“If you can get paid for [singing], you’re damned lucky!” – Judy Garland, 1965
July 15, 1925: “The Gumm Sisters” (Judy and her two sisters) performed at the Lyceum Theater in Derr River, Minnesota. This was Judy’s very first paid engagement, as her previous appearances had been in her father’s theater.
July 15, 1929: “The Gumm Sisters” performed at the Lone Pine Theater in Lone Pine, California.
July 15, 1931: Here’s a notice in the “Los Angeles Times” about Maurice L. Kusell’s “Stars of Tomorrow” show at the Wilshire Ebell Theater. The show was a hit. Judy and her sisters, as “The Gumm Sisters,” were a part of the all-kiddie show which ran from July 10 through July 17, 1931.
July 15, 1932: Judy and her sisters, as “The Gumm Sisters,” were performing at the Fox West Coast Theater, and although they’re not listed in this notice they most likely took part in this event that featured acts from the theater. This notice was published on the 16th noting that the engagement took place on this day (July 15).
July 15, 1934: The first engagement for Judy and her sisters, as “The Gumm Sisters,” at the World’s Fair in Chicago, Illinois. They appeared on “Guest Artist Night” at the Old Mexico Nite Club.
Beginning in mid-June, the sisters, along with mom Ethel, had traveled (and performed) across the country from their home in Lancaster, California, with the fair as their final destination. Their time at the fair (over a month) would prove fortuitous as they would receive a break and a name change. They also had some lovely portraits taken.
July 15, 1936: Here is another local radio listing from Patterson, New Jersey, noting that Judy was scheduled to perform at 7:45 p.m. This is another instance of a pre-recorded “appearance” of Judy made during her trip to New York where she appeared live several times on Rudy Vallee’s show. Vallee’s show advertised that Judy was a part of their shows after she had left New York for California. It’s assumed that these local listings were repeats from her live appearances several weeks prior. No copies of these recordings are known to exist.
July 15, 1939: Judy entered into a new one-year contract with Decca Records. Her mom, Ethel, signed the contract (“Judy Garland by Ethel M. Garland”) because Judy was still a minor. The contract called for twelve songs to be recorded within the year, for which Judy would be paid a royalty advance of $250.00 per completed song. She actually recorded sixteen songs during this one-year period. Her royalty rate was as follows: if Judy had a song on both sides of a single, she would get two cents for each single (78) sold in the U.S. and Canada and 10 percent of the wholesale price in other countries; if Judy had only one song on one side of a single, she would get one cent per disc sold in the U.s. and Canada. She was also paid 50 percent of whatever Decca was paid for public performances or broadcasting. As far as what Judy would record, the contract states, “The Artist agrees to record such selections as Decca may choose within the Artist’s repertoire.”
Judy’s previous contract with Decca was signed on August 30, 1937, which was after she had already recorded several singles for the label including her first big hit, “(Dear Mr. Gable) You Made Me Love You. Her first recording session under this new contract occurred on July 29, 1939, at which time she recorded her first single, made for records version of “Over The Rainbow” along with “The Jitterbug,” “In-Between,” and “Sweet Sixteen.”
Check out this article for details about Judy’s early association with the label and the new information about her signing either an agreement or short-term contract in late November 1935.
Of course, the contract signing wasn’t the only activity for Judy on this day. Rarely was she afforded a simple day. She, Mickey Rooney, and the rest of the cast of Babes In Arms continued filming the “God’s Country” number. Judy was on the set at 9 a.m.; lunch 12:30-1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 6 p.m.
Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s Decca Records Section for details about all of Judy’s Decca records and re-releases.
July 15, 1940: Filming on the “Finale” sequence for Strike Up The Band continued on the “Interior Radio Theatre” set. It was a long day. Judy was on the set at 9:00 a.m.; dismissed: 7:20 p.m. Judy must have taken a break in filming or perhaps filming on the sequence ended early because this costume test for Little Nellie Kelly was also taken on this day.
July 15, 1944: Judy recorded another appearance on the “Command Performance” radio show, which was put on discs and shipped overseas for broadcast to servicemembers on the Armed Forces Radio Network. Judy was a popular guest on the program and always seemed to find the time to participate. Also on the program were Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters. Bing and Judy performed “The All-time Flop Parade” after which he joked and said to Judy, “Thank you, Judy, that was really lousy.”
Judy’s performance of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” from this performance was replayed on the show’s December 25, 1944, broadcast.
Listen to and download “Long Ago And Far Away” here:
During the day Judy continued rehearsals of “The Interview,” a.k.a. “A Great Lady Gives An Interview,” a.k.a. “Madame Crematante” routine for Ziegfeld Follies. Time called: 1:00 p.m.; dismissed: 5:20 p.m.
Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
July 15, 1944: Here’s an article about MGM’s 25th anniversary.
July 15, 1947: Filming on the “Be A Clown” number for The Pirate continued. It was a long session. Judy had a call to be on the set at 1 p.m.; she arrived at 2:45 p.m.; everyone was dismissed at 12:25 a.m. Thirty-three takes of five different camera setups were completed.
Photo: Director (and Judy’s husband) Vincente Minnelli, Judy, and Gene Kelly during a break in filming. Below, the cued playback disc used during the filming. The disc was made on this day, but the recording was made on July 14th.
July 15, 1948: More Easter Parade ads and another great review!
July 15, 1953: Here’s an article allegedly written by Jack Benny about vaudeville. Of course, Judy is mentioned.
July 15, 1954: Judy pre-recorded “Melancholy Baby” for the “Born In A Trunk” sequence for A Star Is Born. Time started: 4:40; finished: 5:45 p.m. It didn’t take long for Judy to provide a usable take!
Listen to a couple of outtakes from this session here:
July 15, 1955: Judy appeared in the Danish “Allas Veckotidning” magazine.
Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
Meanwhile, The Wizard of Oz was still in theaters. Here are a couple more ads.
July 15, 1955: The first night of a two-night engagement of Judy’s stage show in Portland, Oregon.
July 15, 1963: The taping of the dress rehearsal for “Episode Three” of “The Judy Garland Show” took place. Judy’s guests were her daughter Liza Minnelli, Soupy Sales, the Brothers Castro, and series regular Jerry Van Dyke.
July 15, 1963: More legal troubles for Judy, this time regarding unpaid telephone bills in London, England.
July 15, 1965: Judy flew from Los Angeles to New York for her next concert. She stayed at the Regency Hotel and late that night in her suite she had an interview with Leonard Harris of The New York World-Telegram and Sun, during which she said, “I guess singing is a good outlet and if you can get paid for doing it, you’re damned lucky.”
Photo: Judy at her home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles in the summer of 1965.
Below: A notice published on this date about Judy firing her agents and road manager. There’s a story about Judy throwing a shoe at husband Mark Herron and him coming back to Hollywood on a bus. It’s unknown if this was just gossip or if it really happened.
July 15, 1967: The last night of Judy’s five-night engagement at The Camden County Music Fair in Camden/Haddonfield, New York. Some wonderful photos were taken of Judy during this engagement, in her Valley of the Dolls pantsuit.