“I’d have more confidence in her future happiness if right now – before those marks of fatigue become indelible – she’d take a year off.” – Jimmie Fidler, 1943
July 8, 1930: This notice about the feature film at the Million Dollar Theater in Los Angeles included a mention of the accompanying stage show (most of the big movie theaters at the time included stages shows), “headed by the Hollywood Starlets – an aggregation of tiny performers, in a new series of songs, dances, and specialties.” It’s unclear if Judy and her sisters were a part of the “Hollywood Starlets” act or not. They had been billed as the “Hollywood Starlets Trio” in several shows going back to, at least, December 23, 1929. The girls had just appeared, as the “Hollywood Starlets Trio,” in San Diego on July 4th.
July 8, 1936: This photo (above left) featuring MGM’s child stars (actually Judy and Deanna weren’t yet stars), Mickey Rooney, Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland, and Jackie Cooper is usually identified as being a snapshot of the kids at the MGM commissary when in fact it was taken during a trip for MGM’s juvenile performers to a local softball game (including a young Diana Lewis as seen in the photo above). At this time, the studio publicity department had created a fake romance between Judy and Jackie Cooper when in reality they were always just friends.
July 8, 1937: This ad promoting the upcoming release of Broadway Melody of 1938, among other MGM films, appeared in the Film Daily trade magazine.
July 8, 1938: Judy and the cast of Listen, Darling posed for publicity photos that were used in the promotion of the film, which was released on October 18, 1939 (premiere), general release on October 21, 1938.
Also on July 8, 1938, Judy and her co-star in Listen, Darling, Freddie Bartholomew, attended the premiere of the MGM film Marie Antoinette at the Carthay Circle Theater in Hollywood. The photo on the right shows Judy chatting with Perry Frank at the post-premiere party at the Trocadero (photo provided by Bobby Waters. Thanks, Bobby!)
The premiere was broadcast over NBC Radio (audio is not known to exist) and was also featured in an MGM short titled Hollywood Goes To Town which was about the film’s premiere, which briefly shows Judy and Freddie signing the guest book.
Watch the entire short here:
Also on July 8, 1938: Apparently Billy Halop went back to Judy after a failed romance. Judy and Halop did indeed date for a while, although not much is known about their relationship, probably because it was a typical teen romance and nothing more.
July 8, 1939: Here’s a good example of how the entertainment news wasn’t always current nor correct. This photo was taken of Judy upon her arrival in New York in April of 1939. The caption was the same then as it is on this reprint which would lead the reader to think that Judy had another New York visit. In fact, on this day she was at MGM working on Babes in Arms rehearsing the “God’s Country” number. Time called: 9 a.m; dismissed: 12:30 p.m..
Judy returned to New York in August 1939 for the NY premiere of The Wizard of Oz.
Photos: The clipping on the left is the July 8th version of the April 15th notice (on right).
July 8, 1940: Another article about Judy’s romances, this time with Robert Stack. Judy and Robert did date a bit, and in the wonderful A&E biography about Judy, he talks very poignantly about what a great friend she was.
On this day at MGM, Judy was in rehearsals for the finale section of Strike Up The Band. time called: 10:00 a.m.; dismissed: 5:45 p.m.
July 8, 1943: Judy, along with several other stars, embarked on a multi-city USO tour entertaining the troops at various Army camps around New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The tour would last through mid-August at which time Judy returned to Hollywood. She would go back on tour for the USO again on September 8, 1943, returning in mid-October. The first stop on the tour was at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey.
July 8, 1943: In his weekly column, Jimmie Fidler comments on Judy being overworked as well underweight. He wisely notes how MGM was getting everything they could out of her and the fact that it was coming at “the complete sacrifice of a normal girlhood.” He also noted how he felt that “I’d have more confidence in her future happiness if right now – before those marks of fatigue become indelible – she’d take a year off and do something she’s never had time to do – PLAY!”
By the late 1940s, it had become common knowledge, even to the moviegoing public, that Judy was being overworked and was in poor health, but at this point (1943), it was rare for a columnist to go into such detail although in their reviews some film critics had recently noted Judy’s weight loss.
July 8, 1943: Here is an article purporting to explain Judy’s beauty tricks.
