“Everybody knows she is a living legend. A superstar.” – Rose DeWolf, 1968
July 18, 1934: “The Gumm Sisters” engagement at the Belmont Theater, Chicago. This was a one-night engagement as a last-minute replacement for another act.
July 18, 1939: According to this news blurb, Judy allegedly received what was almost a black eye, from co-star Mickey Rooney during a baseball game between takes of filming on Babes in Arms. This might be true as the kids were required by California law to have a certain amount of schooling and exercise each day.
On this day, Judy completed filming on Babes in Arms, with the final work being scenes shot on the “Exterior Stage Door” (on Lot 2) and “Interior Madox Theatre” (the “Finale” sequence on Stage 27). Judy was on the set at 9 a.m.; lunch: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 6 p.m.
July 18, 1940: Although it’s not considered to be Judy’s real “first adult role” Little Nellie Kelly was a big step in that direction.
July 18, 1941: Judy and co-star Mickey Rooney pre-recorded “How About You?” for Babes on Broadway. Time called: 6:30 p.m.; dismissed: 9:15 p.m.
Listen to the song here:
The song became a very popular standard, heard in quite a few movies over the years. It was nominated for the Oscar for “Best Original Song” but lost to “White Christmas” from Holiday Inn. Incidentally, that was the first of two times that a Bing Crosby song would beat a Garland song at the Oscars. The second time was in 1945 when “Swinging on a Star” from Crosby’s 1944 film Going My Way beat “The Trolley Song” from that same year’s Meet Me In St. Louis. “Swinging on a Star” became as identified with Crosby as “The Trolley Song” was to Judy.
July 18, 1942: In the “What The Picture Did For Me” feature in the trade magazine “Motion Picture Daily,” W.R. Pyle of the Dreamland Theatre in Rockglen, Saskatchewan, Canada, had this to say about Ziegfeld Girl (released in 1941): “Lavish musical played late and just did average business.”
July 18, 1944: More rehearsals on “The Interview” number for Ziegfeld Follies at MGM’s Rehearsal Hall A. Time called: 9 a.m.; dismissed: 4 p.m. This was the last day of rehearsals on the number. Filming started the next day.
Hedda Hopper reported on the rehearsals after she had allegedly just made a tour around the MGM studios.
July 18, 1945: Here’s a news item about the recording of a new “cast album” for Decca Records of songs from The Harvey Girls. The short article is correct. Judy recorded “March of the Doagies” and “Round And Round” on May 14, 1945. She recorded “On The Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe” on May 15th. What isn’t noted is that Judy had a couple of sessions, during her honeymoon no less, at the label’s New York studios on July 7th and July 10th. During the session on the 7th, she recorded a more “pop” version of “Atchison.”
Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s The Harvey Girls on Decca Records pages for details about the various releases of the album.
July 18, 1946: Apparently Judy endorsed The Green Years (courtesy of MGM, of course). 🙂
July 18, 1947: Both Hedda Hopper and Jack Lait reported on Judy’s recent physical breakdown. Lait didn’t mince words when he wrote that Judy’s breakdown was a possible result of her benzedrine addiction.
This was the first of Judy’s breakdowns at the studio to be noted by the press. The event occurred around June 28th during rehearsals of the “Be A Clown” number for The Pirate. Judy was out sick until July 24th. On July 16th she completed her work on the film (for the time being). Not long afterward, Judy made an unpublicized suicide attempt and was admitted to the Las Campanas sanitarium in California, followed by a few weeks’ stay at the Austin Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
July 18, 1948: Judy was officially removed by MGM from the production of The Barkleys of Broadway and placed on suspension. Ginger Rogers was brought in to replace her.
Judy rested for the next two months. She moved out of the home she and her husband Vincente Minnelli shared (at 121 South Beverly Drive, Los Angeles) into a house at 10,000 Sunset Boulevard. The move was to gain additional rest per her doctor’s advisement.
Hedda Hopper broke the news on this same day. She obviously had the scoop from the studio early!
