“She is simply one of the rare artists who can transfix an audience by sheer personal magnetism” – Billboard, 1965
July 17, 1926: The Gumm family left Los Angeles and headed home to Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The trip was a working vacation, with the family performing in various towns along the way. By October 1926 the family had decided to permanently move to California.
Photos: The Gumm family in Los Angeles in 1926.
July 17, 1927: The first solo billing of “Frances Ehtel Gumm” (Judy), at the Lancaster Theatre in Lancaster, California.
July 17, 1930: “The Hollywood Starlets Trio” (Judy and her two sisters) performed at the Million Dollar Theater in Los Angeles, California. This was the first night of a week-long engagement for the sisters.
July 17, 1932: “The Gumm Sisters” were part of the Sunday Night Only acts at the West Coast Theater in Santa Ana. They were billed as “The Gum Sisters” (see the lower part of the ad above left) which was not uncommon although it would take the 1934 trip to Chicago for the act to finally change its name.
On July 15th there was a “Junior Breakfast Club” lunch event in Santa Ana that featured “Vaudeville acts from the Fox West Coast Theater featured the entertainment program at the meeting.” It’s possible that The Gumm Sisters were part of this event although the only ad that lists the sisters is the ad for the Sunday event.
What is known is that the sisters were a big hit on Sunday the 17th. On Saturday, July 23rd, an article in the Santa Ana Register notes that the acts at the Fox West Coast have “been all – and more – than the audience have expected and as a result, the Sunday shows are being looked forward to with the greatest of pleasure. Last week [when the sisters performed], patrons were turned away from the doors at the night performances. Others waited in line for over an hour.”
July 17, 1933: Judy and her sisters performed on the “Monday Night Guest Artists Vaudeville” show as “The Three Gumm Sisters” at the RKO Hillstreet Theater in Los Angeles, California. Frances Gumm (Judy) sang “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” and MGM casting Ben Piazza expressed interest in her, but nothing came of it. The engagement was the result of the sisters auditioning for RKO booking agents King and Winkler just the day before (July 16th). They were placed on the bill so quickly there was no time to put their names in the advertisement seen above.
July 17, 1936: This photo of Judy with Deanna Durbin was taken on this day. The two girls were filming the short subject Every Sunday which was their first official film assignment for MGM.
Photo provided by Hisato M. Thanks, Hisato!
July 17, 1939: Babes in Arms filming continued filming on the “Interior Madox Theatre” set, specifically the “Finale” number on MGM’s Stage 27. Judy was on the set at 9 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 6 p.m.
Photo: The poster shown here is a 1940 Australian one-sheet that uses the Strike Up The Band poster art, with some changes, as poster art for Babes in Arms, hence the area painted over on the right side.
July 17, 1939: Here is a two-page ad placed by MGM in the weekly trade publication “Motion Picture Herald” which includes a notice about the upcoming release of The Wizard of Oz.
July 17, 1941: Judy posed for these hair and costume tests for Babes on Broadway. Time called: 2 p.m., dismissed: 4:30 p.m. A nice, and rare, short day for Judy at the studio.
July 17, 1942: Judy and her husband David Rose attended Judy’s Ziegfeld Girl co-star, Lana Turner’s, wedding to David Crane in Las Vegas.
July 17, 1943: This article appeared in the Australian Daily News. The article is notable as it references Judy’s very first concert at the Robin Hood Dell in Philadelphia on July 1, 1943.
Judy’s paragraph reads:
Bad luck for Judy Garland, who sprained her ankle when she jumped for joy over the opportunity to make a stage appearance with the famous Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. Undaunted, she appeared on the state of the Robin Hood Dell, in Philadelphia, with her bandaged ankle concealed under a long frock.
This is pure studio fiction. There’s no record of Judy having sprained her ankle from “jumping for joy” – but it makes for some great copy!
Photos: The article; Robin Hood Dell program; 1943 magazine portrait.
July 17, 1943: This two-page ad was published by MGM in the weekly trade publication, “Motion Picture Herald.” In that same issue was an example of newspaper ads, including one for Presenting Lily Mars.
July 17, 1944: Judy had a recording session for “The Interview” number for Ziegfeld Follies. Time called: 2:00 p.m.; dismissed: 5:05 p.m.
Listen to the complete version here:
July 17, 1944: Judy went to the premiere of Since You Went Away at the Carthay Circle Theater in Los Angeles, where these photos were taken of her with her date, Guy Madison. She’s seen chatting with former rival Deanna Durbin and with Selznick executive Henry Willson. In 2020, Willson was portrayed by Jim Parsons in Ryan Murphy’s fictional “Hollywood” TV miniseries.
July 17, 1946: Judy’s first work after having given birth to daughter Liza Minnelli four months prior (on March 12th) occurred when she appeared on “The Bob Crosby Show” for CBS Radio. She sang “I Got The Sun In The Morning” and “If I Had You.”
This was the first time Judy sang “I Got The Sun In The Morning” which at the time was a new hit from the Broadway show “Annie Get Your Gun.” She sang it again on September 29, 1946, for the “Command Performance” radio program and pre-recorded it for the MGM film version on April 1, 1949.
Listen to the September 1946 version of “I Got The Sun I The Morning” here (the July version is not known to exist):
This performance has been remastered by John H. Haley and sounds better than ever! It was included in the 2015 CD “The Best of Lost Tracks – 1929-1959.”
Photo: Judy and baby Liza.
July 17, 1948: More from Judy’s two major releases in theaters concurrently.
July 17, 1951: This photo was taken of Judy in Birmingham, England, at an event during her week-long concert engagement at the city’s Hippodrome (The Birmingham Hippodrome). Judy is seen here at the Aston Hippodrome, which was also in Birmingham. Just a few days prior, daughter Liza arrived from the U.S. to be with her mother.
July 17, 1952: It was officially announced that Judy was pregnant. She and Sid Luft had just married that previous June 8th in Hollister, California. Judy gave birth to her second child, Lorna Luft, on November 21, 1952.
Photos: Judy and Sid in 1952; Having fun on the town in 1952 (l-r at the table): Lana Turner, Roger Edens, Fernando Lamas, Judy, and Sid Luft. The man standing behind Judy with the carnation corsage is Leonard Gershe.
July 17, 1954: Judy filmed the “Melancholy Baby” number for the “Born In A Trunk” sequence for A Star Is Born on the “Interior Third Nightclub” set. Time started: 7:50 p.m.; finished: 12:55 a.m.
July 17, 1955: Here are some ads, a coloring contest, and a notice about the current theatrical re-release of The Wizard of Oz. The author of the article was a bit confused about the Emerald City, calling it a City of Bubbles! Maybe they thought of Glinda’s bubble and mixed them up. 🙂
July 17, 1961: Judy attended daughter Liza Minnelli’s legitimated theatrical debut at the Cape Cod Music Tent. Liza had a solo dance in the show “Wish You Were Here.”
July 17, 1965: Judy was in concert at The Forest Hills Stadium in Forest Hills, New York. According to Variety, Judy broke a record for the longest-standing ovation: Thirty Minutes at the conclusion of her 20-song, 90-minute concert in front of 10,000 people. The concert grossed $55,000. Backstage after the show, Judy told some fans that she was going to record a studio version of “What Now, My Love” “next week” but that never happened.
Peter Lind Hayes interviewed Judy via phone after the show in the early morning hours of July 18th. Judy and Mark Herron were at their hotel, the Regency, in Forest Hills, New York.
Listen to that phone interview here:
Download, the entire concert here (zip file). This zip file includes the interview as well.