“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, 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, 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.
August 28, 1939: The famous MGM schoolhouse and teacher Anna MacDonald is the subject of this article about studio schools.
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 posted 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!
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 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: 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.
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.
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 Brent Brigham Hosptial 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.
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 her upcoming concert tour starting that September. It turned out not to be an actual tour, not until after her comeback at The Palace in New York was completed in 1952.
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.”
August 28, 1955: Judy and 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:
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.
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.”
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.
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.”