“[Judy] in the parlance of show folk, is what is known as a sure-fire show-stopper and box-office magnet.” – Uncredited article, 1955
July 10, 1926: Judy’s very first performance in Los Angeles took place at the Erlanger Mason Theater. She and her sisters, as “The Gumm Sisters,” performed during an afternoon kiddie’s matinee of the film Topsy and Eva starring The Duncan Sisters, which was the act that inspired the Gumm Sisters. The Duncan Sisters (who were there in person) were so impressed with the Gumms, especially Frances (Judy), that they insisted the family keep in touch with them. It’s most likely that the sisters performed both matinees on Saturday (the 10th) and Sunday (the 11th) as they were marketed to the children’s audience.
The family was in Los Angeles as their final destination of a summer’s “working vacation” in which they traveled from their hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota to LA, performing in various Vaudeville and movie houses along the way. While in Los Angeles, they stayed at The Hotel Iris (later St. Moritz) on Sunset Boulevard (see pics). The family left LA to return home (again working some gigs along the way) on July 17, 1926.
By October 1926, the family had decided to permanently move to California, firmly setting Frances (Judy) on the road to superstardom.
Photos: The Gumm Sisters in Los Angeles in 1926; the St. Moritz in 1926 and as it looks today per Google Maps; two ads for the Topsy & Eva showings that weekend in 1926.
July 10, 1931: The first night of a week-long engagement for “The Gumm Sisters” as part of Maurice Kusell’s “Stars of Tomorrow” juvenile review at the Wilshire-Ebell Theater in Los Angeles, CA.
The sisters were featured in three numbers: “Puttin’ On The Ritz,” in which they played “Harlem Crooners”; “Garden of Beautiful Flowers,” in which they played “gardenettes”; and “Floatin’ Down the Mississippi.” Frances (Judy) was also featured in t9wo solos and was teamed with Miss Betty Jean Allen for a “Plantation Melody.”
After the show, the sisters sang at the opening night party at director James Cruze’s home. Maurice Kusell introduced them to George Frank of the Frank and Dunlap Talent Agency (James Cagney was a client) who signed Frances as the agency’s first child performer. The five-year contract was for the stage, screen, radio, and even television. Frances was renamed “Frances Gayne.” The contract’s “option clause” was exercised shortly thereafter and “Frances Gayne” was released. The reason the option was not renewed was that Judy’s father, Frank Gumm, felt she was too young.
Photos: The program cover for the engagement; the sisters in 1930; and below are some of the newspaper ads and articles, a few of which mention the Gumm Sisters.
July 10, 1936: The “Van Nuys News” out of Van Nuys, California, reported on Judy’s appearance at a luncheon at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Judy sang “several songs” although what she sang is unknown. She had just completed Every Sunday for MGM and was appearing at various functions (such as this one) courtesy of MGM in their attempts to get her some exposure and experience. She was still just 14 years old.
July 10, 1939: Production on Babes in Arms continued with more rehearsals of the ‘God’s County” number. Judy was due on the set at 9 a.m.; lunch 12:40-1:40 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:50 p.m.
July 10, 1940: Judy, Mickey Rooney, and the rest of the cast pre-recorded the “Finale” sequence for Strike Up The Band. Studio records show that it was a long day, lasting from 11 a.m. to 11:10 p.m. The lengthy session was most likely due to the fact that the sequence itself was lengthy and took time to get just right. Also on this day, Judy pre-recorded the ultimately deleted “The Curse of An Aching Heart.”
Listen to “The Curse of the Aching Heart” here:
July 10, 1941: Judy and Mickey Rooney rehearsed “How About You?” for Babes on Broadway. Time called: 2 p.m.; dismissed: 5:30 p.m.
July 10, 1945: Decca Records recording session. This was the second of two sessions for Judy at the label’s New York City studios. Judy was on her honeymoon with her husband Vincente Minnelli. She recorded “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Smilin’ Through.” The session lasted from 2 to 5 p.m.
The two songs were released on April 15, 1946, Decca single #23539 with “Smilin’ Through” on the “A” side, and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” on the “B” side.
Judy would later re-record “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” using an almost identical arrangement, for Capitol Records on August 3, 1960.
Learn more about Judy’s Decca Records recordings at The Judy Garland Online Discography’s Decca Records section here.
July 10, 1948: The Saturday Evening Post ran this full-color ad for Easter Parade.
July 10, 1950: Hedda Hopper devoted her latest column to her recent chat with Judy who apparently was blaming herself for losing the parts in both Annie Get Your Gun and The Barkleys Of Broadway. “Mr. Mayer was wonderful to me. He always has been,” Judy said. “So I’ve been suspended. However, Mr. Mayer promised to take care of me. I’m to get so much a week to live on while I’m out of work.”
Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography section on “The Films That Got Away” section for more details.
July 10, 1954: More filming on the “Born In A Trunk” sequence for A Star Is Born. Time started: 11 a.m.; finished: 4 p.m.
July 10, 1955: Just one more day until Judy’s big return to Los Angeles (via Long Beach) and her Hollywood peers, most of whom would be in attendance. The build-up to the appearance was such that even the stars who planned to attend were listed in the ad for the show and covered in this article.
Also on July 10, 1955: These two ads promoted Judy’s upcoming appearance at the Exhibition Forum in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on July 19th.
July 10, 1960: Judy attended, along with Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle, Tony Martin, George Jessel, and other celebrities, the Democratic fundraiser at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. The fundraiser was for her friend, John F. Kennedy, who would soon become President. Some film footage exists, see below.
July 10, 1961: “Judy At Carnegie Hall” was released by Capitol Records. The two-record set, which was recorded by the label on April 23, 1961, became an instant hit, spending 95 weeks on the charts, 13 of which were at the #1 spot. The album has never been out of print.
“Judy At Carnegie Hall” won five Grammy Awards: Best Solo Vocal Performance, Female; Album of the Year (the first by a female artist or concert album); Best Album Cover; Best Engineering Contribution, Popular Recording; and a special Artists and Repertoire Award was given to the set’s producer, Andy Wiswell.
The album premiered on CD in 1987, in an abridged single-disc edition that generated outrage by the fans. The full concert, with previously unreleased talking (& funny stories) by Judy during the concert, was released in 1989. The complete recording was remastered and re-released on 24 karat gold discs by DCC Compact Classics in March 2000. Capitol Records released a 40th-anniversary edition in 2001.
JSP Records released the original mono version of the album in 2012. Oddly enough, this was the first time the complete original album version was made available on CD.
The original stereo two-record album was re-released on vinyl in 2015,
There was a re-release on CD of the album in 2017 as part of a set of Judy’s Capitol albums. Unfortunately, this set uses a version in which all of the songs fade in and out as separate tracks that ruin the flow of the original concert experience.
Watch The Judy Room’s 2011 50th Anniversary Tribute Video below:
July 10, 1967: Judy opened her concert at the Camden County Music Fair in Camden/Haddonfield, New Jersey. Judy played the venue through July 15th.
Here in two parts is an audio recording of this opening night concert. It was recorded by a fan from the audience so it doesn’t have the best sound quality, but it’s all we have.