
Scan provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
June 28, 1945: The Clock was playing to glowing reviews. Judy’s first strictly dramatic role was a success, thanks to her performance and Vincente Minnelli’s direction. Click on the images to read the reviews. “G.L.D.” of the Rochester, New York Democrat and Chronicle paper noted, The new MGM film … sympathetically and artistically directed by Vincente Minnelli, is an uncommonly delightful and charming romance quite away from the routine.
Due to the fact that the film dealt with wartime romance, it was used to sell war bonds which must have been generated by the MGM Publicity Department because the tie-in with the selling of war bonds was a feature the film’s engagements in towns and cities across the nation.
June 28, 1947: The final of six days of rehearsals of the “Be A Clown” number for The Pirate. Time called: 2 p.m.; dismissed: 4:50 p.m.
June 28, 1948: According to this blurb, Judy’s “Be A Clown” costume originally belonged to Lester Allen, who played “Uncle Capucho” in the film.
On this day at MGM, Judy had another rehearsal for The Barkleys of Broadway. Time called: 2:00 p.m.; dismissed: 1:00 p.m.
June 28, 1954: Judy had an A Star is Born wardrobe fitting at the Western Costume company.
June 28, 1957: Here’s a review of Judy’s opening at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles the night before. Click on the image to read it. Judy’s engagement lasted through July 7th and was the last stop on her nine-week tour.
June 28, 1967: Two reviews (click on the images to read them) of Judy’s recent opening at the Sorrowton Music Circus in Springfield, Massachusetts. Kevin Kelly of the Boston Globe was definitely not a fan nor what he impressed at all with the show. The second clipping is an uncredited review of sorts. It’s really more about Judy’s magnetism and its effect on the audience and her “cult” than a review of the show itself. Judy’s engagement continued through July 1st.
June 28, 1969: The final installment 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 – All She Ever Wanted Was to Be Herself
By JUDY GARLAND
WHEN I REVIEW my financial problems, I have to admit they began with my mother. Mother was the worst – the real-life wicked witch of the west. She had a marvelous talent for mishandling money – mine. When . was put under stock contract at Metro and had a steady income for the first time we lived in a four-unit apartment building.
I suggested to mother that we buy it as an investment and rent the other three apartments.
She hit me in the mouth and invested the money in a nickel mine in Needles, Calif., that has never been found. We never got a nickel back.
Actually, mother was no good for anything except to create chaos and fear. She didn’t like me because of my talent. She resented it because she could only play “Kitten on the Keys” like she was wearing boxing gloves.
And when she sang, she had a crude voice. My sisters had lousy voices, too. My father had a pretty good voice, but he wasn’t allowed to talk.
SOMETIMES IT SEEMS as if I’ve been in bondage since I was a fetus. Actually, I was put on the stage at two and a half years after I was born. I enjoyed it because, while I didn’t get any affection from my family, I got applause from strangers.
George Jessel gave me my last name, Garland, and I thought of the first name, Judy.
Then I became a thing instead of a person. And I never wanted to be that. I just wanted to be Frances Ethel Gumm, lady with a heart.
IF IT WASN’T MY MOTHER or the studio, then it was my husbands. There’s hardly been a time when I wasn’t married, but while I was married to four men, I hardly met any of them.
David Rose, my first husband, was too busy with his little toy trains. Vincente Minnelli, my second, was too busy for me.
Sid Luft, my third, was in the charm business then. But Sid has been sweet lately. He doesn’t want anything of me now, except my happiness, and he’s been acting as my manager again. He’s been instrumental in helping me settle my financial problems and in planning my future career. We’re good friends.
(Actor Mark Herron became Miss Garland’s fourth husband in a ceremony in Hong Kong in November 1965, and she divorced him in the spring of 1967. IN March 1969 she married her fifth husband – Mickey Deans, restaurant, and discotechque operator.)
