“In the musical interludes [Judy] demonstrates her ability to sell a number like nobody’s business.” – Robert E. Murphy, Minneapolis Star Tribune
July 4, 1930 (possibly the 5th): Judy and her sisters (“The Gumm Sisters”), as “The Hollywood Starlets Trio” performed at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, California.
The San Diego News called the girls the “highlight of a [Hollywood Starlets] presentation. Their smallest member is a feisty little miss who also sang solo in a surprisingly powerful voice and all but stopped the show.”
July 4, 1934: “The Gumm Sisters” performed on the S.S. Broadmoor in the Yacht Club Marina, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
July 4, 1937: Judy attended, and of course performed (along with Sophie Tucker), at MGM studio boss Louis B. Mayer’s 4th of July party. Judy and Sophie were in the last weeks of filming Broadway Melody of 1938 which was released on August 20, 1937.
July 4, 1939: This short blurb notes that MGM’s upcoming The Wizard of Oz was the first film to be shot in both monotone and color, in the same scene.
July 4, 1940: Here are a couple more fun ads for Andy Hardy Meets Debutante.
Also from this day in 1940 is this “Accessories” blurb, which Was published in various newspapers in late spring and early summer of 1940.
July 4, 1942: Two items from the trade magazine “Motion Picture Herald.” First is an advance synopsis of the upcoming release of For Me And My Gal. In the “What The Picture Did For Me” feature, Ray Peacock of the Onalaska Theatre in Onalaska, Washington, said this about Babes on Broadway (released in 1941): “This picture drags. Could be improved by cutting out the first 45 minutes. It’s the same old story. They are trying to put on a show and finally do, in the last half of the last reel. This is sorta like a western you know what the story is as soon as it starts.”
July 4, 1943: Judy appeared on the CBS Radio show “The Pause That Refreshes On The Air” (sponsored by Coca-Cola whose tagline was “The Pause That Refreshes”). During this 30-minute program, Judy sang “That Old Black Magic”; “Over The Rainbow”; and “This Is The Army.”
The studio orchestra was conducted by Andre Kostelanetz who had just conducted for Judy at her first concert on July 1st at the Robin Hood Dell in Philadelphia. Although there are no extant recordings of that first time Judy was “in concert” this radio show gives us an idea of how it might have sounded.
Listen to the complete show here:
Listen to “Over The Rainbow” here:
Also on July 4, 1943: This notice references the “Saga of Baby Gumm” recording that Judy’s friends made for her recent 21st birthday.
Listen to Part One here:
Listen to Part Two here:
More from July 4, 1943: If she had seen this, Judy probably would have been very pleased to read that she was used as an example of “Slim Fit Fall Fashion.”
Even more from July 4, 1943: This review of Presenting Lily Mars in the Star Tribune out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is fairly positive singling out Judy’s performance and talent even though the film is merely “cute.”
July 4, 1943: “Best dry-land rescue the Navy ever made,” said Phil Silvers about the rescue of Judy, Silvers, and Jimmie Van Husen after getting a flat tire on the way back to Los Angeles from their show for the troops at Camp Pendleton. The show took place in early June, just prior to Judy’s first work on The Clock.
July 4, 1948: MGM was heavily promoting Easter Parade as a special engagement movie, and with good reason. They knew they had a huge hit on their hands. Here is a small sampling of the many, many, classy-looking ads the studio put out in papers around the country. The ads were designed to let people know that the film was a special event. It sure was/is!
July 4, 1948: For the premiere of The Pirate in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the theater featured an opening night radio broadcast direct from the lobby and a free copy of the MGM Records soundtrack album.
July 4, 1949: Judy spent the holiday weekend with actress Sylvia Sidney (modern audiences probably know her best as “Juno” in the film Beetlejuice) who was the wife of Judy’s manager, Carlton Alsop, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Judy had been at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital recovering from a nervous breakdown and her addiction to prescription medicine. She had just been fired from the production of Annie Get Your Gun. While on Cape Cod, she was visited by her daughter Liza. This wonderful photo was taken of the two on the beach during that holiday weekend.
Also on July 4, 1949: The Wizard of Oz continued to enjoy success in its first theatrical rerelease.
July 4, 1950: Judy’s recent suicide attempt was still big news. Here are three different perspectives. The first (shown above), tells of Judy’s mom rushing to her side and Judy’s embarrassment when she found out that it all made international headlines.
Here’s a cautionary tale to mothers who wish their kids could be a success in Hollywood, written by Chesta Fulmer for The Journal Herald in Dayton, Ohio:
Your child may be very talented. Your child may be far above average in looks and cleverness. But are you sure you want that chance for “success” in Hollywood?
More than 20 years ago there was a very talented little girl. she had a lovely singing voice. She had poise and her face was, if not beautiful, very charming.
I do not know what her parents thought. I imagine they were highly pleased when, just a little girl, she got her “break.”
Maybe they said, “she is a success.” They surely said it later, for this child grew up to have a name which was a household word.
She’s only 29 years old now, and she’s been a “success” for a number of years. She has fame and she has money. And she has some other things, too. She has fears. She thinks, according to reports, that she is ill-favored, unloved and persecuted. time magazine reports that she is jittery after years of Benzedrine to pep her up, and sleeping tablets to calm her down.
So, you picked up your paper not long ago and read that she had tried to cut her throat. I think that was an overdrawn statement, but I do think her action of even scratching her throat showed her inner turmoil.
