“She’s a smash. She’s so dynamic. She just grabs you.” – Los Angeles Dodgers Team Captain, Maury Wills, 1965
August 30, 1932: Judy (still going by Frances) received her first-ever “Variety” review which is also the sisters’ first notice in any theatrical trade paper. “The Gumm Sisters” had been performing at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles, California since August 25th. The comic Fuzzy Knight was the headliner. The sisters performed a twenty-minute routine five times a day – six times a day on the weekend.
“Variety,” said of the show: Gumm sisters, harmony trio, socked with two numbers. Selling end of trio is the ten-year-old sister with a pip of a lowdown voice. Kid stopped the show, but wouldn’t give more.
Photos: “The Gumm Sisters” in 1932; 1932 snapshot of Judy with a friend in Lancaster, California (where the Gumm family lived).
August 30, 1933: This ad promoted the upcoming engagement of “The Gumm Sisters” at the Warner Brothers Downtown Theater beginning on August 31st. However, here they’re billed as “Three DRUMM Sisters – Harmony Supreme.”
August 30, 1934: This ad for the Uptown Theater in Chicago is one of the earliest instances of the newly christened “Garland Sisters” being advertised. The sisters began their engagement at the Uptown the following day (August 31st).
The act had been renamed by George Jessel when they played the Oriental Theater (also in Chicago) August 17 through 23, 1934 and got laughs when he introduced them by their family name, Gumm (The Gumm Sisters). They would be listed as “Gumm” again off and on, over the next year. They also tried “Garland 3” and the “Frances Garland Trio.”
August 30, 1937: Judy’s very first recording contract (with Decca Records) was “sealed” with a recording session that produced her second single for the label which was comprised of “Everybody Sing” and “All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm.” The single was released in September of 1937, Decca single #1432. It was the second Judy Garland single released by Decca, the first was “Stompin’ At The Savoy/Swing Mr. Charlie,” released in July 1936, a full year before Judy signed this first contract.
Listen to “Everybody Sing” here:
Listen to the alternate take of “Everybody Sing” here:
Listen to “All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm” here:
Learn more about all of Judy’s Decca recordings at The Judy Garland Online Discography’s Decca Records Section here.
Record label images are from the Rick Smith Collection. Thanks, Rick!
August 30, 1939: The Wizard of Oz was still enjoying “boffo” business at the box office, but that didn’t stop MGM from promoting Judy’s next film, her first co-starring musical with Mickey Rooney, Babes in Arms (also the first in the “Let’s Put On A Show” series).
Babes in Arms didn’t premiere until October, but the accompanying article about the upcoming films notes that it was due in September which was probably an early targeted release date by the studio.
Of note is the mention of Ziegfeld Follies in the ad as well as the article. Follies didn’t go into production until 1944, helmed by the newly-formed “Freed Unit.”
August 30, 1939 [plus before and after]: MGM’s publicity department was getting Judy’s name out there, sending various articles and blurbs for papers around the country to run as they pleased when they had space.
Here are a couple of interesting blurbs, one of which might be based in fact the other, well, you be the judge:
GET FAN MAIL NOW AS DOROTHY GARLAND
Judy Garland today doesn’t know whether she is Judy or Dorothy, so closely has the identity of L. Frank Baum’s little heroine clung to her since her appearance in the role in “The Wizard of Oz,” lavish Technicolor musical coming Sunday to the Midland theater [Newark, OH]. Fans address her as “Dorothy,” and many of her fan letters come to the studio addressed to Dorothy Garland.
In a short but eventful career, Judy regards “The Wizard of Oz,” in which she appears with Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley and other of the brilliant all-star cast, the red-letter event of her life.
Judy Garland gave her swimming prowess a real test and almost gave her mother heart failure at Balboa. With Barbara Koshay, her stand-in and former Olympic team star, Judy was sailing around Balboa bay [sic]. As the boat headed for the shore, Judy peeled off a sun suit, which she was wearing over her swimming outfit and, without even waiting to don a swimming cap, dove overboard. Mother Garland laughed, but not for long. Judy struck out for the opposite shore and yelled for them to follow. Mrs. Garland’s shouts to come back fell on deaf ears. Judy kept on going. There was nothing to do but turn the boat around and follow. Laughing at appeals of Barbara and her mother to stop and climb aboard, Judy swam the entire width of the bay, approximately a mile.
The scan of the color magazine photo provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
August 30, 1939: The last day of appearances for Judy and Mickey Rooney at the Capitol Theater in New York. They had been doing shows between showings of The Wizard of Oz since August 17th. Mickey had to go back to MGM in California. Later on this night the duo appeared a Madison Square Garden (see pic). Some footage of the duo sitting in the audience after performing (but no actual performance video) exists and has been released on the various Oz home media releases.