OF COURSE, I’VE DONE some dreadful things to my husbands. Vincente Minnelli snored louder and longer than any man in the world. After two years of this, I was going crazy.
We only had one bedroom, so there was no getting away from it. One night I sat up in bed and hit him as hard as I could with my fist – the one on which I wore my heavy wedding and engagement rings.
I broke the poor man’s nose. He woke up yelling and holding a horribly bloody nose.
I quickly took come of the blood and smeared it on his night table and convinced him he had thrown himself against it during a nightmare.
It didn’t cure Vincente’s snoring, but he did build another wing on the house so I could sleep in peace.
FORTUNATELY THE CURRENT CRISIS in my life hasn’t affected my children – Lorna and Joe Luft. Lorna is 14 and Joey is 12.
They’ve seen me go through absolute hell, and they’ve gone through it with me – which has just made us laugh and love a little harder.
They’re proud that their mother is Judy Garland. But then, I’ve finally gotten to the point of being proud of being Judy Garland, too.
Last year Lorna played a part on TV. When her income tax refund came in the spring, $172, she knew that I needed money. She offered her $172 to me. Imagine that! I took it – she wanted to help, and would have been hurt if I didn’t – and two weeks later I used the money to buy her new dresses.
I’VE HEARD HOW “DIFFICULT” it is to be with Judy Garland. Do you know how difficult it is to “BE” Judy Garland? And for “ME” to live with me? I’ve had to do it – and what more unkind life can you think of than the one I’ve lived?
I’m told that I’m a legend. Fine. But I don’t know what that means. I certainly didn’t ask to be a legend. I was totally unprepared for it.
Honest to God, I’d have been better off if I’d gone to school like other girls, attended proms, and married some nice man.
I’ve been a successful commodity for almost 43 years, but I apparently have yet to prove I’m a successful person – except to myself, in my own gut.
But for now, it’s enough that I feel better and am sleeping better than I ever have. I can get a whole night’s sleep for the first time in 40 years.
I’m sure I can still get some of the things I want: Like a husband who loves me and would be with me every night. What more can a woman want?
I’VE BEEN TOLD THAT I REPRESENT people’s dreams. I’m grateful, but if I represent people’s dreams, then I represent a lot more than I really am.
Please, all I am is Judy Garland – and I am tired of trying to behave like Judy Garland is supposed to behave, tired of being considered a sinking legend that’s still afloat but not worth bothering about.
I don’t think many people could have lived through what I have.
I’m glad I’m a woman with enough guts to cry about the lonely, dead-end streets of her life, but still a woman with a dream in her throat.
What it amounts to, really, is that I’ve been a little girl who hasn’t quite known where she was going. But now, at last, I know. Finished? Why, I’m right at the beginning of something.
June 28, 1969: The sixth in a series of articles about Judy published immediately after her death.
The JUDY GARLAND Story
Lots of Pluck and Some Luck Go into Making of a Star
By LEO GUILD
IN THE BEGINNING, ambitious mothers with children who had looks or talent would write or talk to Judy Garland’s mother, Ethel Gumm, and ask how she did it? They talked as if there were some secret words or incantations that would do the trick.
Sometimes Ethel Gumm would be in a good mood and she’d take her questioner out for coffee, along with the youngster, and explain how it was done. As if now that she gave them the method, it would be a cinch. She gave these hundreds of would-be stage mothers great hope.
As Judy got older the letters came to her. And the mothers came to her. Somehow they reached a responsive chord in Judy. Many times guards or secretaries would chase visitors like that, but in her early years, Judy would try to see them to tell them how it was done.
She’d explain it, “I did it. Why can’t someone else do it?” She thought she had a great deal of luck and would tell mothers that all they needed was luck.
Visitors would leave the studio convinced that all they needed was a smile of fortune.
THE STORY OF HOW FRANCES ETHEL GUMM became Judy Garland has been told many times. Judy told it many times. The story became romanticized and emasculated. Even now it’s hard to dig out the truth, not the glamorized version.
