“So far as the public is concerned Judy can do no wrong … Everyone goes wild at her slightest remark or gesture as they stampede her for a dozen encores” – Uncredited review of Judy’s performances at The New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, 1956
August 5, 1930: “Baby Gumm” (Judy) had two engagements. In the afternoon she performed at a party for Paula Orlo at the Blossom Room of the Hotel Roosevelt in Los Angeles, California. In the evening she performed at the Elks Anniversary Show in the Elks Hall in San Fernando, California.
August 5, 1933: Judy and her family, “The Gumm Family,” were in the middle of their engagement at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theater when they were mentioned again in “The San Francisco Examiner.” This time, it was in a notice about the theater’s “Midnight Frolics” show which began at 11:30 p.m. This is a reflection of the kind of tough schedule the girls were on when working. The shows were part of the package of entertainment surrounding the feature film (including shorts, cartoons, etc.) multiple times a day, usually three and in the case of this “Midnight Frolics” four.
August 5, 1938: Here’s an article allegedly written by Judy herself.
RADIO Around the Dial . . .
(Editor’s note: Miss Jud Garland is guest radio columnist today in place of your regular radio correspondent who is vacationing).
I’ve got something on my mind that I’ve been wanting to tell you. So, I’m glad that Paul Lamade, the radio editor, asked me to write his radio column today. I want you fellows and girls to understand us kids who are in radio and movies.
Lots of folk say that we’re probably stuck up or not quite like other people or something like that. But we dare anyone to say that o our faces! We’re not different just because we sing and act.
You like funny papers, don’t you? So do we. Just, for instance, we never get through breakfast without reading about “Little Orphan Annie,” “Popeye” and the others.
You like to play indoor baseball, or swim, or ride horseback, don’t you? Well, so do we. Maybe we don’t have as much time to do all those things, but we sure do them when we can!
And don’t you like chocolate cake and ice cream better than spinach and carrots? We’re that way, too. Our parents get just as mad at us for not eating vegetables as your parents do.
Take Mickey Rooney and Freddie Bartholomew, for instance. They are pretty good examples of the kids in movies and radio. Mickey organized a football team last fall and played some of the toughest boys’ teams in Los Angeles. His team won a lot of games, too.
Towards the last, Mickey had Freddie on the team. When Freddie came over from England three or four years ago, he didn’t know anything about football or things like that. But he struck up a friendship with Mickey, who taught him all about touchdowns and tackles.
Once last winter both of these boys were together on the “Good News of 1938” radio program. When they weren’t really bust and when the director wasn’t looking, they made a bee-line for the lobby in front of the broadcasting theatre. There they made a football out of a pillow and practiced football signals.
Mickey also likes music and dance orchestras. He composes lots of pretty good songs, so when he gets on the “Good News” program, he’d take Meredith Willson over to a piano to hear his latest composition. Someday he thinks he’ll write something good enough to play on the broadcast.
He likes to dance anywhere and any time. Once, while Mr. Willson was playing a good swing number during the broadcast, Mickey grabbed me up and made me dance on the stage right in front of the 1,500 people!
Freddie probably wouldn’t do that, but he has had his fun during the broadcast, too. He likes to toss paper clips up in the air, while he’s waiting for his turn. Funny things, too, one time one of those paper clips got out of control and landed right on the back of Frank Morgan’s neck!
Of course, we work a lot in addition to having fun. We all think we are smart, but no smarter than most kids. Lots of times we make mistakes that the grown-up actors and singers don’t and that causes us considerable embarrassment.
I hope I’ve convinced you that us boys and girls in the acting profession are not unlike boys and girls all over the country.
August 5, 1939: The story of Judy’s “discovery” in Lake Tahoe is the least story of Gladys Bowley’s article. In it, she claims that Judy visits the area each year. She notes that Judy was scheduled to return to the Cal-Neva Lodge on this day (August 5), however, Judy was at MGM at the time and the next day (August 6) famously left Los Angeles with Mickey Rooney for New York and the East Coast premiere of The Wizard of Oz. There was no stop in Tahoe, which would have been completely out of the way. Judy and Mickey arrived in Washington, D.C. in time for their show opening at the Capitol Theater there on August 9th. As they traveled by train, a detour up to northern California for a stay in Tahoe would not have allowed them to make it to DC by the 9th.
August 5, 1939: Fact or fiction: A fan gets Judy’s autograph by climbing over four seats on the Ocean Park roller coaster while it sped down an incline. The world premiere of The Wizard of Oz is confirmed for August 15 at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles.
August 5, 1940: Little Nellie Kelly filming continued with scenes on the “Interior Noonan’s Cottage” and “Interior St. Katherin’s Vestry” sets, as well as the scene of Judy as Nellie Noonan and George Murphy as Jerry Kelly walking along a cliff and she sings “A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow.”
Also on August 5, 1940: These two blurbs note that 1) Judy was just getting around to seeing the final cut of The Wizard of Oz and 2) Judy’s teacher, Rose Carter, planned on writing a biography about Judy. The book never happened.
