“Throughout, she radiated magic. She skipped from song to song according to her mood … she made a dozen giggling false starts. Sometimes she forgot the words. But the audience loved it.” – Edward Goring of the Daily Mail reporting on Judy’s return to The London Palladium on August 28, 1960
August 29, 1938: Judy’s new work statement (issued on August 30, 1938), issued by Lowes, Inc. (MGM) went into effect on this day, per “option D” of her original contract (dated September 27, 1935). It ran through October 28, 1939. The statement guaranteed Judy forty weeks of work, at five hundred dollars per week, and covered nineteen-and-a-half weeks of work on The Wizard of Oz and eleven weeks of tests and production on Babes in Arms. The statement also provided for “casting office interviews,” “idle time,” and “layoffs.”
On September 25, 1940, Judy’s new MGM contract was filed in the Superior Court of Los Angeles. The new contract called for an immediate raise from $600 (her current weekly salary) 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 more money and (so it seemed) more control over her career and workload.
August 29, 1939: May Mann’s “Going Hollywood” syndicated column mentioned that a planned promotional tour for Judy and Mickey Rooney to London would most likely be canceled due to Europe being “on the verge of war.” It was originally announced on August 14th that “The Hardy Family Will Visit Europe” with the following blurb was picked up by papers around the country:
Members of the Judge Hardy Family, Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Fay Holden and Cecilia Parker, with Judy Garland, will appear before their Royal Majesties, King George and Queen Elizabeth, at the State Theatre, Kilburn, England, on October 18, in a command performance for the annual Cinematograph Trade Benevolent Fund, Great Britain’s motion Picture Charity Organization.
The Judge Hardy Family will sail for England soon after Rooney and Miss Garland make a personal appearance at the Capitol Theatre, New York, in connection with their current M-G-M picture, “Babes In Arms.” Miss Garland was featured in “Love Finds Andy Hardy.”
It was noted that the duo was to to appear before King George and Queen Elizabeth at a command performance and that they were to travel to England then back to New York where they were scheduled to appear at the Capitol Theatre in connection with Babes in Arms. That film premiered in Los Angeles, California, on October 10, 1939.
Any plans for Judy and Mickey to return to the Capitol Theatre (they were currently at the theater performing between showings of The Wizard of Oz) to promote Babes in Arms were scrapped, as were any alleged plans for the cast to travel to England. After the film premiered on October 10th, Judy recorded “Oceans Apart” (co-written by Mickey), “Figaro,” “Embraceable You,” and “Swanee” for Decca records (October 16th). Judy spent the rest of the year making weekly appearances on “The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope” on NBC-Radio. It was a rare period of relative inactivity for Judy. She didn’t begin work on her next film, Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, until February of 1940. This was the last time Judy had such a long period of inactivity at MGM until whe went on maternity leave in November of 1945.
Meanwhile, The Wizard of Oz was being held over in theaters across the nation due to its great success. A notice in Miami went out saying the upcoming film, These Glamor Girls starring Lana Turner would begin a day late because of the Oz crowds. The general admission prices ranged from 10 cents for children to anywhere from 25 to 40 cents for adults. The higher prices were for the evening/night showings.
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.
Learn more about all of Judy’s Decca recordings at The Judy Garland Online Discography’s Decca Records section here.
August 29, 1939: The Wizard of Oz in the trade magazines.
August 29, 1940: MGM put out full-page ads promoting their upcoming 1940/41 schedule. Judy was featured and mentioned for the upcoming releases Strike Up The Band, Little Nellie Kelly, and Ziegfeld Girl. MGM (or perhaps the newspaper?) made a mistake in some of the copy. In one column Ziegfeld Girl is noted as “The Ziegfeld Girl” with Eleanor Powell as the star along with Lana Turner, Hedy Lamarr, and James Stewart. On that same page is a listing of “Ziegfeld Girl” with Judy’s name replacing Eleanor’s.
On this day at MGM Judy was filming Little Nellie Kelly, with more scenes shot on the “Interior Kelly Flat” set. Time called 9 a.m.; dismissed: 6:39 p.m.
August 29, 1941: Judy, Mickey Rooney, and the rest of the cast of Babes on Broadway pre-recorded “Hoe Down” for the film. The Daily Music Report shows that takes 15, 19, and 22 of the first section were printed, and takes 2 and 3 of the “finale” section of the number (orchestra only) were printed. Seen in the photos are Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Virginia Weidler, Busby Berkeley, Roger Edens, Ray McDonald, Richard Quine, and Anne Rooney.
Listen to “Hoe Down” here:
Time called: 10:30 a.m.; lunch: 12:50-1:50 p.m.; time dismissed: 4:50 p.m. The cast began filming the number just a few days later on September 2, 1941, which means that the playback disc created for use during the filming must have been rushed through the process. What’s interesting is that the report lists the song as Scene No. 2011 with the “finale” following at Scene No. 2012. The playback disc (shown below) lists the scene number of Part 1 of the song as 2404. The logical explanation is that either the number is wrong on the disc or the numbers changed due to script rewrites.
Here is the previously unreleased partial alternate take of the song recorded from the surviving playback disc. Note that the playback disc is dated September 2, 1941. That’s the date the disc was created.
Thanks to Histato M. for providing the audio transfer for The Judy Room!
Playback disc photo here provided by John Newton. Thanks, John!
August 29, 1941: “KEEP YOUR SKIN IMMACULATELY CLEAN”! Judy is an example of healthy young skin. She could also be seen in Life Begins for Andy Hardy.
