“It’s the most stimulating kind of thing … movies can be exciting, but they’re more static. It’s not like standing up in front of a live audience.” – Judy Garland, 1951
August 26, 1936: By mid-to-late 1936, MGM was beginning to get Judy’s name, and sometimes a photo, out to the press in various forms. In August 1936 Judy was over at the 20th-Century Fox studios filming her feature film debut in Pigskin Parade which would go into release in the fall of 1936. MGM made sure to capitalize on her success in the film. The short film she made with Deanna Durbin, Every Sunday, was also playing in theaters in the fall of 1936, giving Judy more exposure.
This photo (taken at MGM on August 15th) and the accompanying text ran in several papers around the US in late August 1936. Here are two separate clippings, one from August 22 and one from August 26 from separate papers. All of the studios sent out various items, with or without photos, for papers to add when they had space or if it was related to an upcoming film.
The caption reads:
JACKIE’S STEPPING OUT ALREADY
The erstwhile child screen star, Jackie Cooper, now grown to young manhood, is being seen quite frequently with another juvenile Hollywoodite, Judy Garland, blues singer, and tongues are already linking the two youngsters romantically. In the picture, snapped on a Hollywood street [actually the MGM backlot], Jackie and Judy apparently are out on a “date”.
August 22, 1939: More Ozzy ads and articles.
August 22, 1940: “Everything Happens To Judy Garland.” Columnist Sheilah Graham reports:
“Everything in the world happens to me in ‘Little Nelly [sic] Kelly,'” says cute Judy Garland. “I die for the first time. I get married for the first time. I have a baby for the first time. I am kissed passionately for the first time.” (Not in the order name). I gather from Judy that the kiss was the most embarrassing. “I just didn’t know what to do,” she tells me. “After George Murphy kissed me, everything went blank. They told me afterwards that I walked away without saying a word.” Judy’s embarrassment was nothing to George’s, “I felt like a hill-billy with a child bride!” Judy, at the moment, is not feeling very well and tells me why. “I did a foolish thing. And I feel awful.” There was a look in her eyes that said, “No more dieting.” I hope so.
On this day at MGM Judy was still filming Little Nellie Kelly with scenes shot on the “Interior and Exterior Keevans Bar” sets. Time called: 10 a.m.; dismissed: 3:25 p.m. There is no “Keevans Bar” in the film but at the very beginning supporting star Charles Winninger is seen inside and outside of “The Coach and Four” but Judy is not in that sequence.
August 22, 1941: Judy and Mickey Rooney and the rest of the cast of Babes on Broadway rehearsed the “Hoe Down” number. Time called: 10 a.m.; lunch: 11:50-12:50 p.m.; dismissed 4:10 p.m.
August 22, 1943: For Me And My Gal was still playing in some theaters. This fun article uses promotional photos from Judy’s rehearsals with Gene Kelly for the film although the article is about Judy in a sailboat off of Long Island Sound as well as her Army camp tours.
August 22, 1944: The Clock filming consisted of scenes shot on the “Exterior Bus Stop” and “Exterior Street” sets. Both were “process” shots meaning they were on a soundstage with rear projection. Time called: 11 a.m.; dismissed: 5:45 p.m. The assistant director’s notes state: “11:35-11:40 – Rehearsing – using Miss Garland’s stand-in; [Judy] arrived at studio 10:20, due at 11:00; [Was] on set at 11:55; 11:55-12:06 – Rehearsing with Miss Garland.”
Also on August 22, 1944: This article by Erskine Johnson about Judy’s first dramatic role in The Clock was published, reporting on how MGM and Universal both got the idea to feature their songbirds (Universal had Deanna Durbin) in dramatic roles. Judy was in the early weeks of shooting on The Clock (see entry above)
August 22, 1947: Here’s an ad for Decca Records and Judy’s duet with Bing Crosby, “Mine,” recorded on July 31, 1944.
Listen to the release version of “Mine” here:
Listen to the “C” take here:
August 22, 1951: This article by Elisabeth Toomey for the United Press reports that Judy was “going to try in this country what she did so successfully in the British Isles for the past five months – singing on the stage in front of what she calls ‘paying audiences.'” Judy also addresses her weight issues.
