“In her eyes a wish, on her lips a song and for all of us a performance and a drama with music of a freshness and beauty impossible to compare.” – Uncredited, 1955
July 29, 1930: The first of a two-night engagement for “The Gumm Sisters” (Judy and her two sisters) at the Strand Theater in Long Beach, California.
July 29, 1937: This article, attributed to Sophie Tucker, was published as part of the promotion of Broadway Melody of 1938. It was Judy’s first feature film for MGM and the first of two she made with Tucker, who dubbed her “the last of the Red Hot Mamas.” Tucker explains what living in a trunk meant in show business parlance and Judy’s reaction. It’s amusing when one considers Judy’s later image as being “born in a trunk.”
“What’s this business about Sophie Tucker living in a trunk?” Judy Garland piped up a few days ago. “What’s the idea of this story saying you’ve been living in a trunk for 30 years and now you’re in a home of your own with real closets? Who lives in a trunk, Aunt Sophie? What’s this trunk business?”
July 29, 1939: Decca Records recording session in Hollywood, California. Judy recorded “Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart”; “Fascinating Rhythm”; and “I’m Just Wild About Harry.” Judy was backed by the Victor Young Orchestra which included Spike Jones on the drums and Perry Botkin on guitar.
Judy also recorded one “A” take of “Swanee” but that recording was rejected. Judy re-recorded it during her October 16, 1939, session with Decca. This rejected “A” take is not known to exist.
This was Judy’s first studio recording of “Zing!” The song was her audition song for MGM in 1935 and she also sang it live over the radio the night her father died that same year plus on-screen in 1939’s Listen, Darling. It would stay in her repertoire for the rest of her life.
Oddly enough, “I’m Just Wild About Harry” was only released on Decca’s Brunswick label in England in the spring of 1940. It was not released in the United States until 1984 when it was included on the MCA Records LP “Judy Garland – From The Decca Vaults.”
It is also available on the fantastic 2011 JSP Records 4-CD release “Smilin’ Through – The Singles Collection – 1936-1947.”
“Zing!” was also released in the U.K. in the spring of 1940 (paired with “Harry”), but not released in the U.S. until May 20, 1943, when Decca included them on the album “The Judy Garland Second Souvenir Album.” “Fascinating Rhythm” stayed in the vaults and was not released at all until it was also included on the 1943 album.
Listen to the recordings here:
“Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart”
“I’m Just Wild About Harry”
Disc images provided by Rick Smith & David Alp. Thanks, guys!
Also on July 29, 1939: This was the date that the “Independent Film Exhibitors Bulletin,” in their “Production Section – Studio Size-Ups” noted that Good News would soon go into production at MGM with Judy, Mickey Rooney, Douglas McPhail, Betty Jaynes, and June Preisser taking the main roles.
The title was one that MGM producer Arthur Freed had definitely wanted to make as it’s mentioned a few more times over the next six months, and he finally did make it in 1947 with June Allyson and Peter Lawford in the lead roles.
Judy’s name pops up a lot in mid-1939 then later, obviously the studio was getting her name out there. Her name was also listed for films that had been released and a few reviews. Here are some of the other projects allegedly planned for her:
June 12, 1939: Judy Garland in “Looking After Sandy.”
This is a title I’ve never heard of and it’s never been listed in any other documents.
July 1, 1939: An American “Mr. Chips” has been gathering dust on MGM’s story shelves in the form of a yarn called “Valedictory,” no being dusted as a vehicle for Lionel Barrymore, Judy Garland and Freddie Bartholomew
September 29, 1939: More about “Good News”:
Judy Garland is another young player to be optioned. Her next assignment will lie opposite Mickey Rooney in “Good News”, under the direction of Busby Berkeley thus reuniting the trio which scored in “Babes in Arms”
December 2, 1939: Good News was still news: Paul Whiteman and his band may appear in “Good News”, the next Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland starring vehicle.
Learn more about all of the film projects that Judy was allegedly in the running for and those she began but did not finish at The Judy Room’s “Films That Got Away” section.
July 29, 1941: Judy was back at MGM after having married David Rose the day before, in Las Vegas. Regardless of the fact that this was her first marriage, the studio insisted she come back. Judy and Mickey Rooney filmed scenes for Babes on Broadway on the “Exterior Roof Top” and “Interior Penny’s Office” sets. Time called: 9 a.m.; lunch: 12:50 – 1:50 p.m.; time dismissed: 5:55 p.m.