The following is probably as close to the truth as will ever be known:
Frank Gumm, her father, was a college graduate who had done some work in college musicals, and so resolved to become an entertainer. While singing in a vaudeville house he met Ethel Milne, the house pianist, and after a while, they married. When Ethel became pregnant, their vaudeville duo came to an end and Frank bought the New Grand Theater in Grand Rapids, Mich.
There were three daughters born to Ethel and Frances Ethel was the third.
It was then Frank put together an act – the Gumm Sisters – and the family using Grand Rapids as a base fanned out to other cities, doing the act. The reviews weren’t good, but the Gumm Sisters made some money.
Then Frank’s health failed and the family decided to migrate to a better climate in California. They ended in the desert community of Lancaster, about 100 miles above Los Angeles. Frank took over the management of a theater and the kids went to school, temporarily forgetting their careers.
NOW LET JUDY TELL THE REST: My sisters were satisfied to go to school and that’s all. I couldn’t do that. I had dreams of success in show business. Not big dreams. But I saw myself on a small stage in a small theater and a handsome man was bringing me up two dozen long-stemmed roses because I was so great. The man always looked like my father but he wore jewelry and was better dressed.”
“One evening my parents and some friends were resting after a big dinner, and I couldn’t see a clump of people together without making them my audience. So I just tripped in there and sang. I guess I was about 9 years old. I must have been awful.”
“But my parents had a lot of polite friends and one thought I should go to a professional school. I liked that idea.”
“It wasn’t long before I was part of the Meglin Kiddies, a troop of kids who toured California in a program of sketches and songs. I loved it . Give me an extra line for a song and I was ecstatic. Take a line away and I’d sob through the night. This wasn’t work. It was fun and excitement.”
“Now for a while, the past is hazy. It’s hard to separate the dreams and the reality. But I think they were doing some one-reel experimental shorts at Warner Brothers and they wanted to use some of us kids.”
“I know I was considered for a spot in ‘Cinderella’ but I wasn’t right for the part. I did get a bit in a couple of shorts, but they didn’t go over very well and Warners abandoned the project.”
“I wasn’t in the least part discouraged. I felt everything good would happen. I had great enthusiasm and I felt sure there’d be jobs. I can’t begin to tell you the confidence I had. No one could dilute it.”
“THEN GUS EDWARDS, who was an impresario of kiddie shows, saw me. My face was broken out and I looked at him with my face averted all the while he was talking to me.”
“But he had heard me sing and thought I was good. He helped my mother put together my sisters and me in a Gumm Sisters act and then we traveled.”
“I loved the excitement of it, but my sisters didn’t. Audience response wasn’t what they thought we should have and they were disillusioned.”
“I suppose it was George Jessel who changed everything. The Oriental Theater in Chicago loused up our name on the marquee and they read ‘The Glumm Sisters.'”
“George was on the same bill and he helped us straighten it out. George said we’d never make it with a name as the Gumm Sisters and he suggested the Garland sisters.”
“Nothing was going right so we changed our name for luck. Hoagy Carmichael had a song out about that time called “Judy” that I liked, and so my name became Judy Garland.”
“Soon after that, my sisters started to date a lot and they thought getting married was a lot more important than career. I thought they were crazy. That made no sense to me. Career was more important than everything but breathing.”
“So my sisters got married. That left me without an act. It didn’t stop me. I entertained wherever there was an audience that would have me, even to singing for a campfire group around a fire.”
“IN THE MEANTIME MY MOTHER was bugging the studios, telling them that I was the greatest undiscovered entertainer in Hollywood. She believed it, too. She got me some readings and tests, but they thought I was either too young or too old for parts they had open.”
“One of my friends told me that special vaudeville programs were presented at the Wilshire-Ebell Theater every Sunday and a lot of the studio people looked in to see if any new talent was coming up.”