August 29, 1943: Here’s more about the fate of Judy’s “Better Babies” doll. Judy gifted her favorite doll to her niece Judalien. Apparently, this is the final fate of the doll after a rather colorful and previously unknown “history” with Judy Garland. However, to make things confusing, the article above claims the doll was a life-sized golden-haired doll when it was a kewpie doll although Mary Pickford was involved and handed the dolls to the contest’s finalists. Here’s the story:
On May 3, 1942, an article was written about Judy lending her childhood doll to MGM for use as a prop in the “Doll Shop” number in For Me And My Gal. The article goes on to state, “Judy came to the rescue with her own cherished childhood dolly. It was one the young star had won in a contest sponsored by Mary Pickford many years ago.” One would assume that this was more fiction dreamed up by MGM’s every prolific publicity department. However, it just might be true! At least the existence of the doll, Mary Pickford’s connection to it, and the contest are true.
On March 27 & 28, 1930, two newspapers in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, The Daily News Journal and The Home Journal, both reported that “Little Frances Gumm” (seven-year-old Judy) had become the finalist in a “prettiest children” contest in Los Angeles. The reason the papers gave this any attention at all is that Murfreesboro is the hometown of Judy’s father, Frank Gumm.
According to the two reports, Judy was one of 15 finalists out of 27,000 children who were up for a film contract with Paramount Pictures. The articles go on to state that the 15 finalists were each given “a beautiful $150 doll by Mary Pickford.”
Judy didn’t win the contest or the film contract and no other information is known about Judy’s association with it aside from the fact that she received a doll for her participation.
One article notes that the finalists were featured in a full-page photo in the Los Angeles Express. That paper was sold a year later to the Hearst Publication company and was merged with the Los Angeles Herald becoming the Los Angeles Herald-Express and then the evening Los Angeles Herald-Examiner lasting until 1989. There are no records online, nor are there any notices in the Los Angeles Times about the contest during the time period (early 1930). So the existence of the photo is a mystery.
The doll in question is the kewpie doll that Lucille Norman hands to George Murphy in the bottom pic below (it’s also just to George’s left in the screenshot above). Kewpie dolls were popular in the early part of the 20th Century beginning in 1912. It’s the type of doll that would have been given out at a contest even in 1930.
Finally, having Lucille grab Judy’s childhood doll is just the kind of “in-joke” that Judy and the Freed Unit would have engaged in, similar to the use of “the plans have changed” in Meet Me In St. Louis which was a running joke in the Unit about the ever-changing work environment.
August 29, 1943: Presenting Lily Mars.
August 29, 1944: Here is another example of the kind of fluff that MGM put out in the papers, keeping their star’s names in the public consciousness while also showing their patriotism.
August 29, 1945: The news broke that Judy and Vincente Minnelli were expecting. The result, of course, was their daughter and a future legend herself, Liza Minnelli, born on March 12, 1946.
August 29, 1950: Two items: 1) Hedda Hopper reported on Judy’s recent night out on the town. 2) A recent review of Summer Stock.
August 29, 1953: According to this article, Judy was on a diet of nuts and watercress.
August 29, 1955: Judy’s second recording session for Capitol Records in Hollywood, California.
On this date, Judy recorded “Carolina In The Morning”; a medley of “You Made Me Love You/For Me And My Gal/The Boy Next Door/The Trolley Song” (at this point, Judy’s “Olio” included “The Boy Next Door”); the “Judy At The Palace” medley; and “While We’re Young.”
The songs were included on Judy’s very first LP album, “Miss Show Business,” released on September 25, 1955.
Listen to “While We’re Young” here:
Listen to “Carolina In The Morning” here:
Listen to “Judy’s Olio” here:
Listen to “Judy At The Palace” here:
August 29, 1960: This snapshot was taken of Judy at the Mayfair Hotel in London. Judy was happy because that previous night she had premiered her new one-woman show which was her very first two-act solo concert (which was also the first known, two-act, solo, one-woman concert by a female pop vocalist) at the London Palladium. The reviews were ecstatic, as shown here.
August 29, 1962: Judy’s recent hit TV special with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, first broadcast in the U.S. on February 25, 1962, premiered in Australia on August 25, 1962. At the time the special was called “The Judy Garland Show” but after Judy’s actual series began in 1963 and aptly titled “The Judy Garland Show,” this special usually has been known as “Judy, Frank, and Dean.”
The Australian Women’s Weekly dated August 29, 1962, featured these articles. The cover referenced the August 25th broadcast so it’s possible this newspaper supplement was printed/published prior to the 25th.
The text of the articles read as follows:
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 that 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 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 las 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 in 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.
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 and 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 29, 1966: Here’s a great image of Judy used to promote the upcoming repeat of her guest hostess appearance on The Hollywood Palace. Yes, Judy was the queen!
August 29, 1967: Judy had just completed her run at The Palace in New York and was preparing to take her show on the road. The first stop was The Boston Commons on August 31st, followed by The Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland (see the ads shown here).
Earl Wilson reported in his column that someone had a sign up at Judy’s final night at The Palace, “Judy Garland for President.” Wouldn’t that have been something? An accompanying sign read “John Bubbles for Vice President.” Bubbles appeared with Judy in her Palace show. Wilson also notes the departure of Judy’s one-time fiance, Tom Green. Green announced that he and Judy had called off their engagement stating, “Judy Garland is probably the finest, kindest, most morally responsible person I have ever met. Her only outstanding fault to my knowledge has been listening to the wrong people and taking their advice, which has often resulted in great personal loneliness and unhappiness.”
August 29, 2023: The release date for the newly remastered Gay Purr-ee on Blu-ray, from the Warner Archive Collection.
From the press release:
Original Theatrical Trailer