“That she did emerge is now history. For she is at her peak riding a comeback that has been more luminous than one could have wished for.” – Charles K. Freeman, 1961
September 18, 1928: “The Gumm Sisters” (Judy and her two sisters) performed with “The Meglin Kiddies” at the Ladies Aid Charity Fete, at Pickfair in Beverly Hills, California. No other info is known.
Photo: “The Gumm Sisters” in 1930.
September 18, 1932: “The Gumm Sisters” performed for the Southern California Dance Teachers Association Dinner Celebration at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
September 18, 1933: Jimmy Hazelwood’s “Kiddies” column, printed in the “Hollywood Filmograph” newspaper, mentioned “the Three Gumm Sisters, starring Frances, sent from the Englander agency to B’nai B’rith to appear on a benefit program. The date of this event is unknown but it must have happened that upcoming weekend (Friday, September 23rd through Sunday, September 25th). The sisters also appeared on a program at the B’nai B’rith Lodge on November 18, 1933.
Clipping from The Rick Smith Collection. Thanks, Rick!
September 18, 1937: “It’s True!” Here’s another not-so-truthful entry in the ongoing series of factoid panels created by Wiley Padan, this time for Broadway Melody of 1938. It’s noted that Judy received a 50-year-old turtle in the mail.
September 18, 1938: More Love Finds Andy Hardy promotions.
September 18, 1939: Here’s an ad for the recent release of selections of songs from The Wizard of Oz on Decca Records.
September 18, 1939: The “Oz Caravan” which featured the Munchkin carriage that Judy rode in The Wizard of Oz was making its way around Indiana.
September 18, 1939: Here is another trade ad for the upcoming Babes in Arms. Little did anyone know that the film would spawn a now-legendary film musical sub-genre of youthful “Let’s Put On A Show!” musicals.
September 18, 1940: Filming continued on Little Nellie Kelly with scenes shot on the “Interior Waldorf Ball Room” and “Exterior Terrace” sets. Time called: 9 a.m; dismissed: 6:31 p.m. The assistant director’s notes state: Miss Garland had to be at Radio Broadcast and had to leave at 6:30 p.m. There are no records, or newspaper notices, of any radio broadcast for this night. It might have been a rehearsal for an upcoming radio program.
Below is a blurb about the use of Judy’s childhood photos in the film. This is a semi-rare case of the news fed by MGM to the papers actually being true!
September 18, 1940: According to this article, fans mobbed Mickey Rooney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, thinking the young woman with him was Judy. Even though she wasn’t, and said so, fans still demanded her autograph.
September 18, 1940: “Uncle Dan’s Corner for Boys and Girls” in Rochester, New York, ran this poll (with prizes) asking kids to choose their favorite juvenile/child film star. The results were published on September 28 (shown here). Mickey Rooney came in at the top spot, with Judy a “close second.” This isn’t surprising. The duo was riding high from their recent successes both together and separately.
September 18, 1942: Prerecording session for Presenting Lily Mars. Judy recorded “When I Look At You,” both the ballad and comedy versions with Bob Crosby and His Orchestra. Takes 1 and 3 of the comedy version (titled “Caro Mona”) were printed. Takes 1, 4, 9, and 10 of the ballad versions were printed. Also recorded on this day were three numbers performed by Crosby and His Orchestra.
Listen to Take 10 the ballad version here (includes two takes of the last tag of the song):
Listen to Take 3 of the comedy version here:
September 18, 1943: The “Hollywood Cavalcade” arrived in St. Louis, Missouri.
The tour had been in Minneapolis the day before (see the first three clippings above) where they played the Minneapolis auditorium and raised $19,512,000 in war bonds as part of the “Third War Loan” program. While there, Judy was photographed meeting a former “Munchkin” from The Wizard of Oz, and Lucille Ball was seen getting her nails done!
St. Louis welcomed the Cavalcade at Union Station with a parade through downtown and a rally attended by over 10k people, followed by the show at Keil Auditorium. They raised a total of $71,127,414 in war bond sales. “Screams of ‘Hi, Judy!’ and ‘Hey, Mickey!’ greeted the auburn-haired Miss Garland and the beaming Rooney from every side.”
Of note is that when Judy returned to MGM from this tour at the end of September, she went into pre-production on Meet Me In St. Louis.
September 18, 1944: Filming on The Clock continued with scenes on the “Interior Penn Station Lobby” set. Time called: 10 a.m. Judy arrived on set at 10:30 a.m., and from 10:40 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. she was getting into her wardrobe. Time dismissed: 5:58 p.m.
September 18, 1946: Here’s a rare snapshot taken of Judy at the Dearborn Station in Chicago, Illinois. Judy and her husband Vincente Minnelli were on their way on a short trip to New York. The couple was back in Los Angeles by the end of September.