July 8, 1943: Here is a very sad story about the fate of one of Judy’s fans, as told by columnist Erskine Johnson:
Film fans has [sic] paid many a compliment to a celluloid favorite but nothing compares to the poignant story of 22-year-old Pilot Officer Jerry Kelly of the RAF. Before he was killed in action recently, Kelly listed Judy Garland, a girl he had only seen on the screen, as “next of kin.” Judy received the news in a letter from a friend of Kelly’s, who felt it “my duty to perform this small task.” The friend wrote the star: “Jerry was one of your most ardent fans. He never had very much happiness in his life. His mother died when he was very young. His father enlisted in the RAF as an aircraft gunner tow years ago and was killed in action last year. The little happiness Jerry did have came when he saw your pictures. He idolized you. After his father’s death, he listed you as ‘next of kin.'”
July 8, 1945: In his column “RECORDially yours” record reviewer Will Davidson likes Judy’s Decca duets with Bing Crosby, “Yah-Ta-Ta, Yah-Ta-Ta” and “You’ve Got Me Where You Want Me” in spite of the fact that, as he notes, He’s “not Judy’s most loyal fan, insofar as her singing is concerned, but she works well with Bing.”
For more information about all of Judy’s Decca recordings, check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s Decca Records Section here.
Also on June 8, 1945: This notice about Judy’s sister, “Jimmie” (Dorothy Virginia) Gumm, and her petitioning the Los Angeles court to change her name as she embarked on a singing career of her own. She achieved some success, even making a few records.
Here is one of her recordings, “Beyond A Shadow of a Doubt.”
July 8, 1947: Here’s a little-known fact. A fire had broken out in the home of Judy’s Mom’s (Ethel Gumm) at 730 S. Ogden Drive in Los Angeles. No other details are known aside from what’s written in this notice. Luckily no one was hurt.
July 8, 1948: Here is a great review of Easter Parade, which was currently a big hit.
July 8, 1949: Here are a couple of notices about MGM Records’ latest release, which was the first of many soundtrack compilation albums they would release over the years. The one Garland entry is “Love of My Life” from The Pirate. Considering the recent success of Easter Parade it’s odd that MGM Records did not include any tracks from that album.
July 8, 1950: The Wizard of Oz was still making its way across the country, enjoying the success of its first theatrical re-release which began in 1949.
July 8, 1951: Summer Stock made its way to Terre Haute, Indiana. The local paper noted the film was “a musical romp which is fast and frolicsome as it is tune-filled and laugh-jammed.”
July 8, 1954: After a one-day break, Judy was back at Warner Bros. filming scenes for the “Born In A Trunk” number for A Star Is Born. Time started: 11 a.m.; finished: 5:45 p.m.
July 8, 1955: Judy opened a planned seven-city tour of “The Judy Garland Show” in San Diego, California.
Judy sang: “Carolina in the Morning”; “While We’re Young”; “Judy’s Olio” (You Made Me Love You/For Me And My Gal/The Boy Next Door/The Trolley Song); “A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow”; “The Man That Got Away”; “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby”; “A Couple of Swells”; “Liza”; and “Over the Rainbow.”
Judy’s guest stars included Frank Fontaine, The Hi-Lo’s, The Jerry Gray Orchestra, and The Wiere Brothers (who joined Judy in the “Running Wild” first-act finale).
Of this show, “Variety” stated that Judy was “dazzling” and that “She has added a magnetic maturity to the old gamin quality.”
No recordings or photos from this show are known to exist, so here’s a scan of the cover of a 1955 Maribel magazine featuring Judy in that outfit from A Star Is Born that everyone talks about. 🙂
Also on July 8, 1955: Here is a very detailed article about Judy’s upcoming show at the Municipal Auditorium in Long Beach, California, on July 11th. Apparently, Judy did not want to bring her show to the Los Angeles area but changed her mind when she was approached to do the show as a benefit for the Exceptional Children’s Foundation.
July 8, 1956: Judy was hard at work rehearsing for her upcoming nightclub debut at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.
July 8, 1957: The Lufts (Judy and husband Sid Luft) held a party at their home to celebrate the end of Judy’s recent tour (the last performance was the July 7, 1957, show at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles). At the party, Judy sang “Lucky Day.”
Clipping above: Mike Connolly’s review of Judy’s Greek Theaters show as published on this date.
July 8, 1974: This deluxe boxed set of 6 records was released along with a hardcover book with a lot of details about MGM musicals.
For details, check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s page about “The MGM Years” here.