On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – August 15

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“Broadway’s greatest musical hit, now the screen’s Technicolor masterpiece!” – Advertisement for The Wizard of Oz, 1939

August 15, 1929:  The first of a week-long engagement for Judy and her two sisters as part of the Meglin Kiddies “56 Clever Tots” on stage, with the black comedian Stephen Fetchit (he was the headliner), all a part of the Fanchon & Marco stages show at the Loew’s State Theater in Lost Angeles, California.  The featured film was the Fox film Salute, followed by the MGM Joan Crawford film Our Modern Maidens.

Images:  Advertisements for each day of the engagement.

August 15, 1931:  This is the date that Frances (Judy) allegedly had an audition at Universal Studios in Universal City, California.  Nothing is known about what Judy performed for the audition.  Universal passed on signing the nine-year-old.

August 15, 1933:  The last night of the engagement of The Gumm Sisters at the Fox West Coast Theater in Long Beach, California.  The “Long Beach Sun” noted listed the act, “The Gumm Sisters, with Frances Gumm, the KHJ sensation.”

Of note is the fact that the “Long Beach Sun” referred to Judy as “the KHJ sensation.”  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.  It’s unclear if the “sensation” note was promotional press given to the theater/paper by Judy’s father, Frank, or if the girls were actually gaining some early radio fame.

August 15, 1935:  The end of an era.  Just three days after The Garland Sisters filmed their final screen appearance in La Fiesta de Santa Barbara, the Los Angeles Times chronicled their breakup with this news item and fabulous photo.

The caption of the first clipping reads:  Judy, Suzanne and Jimmy, left to right, the Garland Sisters trio broken up yesterday by the flight of Suzanne to Reno, where she was to be married to Lee Kahn, orchestra player of the Cal-Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe.

The article text of the first clipping:


Suzanne Garland Flies to Reno to Become Bride of Musician

The radio-stage-screen trio of Suzanne, 22; Jimmy, 18; Judy, 12; [Judy was already 13 at this point but apparently mom Ethel shaved a year off her age just as MGM would soon do]; familiarly billed as the Garland Sisters, yesterday became a duet.

Romance, in the person of Lee Kahn, musician, broke up the successful trio when Suzanne boarded a United Air Lines plane at Union Air Terminal for Reno.

Kahn, a member of the Jimmy Davis orchestra playing at Cal-Neva Lodge, Lake Tahoe, drove to the Nevada city to meet Suzanne’s plane. The two were to be married there last night.

With the conclusion of the Tahoe season, Kahn goes to San Francisco for an engagement and the couple will make the Bay City their home, Suzanne said.

During a tearful parting with her two sisters at the airport, Suzanne revealed that Jimmy Garland is now engaged to Frankie Darro, of screen note.

By the summer of 1935, The Garland Sisters had hit their peak as a trio.  They had a reputation for being one of THE acts to see up and down the West Coast, with Judy stopping the show with her solos.  At this point, it was clear that Judy was the real star of the act.  But by the end of the summer, the act broke up after a successful and fortuitous last hurrah in Lake Tahoe, an appearance in an MGM short, and finally Judy’s audition with MGM.

Here are a few clippings that chronicle the act’s end, featuring their successful run at the Cal-Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe, California, and the breakup due to Suzanne’s leaving the act to marry musician Lee Kahn, whom she met at the Cal-Neva Lodge.


Above, an article from June 9, 1935, Nevada State Journal (out of Reno), notes the Lodge’s upcoming opening of its 1935 season.  It lists the various acts, including “the three Garland sisters, who have been appearing in M-G-M pictures…”

This is interesting because the date of the filming of La Fiesta de Santa Barbara (the MGM short in which the sisters appeared) is listed as August 12th, which is a full two months later. This means that either the sisters were already signed for the short but filming was delayed, or the short was filmed earlier than the August date.

The full-page ad for the Cal-Neva (also from the June 9, 1935, Nevada State Journal) features the sisters as “Harmony Sisters – The Three Garland Sisters, who have been recently in M-G-M pictures and are well known in Hollywood as entertainers, will be featured at Cal-Neva.”

From June 11, 1935, the Cal-Neva ad from the Reno Gazette again features the sisters and states The Three Garland Sisters ‘Harmony Stylists’ Seen recently in M-G-M pictures and Fanchon and Marco Theater Circuits.  The opening of the new show and the sister’s engagement began on June 15, 1935.

