“There never was a voice with quite the lilt to it that Judy Garland’s has.” – Uncredited photo caption 1950
August 13, 1937: The first MGM “preview” of a Judy Garland film took place at the Village Theater in Westwood, California with the preview of Broadway Melody of 1938. Technically it was really a Robert Taylor & Eleanor Powell film in which Judy was a supporting player, but we all know how film history now views it.
At this preview was the president of Decca Records, Jack Kapp, who had flown in to see the film. That night in his suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel, he drew up what would become Judy Garland’s very first recording contract.
Learn more about Judy’s Decca Records at The Judy Garland Online Discography’s Decca Records pages here.
Photos: Judy at the Westwood preview; “You Made Me Love You” sheet music.
August 13, 1938: Judy makes the cover of the Swedish “Hela Världen” magazine.
August 13, 1938: This movie tie-in for used cards and Love Finds Andy Hardy which makes sense because the plotline of the film revolves around Andy Hardy’s quest to get his used car (and fend off the girls, of course!).
August 13, 1938: Here’s a notice about the casting of Gale Sondergaard as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. The idea of Sondergaard as a glamorous witch went as far as the costume test phase before it was decided that the Witch should be the traditional crone.
August 13, 1939: Here’s an article about the origins of the Oz story and some of the advances and achievements in makeup and effects that brought the story to life with “living actors.” The third clipping is another shorter article focusing on the achievements of color photography.
August 13, 1939: Judy and Mickey Rooney were just in Hartford, Connecticut (August 11), for a one-day only appearance and, according to this obviously posed and fabricated article, found time to edit the Sunday Parade newspaper magazine insert! In reality, the duo gave four performances between showings of the film (Lady of the Tropics starring Hedy Lamarr and Robert Taylor) and left for Bridgeport, Connecticut at 10 p.m.
August 13, 1939: Judy and Mickey Rooney’s recent appearance in Washington, D.C., (see August 10 entry) created a minor controversy. Judy’s appearance violated the District of Columbia’s child labor laws which stated that girls under the age of 18 could not work on stage between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. The Capitol Theater in Washington was fined $100.
August 13, 1939: Two more behind-the-scenes articles about the men who made The Wizard of Oz. The first is an article about the songwriters of The Wizard of Oz, Harold Arlen (music), and E.Y. “Yip” Harburg (lyrics) that touches on the fact that the songs are part of the plot. The second is an article attributed to the film’s producer Mervyn LeRoy about the difficulties in making the film.
August 13, 1939: Miscellaneous Wizard of Oz ads, blurbs, fashion, and a coloring contest.
August 13, 1939: New York was gearing up for the big premiere of The Wizard of Oz plus the added attraction of Judy and Mickey Rooney in person. Below are two items from “The New York Times” published on this date.
August 13, 1939: Judy keeps fit by playing ping pong…and tennis..and badminton…and swimming!
August 13, 1940: Judy continued filming scenes for Little Nellie Kelly on the “Interior Kelly Flat” set. Time called: 9 a.m.; dismissed 6:17 p.m. Judy had taken a break from filming for two days of retakes on Strike Up The Band. MGM sure got their money’s worth!
Photo: A publicity still featuring Judy with costars George Murphy and Douglas McPhail.
August 13, 1941: Judy and her mom, Ethel, posed for these MGM “mother/daughter” portraits. Judy is wearing her “How About You” costume from Babes on Broadway which she was currently filming. Judy was due on the Babes on Broadway set at 3 p.m.; time dismissed: 6:40 p.m. The assistant director’s notes state that “Judy was ill in the morning.” Since Judy is in costume, hair, and makeup, she probably had to take a break to head over to the photo studios for these pictures the rush back to the production.
August 13, 1944: Judy appeared on the NBC Radio show “Your All-time Hit Parade.” She performed “I May Be Wrong” and “Over the Rainbow,” both with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra.
Listen to “I May Be Wrong” here:
Listen to “Over The Rainbow” here:
V-Disc image from The Rick Smith Collection. Thanks, Rick!
August 13, 1945: The world premiere of Ziegfeld Follies took place in Boston, Massachusetts. This premiere was a roadshow premiere meaning that the film played limited engagements in limited theaters. Judy filmed her sequence in July 1944 after completing her work on Meet Me In St. Louis.
The film went into general release on April 8, 1946, at which time it had been renamed Ziegfeld Follies of 1946 and the segments and flow of the film had been changed more often than not due to the mediocre responses to the roadshow engagements.
Judy and her new husband Vincente Minnelli were in New York on their honeymoon and traveled to Boston to attend the premiere.
August 13, 1946: Judy participated in a radio broadcast celebrating the 100th anniversary of the raising of the American flag over Los Angeles. Nothing is known about this broadcast aside from the radio listings that give the stars involved, including George Jessel, Frank Sinatra, Margaret O’Brien, Bob Hope, Meredith Willson, and his Orchestra, and Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron.
August 13, 1948: More Easter Parade clippings.
August 13, 1949: In The Good Old Summertime was still playing to good great business. Although it’s not a big splashy MGM musical it has stood the test of time as one of Judy’s best films and one of her best film performances.
Also still playing, at least in Phoenix, Arizona, was Till The Clouds Roll By.
August 13, 1950: Judy’s vacation in Lake Tahoe was cut short, according to this article. It states that she was going to stop in Lake Tahoe before heading home to Los Angeles. Whatever the “unfinished business at home” was it must not have been too pressing. Judy didn’t return to Los Angeles until over a month later on September 18th.
