“Her ability to arouse responses from an audience, to create excitement, to evoke an emotional fever can be duplicated by few performers today.” – Norman Jewison, 1963
August 25, 1929: Judy and her sisters, “The Gumm Sisters,” had a two-night engagement at their father’s theater, the Valley Theater in Lancaster, California, which is where the family lived.
August 25, 1932: Judy and her sisters, as “The Gumm Sisters” were appearing at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles, listed as singing “Blue Harmony.” They warranted mention in an article about the latest Tallulah Bankhead/Gary Cooper film “Devil and the Deep” and in the theater’s advertisement. This wasn’t uncommon for the time as most theaters had live performances between showings of films.
Here is the “Variety” review of the act, as published on August 30th, in which the unnamed critic noted, “Selling end of trio is the 10-year-old sister with a pip of a lowdown voice. Kid stopped the show, but wouldn’t give more.”
August 25, 1933: The second night of a weeklong engagement for Judy and her sisters, “The Gumm Sisters,” at the Warner Bros. Downtown Theater.
August 25, 1934: Here is another ad for “The Gumm Sisters” at their engagement at the Marbro Theater in Chicago. At least this one gets their name correct. A previous ad had them listed as the “Glumm” sisters which is part of the reason why, just a week prior, during their engagement at the Oriental Theater (also in Chicago), George Jessel suggested that they change their name to “Garland.” They did, and on August 31, for their engagement at the Uptown Theater in Chicago, they were billed for the first time as “The Garland Sisters.”
August 25, 1935: In the “Variety” marriages column, Judy’s sister Suzanne’s recent marriage to Lee Kahn is noted.
August 25, 1939: More Judy Garland fashions for young girls.
August 25, 1939: This is the official date for when The Wizard of Oz went into general release in theaters around the country, although we now know that it was already in general release for fifteen days. It’s unknown if MGM designated the 25th (and if they did, why) or if it was a date given by an author decades ago, but the fact is that since the unofficial world premiere (to the public) on August 10th, the film had been in general release in many theaters around the country. Regardless, it was a hit!
August 25, 1944: Judy attended Van Johnson’s birthday party, as shown in this magazine clipping. The clipping notes that Judy was “belated” (late to the party) having “wandered in from an 11th-hour studio call.” That’s untrue. Judy was on a break from filming The Clock which lasted several days. During the interim, the original director, Fred Zinnemann, was taken off the film and Vincente Minnelli replaced him. It’s possible that Judy was at the studio on this day for an undocumented reason.
August 25, 1950: In spite of her recent well-publicized troubles, Summer Stock was proving to be a bigger hit than MGM had anticipated. Here it’s held over for a third week in Los Angeles (unusual for the time.
August 25, 1955: Judy’s very first recording session for Capitol Records took place at their studios in Hollywood, CA. She had just signed a contract with them and would sign another contract in 1960, staying with the label for a little over 10 years until the spring of 1966.
On this day, Judy recorded “A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow”; “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby” “Over The Rainbow”; and “After You’ve Gone” for her first official studio album (12″ LP), titled “Miss Show Business.” The album was released on September 26, 1955.
Photos: Three shots of Judy during this recording session by photographer Michael Ochs.
Listen to “A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow” here:
Listen to “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby” here:
Listen to “After You’ve Gone” here:
Listen to “Over The Rainbow” here:
August 25, 1960: The news of the day was that Judy was going to live permanently in London, England. Judy was current in London (having just recorded tracks for what would be known as “The London Sessions”). As much as Judy loved London, she did not set up a permanent residence at this time.
August 25, 1961: More about “Judy at Carnegie Hall” which was proving to be an astounding success, and rightfully so. It’s still a thrilling listening experience and to date has never been out of print.
August 25, 1961: Here’s an article about Judy’s upcoming appearance at The Hollywood Bowl on September 16th. The appearance was part of the “Stereo at the Bowl” series, but I think Judy’s impact on audiences would better be described in audio terms as “surround sound.”
August 25, 1962: This article about Judy’s recent filming on I Could Go On Singing is a good read. The first section describes Judy performing on stage for the filming as she did in real life. Judy talks about what The London Palladium meant to her. Click on the image to get to the larger, more readable version.
August 25, 1962: Two more articles, one about Judy’s filing for divorce from husband Sid Luft, again. The second is not about “The Judy Garland Show” TV series as one might think from the headline, but about her special with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin which was also titled “The Judy Garland Show” and then “Judy, Frank, and Dean.”
August 25, 1963: Judy’s new series, “The Judy Garland Show,” was one of the most anticipated shows of the upcoming fall season. Included above is what the new Sunday night lineup looked when “The Judy Garland Show” premiered that fall.
August 25, 1965: Judy held a two-hour press conference at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco, California. During the conference, Judy said about The Beatles (who were appearing that night at the Cow Palace) “[They’re] great guys. Awfully nice young gentlemen. They’re very intelligent. They ‘own’ Liverpool now, don’t they?”
She noted about performing: “When I do a performance, when it is over, I’m a wreck, and I sleep until about 4 p.m. the next day!”
Judy was asked about her large gay following to which she replied: “I couldn’t care less. I sing to PEOPLE!”
Watch a short clip of the interview here:
Judy announced that her upcoming concert in Houston in December would be recorded. The concert happened but no recording is known to exist.
Judy was in the Bay Area with Mark Herron vacationing. While in San Francisco, she videotaped an appearance on the syndicated TV show, “The Gypsy Rose Lee Show.” It aired on August 30, 1965. Unfortunately, only a short video clip used for a promotional reel is known to exist. All of the audio from the show has survived, you can listen to it here:
The hit Broadway musical “Gypsy” was based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee and gave us quite a few amazing performances by many great performers. Sadly, Judy never got to play the role of “Mama” but she did sing “Some People” on several occasions, putting her unique stamp on the song.
On April 26, 1962, Judy Garland and Capitol Records engaged in a “live” recording session at New York City’s Manhattan Center, for the planned Capitol album “Judy Takes Broadway.” The album was planned as a follow-up to Judy’s 1961 record-breaking double LP “Judy at Carnegie Hall.” This rehearsal recording of Judy singing “Some People” is arguably her best rendition of the song.
August 25, 1965: Till The Clouds Roll By was part of a group of films reissued in theaters as part of the “Hall of Fame” series.
August 25, 1967: Two articles and one ad. The first article asks the question of who has the best act in showbiz. I think we know the real answer to that question! The second is an article about Judy’s appearance on the Jack Paar program. The ad is for Judy’s upcoming appearance at the Post Pavillion in Columbia, Maryland on September 8th & 9th.
August 25, 1974: While That’s Entertainment! was still surprising everyone by packing in the crowds, Judy was one of the first 10 entertainers induced into the Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Below is a video of Judy’s friend and co-star, Gene Kelly, paying tribute to Judy as part of the televised Entertainment Hall of Fame event.
August 25, 1995: Rhino Records released the deluxe 2-CD expanded edition of the soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz. It was the first deluxe edition of the soundtrack to be released that included most of the music including outtakes and alternate takes and the film’s glorious background score. Unfortunately, the fidelity of the recording was (and is) sorely lacking in quality. If there’s any soundtrack that’s ready for a new remastering, this is it!
The Warner Archive has re-released this 2-CD set in digital format for download, including the booklet. Unfortunately, the Archive has merely reissued copies of the Rhino MGM soundtracks with no desire to upgrade the quality.