August 5, 1943: “Stars and Mars!” Presenting Lily Mars is another hit for Judy.
August 5, 1944: This blurb reports about Judy having taken part in a private musical-comedy routine poking fun at Columbia Studios boss, Harry Cohn. As the article notes, it wasn’t recorded, which is too bad. On this day, and the previous day, Judy was out sick from filming on The Clock. It’s possible that this was the reason for her calling in sick.
August 5, 1945: A recent Gallup Poll listed Judy as one of the top five movie actresses for the first six months of 1945. Meet Me In St. Louis was one of the poll’s top ten movies.
Also from August 5, 1945: Here’s an interesting article that was written by a Sgt. Jack Sher about “Judy Garland’s best friend” Barron Polan. Polan was friends with Judy in the late 1930s and early 40s. They briefly dated and when Judy had her poems bound in book form, she gave a copy to him.
Interview In Hut 67
BY SGT. JACK SHER
Imagine Sgt. Sher’s surprise when he found Judy Garland’s best friend there on Saipan
MANY months ago, I was in a phone booth in a small-type bar across from M-G-M arguing long distance with my Commanding Officer, who was at Fort Ord, Calif. I wanted the old man to extend my pass another day so I could interview Judy Garland.
I lost the argument and some seven dollars in nickels and dimes.
About eight months later, I checked in at a Headquarters Company on Saipan and was assigned to transient hut No. 67. Holding down the sack next to mine was a Corp. Barron Polan. Also in the hut were two sailors, an itinerant carpenter, a “Yank” correspondent, five mice, a wire recorder machine, several bottles of vodka and Sgt. Bob Welch of the Armed Forces Radio Service.
Hut 67 was a happy place. Corporal Polan, also of the AFRS, had worked for a big-time literary agency in Hollywood before the Army scooped him up, and some of the happiest hours I had in 67 were spent listening to him talk about Hollywood.
Barron has a real affection for the citizen-celebrities of Hollywood, and hardly an hour passed without some mention of his favorite person and best friend, Judy Garland.
On the second night of my stay in 67, I told him about my ill-fated phone call to my Commanding Officer at Fort Ord.
“So that the seven bucks shouldn’t be a total loss,” I said, “why don’t you tell me what you know about Judy and I will write it up real nice.”
Barron’s freckled, clean-shaven, round and rosy face lit up like the sign at Ciro’s. “Why, I would be glad to tell you anything you want to know about Judy,” he said. “I’ve known her since she was a little girl.”
“Hey!” one of the sailors said. “Did you ever meet Lana Turner?”
“Sure,” Barron said. “We used to pal around together. She’s a lot of laughs.”
“And that ain’t all, brother,” the other sailor said.
“Please,” I said, “what about Judy?”
“Well, lemme see,” Barron said. “Judy was about fourteen when we first met. She was signing with Bobby Sherwood’s band – he was her brother-in-law. We used to have wonderful times, then. We’d tear around Hollywood in my little Austin. The car’d break down every couple of nights, and we’d finally just leave it somewhere and hitch a ride. We used to spend a lot of tie at the movies. We both love movies.”
A Wonderful Mimic
“YEAH,” Barron said. “She’s a wonderful mimic. She not only sounds like the people she’s mimicking, but can look just like them.”
“I always figured her for a sad little dame,” the skinnier sailor said. “She’s got those big, sad, buggy, brown eyes.”
“They’re not buggy,” Barron said, “and they’re green.”
I beat the sailors to the next question. “What are some of the things she likes?”
“Food,” Barron said. “She loves strange food. So do I. We used to eat the craziest things – like peanut butter and bananas spread on bread. And she likes parties and reading. She reads everything. She also writes poems. She had a book of them published ones. Some of the stuff is pretty good.”
The sailors laughed. “She should read our poems. Wow!”
I got Barron back on the subject and he said Judy likes French records, and singers like Jean Sablon and Charles Trenet, and that she very fond of musicians of every variety.
The sailors had quieted down now and Bob Welch went out to collect the hut’s nightly ration of beer. One of the sailors said that he liked the way Judy sings.
“Judy likes to sing,” Barron said. “But she’d rather play straight dramatic parts.”
“What doesn’t she like?” I asked.
“She doesn’t like squares,” Barron said, “you know, unsavvy people. She loves sharp people and funny people. She doesn’t like to work in the movies.” Barron laughs. “When the gong sounds at 6 p.m. she’s the first one to clear out of the studios. She also goofs off whenever she gets a chance.”
“A goldbrick,” a sailor hooted. “Put that in.”
“Maybe a little bit of a goldbrick,” Barron said, “but a great little actress. She’s such a good actress you can’t win an argument with her. In twenty minutes, she can convince you of anything. If you start to bawl her out, you soon feel like a dog for picking on such a poor, beat-up little character.”
“Dames are like that,” a sailor remarked.
“Everybody who knows her,” Barron said, “is crazy about her. Me, too.”
