“When the performance was over and Judy had left the stage for good, thousands of people were standing and staring at the stage, numb from the impact of a little girl with big brown eyes who had finished the greatest performance I have ever seen in my life.” – Eddie Sherman, review of Judy Garland at the Hollywood Bowl, 1961
September 15, 1935: MGM issued the order to their legal department to prepare a contract “for the services of Judy Garland as an actress.” The contract spanned seven years beginning on October 1, 1935, and called for an initial salary of $100.00 a week, with options every six months for the first year, then once a year for the remaining six years. It was a standard contract, and the options meant the studio could drop her if they chose.
Judy’s birth date is given as January 10, 1923, six months after her real birth date which was June 10, 1922. It was most likely an attempt to make her seem even younger than she already was. The contract also allowed Judy to negotiate for radio performances, with MGM’s consent.
September 16, 1936: Judy and Deanna Durbin were filming their first official film for MGM, the short subject Every Sunday. I say “official” because the year before Judy and her sisters had actually appeared in an MGM short, La Fiesta De Santa Barbara which predated Judy’s becoming an MGM contract player. On this day, they were photographed on the MGM backlot with Patricia Palmer.
Also on this day, the trade paper “Film Daily” ran this blurb that Judy had signed a new long-term contract. A year prior (see above) she had signed a standard contract with MGM. There are no records of any second contract. It might have been a standard six-month renewal that they’re referencing. Judy’s contract wasn’t rewritten until September 1940.
For more info about Judy Garland’s appearances in short subjects, check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Sections “Shorts” page here.
September 16, 1937: This notice promoting Broadway Melody of 1938, and other MGM films, appeared in the “Film Daily” trade paper.
September 16, 1938: Judy pre-recorded “Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart” for the film Listen Darling. Takes 4, 6, 9, 10, 14 & 15 were “printed” (kept for use in deciding which take to use and/or use it as part or all of the final mix for the film). The longer takes are the ballad versions. The song was filmed six days later and trimmed quite a bit for the final edit.
Judy sang “Zing!” as part of her audition for MGM on September 13, 1935, and it stayed in her repertoire to through the end of her life.
Listen to a few of the prerecordings here:
Ballad version take 15:
Ballad version tag take 1:
Swing version take 4:
Swing version tag take 4:
Final ballad version here:
Final swing version here:
Judy recorded two versions, one ballad and one with a “swing” midsection. Those pre-recordings were originally released on the 1995 laserdisc double feature of “Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry/Listen, Darling.”
The complete ballad version was originally released on the 1995 6-CD set “That’s Entertainment! The Ultimate Anthology of M-G-M Musicals” and the 2006 re-release. Those two sets were the only CD source for this ballad version until the 2017 CD set “Soundtracks” in which it’s remastered and sounding better than ever.
The complete swing version was released on CD in 1996 on the “Collector’s Gems” 2-disc set. It has since been re-released on various bootleg CDs such as the 1999 Spanish bootleg CD which featured copies of the Rhino tracks and the 2000 German bootleg “The Sound of the Movies” series.
The swing version was expertly remastered and released on the 2014 5-CD set “Judy Garland – The Garland Variations.”
Check out the video below that presents the full swing version as it might have been in the film. In stereo! The video was created by our friend Mark Milano. Check out his channel for more Garland treats!
September 16, 1942: This photo was taken of Judy on the set of Presenting Lily Mars.
September 16, 1943: The Hollywood Cavalcade (of stars) arrived in Chicago, Illinois from Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of the War Bond drive, raising money for the war effort by selling war bonds. The first clipping above features a photo of Judy taken at the festivities the night before in Cincinnati.
At this time, Judy’s latest film, Presenting Lily Mars, was a big success with audiences and critics, even if the review above lists Judy’s co-star as Van Johnson and not Van Heflin!
September 16, 1944: Filming on The Clock continued with scenes shot on the “Interior Penn Station (Lobby and Stairs) set. Time called: 10 a.m.; time dismissed: 5:50 p.m.
September 16, 1954: The news broke that Judy was expecting a third child. According to Louella Parsons, Judy found out on this date but that’s highly unlikely. Judy’s third child and only son, Joe Luft, was born on March 29, 1955.
September 16, 1957: Judy was in concert at Loew’s Capitol Theatre in Washington, D.C. This was Judy’s first concert after taking most of the summer off after her “Vegas tour” ended. “Variety” noted: “This is a different kind of theatrical engagement. It’s a love affair between Judy Garland and the folks who are paying up to a $6.60 top this week, to hear her sing at the Capitol theatre here. Miss Garland makes a quick rapport with her audience, and you can feel the affection they have for her from the time she opens up with her big, deep voice.”
Some color silent home movie footage taken from the audience during the Saturday matinee exists and features Judy bringing daughter Lorna and son Joey up on the stage. Judy sang “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby” to Lorna since, as Judy claimed, “Lorna likes the loud ones,” and “Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe” with Joey on her lap.
Judy’s last night of the engagement was September 21st. The final night was scheduled to be the 22nd but she came down with the Asian Flu and developed a temperature of 103 degrees.
September 16, 1961: During the day, Judy attended a private screening of Judgment at Nuremberg, which is the first time she saw the film.
That night, Judy took her Carnegie Hall concert to The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. This version included “Never Will I Marry,” “Oh, What A Little Moonlight Can Do,” and “Just In Time,” keeping her Carnegie Hall program fresh for herself and her audience. The show broke the Bowl’s box office record. It grossed $72,412. Judy was guaranteed $25,000 against a percentage, which made her take-home pay $30,000. 17,823 people in attendance (a full house), who refused to leave even during a heavy downpour of rain. After the show, 1,000 people waited backstage to see Judy before she left for supper at Romanoff’s. According to Eddie Sherman’s column, Judy was given an ovation when she entered the restaurant. He noted that “a well-known Hollywood columnist sitting in front of Judy’s sister during the concert thought the sister was a bit too demonstrative. The writer was silenced with: ‘Where were you when Judy needed you?'”
Photo of the program cover (above left) provided by Bobby Waters. Thanks, Bobby!
September 16, 1963: Judy took a break from rehearsals for the next episode of “The Judy Garland Show” to announce, along with June Allyson and Carolyn Jones, the creation of a Birmingham Children’s Fund of Beverly Hills. The fund was set up to raise money to help the victims of the recent horrific bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church on September 15th by white supremacists in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed four innocent young girls.
September 16, 2013: “Time” magazine published a special edition of “Life” magazine devoted to the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz titled “The Wizard of Oz: 75 Years Along the Yellow Brick Road.” Featured online was this five-part series by Richard Corliss which was adapted from an essay in the magazine which hit newsstands that week.