“Miss Garland is in a rough trade where audiences are notoriously capricious. Hers is faithful and the applause for 24 numbers left them fagged-out and limp, but asking for more. This reviewer cannot help but wonder whether she could do it if she used her given name of Frances Gumm. Is the audience hearing Judy Garland or merely worshipping an illusion?” – Ralph J. Gleason concert review, 1961
September 14, 1934: “The Garland Sisters” performed the first night of a weeklong engagement at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The sisters, and mom Ethel were working their way back to Los Angeles after their successful engagement in Chicago.
September 14, 1938: Pre-production on The Wizard of Oz was rolling along, as this Flying Monkey costume test photo shows. It was taken on this day. Also on this day, this photo of Judy in a Dirndl was published. Perhaps posing Judy in a Dirndle was inspired by her “Dorothy” costume?
September 14, 1939: The Wizard of Oz was still opening in theaters around the country even though it had already been in release for a month.
The first article is especially fun, presenting the plot of the film. Of note is that the Wicked Witch of the West’s skywriting is given as “Surrender Dorothy or Die” which is not what’s in the film, the “or Die” was removed when the film was re-edited after previews. This story must have been sent out to papers by MGM because towns like Hope, Arkansas (where this version was published) wouldn’t know about the missing text.
What’s the most fun about the article is the ending: It has all been a delirium. Dorothy can’t understand why Zeke, Hunk, Hickory, and Prof. Marvel don’t remember being with her in Oz, but is sure Toto remembers. I like the idea that Toto remembers everything.
September 14, 1940: Filming on Little Nellie Kelly continued with scenes shot on the “Interior Kelly’s Flat” set. Time called: 9 a.m.; dismissed: 5:55 p.m.
September 14, 1941: This article notes that Judy was going to introduce the new song “Little Did I Dream.” It also states that Judy’s photo would be the cover page of new issues of sheet music of the song. There are no records or recordings of Judy ever singing the song nor the sheet music.
September 14, 1941: Here’s a typical photo presentation showing what the stars were up to. The photos were almost always staged by the studios. What’s interesting about this is the fact that Lynn Bari is placed next to Judy. A little over a decade later the two would be in the news together – a lot. Bari was Sid Luft’s first wife, Judy was his second. Bari sued Sid multiple times for more child support based on his increased income due to being the producer of Judy’s shows.
September 14, 1943: The “Hollywood Cavalcade” arrived in Detroit, Michigan from their previous stop in Pittsburgh, PA (on September 12th). They were photographed upon their arrival at Detroit’s Michigan Central Station. They performed that night at the Olympia indoor arena.
The Detroit Free Press noted the following day (see image) that 15,000 people enjoyed the show which raised a total of $47,000,000 in War Bonds. The show was three hours long but even at that length it was reported as being a “sparkling variety show, including songs, tap dances, brief talks and musical numbers.”
Also noted in press reports was that Judy was accompanied by “her sister, Jimmie Garland, along on the trip, and also her personal press agent at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Betty Asher.”
The stars who participated: Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Greer Garson, James Cagney, Lucille Ball, Kathryn Grayson, Fred Astaire, Harpo Marx, Dick Powell, Betty Hutton, Paul Henreid, Martha Scott, Jose Iturbi, and the “Four Starlet Bondbardeers” (Rosemary LaPlanche [two-time Miss California and one time Miss America], Doris Merrick, Dolores Moran and Marjorie Stewart); plus Kay Kyser and his band (with Kyser’s band were Harry Babbitt, Georgia Carroll, Julie Conway, Ish Kabibble and Diane Pendleton).
September 14, 1946: Judy gave a dramatic performance on the radio program “Hollywood Star Time” in their adaptation of the 1938 Katherine Hepburn film, “Holiday.” The audio of this program is not known to exist.
September 14, 1954: Judy appeared on the cover of the Finland magazine “Elokuva.”
September 14, 1955: This was the date that Judy was originally going to bring her show to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as part of an extensive tour (see the first two notices), but she canceled the last leg of the tour after signing with CBS-TV for her first TV special. The theater owners in the various canceled cities (Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Spokane, Washington) were not happy and were thinking of filing charges against her with the Actors’ Equity Association of New York.
September 14, 1961: This review of Judy’s concert at the Civic Auditorium in San Francisco appeared in the SF Chronicle newspaper. As noted yesterday, the concert was attended by 8,700 people and grossed $45,000 on a $7.75 top ticket price.
September 14, 1965: Judy’s second night at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles was also her last. The rest of the engagement was canceled because she had tripped over her dog and broken her arm. In spite of this, she did this second show with help from Mickey Rooney, Martha Raye, and Johnny Mathis. Judy only sang five songs: “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands”; “Just In Time”; “San Francisco”; “Together” (with Raye); and “Over The Rainbow.”
You can download an audio recording of this night here (zip file): http://www.thejudyroom.com/songs/Greek-09-14-1965.zip
September 14, 1974: Columnist Bob Thomas reviewed the recent Vincente Minnelli autobiography, “I Remember It Well.” Unfortunately, Minnelli didn’t remember things well at all by way of dates and the sequence of events, but his recollections of the personal aspect of his life with Judy make the book a must-read for any Garland fan.
September 14, 1967: Judy returned to Chicago’s Civic Opera House for three nights. The night of the 15th her songs included “I Feel A Song Coming On”; “Almost Like Being In Love”/”This Can’t Be Love”; “Just In Time”; “How Insensitive”; “Judy’s Olio”; “What Now My Love?”; “Me And My Shadow”; “Bob White”; “Jamboree Jones” (both with daughter Lorna); “Together” (with daughter Lorna and son Joe); “Old Man River”; “That’s Entertainment!”; “I Loved Him”; “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby”; “Chicago”; “Swanee”; and “Over The Rainbow.”
For the show on the 16th, Judy substituted “The Last Dance” with Bobby Cole accompanying ehr instead of “I Loved Him”; “Bye, Bye Blackbird” with the kids and ex-husband Sid Luft, instead of “Together”; and added “San Francisco” as an encore after “Over The Rainbow.”
Judy had arrived around midnight on September 13th. she made an 11:30 press conference an hour late while her “theatrical press agent,” Bill Doll, kept the reporters together. During the wait, Sid Luft announced that Judy “had made a television commitment for the New Year and would appear in concert with the Washington Symphony Orchestra with Arthur Fiedler conducting.” Neither of those projects materialized. During the reception, Judy said: “I think there’s really a certain time in your life when it’s too much of a hassle to have fears. You mature. You say, ‘What good is fear going to do me? Now life seems to be sort of a steady upgrade. I’m enjoying it. I think my children have helped a great deal.”