Judy had just returned from her successful engagement at The London Palladium and a subsequent tour of England and Scotland. The news had not yet broken that Judy was poised to bring vaudeville back to The Palace Theatre in New York.
August 22, 1953: Here’s a funny paragraph that was part of Sheilah Graham’s latest column. She claims that because Judy suffered from insomnia and could only sleep well while on the ocean, Warners Bros. was “getting Judy a boat moored in San Pedro for her to sleep in.” How Graham came up with that story is anyone’s guess!
On this day, Judy was not needed at Warner Bros. for any work on A Star Is Born, on which production had just begun.
August 22, 1954: Here’s a photo of Judy with husband Sid Luft and Warner Bros. chief Jack Warner in Monte Carlo watching Marlene Dietrich’s show. They were on vacation in Europe after the successful completion of filming on A Star Is Born (produced by Warner Bros.). Also included is a publicity photo of Judy from the film as published on this date.
August 22, 1962: The “Australian Women’s Weekly” (dated August 29, 1962) featured two Garland articles. One article was a review of “The Judy Garland Show” which aired in the U.S. on February 25 but not in Australia until August 25, and the second was about Judy and her personal life at the time. The date of this weekly publication is Wednesday, August 29, which was after the air date of the show. This is because the weekly publication was released on Wednesdays (in this case August 22) and covered events of the week ending on the following Wednesday (August 29).
How Judy came back from the depths
from BETTY BEST, in London
When a woman of 40, who has been working for 37 years, has had three broken marriages, years of being broke, and years of ill health, refers to her troubles as “minute,” she is either a very big person or a fool.
JUDY GARLAND is no fool.
She has more emotion, nerves, sensitivity, and straight-out talent packed into her trim 5 feet than any living figure in show business today. Judy as risen from depths of despair and frustration to the topmost heights of her career. She has developed from what looked like permanent adolescence to warm, satisfied maturity. She has grown from a would-be suicide to a woman with a passionate love of life. She is not only happy – she has the sense to know she is happy, and to be grateful for it.
“I was tarred and feathered in Hollywood, but I have no hate or bitterness for the past,” she said. “You need time to hate and to be bitter, and I haven’t got the time to spare. There are so many good things to do.”
This is a very different Judy from the one I met only five years ago during her wildly successful one=woman variety tour of Europe. Then she arrived on a wave of loving wholesome publicity on the arm of her tall, handsome former test pilot husband, Sid Luft. On the face of it, that was a far more propitious entrance than her more recent one. There are no screaming headlines about “Flight to Save Children,” “Judy Flees-Husband Held,” or “Dash to London After Unfit Mother Charge.”
Instead, there was a glamorous reception in one of London’s oldest stately homes, a Niagara of champagne followed by an avalanche of stories about Judy’s happy marriage. Yet the plump little figure in a brocade mandarin coat seemed tense and taut.
She smiled constantly and had a gracious phrase for everyone – but her handshake was clammy with nerves and her eyes looked frightened. She was still the child star whom time had caught up with.
She generated nostalgia and sympathy in her guests that night, but she looked as if she needed to get her through a shattering ordeal. Not that it showed the minute she got on stage. Once there she was the tireless trouper, the same old electrifying Judy who wowed us with “A Couple of Swells” and sent us home misty-eyed to “Over the Rainbow.”
What we didn’t know was that she was drenched in sweat during every performance. So great was her stage fright that Sid often had to push her from the wings. Now she admits that during that tour she became so terrified that she would have an attack of nausea in the middle of a performance and not know how to go on.
For two years she fought this mounting horror with any and every medicine she could lay her hands on. But her fears mounted until they took in everything from aeroplanes to food allergies, insomnia to overweight. Then late in 1959 fate struck its cruelest blow: Her voice gave out.
With nothing left to fight with, she went to New York hospital where doctors diagnosed hepatitis and told her she would never work again. Perhaps it was the challenge that dredged the courage up from rock bottom. If you’ve worked on stage since you toddled, an audience is as essential as the air you breathe.
Contrary to all expectations, Judy obeyed her doctors’ orders to the letter. She kept to a strict diet, drank only a drop of diluted wine with her meals, dodged all parties and publicity, and concentrated on her children, Liza, Lorna, and Joe.