Also on this day, Loews, Inc. (MGM) issued Judy’s work statement for the period from October 29, 1938, to October 28, 1939, per “option D” of her original contract (dated September 27, 1935). The statement guaranteed Judy forty weeks of work, at five hundred dollars per week, and covered nineteen-and-a-half weeks of work on “Oz” and eleven weeks of tests and production on Babes in Arms. The statement also provided for “casting office interviews,” “idle time,” and “layoffs.”
Program photos provided by Armand DiNucci-Laguerre. Thanks, Armand!
August 30, 1939: This snapshot was taken of Judy and Mickey Rooney in New York. As noted above it was the last day of appearances for Judy and Mickey Rooney at the Capitol Theater in New York. This photo is thought to have been taken outside the theater.
August 30, 1939: This ad from MGM touting the success of The Wizard of Oz appeared in the trade magazines.
August 30, 1940: Andy Hardy Meets Debutante.
August 30, 1941: Filming continued on Babes on Broadway with the first day of scenes shot on the “Interior Gym” set. Time called: 9:30 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; time dismissed: 3 p.m.
August 30, 1947: Till The Clouds Roll By.
August 30, 1948: Ad in the “Independent Film Exhibitor’s Bulletin” trade magazine.
August 30, 1948: Three news items. The first claimed that Judy would co-star with Guy Madison at Warner Bros. titled Dancing In The Sky. The second is from Leonard Lyons’ column in which Lyons relays a story of Judy making a surprise visit to screenwriter Gian-Carlo Menotti’s office letting him know she liked his script. The third is from Louella Parsons’ column. She states that Judy had gained 15 pounds and was ready to begin Annie Get Your Gun on November 15th. She’s not far off. Judy had gained some weight after being fired from The Barkleys of Broadway and going on a rest. She didn’t start Annie until March of 1949. In the interim, she completed her second number for Words and Music, “Johnny One Note” and completed In The Good Old Summertime.
August 30, 1949: The Wizard of Oz was on its first re-release in theaters. This uncredited article from the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, got a lot wrong about the film’s effects and content. Who knows where the information came from. A few quotes (click on the image above to read the full article):
A city of great green bubbles which serve as houses … fantastic fields of giant flowers which move like humans …
[about the Emerald City] A glass-like compound was worked out by studio chemists, colored emerald green, and under the play of lighting effects presented dazzling and iridescent surfaces for the Technicolor in which the picture was made.
The almost human trees [were] constructed of rubber, each of 50 trees in the central group was governed by 12 separate wire controls operated by technicians offstage.
August 30, 1953: The wait was over. News broke that a decision was finally made on who would co-star with Judy in A Star Is Born. James Mason got the role and proved to be perfect in the role of “Norman Maine.”
Image above: An unused poster concept created by the legendary Saul Bass and sketched by Al Kallis.
August 30, 1955: Here’s a review of the re-release of The Wizard of Oz as published in the “Shamokin New Dispatch” in Shamokin, Pennsylvania. The uncredited review is a good one, even it incorrectly refers to the Emerald City as “the city made of ‘green bubbles.'”
August 30, 1955: Judy’s third recording session for Capitol Records. She recorded ‘On The Atchison, Topeka, And The Santa Fe” and “Danny Boy” for the “Miss Show Business” LP. “Atchison” was not included on the album and the recording is lost. To date, it has not been found.
Listen to “Danny Boy” here:
August 30, 1960: London, England, was once again under Judy’s magical spell.
August 30, 1962: Judy broke with Vegas tradition regarding the format of her show for her upcoming appearance at the Sahara. Judy opened at the hotel on September 19th.
Photo: Judy on stage during her engagement at the Sahara.
August 30, 1965: Judy made the sports page in Philadelphia. Sports columnist Stan Hochman noted that ballplayer, and captain of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Maury Wills, “digs Judy Garland.” It turns out that Wills was a big Garland fan.
August 30, 1967: Judy arrived in Boston a day ahead of her first post-Palace concert. She arrived in the evening and went right into a press conference in which she stated: “It’s wonderful how different my three kids are. Liza and Joey are the most like me – outgoing, affectionate, want to be liked. But Lorna! I call her the ‘cruise director.’ Mind like a whip, a born comedian and independent! Liza and Joey go to people, instinctively, Lorna sits and lets people come to her. And they do!” She was right in more ways than three!
Published on this date was this article (below) about Judy’s co-star at her Palace engagement, the wonderful John Bubbles.