On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – August 11

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“I feel great.  I’m getting plenty of rest and I’m taking care of myself.  I’m going all the way uphill!” – Judy Garland, 1954

August 11, 1932:  The first of a three-night engagement for “The Three Gumm Sisters” (Judy and her two sisters) at the Manchester Theater in Los Angeles, California.  This must have been one of “rotten Vaudeville” engagements that, decades later, Judy would joke about enduring with her sisters as there is no listing in the “Los Angeles Times” for a Manchester Theater.

August 11, 1933:  Judy and her sisters, “The Gumm Sisters” were in the middle of their week-long engagement at the Fox West Coast Theater in Long Beach, California.  A mention of their act in the “Long Beach Sun” noted, “the Three Gumm Sisters present an entertaining harmony act with a real surprise ‘punch’ in the appearance of Frances Gumm of KHJ fame.”

Of note is the fact that the “Long Beach Sun” referred to Judy as “Frances Gumm of KHJ fame.”  This was a reference to the Los Angeles radio station KHJ.  The girls had made appearances on various radio stations in the area although no details about their performances or recordings are known to exist.

August 11, 1936:  This blurb lists Judy’s age as thirteen when in fact she was already fourteen.  In the 1930s MGM almost always shaved a year off Judy’s age to make her seem even more precocious.

August 11, 1937:  Judy’s eleventh (and final) appearance on Frank Morgan’s limited series of 15-minute shows occurred on August 9th but on this date, she’s included in listings for Morgan’s show, so it’s safe to assume that this night’s show was a re-broadcast.

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.

For other Garland radio performance from this era and other eras, check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Sings! On the Radio” pages.


August 11, 1938:  More for Love Finds Andy Hardy, this time from Appleton, Wisconsin.

August 11, 1939:  Judy and Mickey Rooney performed for one day only at the Loew’s Poli Theater in Hartford, Connecticut.  The duo arrived by car from their appearance luncheon and overnight stay at the Taft Hotel in New Haven.  They arrived in Hartford just an hour before their first scheduled show at 10:30 a.m.  The duo gave four shows this day, between showings of Lady of the Tropics starring Hedy Lamarr and Robert Taylor.

This appearance was part of an East Coast tour leading up to the NY premiere of The Wizard of Oz at the Capitol Theater on August 17.  MGM presented the duo as the ideal American teens and judging from the responses at every stop, they were incredibly successful.

The duo (and entourage) began the tour in Washington, D.C., on August 9th after arriving by train from Los Angeles, California.  They next traveled by train to Bridgeport, Connecticut, for a quick stop for a photo op, then on to New Haven, Connecticut, where the duo was given a reception luncheon in their honor at the Hotel Taft (all on August 10).  The following morning (August 11), they were driven to Hartford for this day’s appearances.

More details and images from this tour and all of Judy’s activities during that golden year of 1939 can be found on The Judy Room’s Biography 1939 Page.

Images:  The duo at their brief stop in Bridgeport on August 10; the reception luncheon at the Hotel Taft in New Haven (also on August 10); three notices about the duo’s appearance in New Haven; the blurb about their arrival in New Haven by car; the ad for Loew’s Poli (the film being shown was not The Wizard of Oz but the Hedy Lamarr & Robert Taylor drama Lady of the Tropics).

Above are two articles from the Hartford Courant.  The first was published on August 10th and the second on August 11th.  Note the photo in the second article.  It’s Lynn Bari. Bari played a big role in Judy’s personal life in the 1950s.  She was the first wife of Judy’s third husband, Sid Luft, and sued him several times and Judy was collateral damage, more or less.  Click on the images to get to the larger versions to download and read.  They’re quite fun.

More details and images of all of Judy’s activities during that golden year of 1939 can be found on The Judy Room’s Biography 1939 Page.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz here.

