“As the orchestra began the overture, derived from tunes identified with Judy, members of the Garland cult applauded and began rising to their feet. Soon almost everyone in the big auditorium was standing, including heretics who simply wanted to see what was happening.” – Russ Wilson, The Oakland Tribune, 1967
September 2, 1933: The LA Times mentioned “The Gumm Sisters” in “Harmony Supreme” as part of the “excellent hit numbers” on stage at the Downtown Warner Bros. theater in Los Angeles. The live entertainment played after showings of the Leslie Howard film Captured. The article also made note that the “stage shows at Warners exemplify brighter side of entertainment.”
The girls were not listed in the small ad at the bottom of the page, but next to that ad was one for the Paramount Theater that listed, on its stage, several acts including Kay Thompson. Kay would, as most Garland fans know, play an important part in Judy’s life just ten years later. It’s entirely possible that Kay saw Judy and her sisters perform at this time.
Photos: A rare snapshot of Judy with her father and mother (Frank and Ethel Gumm) circa 1933; a scan of the LA Times page that shows the mention and the ads.
September 2, 1934: The Garland Sisters were still playing at the Uptown Theater in Chicago, Illinois. They were good enough to get a mention in an uncredited column about the various stage acts that were of note, as well as being listed as one of the acts in the show as printed by “The Chicago Tribune.”
September 2, 1939: Above, this two-page spread appeared in the September 1939 issue of “Photoplay.” Below, more Ozzy ads and articles, plus the initial publication of the now-famous political cartoon by famous political cartoonist “Herblock” (Herb Block).
September 2, 1940: “Judy Garland, M-G-M star, has reached the age when young girls become fashion-conscious and she knows, too, her cosmetics must be just as right as her clothes.”
September 2, 1940: Here’s an article that claims that one of the songs in Little Nellie Kelly was one that Judy’s co-star George Murphy heard from his grandfather when Murphy was a kid. The title of the song isn’t mentioned but judging from the story it sounds like it could be “A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow” or it could be more studio fiction provided to the papers.
September 2, 1940: Two fluff pieces that include Judy.
September 2, 1941: The first day of filming the “Hoe Down” number for Babes on Broadway. I had previously posted that the first day of filming was August 30th but that was incorrect. Scenes were shot on the same set (“Interior Gym”) on that day, but only dramatic scenes.
Filming for this fantastic number lasted a week. On this day, Judy was due on the set at 10:30 a.m.; lunch: 1:00-2:00 p.m.; time dismissed: 6:03 p.m.
Photos below are provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
September 2, 1942: Harry James was always honest about why his recording of “You Made Me Love You” was so popular. He said that he tried to play it as Judy had sung it a few years prior. Listen to the recording below. It’s wonderful.
September 2, 1943: Here’s a notice about Judy and her first husband, David Rose, splitting up. Notice the sarcasm noting that all David will get in the breakup is “the air.”
September 2, 1943: Judy in the news.
Several papers carried the news that a “Hollywood Caravan” would soon be going on a Bond Tour around the country “starting next week” to raise money for war bonds. In every article, Judy’s name is listed first followed by Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, Olivia de Havilland, Katheryn Grayson, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell, James Cagney, Betty Hutton, and Mickey Rooney. The tour began on September 8, 1943, in Washington, DC.
Erskine Johnson’s “In Hollywood” column on this day included the note: Judy Garland received a letter the other day from Pvt. Wilbert B. Giving of Camp McCoy, Wis. He wondered if she remembered. She did. At the age of seven, back in Judy’s home town of Grand Rapids, Minn., Wilbert produced a neighborhood back yard pin show. Six-year-old Judy, his next door neighbor, was the singing star. Her billing read, ‘Frances Gumm – Singer de Luxe.’ It was her theatrical debut.
It’s possible that this is a story made up by MGM and sent out to the various papers and columnists. It’s also possible that the event did happen, just earlier than thought because when Judy was six-years-old the family had already moved to California.
MGMs publicity department put out the following: Judy Preps Dance Chore With Astaire – HOLLYWOOD – Judy Garland has started dancing lessons under the tutelage of Renee de Marco, to prepare to be co-starred with Fred Astaire in “The Belle of New York.” This is the first time the famed dancer will turn teacher and Judy will be her first pupil.
The Belle of New York was a project that producer Arthur Freed had wanted to make, with Judy and Fred in the lead roles, for some time. He finally made the film in 1952 with Fred and Vera-Ellen in Judy’s role.