Meanwhile, Summer Stock was opening around the country and proving to be a hit in spite of the recent negative press that Judy had received. Judy’s fans (and the critics) came to Judy’s defense in droves.
August 13, 1951: This is the day on which Sid Luft allegedly was walking down Broadway in New York when he got the idea for Judy to play the Palace Theater. The engagement – originally scheduled for four weeks, but ultimately extended to nineteen weeks – was announced on August 28. Sid definitely moved fast to put the deal together. He had also been thinking of a concert tour that would include Carnegie Hall and the Winter Garden Theater. Judy would, eventually, play both venues during her famous “Concert Years” (that new era of her life and career began with this Palace engagement, after the initial run at the Palladium in England).
August 13, 1954: The third and final installment in Emily Belser’s series “The Judy Garland Story.”
Star Plans to Stay In Top Ranks After Long Uphill Battle
Garland Plays a Grown Up Woman for First Time on Screen, in New Picture
A new and exultant Judy Garland plans to stay on top of the Hollywood heap. At the same time she plans to be the best wife in movietown to Sid Luft, the man who gave her confidence to make her great comeback in a town that kicked, criticized, and fired her.
Sid, who follows band leader David Rose and Director Vincente Minnelli in Judy’s wifely affections, refused to admit the 31-year-old actress is making a “comeback.”
“I don’t get angry when people say she’s making a comeback,” he says, “I just contradict them. A comeback in my book is when you’ve been knocked out of the box office. That has never happened to Judy. She’s still box office. I say she’s just been taking a ‘rest.'”
But Judy herself feels slightly differently. “Starting uphill again,” she admits, “takes a lot of blind belief in yourself and reckless courage. You have to say the heck with everything and make up your mind you’re not going back whether they want you or not.”
“Sure, MGM fired me four years ago. I hadn’t been feeling well. I was in ill health and I was tired. I had one picture after another and they were making be diet too much and too often.”
She added: “They said I wasn’t dependable. I guess I wasn’t, but I was ill. I had a reason.”
It was following this that Judy became despondent and attempted suicide. A friend said at the time: “Judy doesn’t know whether she wants to live or not. We can’t be sure if she’ll try again to kill herself. We hope not, but to avoid taking any chances we are giving her a regular schedule of sedatives.”
But Judy bounced back like the trouper she is and shortly afterward scored a sensational artistic success at the London Palladium and again at the Palace Theater in New York. Thus she could well be tagged, “The Comeback Kid.”
She said she opened at the Palladium because she “needed the money.” “I was broke,” she confesses now, “so I decided to try the stage.”
She was received with wild enthusiasm both at the Palladium and the Palace and her fans wept with joy at her triumph and her courage.
Many of her so-called “friends” deserted her when she needed them most, but Judy accepted this philosophically. She says: “No one has a lot of real friends; just a lot of pseudo, fair-weather pals. A lot of mine disappeared when the going was rough, but there were a few who stuck – real, true-blues.”
Sid Luft is the “true-blue” who gets most of the credit in Judy’s book.
“He is the person who brought me back,” she said. “Sid kept telling me I was good. I guess you have to have an inner belief in your own talent if not in yourself!”
Judy’s new film, “A Star Is Born,” is expected to prove the Garland girl still has what it takes. She has three hours and five minutes in which to show the world that a gal can bite the dust and come back up fighting.
“I don’t know what I’ll do next,” Judy commented. “I think I’d like to do a play if the right one comes along. In the meantime, it’s wonderful to be free to do as I please, not to be under contract to anyone. I never want to sign another contract as long as I live.”
Although she plays a grownup woman for the first time on the screen in her new; just finished film, there still remains some of the wide-eyed charm that won Judy and Oscar for her performance in “The Wizard of Oz” when she was only 14.
“I’m glad to be a grownup at the last,” she laughed, “it’s about time – I’m old enough!”
August 13, 1961: Here’s an ad and review for “Judy at Carnegie Hall,” which was the big record hit of the year. Apparently, Harvey W. Southgate of Rochester, New York, wasn’t a big Garland fan, stating, “Miss Garland is a phenomenon this reporter has never been able to understand, but the sheer statistics about her are awe-inspiring. If it were anybody else we would say simply she has a pleasant voice and a gift for making trivial songs seem important. But of course, she is not anybody else.”
August 13, 1961: According to Chuck Frankel’s column, Judy was dating Lou Robin.
August 13, 1964: Hedda Hopper reported about a conversation she had with Vincent Price in which he noted that Mark Herron seemed to be “looking after” Judy.
August 13, 1967: Judy was currently enjoying great success at The Palace in New York when this fun photo essay about her recent (July 10 – 15) triumph at the Camden County Music Fair in Haddonfield, New Jersey, was published as part of the “Pictures” section of the Sunday Edition of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Click on the images to read the introduction and the captions.
Below is an example of a typical ad promoting the ABC Records release of “Judy Garland – At Home At The Palace.”
August 13, 1989: Here’s an ad for the wonderful book “The Wizard of Oz – The Official 50th Anniversary Pictorial History” written by John Fricke, Jay Scarfone, and William Stillman. The latter two authors have written several more fantastic Oz books since this one, including the wonderful “The Road To Oz” which is full of great photos and even more information than ever before!
Above, another article, of many, that was published in celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. In this one, we get to see a photo of the woman who as a young lady won a pair of Ruby Slippers in a 1940 contest that proved to be quite lucrative decades later.
August 13, 2013: Warner Home Video announced the bilingual version of their 75th Anniversary boxed set edition of The Wizard of Oz. The standard boxed set and other editions were first announced on June 4, 2013, in anticipation of the film’s anniversary a full year later.