It’s a shame that Judy wasn’t able to enjoy the success and accolades she was receiving at this time. Both The Pirate and Easter Parade were in circulation and audiences everywhere had the chance to see, and enjoy, the full range of her talents.
Note that in one of the clippings above, Easter Parade is shown with Doris Day’s film debut in Romance on the High Seas. That film, made by Warner Bros., was originally intended for Judy to star in Day’s role, but naturally, MGM wasn’t about the loan her out to a rival studio. Ms. Day eventually got the job and embarked on her own legendary career as a film star.
July 18, 1950: Hedda Hopper reported in her column that after Judy completed her upcoming engagement at the London Palladium, she would open on Broadway a musical adaptation of the Helen Hayes play “The Good Fairy” with songs written by Hugh Martin. According to Hopper, Martin had written the score and Judy said it was “delightful.” Judy did end up opening in New York, but not in “The Good Fairy.” After her astounding success at the Palladium, she re-opened The Palace Theater in New York successfully bringing Vaudeville back to the Palace in one of the greatest comebacks in show business history.
“The Good Fairy” made it to Broadway as a musical with songs by Hugh Martin, retitled “Make a Wish” and starring Nanette Fabray with choreography by Gower Champion. It opened on April 18, 1951, and ran through July 14, 1951.
July 18, 1952: Judy was expecting.
July 18, 1953: Tomorrow, Judy returns to the recording studio.
July 18, 1954: Here is a notice about MGM re-releasing a couple of Garland classics in conjunction with the recent success of her comeback at Warner Bros., A Star Is Born (1954).
July 18, 1956: Judy’s recent successful opening at the Frontier in Las Vegas, Nevada, was in the news, especially her record-breaking salary.
July 18, 1959: According to Hedda Hopper, Judy saw a performance of “Porgy and Bess” at the Shrine in Los Angeles and then went to a party given by noted designer William Haines. Interestingly, Hopper lists Billy Shields. Shields was Haines’ partner in both business and life. They lived an openly gay life together since the early 1930s. Haines has been a huge MGM silent star and made a successful transition to talkies. However, when the Production Code was being enforced, MGM chief Louis B. Mayer told Haines he had to give up his life with Shields and enter into a “lavender” marriage. He refused, choosing to say with his Shields. Before you knew it, Haines was replaced by Robert Montgomery in all the films he would have starred in and was let go by the studio. Luckily, he had his design business to fall back on (he’s the one who designed Joan Crawford’s all-white living room). He ended up becoming one of the biggest designers in Los Angeles. Even Nancy Reagan wanted him to redecorate the Governor’s mansion when Ronald became governor of California. But, he was too expensive. He and his partner, Jimmie Shields, stayed together until Haines died in the early 70s. Shields didn’t last much longer, heartbroken over the loss of Haines. They had been together for over three decades.
Haines had an even bigger connection to Judy than this one party. Jack Warner wanted Haines to design the sets for A Star Is Born. He refused, so they modeled the Norman Maine/Vicki Lester home after Haines’ designs anyway, including partly copying Warner’s screening room from his home, which was designed by Haines.
Photos: The Hopper clipping; Haines’ living room for the (Frances Lasker) Brody House (1951); Warner’s screening room (photo date unknown); the “Desert Living Room” from the 1940 World’s Fair on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay; a couple of shots from A Star Is Born.
July 18, 1965: Judy was interviewed by phone by Peter Lind Hayes. This was the day after her successful concert at The Forest Hills Stadium in Forest Hills, New York the previous day.
Listen to that interview here:
July 18, 1968: Imagine paying only one dollar to see Judy Garland in concert. Fans in the Philadelphia area had that chance in 1968. Judy arrived in town on the 16th and gave a press conference where she was staying, the Warwick Hotel. Rose DeWolf of the Philadelphia Enquirer reported on the conference. Judy’s concert took place on July 20th and was her last concert in the United States.
Listen to “How Insensitive” and “For Once In My Life” from this show:
“For Once In My Life”