August 11, 1939:  This was the night that the lucky boys and girls were picked from Loew’s theaters in the New York area to have lunch with Judy and Mickey Rooney on August 16th at the Waldorf Hotel, a day ahead of the New York premiere of The Wizard of Oz on August 17th.

More details and images of all of Judy’s activities during that golden year of 1939 can be found on The Judy Room’s Biography 1939 Page.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz here.

August 11, 1939:  Some more Wizard of Oz ads and notices from various papers.  Atlanta, Georgia, was having an Oz character dress alike contest, prizes of $20 each going to the best Dorothy, Scarecrow, and Tin Woodman; $8 to the second-best of the three; $5 to the third best.  Appleton, Wisconsin, was giving away free tickets to the film with the purchase of a “Judy Garland” dress.  Of note are the two clippings regarding the choosing of a high school boy and girl to represent each Loew’s Theater in the New York City area.  Each couple got to take part in the reception luncheon for Judy and Mickey Rooney at the Empire Room in the Astoria Hotel in NYC.  It turned out to be quite the event.

More details and images of all of Judy’s activities during that golden year of 1939 can be found on The Judy Room’s Biography 1939 Page.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz here.


August 11, 1939:  This two-page spread appeared in various trade magazines promoting the upcoming release of The Wizard of Oz.  The version here is from the “Film Daily” trade magazine.

Also from “Film Daily” is this notice giving the figures that MGM was allegedly spending on advertising for the film, and the data on the placement in magazines, periodicals, newspapers, etc.

More details and images of all of Judy’s activities during that golden year of 1939 can be found on The Judy Room’s Biography 1939 Page.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz here.


August 11, 1940:  More for Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, plus another article that was allegedly written by Judy.  It’s difficult to imagine that not only did she have the time to compose an article, even if it was attributed “as told to May Mann” but that she would incorrectly give her sister Suzy’s name as “Suzanna”!!

August 11, 1941:  More Life Begins for Andy Hardy, which was Judy’s last appearance in the series.  She had outgrown the role of “Besty Booth” and even though he would continue to play Andy Hardy for several more years, so had Mickey Rooney.  That fact didn’t keep the series from continuing to be immensely popular.  Included is a tie-in to the film by the “American Beauty Shoppes.”

August 11, 1941 Bombshell from Brazil

August 11, 1941:  A busy day for Judy.  She was on the MGM Recording Stage pre-recording “Bombshell From Brazil” for Babes on Broadway with Anne Rooney, Ray McDonald, Virginia Weidler, and Richard Quine.

Listen to the recording here:

Later, filming continued on the film with scenes shot on the “Interior Morris Parlor” set.  This included the filming of the now-classic song “How About You.”

The song was nominated for the Oscar for “Best Song” but lost to Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” from Holiday Inn.  Talk about tough competition!

At this point, there was no limit on the number of nominees for “Best Song” and due to the fact that there were quite a few musicals being made many songs were nominated.
Here are the rest of the nominated songs:

“Always in My Heart” (Always in My Heart)
“Dearly Beloved” (You Were Never Lovelier)
“I’ve Heard That Song Before” (Youth on Parade)
“(I’ve Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo” (Orchestra Wives)
“Love Is a Song” (Bambi)
“Pennies for Peppino” (Flying with Music)
“Pig Foot Pete” (Hellzapoppin’)
“There’s a Breeze on Lake Louise” (The Mayor of 44th Street)

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Page on Babes on Broadway here.

Photos:  All photos were taken on this day and on August 12th.  Judy is seen with Roger Edens and crew on the set; director Busby Berkeley clowns with Judy and Mickey; Frederick Burton plays Judy’s father; and co-star Virginia Weilder; other photos were taken during the filming of “How About You?” on both this date and August 12th.

August 11, 1942:  Judy was the guest writer, (allegedly as it’s unclear just what Judy wrote and what was written by the studio – the latter was usually the case), for Walter Winchell’s famous “On Broadway” column.

