“Judy Garland gives one of the greatest child performances in cinema history as Dorothy.” – Bob White, 1939
August 21, 1929: The last day of the week-long engagement for Judy and her sisters (“The Gumm Sisters”) performing with the Meglin Kiddies show at the Loew’s State Theater in Los Angeles, California.
August 21, 1934: Another ad from the Chicago Tribune promoting Judy and her sisters, “The Gumm Sisters,” as one of the acts at Chicago’s Oriental Theater. It was during this engagement that headliner George Jessel convinced them to change their name to more marquee-friendly “Garland” Sisters.
August 21, 1937: More related to Broadway Melody of 1938. Ruth Lewis of the “Austin American” paper out of Austin, Texas, noted about Judy:
Judy Garland, the “daughter” of Sophie Tucker in this one, snaps her eyes and fingers and puts zip into a song or two. Incidentally, Judy is stuck with a sort of silly symphony to Clark Gable (who, we don’t have to remind you, is also on the M-G-M contract list) that sound too much like a trailer for his next film.
Well, Lewis was definitely wrong about that one!
August 21, 1938: A couple more ads promoting Judy Garland dresses. Judy was being promoted by MGM as the height of teen/junior miss fashion. Mentioning Judy’s latest film, Love Finds Andy Hardy, helps.
August 21, 1938: From 6:30 to 10:15 p.m. Judy was at the Decca Records Studios in Hollywood, CA recording two singles versions of songs from her most recent films: “It Never Rains But What It Pours” from Love Finds Andy Hardy and “Ten Pins In The Sky” from Listen, Darling.
Both were released on Decca 78 single #2017 that October with “It Never Rains” taking the “A” side. For “Ten Pins” the released take was the “C” take instead of the “A” take. It’s the only instance of Decca releasing a “C” take from any of Judy’s recording sessions for the label.
Listen to “It Never Rains But What It Pours” here:
Listen to “Ten Pins In The Sky” here:
Side note: Spike Jones played the drums for this recording session, as he had for the September 24, 1937, and April 25, 1938, Judy Garland recording sessions.
In September 2011 JSP Records released all of Judy’s recordings for Decca Records, newly remastered, on the 4-CD set “Judy Garland – Smilin’ Through – The Singles Collection 1936-1947.”
Label images from the Rick Smith Collection. Thanks, Rick!
August 21, 1939: More Garland teen fashion plus Judy as an example of the latest hairstyle.
August 21, 1939: Here are some more reviews, articles, and ads for The Wizard of Oz.
August 21, 1940: Judy had an 8:30 a.m. call for work on Little Nellie Kelly. She worked only in the morning – filming part of the “Exterior New York Parade” scene on MGM’s Backlot #2, the New York Streets section. Judy was dismissed for lunch at 12:05 p.m. and “did not return to set. She took sick during the lunch hour,” according to the assistant director’s reports.
August 21, 1942: These photos were taken of Judy and co-star Van Heflin on the set of Presenting Lily Mars. The scene shot was Judy’s humorous “Lady Macbeth” impersonation.
Photos provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
August 21, 1943: The latest issue of the “Motion Picture Herald’s” feature titled “What the Picture Did For Me” included this feedback about For Me And My Gal from Victor E. Dahl, owner of the FAyette Theater in Fayette, Iowa, listed as a “small town and rural patronage”:
Very good entertainment. Just what our patrons want. Judy is sure tops when it comes to singing.
August 21, 1949: Here’s a nice review of the MGM Records two-disc edition of the soundtrack for In The Good Old Summertime.
The album was unusual at the time. Most albums were four discs (eight songs), in the standard “album” packaging. Only 4 songs from In The Good Old Summertime were included, those being “Put Your Arms Around Me Honey,” “Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland,” “Play That Barbershop Chord” and “I Don’t Care.” The records were housed not in an album but in gatefold packaging (see images).
