“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.”
The planned command performance never happened. Judy and Mickey did not return to the Capitol Theatre in New York to promote Babes In Arms, which premiered in Hollywood on October 10, 1939. They stayed in Los Angeles. On October 16th Judy recorded “Oceans Apart” (co-written by Mickey), “Figaro,” “Embraceable You,” and “Swanee” for Decca records, followed by an appearance on Bob Hope’s radio show the next evening.
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 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.
Learn more about all of Judy’s Decca recordings at The Judy Garland Online Discography’s Decca Records section here.
August 29, 1939: This notice reported that the fiction Judge Hardy Family was scheduled to travel to London to appear before King George and Queen Elizabeth at a command performance. It’s noted that Judy and Mickey Rooney were to travel to England from 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 that October, 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.
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 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 what the film as “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.
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 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. Playback disc photo provided by John Newton. Thanks, John!
Seen in the photos below are Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Virginia Weidler, Busby Berkeley, Roger Edens, Ray McDonald, Richard Quine, and Anne Rooney.
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 in fact it was a kewpie doll although Mary Pickford was involved and handed the dolls to the finalists of the contest. 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.
I believe that 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 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’s 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 below.
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 above and below). 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.”