Babes on Broadway photos provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
July 29, 1942: For Me And My Gal finished filming with retakes on the following sets: “Interior Draft Doctors Office”; “Interior Harry’s N.Y. Hotel Room”; “Interior Jo’s Hotel Room”; “Interior Theater Stage”; and “Interior Eddie’s Office.” That’s a lot of ground to cover in one day!
Time called: 10:30 a.m.; dismissed: 3:10 p.m. Considering it was only 5 hours of filming, the retakes on that many sets were most likely short takes that may or may not have included Judy and co-star Gene Kelly in all of them.
For Me And My Gal was a huge hit, grossing over $4,371,000 on a rather modest budget of $802,980.68. It was also the last film in which Judy and director Busby Berkeley completed together with relatively little heartache. He would begin the filming of Girl Crazy just a few months later but was removed after he had literally overworked Judy into a breakdown and bed rest. Several years later he was assigned to direct the ill-fated Annie Get Your Gun with Judy in the lead. That was one of the most idiotic decisions of producer Arthur Freed’s career. The combination of fatigue and drug addiction on Judy’s part, Berkeley’s erratic behavior mostly due to his alcoholism, and Judy’s animosity towards him going back to these films of the early 1940s, resulted in her inability to complete the film.
Many cite Presenting Lily Mars as Judy’s first adult role, but it’s really For Me And My Gal. Here she’s portrayed as a young adult woman, making her own independent way through life, and being desirable to two different men (Gene Kelly and George Murphy). Judy makes the most of the film and her love of performing and the fact that she’s genuinely having a good time making the film, come through on the screen even to this day.
Photos provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
July 29, 1944: This fabulous color photo appeared in “Movie World” section of the “Australian Women’s Weekly” newspaper, promoting Meet Me In St. Louis.
The caption reads: JUDY GARLAND, charming young singer, is one of the biggest box-office attractions for MGM studios. Recently divorced from bandleader Dave Rose, Judy is now going places with Robert Stack. Even though she is at present co-starring with Van Johnson in “Meet Me In St. Louis,” [obviously a huge error on the newspaper’s part!!] Judy still finds time to sing at local camp shows and at the Hollywood Canteen. Every week this attractive star receives an enormous pile of fan mail. Many letters come from overseas, as she is a favorite with the servicemen.
July 29, 1946: Judy had just given two performances, one on the radio and one in concert, after giving birth to daughter Liza the previous March, when MGM drew up an agreement with her stating that she was NOT to be paid any additional money for her upcoming August 6, AFRS Command Performance Radio Show. Odd.
She appeared on the show as scheduled on August 6th although nothing more is known about the show.
July 29, 1948: Here is a two-page promotion ad that MGM placed in the “Film Daily” trade publication. The ad features the release months for their latest hits, including The Pirate and Easter Parade with the emphasis on the latter.
July 29, 1949: Released on this date: In The Good Old Summertime. The film cost $1,576,635 to make (only $12,800 over budget). It grossed over $3,400,000 on its first release and remains one of Judy’s best film performances. Her voice is wonderful and for once (thanks to producer Joe Pasternak) she wasn’t required to be bone-thin for the cameras the result of which she looks healthy and lovely.
July 29, 1949: Here’s another ad for the first re-release of The Wizard of Oz.
July 29, 1950: Columnist Jimmie Fidler seemed to be the only columnist in Hollywood genuinely concerned about Judy’s health.
July 29, 1955: I think this wonderful write-up perfectly sums up not just Judy’s performance in A Star Is Born but all of her performances whether on film, radio, stage, television and studio recordings.
In her eyes a wish, on her lips a song and for all of us a performance and a drama with music of a freshness and beauty impossible to compare. There has been no performance like Judy Garland’s, there has been no entertainment like “A Star Is Born,” Cinemascope and Technicolor musical.
July 29, 1955: Here’s another ad and article for the second re-release of The Wizard of Oz.
July 29, 1960: “Has Judy Finally Grown Up?” Judy’s upcoming extensive feature in Redbook magazine was getting good press.
July 29, 1963: Taping of the dress rehearsal for “Episode Five” of “The Judy Garland Show” at CBS Television City, Stage 43, Hollywood. The actual show was taped the next day. Judy’s guests for this episode were Tony Bennett and Dick Shawn. The show aired on December 15, 1963.
Photo provided by Robbie Adkins. Thanks, Robbie!
July 29, 1967: In the Curio Department: John L. Scott’s column focused on the new show featured at the Los Angeles Playboy Club which was written by Judy’s sister, Jimmie, and her husband, Johnny. The show was titled “Get That Girl” and according to Scott was a “sharp little show.”