She admits now that she weighed more than 13 stone and “felt so fat that I thought I ought to tie myself to the bedpost at night to stop me floating away.”
Quite suddenly she knew what she has to do. She had to stop being run by others and stand on her own two feet. All her life, from the time she was in vaudeville with her mother and sisters, through studio childhood at M.G.M., every move she made had been managed for her.
Now 40, she would be an adult for the first time. “I did something completely alone,” she said. I bought a ticket, got on a plane, and went through Customs alone, and I had never done any of those things before. They had been done for me. I was determined to come to England and see my old friend Dirk Bogarde, and nothing was going to stop me.”
Nothing ever has since. Within six months Judy had her voice back and was singing at the London Palladium. Her reception was fantastic, so she went on to a European tour. She was a sell-out.
But she still wasn’t sure about her own country. After all, it was there she had had her studio battles which culminated in a suspension, after which she had slashed her neck with broken glass. It was there she had buried her marriages, had her breakdowns and tried a comeback which never worked in “A Star Is Born.”
But she went to see Sammy Davis, Jr., on his last night at the Copacabana, where there is a show-business tradition that the star on-stage introduces all famous names in the audience. They were all there, from Louella Parsons to William Bendix, but as Sammy stepped to the microphone he said, “Ladies and gentlemen, tonight I will dispense with tradition and just introduce two great ladies in the audience. The first is my mother.”
His mother took her bow to polite applause, and then he went on: “The second great lady has just returned from London, where she has been recovering from a serious illness. Her name is Judy Garland.”
For an instant there was silence then the great club rocked to an emotion that lasted for minutes. As Judy walked to the microphone in a plain white blouse and black skirt, the entire audience rose to its feet calling her name. She wept. They wept. The musicians wept.
Then they began to pick out the first bars of “Over the Rainbow,” and, through her tears, Judy began to sing. Never before had an audience been so with her. They willed her to success and begged her for encores. She was home and wanted and loved as never before.
From Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, the rest of America showed that the night at the Copacabana was only a beginning.
She was given truly personal, spontaneous bursts of affection, not only on the stage but also when her name appeared on the credits of the film “Judgment at Nuremberg.” No other star has ever been accorded such warmth – unless it has been boosted by sex appeal. Hers isn’t.
All big show-business names have tried to define Judy’s magic. Sammy Davis says, “People like to see the champ get up off the floor to score a knockout.” Stanley Kramer, who knew he had a winner in Judy for “Judgment at Nuremberg,” says: “She is a great technician. There is nobody in the entertainment world today, actor or singer, who can run the complete range of emotions from utter pathos to power and dimension the way she can. She is like a piano. You touch any key and a pure note of emotion comes out.”
Then he adds: There is another attribute she seems to have acquired lately. Maybe it was the last siege of misfortune that did it. She now has the dignity of a woman who has been through it all. People sense this dignity and respond to it. More than anything else this accounts for the incredible mass neurosis of reaction she starts whenever she is on-stage.”
Jerry Lewis says: “Everyone knows the troubles she has been through, and all identify themselves with her. When she sings she communicates all the emotions they can’t communicate for themselves, because they don’t have the stage, the microphone, or the talent.”
Because love for Judy is so personal I asked her why she thought she produced it. “I have no idea,” she said. “I think it may be because they feel the personal love I have for them, and they return it quite naturally. I never regard an audience en masse, but think of them as individuals.”
She hates talking about her personal life, but I asked her if the general audience love made up for personal losses and disappointments and she said, “I imagine so. it is most gratifying to get this wave of affection and it must make up for my own losses, which are minute compared with the affection I receive.”
To look at her now is to know she speaks the truth. There could be no greater contrast with the woman I met at that grand reception five years ago. Her newly acquired slimness (she is now ten stone) has made all her movements quicker and lighter. But more important is the look of confidence and peace on her face.
She told me a story to explain it. “When I was making the film ‘A Child Is Waiting’ just before I left America, I worked with mentally handicapped children in a home. They used to come and lean quite silently against me in trust and friendship. I asked the medical director how they could give such love without fear of being repulsed and he said, ‘They have accepted failure, so now everything that happens to them can only be a step up.’ That taught me a lot.”