Although it was the end of an era and perfect timing for Judy, not even a full month later, on September 13, 1935, she was at MGM for that now legendary audition.  The audition was the result of their engagement at the Cal-Neva Lodge in June/July.  They say “Everything happens for a reason” and the events of that summer in 1935 definitely worked to place Judy in the perfect position to succeed.  And succeed she did!

August 15, 1936:  Photos were taken on this day of Judy with fellow MGM contract player and star, Jackie Cooper, by studio photographers.  Cooper was already a big star while Judy still had a few years before becoming a huge star herself.

August 15, 1937:  Here is another article about Judy being named the “Next Red Hot Mama” by the Red Hot Mama herself, Sophie Tucker.

August 15, 1937:  The Chicago Tribune ran this studio-provided photo (and caption) of Judy with Robert Taylor, Betty Jaynes, and Clark Gable.  I’ve posted this photo before but I’m posting it again because it’s such a great image.

Judy had completed filming Broadway Melody of 1938 just a few weeks prior and judging from the responses of the preview audience, she was the highlight of the film, which starred Taylor (pictured) and in which she sang “(Dear Mr. Gable) You Made Me Love You.”  Hence this photo of Judy with the two stars, and new studio singer Jaynes.  The MGM publicity department wasted no time!

August 15, 1937:  This article from columnist Harriet Parsons notes that Judy is making it past the awkward age for a child star, an age that usually means the end of one’s career.  Lucky for us Judy passed that hurdle.

August 15, 1939:  The official world premiere of The Wizard of Oz at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Hollywood, California.  Judy was not on hand for the premiere as she and Mickey Rooney had just arrived in New York the day before in preparation for the film’s New York premiere (on August 17th).

The studio went all out for the premiere by recreating parts of the Cornfield, Emerald City, and Munchkinland sets in the courtyard in front of the theater.  Several of the little people who played Munchkins were on hand, in costume, to greet the stars as they arrived for the gala premiere.

** Note that the actual world premiere of the film took place on August 9, 1939, in New Bedford, Massachusetts.  The world premiere was previously thought to have been on  August 10, 1939, in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The reason for the discrepancies is that the Hollywood premiere was originally scheduled for August 10th but was moved to the 15th at almost the last minute.  The film was already scheduled to open on several dates in several spots around the country.  The dates of those engagements were not changed.  According to newspaper records, the film was scheduled to premiere in several cities and towns in the midwest on the same day, August 11, although the owners of the State Theatre in New Bedford, The Zietz Brothers, jumped the gun and showed the film “before a capacity house” on August 9.  This was probably due to the fact that Judy and Mickey Rooney were in the area as part of their personal appearances tour leading up to the New York premiere, which the Zietz Brothers took advantage of.

The pre-Hollywood showings of the film were as follows:
August 9:  New Bedford, Massachusetts
August 10:  Green Bay, Wisconsin
August 11: Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Kenosha, Neenah, and Appleton, Wisconsin
August 12: Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
August 13: Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Racine, Rhinelander, and Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

By the time of this Hollywood premiere, Sheboygan and Racine were already advertising the film being held over.  It opened there on August 13.  In those days, most films, especially in the smaller cities/towns, only played for a few days.  In the case of Oz, it was usually held over due to its popularity.

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

Included here are facsimiles of the 1939 premiere invitation, the ticket that came with that invitation (different than the standard ticket), the program, the MGM Studio News, and the extensive Photoplay Studies magazine.  These facsimiles were printed extras included in the 2005 special edition DVD release of the film.

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

August 15, 1939:  On the same day that LA was preparing for the official premiere of The Wizard of Oz the trade paper “The Film Daily” made note of Judy and Mickey’s arrival in New York for the NY premiere of the film (which would take place on August 17th). The text reads:

IT took 100 – count ’em 10 – of New York’s Finest yesterday…..to handle the metropolitan advent…..of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney…..and for a time it looked as if…..they would have used more…..Yes, sir, Andy Hardy rode high yesterday…..and so did Judy…..thanks to Loew’s indefatigable publicists…..

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

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

August 15, 1939:  More Ozzy ads and write-ups.

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

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

August 15, 1939:  Judy, Mickey Rooney, and Bonita Granville.  Troublemakers!

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

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

August 15, 1939:  Here’s another Ozzy tie-in, this time it’s a story about Judy giving a dog to three lucky children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, via the “Pet Editor” of the “Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph” newspaper.

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

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

August 15, 1939:  The “Motion Picture Daily” reported on the crowds that greeted Judy and Mickey Rooney when they recently arrived in New York.  The “Star Tribune” in Minneapolis, MN, jokingly noted the duo “quietly” arrived.

