“This remarkable tot has twice the charm and genuine ability of all the [child movie stars] put together” – 1933 review of a San Francisco appearance by “The Gumm Sisters”
August 2, 1930: The second of a two-night run of “The Gumm Sisters” (Judy and her two sisters) film, The Wedding of Jack and Jill, at their father’s theater, The New Valley Theater, in Lancaster, California. The sisters performed on stage in support of the film and their father got to see and hear his daughter sing her solo “Hang Onto The Rainbow” on the big screen.
The film footage no longer exists but the Vitaphone soundtrack discs do. Here is “Baby Gumm” (Judy) singing her first film solo:
August 2, 1933: “The Gumm Family” opened a week-long engagement at the Golden Gate Theater in San Francisco, CA. Judy’s father, Frank, opened for “The Gumm Sisters” (Judy and her two sisters) while mom Ethel played piano for the act.
The act was popular, in spite of garnering a negative review in “Variety.” It was their second review from the trade magazine. The magazine’s August 8 issue (the last night of the engagement) stated: “The Gumm Sisters,” with Mama Gumm at the piano, and Papa Gumm in advance, deuced. Three girls of assorted sizes who sing in mediocre voice and style, with majority of the burden falling to the youngest one, a mere tot, who lustily shouted three numbers, decidedly not of her type. And much too long.”
The trade paper “Junior Professional” was kinder, saying of Judy: This remarkable tot has twice the charm and genuine ability of all the [child movie stars] put together.
“The San Francisco Chronicle’s” George C. Warren also raved, stating that the act had “a strong-voiced small woman, who imitates in a big way.” This is the first indication (in print) that Judy’s voice was becoming far more mature than her years (11-years-old) to the point that someone might mistake her for a woman.
Although “Variety” noted that it was a family affair, the billing and the notices and the raves went to Frances (Judy). The sisters were listed as “Harmoney De Luxe with ‘Frances’.”
Photos: Newspaper notices; The theatrical permit for this engagement shows that the family stayed at the “Hotel Padre” which is still there, at 241 Jones Street, in San Francisco. It’s an apartment complex today; Studio shots of the sisters in 1933; The Golden Gate Theater as it looked during the time the family played there, and how it looks today, and the hotel as it looked in the 1940s (earliest photo I could find of that building) and today.
August 2, 1937: The author of the hit Red Headed Woman starring Jean Harlow, Kathrine Brush, also provided Listen, Darling. Judy starred in the film between her work on Love Finds Andy Hardy and the beginning of work on The Wizard of Oz. The Swing Fever project noted here was renamed Everybody Sing.
Also on this date, Judy’s ninth appearance on Frank Morgan’s limited series of 15-minute shows. Little is known about these shows outside of what the newspapers tell us, which do not include the actual contents, just schedule listings. No recordings are known to survive.
Judy was listed as being a part of the shows that aired on June 6th, 14th, 21st, 28th; July 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th; and August 2nd, 6th & 9th. She’s not listed in the final three episodes on August 16, 23, & 30. No recordings are known to exist of any of the shows nor is there any information as to what Judy sang.
August 2, 1938: The series above ran daily promoting Love Finds Andy Hardy by giving a synopsis of the film. These panel series were very popular and ran almost daily featuring various films from various studios.
August 2, 1939: This ad appeared in the Film Daily trade magazine.
Things were gearing up for the New York premiere of The Wizard of Oz, on August 17th, during which Judy and Babes in Arms co-star Mickey Rooney performed on stage between showings of the film. This article details the Harvest Moon Ball of which the duo was scheduled to attend.
On this day at MGM, it was Judy’s final day of work on Babes in Arms. She had “synchronizing” (dubbing) on Stage 2A. Time called: 1:00 p.m.; dismissed: 2:30 p.m.
August 2, 1940: A rare instance of Judy’s mom, Ethel, standing up for her daughter. She advised MGM that Judy could only work eight hours a day. We all know how well that went over!
On this day, Judy did indeed have a fairly short day at the studio, filming scenes on the “Exterior Noonan’s Cottage and Road” set for Little Nellie Kelly. Time called: 8:30 a.m.; dismissed: 5:45 p.m.
August 2, 1942: This notice appeared in the Honolulu Advisor. It notes Judy’s third “visit” to the “Chase and Sanborn Hour,” also known as “The Charlie McCarthy Show” being broadcast this afternoon. This must have been a re-broadcast of an audio transcription of the June 21, 1942 show which was indeed Judy’s third appearance. Judy sang “I Never Knew.”
Listen to the entire show here:
August 2, 1944: Filming on The Clock continued with scenes on the “Exterior Arcade”, “Drug Store”, “Tony’s Shop” and “Interior Tony’s Shop” sets. Time called: 11:30 a.m.; time dismissed: 5:50 p.m.