Photo:  Judy and her husband David Rose at an Army camp.

Young Screen Star

YOU DON’T HAVE to sing or dance to entertain the soldiers.  All you have to do is talk.  Just pull up a chair, sit down and be prepared to answer a lot of questions.  That’s one thing I found out during my tour of the Army camps.  All the fellows want to know about Hollywood and the motion picture stars and I wanted to know all about them.

If the soldiers asked me questions, it didn’t compare with the quiz I put them through.  All my life I’ve wanted to travel throughout the United States, staying a week or two in each town.  I wanted to meet people from different parts of the country.  When you live in one town, your scope is narrowed.

Of course, a trip like that would be impossible for a working girl, but I didn’t have to make it.  In each camp I met and talked with boys from every city and State in the Union.  It was everything I expected and more than an education.  I had to know about each one, where he came from and what he did.  The thing that touched me most was that they were equally interested in me.  If it hadn’t been for the boys at Camp Robinson, I would never have had a wedding cake.


The day we played there was my wedding anniversary.  My husband, David Rose, who accompanied me on the trip, and I were talking about it.  The boys overheard and that night we were given a surprise party.  The highlight of the evening was a huge wedding cake topped by a tiny bride and groom.  A wedding cake was the one I felt cheated of when we were married.  Now I had that, thanks to a bunch of swell people.

The first time I sang for the soldiers I was scared to death.  My knees shook and my voice trembled with a severe case of stage fright.  It seems silly now, as I look back on it.  Every performer dreams of stopping a show, but believe me, no show was ever stopped with the thunderous applause and appreciative response that greets an entertainer playing to a group of soldiers.


In a way, touring the camps was like my old vaudeville days.  Making overnight jump on milk trains and playing four-a-day instead of the usual two.  It was like “old home week.”  Many of the performers were people with whom my mother and father, as well as my sisters and I, had played in vaudeville.

It was wonderful to see these people, headliners twenty-five years ago, return to bring the house down in Army camps all over the country.  One of the troupers told me he never hoped to experience a greater moment than the day he opened at the Palace Theatre eighteen years ago.  But he did when, with the same act, he received an even greater ovation at Fort Knox in Louisville, Kentucky.


Willie Shore, the “Abba-Dabba Man,” who was my favorite comedian when I was a little girl, played with us at one camp.  He does an act with a seltzer-water bottle and I used to sit out front with the soldiers and watch him.  It never failed that when he squirted water it would land on me.  This often resulted in my appearing on the stage in a slightly wet and bedraggled condition, but it was wonderful.

The performers were all my old friends and it was grand to see them back in front of an audience where they belong. Camp shows have not only brought entertainment to the soldiers, they have revived vaudeville and opened a new field for young hopefuls who up to now have had no opportunity to appear before an audience.  A new cradle for talent has been found.

We did four shows a day.  One at the reception center where the newly inducted boys gather, one in the hospital and two in the auditorium.  At each show, I sang two sets of songs and then did request numbers.  It seems the boys favor the old songs and in my case, the two outstanding requests were “Over the Rainbow” and “Dear Mr. Grable.”


The first time they asked for the “Gable” song I was stumped.  It had been a long time since I had sung it, but after ad-libbing the lyrics a few times, the original ones came back to me.  The shows were all at night and my days were spent touring the camp.  There wasn’t a spot I . missed seeing, from the kitchen to the rifle range.

Mealtimes were fun.  The only bad part was that the food was so good I gained eight pounds.  We ate in the mess hall and all the boys and a steady diet of steak and potatoes, fried chicken and pie worked hardship on the brand new figure I had worked so hard to acquire.  Now I understand why all the boys come home on furlough looking so strong and healthy.  It’s that Army food that puts the pounds on.

There’s one thing about the Army.  It has a swell sense of humor.  When I started out I couldn’t tell the difference between a private and a general.  I was introduced to a colonel one night and to the great amusement of all the boys I acknowledged the introduction with an “I’m very happy to meet you, Corporal!”

