On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – August 28

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“She is at her best before an audience, because one of her attractive qualities is givingness; to use a phrase of Sidney Lanier’s, she is ‘nothing withholding and free.'” – Rebecca Morehouse, 1967

August 28, 1933:  Judy and her two sisters, “The Gumm Sisters,” continued their week-long engagement as part of the stage act at the Warner Bros. Hollywood Theater in Hollywood, California.

August 28, 1938:  Judy’s previous association with Ethel Meglin and her school for professional children worked in Meglin’s favor as shown in this ad and article.  Judy was enjoying success in her first appearance in the Andy Hardy series, Love Finds Andy Hardy.

August 28, 1938:  Back to school with Judy Garland dresses.

August 28, 1939:  More Ozzy ads and reviews.  Contrary to what’s still being written, the overwhelming majority of reviews for The Wizard of Oz were stellar.  The film worked its special brand of charm on audiences from the very beginning.

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 Biography 1939 Page.

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


August 28, 1939:  The famous MGM schoolhouse and teacher Anna MacDonald is the subject of this article about studio schools.

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 Biography 1939 Page.

August 28, 1940:  Filming continued on Little Nellie Kelly with more scenes shot on the “Interior Kelly Flat” set (where she shows off her formal dress to her father, played by George Murphy).  Time called: 9 a.m.; dismissed: 5:54 p.m.  Judy also poted for publicity stills for the film.

NOTE:  Judy’s new MGM contract was approved and went into effect on this date (but not filed in the Superior Court of Los Angeles until September 25th).

The new contract called for an immediate raise from $600 to $2,000 per week, the week being Monday through Saturday, with options over seven years to bring her up to $3,000 per week.  For seven years with at least forty weeks of work each year, MGM was willing to guarantee Judy a total salary of $680,000 for each of those years.  This contract stayed in place until 1946 when a new one was drafted giving Judy even more money and (so it seemed) more control over her career and workload.

Photos:  Lobby card; Judy is seen in publicity photos with George Murphy, Douglas McPhail, and Charles Winninger.  Photos provided by Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!

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

August 28, 1942:  This photo was taken by an MGM photographer on the studio’s backlot.  Judy is seen with an unnamed Marine who was probably visiting someone at the studio or was the recipient of a studio tour.  Judy was currently filming Presenting Lily Mars.  She’s seen in her “Tom, the Piper’s Son” costume.


August 28, 1943:  Judy appeared with Bing Crosby and Jimmy Durante on the “Command Performance” Show #81.

Judy sang a Gershwin medley (which was just two songs, “Embraceable You” and a lovely rendition of “The Man I Love”), “People Will Say We’re In Love” (with Bing); and also with Bing a comic song medley.

Listen to “Embraceable You/The Man I Love” here:

Listen to the remastered version of “People Will Say We’re In Love” here:

Listen to the entire broadcast (not restored) here:

More Garland radio performances can be heard and downloaded at The Judy Room’s “Judy Sings! On The Radio” pages here.

Photo: Judy and Bing in 1944 (I don’t have a 1943 photo of the two of them together).

August 28, 1943:  This photo of Judy with Jane Withers at a Hollywood theme party is dated for this date but it’s unclear when the party actually happened.  Below are two newspaper clippings from the same party.  Judy is seen with Donald O’Connor and Peggy Ryan.

August 28, 1943:  It’s odd that Judy was still being presented as a “junior” while at the same time she was finally given the glamour treatment in Presenting Lily Mars.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Presenting Lily Mars here.

August 28, 1944 Zinneman letter Bobby Waters

August 28, 1944:  Director Fred Zinnemann wrote this letter to fellow MGM director, Vincente Minnelli.  The subject was Zinnemann’s removal from directing The Clock and Minnelli replacing him:

Dear Vince —

Thanks very much for your very nice note.  I was glad to have it — and I would like to assure you that I have not hard feelings against you.  In fact I do not see what else you could have done under the circumstances, but to accept the assignment.

I wish I could look upon the whole things as a joke, but somehow it doesn’t strike me very funny.  I think that the incident marks a new low in the treatment of directors, in professional ethics, tact and consideration which a director has a right to expect.

I think that Judy has behaved pretty badly in this whole set up — and I have great contempt for the conduct of Arthur Free — both as a producer and as a man.

However, for your sake and for the sake of Bob Walker and Bob Nathan, I hope that this turns out to be a very fine and successful film.  Please believe me when I say that I hold nothing but good thoughts and the best wishes for you.

Once again, thanks for the note — and the very best of luck.

Fred Zinnemann

Scan provided by Bobby Waters.  Thanks, Bobby!

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


August 28, 1946:  By 1946 there was no mistaking that Judy had grown into a glamorous leading lady.

August 28, 1947:  Hedda Hopper reported that Judy was back in California, had gained much-needed weight, and was ready to begin work on Easter Parade.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Till The Clouds Roll By here.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Easter Parade here.


August 28, 1948:   Easter Parade.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Easter Parade here.

August 28, 1948:  Two Easter Parade items from the trade magazine “Motion Picture Herald.”  The first features the film’s current grosses.  The second item notes the local campaign for the film by the manager of the Loew’s State Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri.