“So I wrangled my way in there one Sunday night and sang some songs. MGM’s song coach Roder Edens head me and brought me to Louis B. Mayer.”
“I sang for some friends of his and he signed me to a seven-year contract without knowing I couldn’t read a note of music.”
“MGM had nothing for me to do but they paid me a weekly salary. So I went to junior high and made some records for Decca. Someone at 20th Century-Fox heard the records and borrowed me from MGM for a picture titled ‘Pigskin Parade.'”
“IT DOESN’T SOUND SO HARD, does it? It wasn’t. Mostly because I always believed I’d make it. There never was any doubt.”
“My problems happened only after I became a star, not on the way to the top. Even today when ambitious mothers ask how they can promote their young ones to an entertainment career, I talk with hope.”
“I never try to discourage them. Why shouldn’t one more kid make it? I’m the first to say it can happen. Always they ask me the same thing, ‘What does it take?’ Talent, luck, tenacity and confidence, I suppose.”
“Sometimes they ask me to judge. That I’m bad at. Look how often I was rejected. But it didn’t stop me. It didn’t even bother me. I believed so much in myself, I thought they were wrong.”
“TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, no one liked me in ‘Pigskin Parade.” I was too fat and I wore pigtails which made me look too homey. I was 14 then.”
“I think what saved me is that Mr. Mayer thought I was more captivating in person, and he had me play Loew’s State in New York. I got good reviews there and it softened up audiences for my ‘Pigskin Parade’ film”
“I guess you know what happened after that – Andy Hardy. From then on I was up and the rest of the world was beneath me. I met everyone on the lot and became good friends with Mickey Rooney. I was comfortable there. I was at home. I knew I belonged.”
That’s Judy’s version of her climb up the ladder to success. She’s right about one thing – getting there was a breeze compared to staying there. That’s when the trouble began.
MONDAY: The Judy Garland story that could not be told until after her death.
June 28, 1969: Here is an article about Judy’s funeral and James Mason’s eulogy. Click on the image to read it.
June 28, 1974: That’s Entertainment! was proving to be a surprise box office hit. It became the film that introduced a whole generation of young fans to Judy Garland (and all MGM musicals and performers) in a way unheard of prior. The soundtrack album (reviewed on this date, shown below) did the same – and started more than a few massive soundtrack album collections!
June 28, 1989: The premiere CD release of the “Judy” album by Capitol Records. The CD featured the previously unreleased track, “I’m Old Fashioned,” recorded on March 26, 1956, but not included in the original release nor the subsequent LP re-releases. The original album was released on October 10, 1956.
June 28, 1989: Capitol Records released the CD “Judy Garland Live.” The single-disc release featured the first official release of the 1962 Manhattan Center (NY) recordings plus five tracks from Judy’s 1963/64 TV series. This was the last “new” Judy Garland album released by the label.
On April 26, 1962, Capitol Records recorded a “live” recording session, starting at midnight, held at the Manhattan Center in New York City, for their planned album “Judy Takes Broadway.”
Judy was suffering from laryngitis and was unable to complete the album, the contents of which remained out of print (aside from bootleg records) until this 1989 release.
The show began at midnight, with Judy singing until 1:30 a.m. with a star-studded audience in attendance (that included Marilyn Monroe and a 19-year-old Barbra Streisand). Judy sang “Sail Away”; “Something’s Coming”; “Just In Time”; “Some People”; “Never Will I Marry”; “Joey, Joey, Joey”; and “The Party’s Over.” She also attempted “Do What You Do” and “Why Can’t I?” after the concert and after the audience had left. She was unable to complete any takes of these two songs.
The outtake of “Why Can’t I?” premiered on the 2002 CD set “Judy Garland – The Capitol Years – 1955-1965.”
June 28, 2013: This ad by Warner Home Video appeared on various sites online promoting the upcoming 75th-anniversary release of The Wizard of Oz in the Blu-ray, standard DVD, digital, and 3D formats.