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

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

August 15, 1939:  Columnist Paul Walker liked The Wizard of Oz.

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

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

August 15, 1939:  While in Washington, D.C., Judy ran afoul of the courts due to a law that stipulated no girl under 18 was allowed to appear on stage after 7 p.m.  The law didn’t apply to Judy’s co-star Mickey Rooney, it only applied to girls.  Since their last show began at 9:25 p.m., they definitely broke the law.  The studio no doubt paid the fine and took care of things because the duo did not miss their next engagement in Connecticut.  The case was settled on August 18th (long after Judy and Mickey had left for New York), fan the theater only had to pay a $25 charge.

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

Also shown is an ad for Judy Garland dresses.

August 15, 1940:  Filming continued on Little Nellie Kelly on the “Interior Court Room” set.  Time called: 9 a.m.; dismissed: 4:55 p.m.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on Little Nellie Kelly here.

Babes on Broadway Lobby Card

August 15, 1941:  Filming continued on Babes on Broadway with scenes shot on the “Interior Dressing Room and Corridor” set.  Time called: 9 a.m.  The assistant director’s notes state: “9:00-9:20 a.m. – wait for Judy Garland to put on wardrobe and fix hair.”  Lunch was 12:00-1:00 p.m.  The notes continued with: “1:24-1:38 – Dr. Jones on set to look at Judy Garland – complained of feeling badly with pains in neck and back.  Dr. Jones said she probably had the starting of a cold but she was able to work.”  Dismissed: 3:55 p.m.

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

Argentinean One Sheet

August 15, 1944:  Filming continued on The Clock with scenes shot on the “Exterior Pond,” “Interior Museum-Interior Gallery-Rodin’s Thinker” sets.  Noted was “scene where Joe pulls boy out of water – Alice-Policeman-Children and crowd.”  Time called: 10 a.m.; time dismissed: 6:05 p.m.

Photo:  Argentinean poster.

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


August 15, 1948:  Judy and Meet Me In St. Louis co-star Tom Drake appeared on the cover of the “CineIllustrato” fan magazine.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Meet Me In St. Louis here.

Scan provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!

August 15, 1948:  The Pirate.

August 15, 1949:  Judy participated in the AMPAS birthday tribute to Ethel Barrymore in honor of her 70th birthday.

Listen to the radio broadcast of that tribute here:


August 15, 1954:  This article appeared in the Danish “Hjemmets Søndag” magazine.

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

Scan provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!

August 15, 1956:  Old favorites on Decca Records.

August 15, 1957:  Here’s an ad for MGM Records out of Melbourne, Australia.  The soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz premiered in 1956 on MGM Records.  It was the first and for decades the only album of the original soundtrack of the film.  The first edition of the soundtrack to Words and Music was released by MGM Records in 1948.

Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s The Wizard of Oz pages.

Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s Words and Music pages.


August 15, 1959:  Judy is seen with Leonard Bernstein and Merle Oberon (and a few others) after Bernstein’s concert at The Hollywood Bowl.


August 15, 1966:  Judy and Tom Green were in Mexico City for her next appearance (August 17th at the El Patio Nightclub).  According to Scott Schechter’s book “Judy Garland – The Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Legend” (of which much of the info in this blog comes from), Judy woke at 11:00 a.m., having a “frugal” breakfast of a glass of tomato juice with vodka, water, and soda, along with two fried eggs.  At 12 noon she spent some time of the balcony, then napped.  As a “preview” before the press conference at 2 p.m., Tom Green told reporters that Judy would be in Mexico City for 12 days and that on September 9, she would open at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, for which she would be paid $70,000.  This engagement would not take place, however.  Judy arrived at the press reception about 4 p.m. and told the press she had left Capitol Records and was forming her own label, hoping she would sign Eddie Fisher – whom she expected at her Saturday performance, along with Lorna and Joe – as well as other singers, to the label.

Billboard Magazine, in its August 27 issue, carried an item from this time that Judy was in Mexico City, in which she states that she owned 50% of the new record label, for which her first album would be released in four months, that the songs would be new, and that the album had not yet been “taped,” although most of the songs [had been] selected.  Judy candidly admitted “I didn’t leave Capitol – they fired me.  But I’m glad it happened: now I can record for my own company.”  However, the deal would never actually come to anything; no album would ever be recorded or released for this label; Capitol at this time began to license tracks from Judy’s albums to the label Pickwick, who released a compilation album called “I Feel A Song Coming On,” in 1966.  Sears, in turn, issued this LP as “By Myself” in 1967.  Capitol would also issue a six-LP set “The Magic of Judy Garland” in June 1968.  At the Mexico City press conference, it was also revealed that Judy would sing “The Party’s Over” in Spanish and that she wanted to learn Mexican songs before she left.  That evening was spent touring the city, where Judy bought everything that several children on the street were selling, and assigned members of her entourage to look after them while she was there.