“How about Lana Turner?” the skinny sailor said. “I sure would like to know the lowdown about her – and Lauren Bacall.”
Barron began telling the sailors some very nice interesting things about the Misses Turner and Bacall and I went in search of Bob Welch, who was long overdue with the beer. The next morning, I went back to Guam.
Barron, still tooling around the Pacific for AFRS, dropped in on me at Guam today. He had a flock of letters from Hollywood.
Judy Writes a Letter
“JUDY’S married again,” he said. “Married Vincente Minnelli – the guy who directed ‘Meet Me in St. Louis,’ remember? She sounds pretty happy and I’m glad. But she writes here,” he waved a piece of letter at me, “that she’s getting a break in pictures. They let her play a straight dramatic movie part in ‘The Clock.'”
“I still like to hear her sing,” I said. “I hope they don’t put a lid on that, now, just because she can act.”
“Relax.” Barron patted me on the shoulder. “They put her in a new musical, ‘The Ziegfeld Follies,’ and let her kick around a number called ‘An Interview With a Star.’ She wrote me some more lyrics – they’re good. And she says she’s just finished making ‘The Harvey Girls’ – all about Santa Fe, when it was a rootin’-shootin’ place.
I have invited Barron to stay in my Quonset, which is full of sailors who have an insatiable curiosity about movie people.
By now, Sgt. Sher is an old friend of THIS WEEK’S readers. When last we heard, he was on Guam – an Army correspondent living with the Navy and learning that a floor is actually a deck.
August 5, 1948: Here’s an example of a typical newspaper column about record collecting. This one gives Judy a favorable mention.
For more about Judy’s recordings for Decca Records, check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s Decca Records Section.
Label images from The Rick Smith Collection. Thanks, Rick!
August 5, 1949: Judy’s return to Hollywood (on August 4) after her suspension by MGM and subsequent rest at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, made all the papers. Associated Press columnist Patricia Clary began her report with “A fat and sunburned Judy Garland bounced back to movietown today…” Is it any wonder that Judy was so insecure about her looks?
Meanwhile, Easter Parade was still a hit in theaters.
August 5, 1949: This article is a bit mean-spirited in its relaying the story of Judy’s return to MGM after her rest and treatment in Boston (see May 29, 1949). Judy spent two weeks in Los Angeles to discuss Summer Stock and, allegedly, her future with the studio. After two weeks, she went back to the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston to complete her recuperation. She then returned to Los Angeles in early September, beginning work on Summer Stock that October.
Meanwhile, In The Good Old Summertime was still popular in theaters.
August 5, 1950: More photos of Judy’s fishing trip while on vacation in Sun Valley, Idaho. It has been just a year since her last breakdown in 1949. This time she spent time at Fran Sinatra’s Calneva Lodge in Lake Tahoe, then spend time in Sun Valley with daughter Liza Minnelli, then went to New York.
August 5, 1951: Radie Harris reports on spending time with Judy in England just before Judy’s trip to the French Riviera. Harris mentions the proposed sequel to Meet Me In St. Louis titled Meet Me In New York. The film was never made.
For more about projects that Judy either didn’t complete or was in the running for or hoped for, check out The Judy Room’s “Films That Got Away” pages.
August 5, 1954: MGM Records was taking advantage of Judy’s continued success both on stage and recently the completion of her film comeback A Star Is Born which was getting a lot of fantastic advance buzz. The label would continue to release compilations of their Garland recordings and soundtrack albums into the 1990s.
August 5, 1955: More of the current theatrical re-release of The Wizard of Oz.
August 5, 1956: Judy was enjoying great success in her nightclub debut at The New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. Judy opened at the hotel on July 16th and played through August 19th. This article notes how popular Judy was with her audience and how “wild” the audience was with Judy’s every remark and gesture. Columnists and critics would search for words to explain Judy’s impact on audiences for the rest of her life.
August 5, 1958: Judy’s last performance at the Coconut Grove was recorded live by Capitol Records, becoming the first Garland “live” album ever released titled “Garland at the Grove.” The mono version of the LP was released on February 2, 1959, and the stereo version was released on February 16, 1959. In those days it was common for albums to be released in both mono and stereo as many mono record players couldn’t handle stereo LPs.
An expanded and remastered version of the album was released on March 4, 2008, and is available on iTunes.
August 5, 1960: The fourth of Judy’s five “London Sessions” at Capitol’s EMI Studios in London. On this day, Judy recorded her “olio” (“You Made Me Love You/For Me And My Gal/The Trolley Song”); “You Go To My Head”; “Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe”; and “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody.”
The sessions, known now as “The London Sessions” were intended to result in a two-record set of new Garland recordings in stereo. 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 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.”
Listen to “Judy’s Olio” here:
Listen to “You Go To My Head” here:
Listen to “Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe”
Listen to “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody” here:
August 5, 1989: More for the 50th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. Featured here is this article about authors Bill Stillman and Jay Scarfone. The writing duo has provided us with several fantastic books about the film including “The Road To Oz” which is just as great as their previous books. Click on the image below to order it.