They howled and when I arrived home they sent me a huge chart listing all the insignias and what each stood for.  Just to keep me straight, they wrote.  There is one thing for which I shall be eternally grateful, they laughed with me, not at me!


If this war must go on, and if it ever settles down to one major front, I have one great ambition.  It is to follow in the footsteps of Elsie Janis, who did so much on the battlefields of World War I.  The cheer and laughter that she brought to the front line trenches is a work that will never be forgotten.

When I inquired about the possibilities of doing this, they told me our fighting forces are too scattered now, but soon show people would be sent to a different section of the conflict for just the purpose.  A truck to cart me around and a piano for accompaniment would be all I’d need.

Until such a time as I am able to go to the front – or a front – I will continue to do all I can for the boys at home.  The camp tour convinced me that we can never do enough for the soldiers who have left their homes and families to fight our war.


August 11, 1944:  The Clock filming continued with scenes on the “Interior Living Room – Alice’s Apartment.”  Time called, 10 a.m.; dismissed: 5:45 p.m. Fred Zinnemann was still the director of the film at this point and would continue for another 13 days before being replaced by Vincente Minnelli.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on The Clock here.


August 11, 1948:  Here’s an ad from the “Los Angeles Times” promoting Easter Parade.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Easter Parade here.


August 11, 1949:  In The Good Old Summertime was playing in Binghamton, New York.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on In The Good Old Summertime here.


August 11, 1950:  Judy was resting in Lake Tahoe when she was involved in a fender bender.  She suffered a minor laceration on her nose after the car she was in, with Bob Scott driving, hit a rock, and blew a tire throwing her into the windshield.  Luckily the laceration was minor.  She was treated privately.  Judy left Tahoe for New York the next day, August 12th.  The article above published on August 12th reported the story.


August 11, 1952:  Is Peggy King a threat to Judy Garland?  Peggy who?

August 11, 1954:  Hedda Hopper reported on Judy’s attendance at Ira Gershwin’s party for the “Porgy and Bess” company.  The event must have happened a week or two before this publication as by this point Judy was already on her vacation in Europe.

Also included here is a publication of the popular photo of Judy with Doris Day on the set of A Star Is Born, as well as the first in a series of three articles about Judy simply titled “The Judy Garland Story.”  The articles were allegedly told to the author, Emily Belser, in an interview.  Over the next decade (plus), other articles purporting to be the story of Judy Garland were published with that same title.

Going All Way Uphill Again, Says Singing Star

There are few stories in show business that pack more of a “heart wallop” than the return of a star who has been down – and almost out.  And of all such stories, none beats that of Judy Garland, once so desperate she tried suicide but who now once again seems to have the world at her finger-tips.  This is the first of three articles in which Judy Garland, in a rare interview, tells her story.


HOLLYWOOD – Two sharp rings on the warning bell shrilled through the huge stage and a hush fell over the crowd.

A director barks: “Ack-shun!”

Opening bars of an old and catchy tune wafted through the klieg-lighted air:

“Swan-ee, how I love you, how I love you…”

And from deep upstage center, cake-walking as only she can came Judy Garland the same freckle-faced, snub-nosed charmer whose name has been a byword in the entertainment world for almost two decades.

For 14 and a half minutes – the second longest single dancing sequence in film history – Judy went through the intricate steps and sang the song that made her famous.

The scene is from “A Star Is Born,” a movie three years in the gelling one year in the making and more than eight months in the filming.

Scattered members of cast and crew and a handful of visitors on the set drew together when the number ended and shook their heads in agreement.  Judy Garland has surely kicked that old saw – “Champs never come back” – right ‘n the teeth.

The Garland story is a study in human emotions enumerating the heartaches of a struggle back up the ladder once fate has kicked a gal downstairs.  