The outtake of “Last Night When We Were Young” first appeared on the 1951 compilation “Judy Garland Sings” and “Merry Christmas” first appeared on 1952’s compilation “Merry Christmas.” All of the songs would not appear together as a “complete” soundtrack until 1974’s “Those Glorious MGM Musicals.”
Below, the film was still opening in theaters around the country and was getting good reviews.
August 21, 1951: Elizabeth Toomey’s column noted that Judy was about to begin a five-week concert tour, beginning with a concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall. It’s unclear where Toomey got her information. Judy opened at The Palace on October 16, 1951, and didn’t actually begin touring until April 1952, after her record-breaking nineteen-week run at The Palace.
Toomey’s column is headlined with Judy’s weight. Judy addresses her weight issue by saying, “I’m going to start on a diet as soon as the doctor is sure my glands are working right and everything … only I don’t want to be as thin as I was before. I’ve gained about 20 pounds … I’d like to lose between 10 and 15 … I don’t like to say that all singers would be better with a few extra pounds but I’m just not naturally slim. I used to tell them in Hollywood that I thought my voice wasn’t so good when I was so thin, but they thought it was nonsense.”
August 21, 1953: Judy’s first pre-recording session for A Star Is Born. She recorded “Here’s What I’m Here For” on the Warner Bros. lot, Stage 9.
Listen to “Here’s What I’m Here For” here:
The A Star Is Born recordings are the first Judy Garland recordings to be recorded in true stereo. MGM pre-recorded their sessions with microphones placed in various spots on the recording stage, which was a type of early stereo recording, they were recorded in that manner to create balanced mono tracks for their films. Decades later the surviving tracks from those sessions were remixed into stereo.
A Star Is Born was the first, and sadly last, Judy Garland musical to be released in stereo. “Here’s What I’m Here For” only survives in mono format due to the fact that the sequence featuring the number was cut. The 1983 restoration used alternate footage and the mono recording “enhanced for stereo.”
The original soundtrack recording included the song but the entire album was in mono format. A stereo release of the soundtrack did not appear until 1988, which was the soundtrack’s premiere released on compact disc. An expanded version was released in 2004.
A newly restored version is part of the fantastic 2-CD set “Soundtracks” released on July 25, 2017.
Record label image of the Warner Bros. playback disc from the Rick Smith Collection. Thanks, Rick!
August 21, 1954: This little blurb was featured in the UK “Picturegoer” magazine.
Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
August 21, 1955: Here are some more Wizard of Oz ads and blurbs. The film was enjoying a successful second theatrical re-release. It had its TV premiere the following year.
August 21, 1956: Judy’s engagement at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, was a record-breaker!
August 21, 1957: Here is Marie Torre’s column about Judy and her latest issues with CBS. Torre later ended up in jail for not revealing her sources for a previous column regarding Judy and CBS.
On January 11, 1957, Torre published an article about a disagreement between Judy and CBS-TV and quoted a “network official” who said that Judy did not want to do the special “because she thinks she is terribly fat.” Judy sued the network for 1.3 million dollars. The Judge demanded that Torre reveal the source of the quote but she refused, claiming that being forced to do so was a violation of her rights as a reporter under the First Amendment (Freedom of the Press).
The Judge sentenced Torre to 10 days in jail. She (via her paper, the New York Herald Tribune) appealed. The case went to the Supreme Court who refused to review it, so the decision of the Court of Appeals stayed. Torre served her 10 days in jail in 1959. She never revealed her source, according to the NY Times obituary published after her death in 1997. Judy didn’t pursue the case any further after Torre was jailed and the case was dropped by mutual agreement of both parties on January 10, 1961, four years after it all began.
August 21, 1964: As reported in the papers on August 22nd, on this date Judy temporarily lost custody of daughter Lorna Luft and son Joe Luft to their father, Sid Luft.
August 21, 1965: Judy was set to appear at the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, California. Judy’s engagement at the theater from August 31, 1965, through September 5, 1965, was her first appearance “in the round.”