September 2, 1945: Judy Garland, the glamorous movie star.
September 2, 1947: Judy in the news.
There were a few odd stories about Judy that were published on this day. During the preceding summer, Judy’s health had been in the news when she was admitted to the Las Campanas sanitarium in Compton, California followed by her stay at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts from August 4 through August 20, 1947.
M. Oakley Stafford’s “Informing You” column noted about a trip “rushing about the country”: Most grievous news of the trip was about Judy Garland who refused for so long to believe she was ill. She grew worse . . . It recalled a visit to the coast last year. Judy’s baby was only a few weeks old and Judy insisted upon resuming activities. She had fainted in a downtown store in Los Angeles and refused even to let anyone drive her home . . . So she collapsed. Or would have if she allowed herself to fall . . . Here’s hoping she’s back in high [spirits] soon.
The following two columns tried to create a rivalry between Judy and Ann Miller and June Allyson (there was none with either):
By Erskine Johnson: “Judy Garland Recuperating At Health Spot” – Hollywood – Judy Garland, getting back her health in Maine, almost had a relapse after reading that Ann Miller would replace her in M-G-M’s “Easter Parade.” After half a dozen hot coast-to-coast telephone calls, the studio succeeded in quieting her down. It was all a mistake. Judy, not Ann, will co-star with Gene Kelly in the picture. Judy returns to Hollywood Oct. 1.
Dorothy Kilgallen’s “Voice of Broadway” column: Judy Garland, who was so ill a few weeks ago, is definitely ready to go into the film musical “Easter Parade.” Her recovery was hastened when she heard that Judy Allyson (of whom she is not too fond) was being warmed up for the part . . .
September 2, 1948: Easter Parade.
September 2, 1949: “Judy Sparkles In Musical.” Note that even when first released, MGM musicals were considered “escapist entertainment” (much like the superhero movies of today) as Peggy Starr of Davenport, Iowa’s “Quad City Times” noted. Starr also noted that Judy had a singular way with selling a song in spite of her mild critique of Judy’s voice:
There’s no doubt that Miss Garland as a personal magnetism in delivering a song that is nothing short of phenomenal. Even if the fan doesn’t like her voice – and it is inclined to the nasal side – there’s no falseness in her ability to sell a song. She does all of them with dispatch in this picture … [The film] is tailor-made for Miss Garland’s talents and she makes the most of the situation. She’s lost all the Camille-like lethargy that has hung around her during the past few years. As a result, she sparkles gaily from scene to scene.
September 2, 1949: Columnist Leonard Lyons reported in his column that Judy sang well into the early morning hours that previous Saturday night when she attended a birthday party given for Leonard Bernstein. This is one of the few times that Judy’s now-near-mythic sharing of her voice all night long at a Hollywood party was mentioned in the papers.
Hedda Hopper wrote about MGM planning a radio series for Judy, which of course never happened. But Hopper is right, if Judy had been afforded the chance to have her own radio series she might have been able to save some money.
September 2, 1950: “Judy Garland Was Never Better.” Here’s a nice review of Summer Stock by Hope Macleod of the “Akron Beacon Journal” out of Akron, Ohio.
Judy Garland still rates tops as a musical star and “Summer Stock” at Loew’s proves it. She throws herself into her role with the enthusiasm of a beginner and the polish of the veteran that she is. Never more scintillating, she gives far more to the part than it deserves.
Also included in impresario Billy Rose’s love letter to Judy written after he had seen the film.
September 2, 1953: Two news items about A Star Is Born, obviously meant to be less about the truth and more about keeping the film in the public eye.
September 2, 1958: Coming soon, Judy at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall.
September 2, 1962: Judy speaks up! Here are two printings of the same article allegedly written by Judy in which she talks about her career and her children as well as filming The Lonely Stage which was retitled I Could Go On Singing.
September 2, 1965: Here are two reviews of Judy’s recent opening at the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos on August 30, 1965. The reviews are not the most flattering about her voice or the contents of the show but they did acknowledge that Garland magic, especially its effects on “The Garland Cult.” Even the great Judy Garland didn’t please all of the critics all of the time. Also included above is a photo of Judy with husband-to-be Mark Herron.
September 2, 1967: The recent release of “Judy Garland – At Home At The Palace” LP received another review. Plus, Judy’s next stop on her Palace tour was the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.