So this is success. Remember, she has the fame and the money. She has what you people call success. But is it? I think if you would ask Judy Garland she’d tell you that she envies you who lead quieter, more normal lives.
Better think it over before your order that kind of success for your child.
Columnist Jimmie Fidler was more direct in his insightful, and very correct, blame of the studio heads at MGM who kept pushing Judy to work regardless of whether she was truly in good health. Bravo to him for calling them out. He also addresses the blame apparently lobbied at Hollywood columnists (!).
BLAMING COLUMN FOR JUDY’S PLIGHT CALLED ILLOGICAL
By JIMMIE FIDLER
The day after Judy Garland’s suicide attempt, the editor of the leading Hollywood trade paper fired an all-out editorial blast at Filmville columnists.
“The private lives of those in the film industry should be their own,” he wrote. “The columnists feel they have a mortgage which can be foreclosed at their discretion. The folks in the industry have been afraid to offend these columnists. That shouldn’t be. They should protect themselves and those associated with them against any unreasonable and unfair publicity.
“And had this been done, possibly Judy Garland would not have been driven to the point of physical exhaustion, illness, and worry which caused her to endeavor to take her own life.”
In short, the editor is blaming Judy Garland’s present condition on Hollywood columnists. Well, let’s look behind these current headlines. I’d like to start by quoting a few lines written in this column less than a month ago.
“I can’t go along with those,” I wrote on June 3, “who regard Judy Garland’s return to work in ‘royal wedding’ as good news. Don’t misunderstand me – I’m as strong for Judy as anyone. Sometimes, I think, considerably stronger.”
“At least I’m thinking about her own best interests when I question the wisdom of her return to the screen at this time. It’s been only two and a half months since she struggled through her last picture, so ill that doctors insisted on her taking a long vacation.”
“I fail to see how she can have enough rest to cure her ailments, and I know, form her past history, how prone she is to disregard her doctor’s advice and rush back to work. Why risk another setback?”
Certainly, I can take no credit as a diagnostician because I wrote that paragraph. Everyone who has had any opportunity to observe Judy during the past two years knew she was ill, exhausted and bordering on nervous collapse. And they knew that an illness like hers could not be cured by a brief rest, particularly since Judy, without any attempt at control by her studio bosses, didn’t rest.
IF THE MEN who rule the MGM roost were blind to the hazards when they put her before the cameras again for this picture, they’re strangely unobserving and hard to convince. They say, now in self-justification, that “Judy said she was feeling fine.” What an excuse! Judy had said she felt fine three times before after ridiculously brief, ineffective rest periods, and each time they had taken her at her word and precipitated another crack-up by putting her back to work too soon. It’s strange they should be so blindly optimistic when the lowliest workman on their sets was thoroughly aware of Miss Garland’s true condition!
I am not the only columnist who predicted the probable consequence if Judy faced cameras again before she had time to fully recover her health. Many others wrote opinions just as strong as mine.
Under such circumstances, it seems a bit far-fetched for a trade paper editor to be blaming us, still were so anxious to capitalize on the popularity of a very sick girl that they decided to take a gamble.
July 4, 1955: This article promoting the upcoming one-night-only appearance of Judy in Eugene, Oregon notes the change in her show’s format. Judy still performed with other vaudeville-style acts but now stayed on stage for the first half as well as her taking over in the second act. This was a step towards the two-hour one-woman show format she pioneered in 1960.
July 4, 1955: The Wizard of Oz was in theaters for its second theatrical re-release.
July 4, 1957: Here is an article about Judy’s “Number One Fan” Wayne Martin, and the upcoming display of his Garland collection. The undated photo shows Martin with Judy in the mid-50s, and the third image is the display of some of Martin’s collection.
July 4, 1959: A review of Judy’s concert at the San Francisco Opera House.
July 4, 1961: Judy’s July 4 appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival was a big success.
July 4, 1963: Rehearsals for “Episode Two” of “The Judy Garland Show” at CBS Television City, Hollywood, CA. The show had been on a break after completing “Episode One” on June 24th.
Some taping was done the next day, July 5th, that was so successful it was used in the final aired version: The segment with guests Count Basie and Mel Torme in which Judy sings “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm”; and, with Torme, “April in Paris.”
This photo was taken during these rehearsals.
July 4, 1967: Bernard L. Drew reviews Judy’s recent show at the Storrowton Music Circus in Springfield, Massachusetts. Judy’s engagement lasted from June 26th through July 1st. Drew was most likely reviewing the final night.
July 4, 1969: This letter to the editor of the Boston Globe was written by the Reverend Thomas D. Corrigan of the All Saints Parish in Boston, in response to the recent coverage of Judy’s death. He wisely called for a greater focus on mental health and addiction services.
July 4, 1974: Lorna Luft (Judy’s second daughter) attended the female impersonator show “Manhattan Follies” in New York and got to witness the impersonations of her mom, Judy, and her half-sister, Liza.
July 4, 1998: Here’s an interesting article about Judy’s huge presence on the Internet 20 years ago. Imagine what the article’s author, Associated Press writer Kathleen Sampey, would say about today’s social media! Of interest here is the mention of The Judy List which was the major Garland discussion forum at the time. Read about The Judy List here as part of “The Judy Garland Wars” series. Also noted is Lorna’s controversial (to Garland fans, anyway) remark that her mother’s fans needed to “get a life.” She sure changed that tune when she began to market her new Garland tribute show to those same fans the following year.
July 4, 2002: The cable station Turner Classic Movies aired The Wizard of Oz in both “sing-along” and regular versions.