August 28, 1949:  Judy’s recent hit, In The Good Old Summertime, and the first re-release of her 1939 masterpiece, The Wizard of Oz, were both getting great reviews and business.  This helped Judy’s image with the public since she had been fired from Annie Get Your Gun and had spent most of the summer at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, for a “rest” (curing her dependency on prescription medicines).

Note:  That last ad for The Wizard of Oz is from 1951.  The film was still in re-release in some smaller towns and cities even as late as 1951.

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

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on In The Good Old Summertime here.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on Annie Get Your Gun here.

August 28, 1950:  Another ad from the trade magazine “Film Bulletin.”  Summer Stock is one of the listed films.


August 28, 1951:  Jinx Falkenburg’s column tells of Judy’s experiences with MGM and Mr. Mayer’s chicken soup as told to Falkenburg by Judy.  Judy also chatted about her weight issues and mentioned a concert tour starting “next September.”   That proposed September 1951 tour did not happen.  Judy made her first appearance at The Palace in New York on October 16, 1951.  It was a record-breaking run that did not end until February 24, 1952.  Afterward, she has two concert engagements of the Palace show, but not an actual tour.

August 28, 1951:  Judy’s upcoming engagement at The Palace Theater was announced in the press on this day, and for days afterward.  Judy’s new manager, and future husband, Sid Luft, had the idea on August 13th while walking down Broadway in New York.  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).

The engagement was originally scheduled for four weeks but ultimately extended to nineteen weeks due to its phenomenal success.  Judy’s comeback was the greatest in show business history up to that date – and to this day.

August 28, 1954:  Judy and Sid’s vacation in Europe (accompanied by, and paid for by, Warner Bros. studio boss Jack Warner), continued to make the gossip columns.  Also included here is an interesting little news item in which Judy is alleged to have claimed that the upcoming (and highly anticipated) A Star Is Born “…presents to film fans the world over a concise and complete course in the operation of a large studio.”

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

August 28, 1955:  Judy and her husband Sid Luft are seen on the town at the Mocambo in Hollywood.  Also, this article about Van Johnson provides a nice, and not entirely false, story about Judy’s 1939 trip to New York:

August-28,-1955-VAN-JOHNSON-ARTICLE-The_Ogden_Standard_Examiner-(UT)When Judy Garland was 16 years old, she was in New York on a publicity tour.  Milton Weiss, then an M.G.M. publicist, asked her what she wanted most for her birthday.

Weiss almost flipped when Judy said she wanted to go to a nightclub.  

“I would have been fired in a minute if I had taken Metro’s prize child star to a nightclub.  yet I didn’t want to disappoint her so I asked Entratter’s [Jack Entratter, head of the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas] advice,” Weiss recalls.

Show for Judy

Entratter, then impresario of the Copacabana in New York, said he would put the whole show on at 6 p.m., just for Judy and her own guests.  Backstage earlier at a matinee of “Pal Joey,” she had met two young fellows she liked.  They were invited.

That night in her hotel room, Judy penned a penny postcard to L.B. Mayer and suggested that he sign the two young fellow – one was the star of the show – Gene Kelly; the other was a dancer and bit player – Van Johnson.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.


August 28, 1960:  Judy’s very first two-act solo concert (which was also the first known, two-act, solo, one-woman concert by a female pop vocalist) took place at the London Palladium.

Judy devised her own program (!)  In 1962 she joked “I figured out my program myself on the inside of a pack of matched).  She also selected her clothes and even helped design the lighting for the concert.

Judy opened with “I Happen To Like This Town” which was “I Happen To Like New York” with special lyrics added about London.  She closed the first act with “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in tribute to Oscar Hammerstein who had passed away five days before the concert.  The rest of the concert featured the same songs as her program at Carnegie Hall on April 23, 1961.

Judy received ecstatic reviews.

Isadore Green of “The Record Mirror” said:  “At the conclusion of every number there was an outburst of applause of tornado-like dimensions.  At the end of an unforgettable performance, the reception was just as unforgettable.  It was a standing ovation. People just went crazy with exhilaration.  They stood up and clapped and cheered and shouted at the top of their voices.”

Critic Jack Hutton said: “Incredible, to see so many stars wallowing in unashamed admiration for another.  Incredible to hear [her] magic set fire to the last chorus of some square old song and watch the audience burst at the seams and applaud bars before the end.”

Columnist Angus Hall called Judy “The High priestess of pop.”

The snapshot shown here is Judy with good friend and mentor Kay Thompson and daughter Liza Minnelli, after the show’s opening.  Thompson was also Liza’s godmother.  The ticket stub was provided by Armand.  Thanks, Armand!

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

August 28, 1963:  Judy, along with several other celebrities (including Charleton Heston, Ertha Kitt, and Marlon Brando see here) took part in the civil rights march on Washington.  Judy was an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement.  These photos were taken on August 7, 1963, in Los Angeles during a meeting of celebrities in anticipation of this event.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.


August 28, 1967:  Judy “stands as a symbol.”  Columnist Rebecca Morehouse writes that Judy is “the symbol absolute” for “the Age of Anxiety and the Age of Affluence.”

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

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