I asked her if her own children had helped her through the difficult times. “They saved my life,” she said. “They are my life. They are all important to me.”
It is for them that Judy now lives in a three-storeyed Edwardian house in Kensington with a little garden, loads of comfort, and no Hollywood style.
She has a tutor for Lorna, who is nine, and Joey, seven. Liza, 16, goes out to singing and dancing lessons she loves as much as her mother did. Judy has a Spanish cook and a butler, her own hairdresser from the U.S., and an English woman secretary so that every spare minute can be spent with her children.
She works at Shepperton Studios from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 at night on a new film, “The Lonely Stage,” yet she still gets up in the middle of the night to cook a special dish she knows the children might enjoy the next day.
When I asked her if she felt they had ever hampered her in her career, she said, “Never. They’ve made my life brighter and my work more fulfilling.”
She seemed so much more at peace than ever before that I asked if she had a religion or philosophy which accounted for it. “My children and I have a religion,” she said. “It is simply that we believe in God and prayer. We do not go to church, but our belief is strong. My philosophy in life is based on my belief in God and prayer.”
The little girl from “The Wizard of Oz” has gone at last. In her place is a very happy woman who has discovered her rainbow.
August 22, 1962: Here is the text of the review of “The Judy Garland Show” from that same issue of the “Australian Women’s Weekly” dated August 29, 1962, but published on August 22, 1962.
Judy’s show – it’s breathtaking
By NAN MUSGROVE
I’ll be surprised if televiewers don’t go wild one way or the other when they see “The Judy Garland Show”, Judy’s first spectacular, on Australian TV.
It lasts an hour and is pure Judy from start to finish, although she is supported by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. These not-unknown performers don’t even get equal billing – Judy’s name is up in lights 20 feet high all through.
And both the men sing, better than ever, solo, duets with Miss Garland, and the three of them together; but so overwhelming is the impact of Judy’s singing and personality that at the end of the show I wondered what had happened to them.
At the special preview I had, there were no commercials. I missed them. I needed a break to draw my breath and rest. For Judy’s emotional singing makes this show an experience that is exciting but exhausting.
It is a really colossal show. Judy sings 10 solos and every one is her song. When she sang “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” it sounded like an anthem. It was so charged with emotion that I thought: if anyone strikes a match there’ll be a terrific explosion.
Explosions seem to go with Judy. People don’t feel neutral about her. They either love her or loathe her. If you love her, this is definitely your show. And even if you are one of the people who loathe her, watch to see what life does to a woman.
Every now and then you catch a glimpse of the enchanting child who sang “Over the Rainbow,” the excited young woman who sang “The Trolley Song,” but mostly you see the face of a woman with every emotional jag she has suffered showing.
It is still a face you would stop and look at twice; a face far more interesting that it was before. Her figure is good, dieted down to shapeliness from the fat that came from her compulsive eating; and she still has the wonderful Garland legs, unmarred by age.
For the first half she shows them off in a short basic black sheath and different jackets; for the second half, she startled me by wearing the tightest stretch pants with a loose top made of shimmering paillettes. I thought at first they were a mistake but ended thinking she looked better in them than in the more conservative sheath.
If you still want other reasons for looking at the Judy Garland show, I give you two more – Sinatra (wearing a new toupee, but showing his age more than usual) and Martin. I’ve never heard them in more magnificent form.
August 23, 1964: Judy’s estranged husband, Sid Luft, had filed a petition for custody of their two children, Lorna and Joe, on August 6th. On this day a judge in Santa Monia, California, granted temporary custody of the children to Sid. His request for permanent custody was not scheduled to be heard until late October (Judy was still in London at this time). Sid alleged that Judy was “squandering the family fortune on her friend, actor Mark Herron.”
August 22, 1965: Judy was all set to open at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles in September. The article gives readers a little bit of the history of Judy’s beginnings as a performer.
August 22, 1965: Judy’s daughter, Liza Minnelli, was in the news almost as much as her mother. Liza’s career was beginning to take off. Also included is this nice review of the recent Capitol double album “Judy & Liza – ‘Live’ at the London Palladium” which had been released on July 25, 1965.
August 22, 2010: The “Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz” made its way to Sacramento, California.