August 2, 1947: Columnist Dorothy Kilgallen incorrectly reported that June Allyson would replace Judy in Easter Parade. Lucky for us that didn’t happen!
August 2, 1948: Easter Parade is noted in this trade ad for the “Independent Film Exhibitors Bulletin” publication.
Leo the Lion says: “Pardon my Technicolor blushes, but ‘EASTER PARADE’ is the sensation of the nation!”
Also on August 2, 1948: Dorothy Manners, writing for Louella Parsons, notes that perhaps Judy was not giving herself enough rest to recover from her “illness.”
August 2, 1949: “Judy and the Handlebars” – Two Garland hits, one “old” and one new playing at a theater near you.
August 2, 1954: The official first preview of A Star Is Born was held in Huntington Park, California. The film ran 196 minutes at that point (3 hours 16 minutes). The preview was a huge success with the feedback to the studio being “Don’t cut a single minute of it.”
As a gift for finishing the film, Warner Bros. studio chief Jack Warner took Judy and her husband Sid Luft (and A Star Is Born producer) on a three-week European vacation.
August 2, 1955: Judy ended the rumors as to whether she would sign with a network to make her television debut. Columnists had speculated about when she would debut almost immediately after her triumph at The Palace Theater in 1951.
Judy had been scheduled to tour for several more months with “The Judy Garland Show” but canceled the rest of the tour after signing with CBS-TV to premiere their “Ford Star Jubilee” program on September 24, 1955.
August 2, 1958: Judy was in the final nights of her engagement at The Coconut Grove in Los Angeles where she posed backstage with this bevy of “Miss Universe” beauties.
August 2, 1960: Columnist Dorothy Kilgallen notes how harsh the British press could be towards Judy. Judy later joked about it, turning it into one of her funny anecdotal stories.
Listen to Judy telling the story during her concert at Carnegie Hall, April 23, 1961, here:
Photos above: Judy arrives in London in July 1960 “to make recordings.”
August 2, 1960: The first of five recording sessions for Judy at Capitol Record’s EMI Studios in London. She arrived at 7 p.m. and recorded: “Chicago”; “Do It Again”; “Lucky Day”; and “Stormy Weather.”
The sessions, known now as “The London Sessions” were intended to result in a two-record set of new Garland recordings in stereo. Judy’s in an amazing voice. Most of the recordings stayed in the vaults due to “Judy at Carnegie Hall” being such a huge success in 1961. The label didn’t think an album that contained most of the same songs (although they were studio versions and not live) would not sell well or it might impede on the sales of the Carnegie album.
Six tracks from these sessions appeared without explanation on the 1962 album, “The Garland Touch.”
All of the recordings were released in 1972 on a special set released by the Capitol Record Club to members only, titled “Judy in London” which was re-released in 1980 on a Capitol Records “Special Markets” release.
They have since been remastered again and released in 2011 on the 2-CD set “The London Studio Recordings 1957-1964.”
Here is an alternate take of “Stormy Weather” that was not included in any of the releases mentioned above:
Listen to “Chicago” here:
Listen to “Do It Again” here:
Listen to “Lucky Day” here:
August 2, 1961: Judy wrote a letter to the president of her fan club, Pat McMath, who reprinted it in the “Garland Gazette”: Dear Pat, Just a note to thank you for your visit – and to thank-you again for your continued good wishes. I couldn’t be more grateful . . . but then you must know that by now! Affectionate Regards, As Always, Judy.”
August 2, 1962: Newspapers reported about Judy being back in the British courts fighting husband Sid Luft in their ongoing custody battle over their children Lorna and Joe Luft, on August 1st. No statement was given by either side after the closed hearing.
August 2, 1963: An eventful day in the production of “The Judy Garland Show.” Just as Judy and series producer George Schlatter returned from their trip to Las Vegas, and rehearsals had begun for “Episode Six,” CBS executives declared they weren’t happy with the first five shows taped, and fired the producer, writers, and choreographer. The director Bill Hobin stayed, as did the musical and scenic staff. The current episode was canceled, and Judy would never get to work with the great Nat King Cole. The series took a three-week break for the new staff to assemble.
August 2, 1964: Judy and her “companion” Mark Herron headed from London to Rome for a short vacation.
August 2, 1967: Columnist Earl Wilson reported on “The Garland Cult” which had more or less taken up residence at The Palace in New York where Judy was in concert through the end of the month. By this point in Judy’s career, the “cult” was being written about almost as much as her performances, and it wasn’t very flattering.
August 2, 1969: Judy’s recent death resulted in the re-release of her recordings as well as showings of her films on TV. The first column above notes that her unreleased recordings from Annie Get Your Gun might be released. The second column notes that Capitol Records released new 45s of some of Judy’s performances.