Photo:  Judy on stage at the El Patio Nightclub in Mexico City, on August 17th.

At Home At The Palace

August 15, 1967:  ABC Records released “Judy Garland: At Home At The Palace.”

Judy was in the middle of her successful last run at the Palace and ABC Records was quick to capitalize on it by releasing this LP as soon as possible. Side One of the album was recorded on opening night, Side Two was culled from the second and third nights.

Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s “At Home At The Palace” pages here.

August 15, 1989:  As this was the 50th anniversary of the Hollywood premiere of The Wizard of Oz, quite a few Ozzy articles were published.  Included here is a small sampling of the ongoing anniversary coverage.  The film was also re-released on home video on this day in special collector’s editions on VHS and laserdisc (see pics).

Also included are images of the 1988 Criterion laserdisc 50th-anniversary edition of the film, which pre-dated the MGM/UA release by one year and included many extras previously unreleased which have since been included in almost all of the collector’s editions of the film in the various home media formats.

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


August 15, 2013:  Warner Home Video released the artwork for their new The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary boxed set of the film in the Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and Digital HD Ultraviolet formats.

Check out The Judy Room’s Media Page about this release here.

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


  1. Hope you don’t find this an inappropriate place for this comment/question, but here goes. I’ve been following the very sad news that the legendary and wonderful Aretha Franklin is gravely ill. I’ve always enjoyed her, and consider her one of the greats. But I’m getting pretty fed up with the constant quote from Rolling Stone Magazine that Franklin is “the number one greatest singer of all time.” Aside from the fact that I don’t consider Franklin anywhere NEAR Garland, Streisand, Lena Horne or even Ella Fitzgerald (OR Sinatra, if they’re including males) just WHO gets to “decide” such an offensive comment??? When I was kid, I argued that NOBODY was as great as Garland. Now, as a mature, middle-aged adult, I recognize that I don’t have the right to make such a proclamation when there are so many great singers. I now say she’s my favorite, and nobody’s voice has “affected” me like Judy’s. But I respect that not everyone else feels that way, or even likes Garland. I recognize that Rolling Stone would NATURALLY choose an R & B singer or rock singer over the people I just mentioned, but I find their list galling beyond words. Do you mind if I ask your thoughts on this?

    1. It’s all subjective. Anytime someone puts out a list or declares that any one person is the greatest in any field of entertainment it opens the doors for debate.

      I’m biased for Judy Garland, of course. For me, s​he was the greatest but I can see why other people think their favorite singer, or movies star, or stage performer, is “the greatest.” Ms. Franklin (RIP) was an amazing singer. But there’s no comparison because she and Judy were so different. Even when people compare Streisand to Judy, there’s some comparison because of the “show tune/musicals” aspect but even so, I think they’re very different. Judy was the best all-around entertainer not just because she COULD do it all but because she did it all so brilliantly. She was a funny comedienne, a fantastic dancer, a great actress, a great stage performer, and of course, a one-of-a-kind singer.

      So, in the end, it’s all subjective to one’s own tastes. 🙂

  2. Kind of sounds like we agree. I now mourn Ms. Franklin’s actual passing (her “Say a Little Prayer” is monstrously great). But I just find it sad that Garland is never listed among the “singers’ singers” (especially by jazz/rock snobs) when she was so great and influential. I just wish more people really KNEW her all-around singing. But, in truth, there is reality to the saying, “Fine art will never be for the masses” (quoted in TV Guide when Judy’s TV series was cancelled in 1964).

    Again, thanks so much for what YOU give us and for your incredible viewpoints. So very appreciated.

    (And it’s Gary. I’m only “anonymous” because I’m typing this at work!!

  3. Judy’s memory was usually amazing as evidenced by her appearance on The Mike Douglas Show when looking at old movie photos. She recalled the name of Lynn Carver, a glamour girl who appeared with her in the 1937 film EVERYBODY SING. However, when she was talking with Dick Cavett the name Jackie Cooper came up in conversation, and Judy said he was on another film lot and she didn’t know him. Well, the photos prove otherwise!

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