It revolves around an irrepressible youngster who parlayed a tremulous voice and personal magnetism to a niche high in the movie firmament.

But it also is the story of an uncertain young girl caught in high-pressure demands of “just-one-more-movie-this-year” and the mad whirl that is Hollywood.

That was the Garland of yesterday.  The Garland of today is calm, grown-up, self-assured.

It was in this vein that she greeted this reporter in her dressing room after finishing the sensational dance number, “born in a Trunk,” that parallels her own hectic and thrilling life as an entertainer.

“I guess I was just about born in one at that.  It was great in a way, but I think I started working too young.  And the only school I knew was at MGM!”

The former child star made her first footlight appearance by sneaking onto the stage where her parents entertained between reels.  She was only three years old, but she’s been winning her own bows ever since.

Judy’s Ma and Pa were Frank and Ethel Gumm who prophetically met in a motion picture theater.  Frank was a vocalist who led the community “sings,” and Ethel was the piano thumper.  From this stagestruck couple, Judy inherited her love of greasepaint.

It was with her two sisters – Virginia and Suzanne – that she made her first full-fledged stage debut.

“By that time,” Judy said, “my father owned the theatre so there really was something to the report that it was a matter of knowing the right person to get the right job.

“My sisters and I sang ‘Jingle Bells’ to provide the right spirit for the Christmas season.  But I was a gone goslin for the stage long before this.  It was acting or nothing for me.”

But it was the acting bug and all that goes with it that nearly proved the undoing of Judy Garland.  She rose too fast, lived too fast and descended – too fast.

Fame, fortune, a marriage crack-up and a broken film contract proved too much for the high strung, sensitive Judy.  She tried suicide – and failed at that too.

“But I’m fine now,” she assured us in her dressing room on the Warner Brothers lot.  “I feel great.  I’m getting plenty of rest and I’m taking care of myself.”

“I’m going all the way uphill!”

(Tomorrow:  Judy tells of how she is now – and was.)

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on A Star Is Born here.


August 11, 1955:  Judy, or rather husband Sid Luft, canceled her upcoming appearance in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  This was part of a sweeping cancellation of Judy’s touring of “The Judy Garland Show” brought about by Judy signing a contract with CBS-TV for her very first TV appearance in late September, which necessitated the cancellations so Judy could rehearse for the show (and record for Capitol Records).

Several engagements were canceled, prompting charges to be filed against Judy with the Actor’s Equity Association.  Nothing became of the charges, aside from disappointed ticket holders, as Judy’s contract stipulated that she could cancel the show.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.


August 11, 1956:  A nice blurb in Mike Connolly’s column about Judy’s upcoming return to The Palace Theater in New York.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.


August 11, 1958:  How did the manager of The Cocoanut Grove keep Judy on schedule?  According to columnist Mike Connolly, he picked her up every evening and drove her to the venue and back home when the show was over.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

Week of August 11, 1961:  Judy took some time out from her busy concert schedule and went to Boston with her publicists John Springer, and friend/mentor Kay Thompson, to attend the out-of-town opening of Noel Coward’s new musical, “Sail Away.”  During this trip, “Redbook” magazine recorded a conversation backstage between Judy and Noel, from which excerpts were published.

Listen to the recording of Judy and Noel here:

Photos:  Judy with Noel Coward and Lynn Fontanne at the Broadway premiere of “Sail Away” on October 3, 1961.  Note that Fontanne starred in the original Broadway version of “The Pirate” which was made into the 1948 film of the same name starring Judy and Gene Kelly.  I wonder if they ever compared notes about the show/film?

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.


August 11, 1967:  Columnist Patty Singer wrote this kind of snarky comment which was no doubt prompted by Judy’s successful comeback currently happening at The Palace Theater in New York.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

August 11, 1989:  A couple of articles about the newly remastered The Wizard of Oz on VHS and laserdisc.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz here.

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