September 18, 1949: The news hit the papers that Judy had entered the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, California, for an unspecified “surgery.” The reports were that she would be in the hospital for a few days. Husband Vincente Minnelli said that it was “nothing serious” and that “the doctors back in Boston suggested that Judy’s general health would be improved if this surgery were performed and she thought she might as well get it done before she starts a picture.” Some notices mentioned that a possible reconciliation between Judy and Vincente since he was “at her bedside.” None of the articles state just what the “surgery” was. Apparently, that information was kept from the press. Some papers stated that Judy had the “surgery” on Friday, September 15th, others stated she went into the hospital on that day but that the surgery was Saturday, September 16th.
Judy had recently returned home to Los Angeles after spending time in Boston, Massachusetts, at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital to cure her dependence on prescription medicines. It’s possible that the surgery was related to that in some way. The details are unknown.
Note: The hospital moved in 1976 to a new complex near Beverly Hills becoming the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The original building and entrance is now the main building and home of the Church of Scientology.
September 18, 1949: Judy is seen with her husband Vincente Minnelli and MGM studio boss Louis B. Mayer. The photo was obviously taken before her trip to the hospital as noted above.
September 18, 1949: MGM was celebrating its 25th anniversary.
September 18, 1950: Judy’s signature was analyzed by handwriting expert Shirley Spencer. Judy had her signature analyzed before, in 1939 by Muriel Stafford (on the right above). It’s interesting to compare what the two ladies wrote about Judy.
September 18, 1950: Two items. The first is a photo of Judy out on the town in New York with MGM executive Si Seadler. The photo proved to be quite popular with newspapers who used a cropped version showing only Judy in various articles and news blurbs about her over the next two decades.
The second item is a fun example of a local business, this time the Star Carpet Cleaning Company in Detroit, Michigan, using Judy’s image to drum up business. This is a good example of the fact that in spite of her very recent and well-publicized personal problems, Judy was still loved by the public. At least she was loved enough to sell carpet cleaning!
It’s also noted that on this day Judy returned to Los Angeles from her recent rest in Sun Valley, Idaho. An interesting side note: On this same date a year later (see below) the same scenario of Liza meeting Judy at the train played out again when Judy returned to Los Angeles from Europe and New York.
September 18, 1951: Judy returned to Los Angeles from New York and her triumphant trip overseas where she opened for the first time at the London Palladium and did a short concert tour of England and Scotland. And excited Liza met Judy at the train station in Pasadena. The stage was set for her even more triumphant comeback at The Palace Theater in New York City in a little under a month.
Notice how most of the articles commented on Judy’s weight gain calling her “Hefty and Happy” and just plain “Fat and Happy.”
September 18, 1951: Judy signed this contract with the William Morris Agency granting them permission to represent her outside the U.S. and Canada, “to negotiate, arrange and secure engagements for me in all branches of the entertainment industry...”
September 18, 1953: Production on A Star Is Born continued with various tests. Time started: 11:15 a.m.; finished: 5:25 p.m.
September 18, 1961: Columnist Charles K. Freeman writes about witnessing Judy on the set and on the recording stage at MGM for some of her biggest films as well as noting that Judy’s career had two phases, the young Judy and the adult Judy.
September 18, 1962: Judy opened an initial four-week engagement at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The four weeks were extended to six after the great success.
She was paid $40,000 per week. Mort Lindsey conducted the twenty-seven-piece orchestra. Showtime was 2:30 a.m.! Even at that hour, she packed the house. The show’s running time was 65 minutes. Judy opened with “Hello, Bluebird” and closed with Chicago.
On opening night, Capitol Records presided Glenn Wallichs presented Judy with a Gold Record for her 2-LP set “Judy at Carnegie Hall.” However, he had to wait for the two-minute-and-eighteen-second standing ovation to be over before making the presentation.
September 18, 1964: Designing clothes for Judy was “like trying to dress the Statue of Liberty” said designer Ray Aghayan. He meant that Judy was such a big legend it was easy to fall into a trap of overdoing things. Aghayan designed most of the outfits for Judy’s 1963/64 series, “The Judy Garland Show.”
On this day, Judy was in London and made a personal appearance with Mark Herron, giving a lecture about American cinema and theater at the All Saing’s Church “84” Club for young people.
September 18, 1965: The upcoming broadcast (on September 20) of Judy’s recently taped (July 9) appearance on “The Andy Williams Show” was being promoted. It was one of Judy’s most successful TV appearances.
September 18, 1967: Here’s an interesting review of the recent release of the LP “Judy Garland – At Home At The Palace.”
September 18, 2009: This article from the Chicago Tribune reports on the new 70th-anniversary edition of The Wizard of Oz on DVD and Blu-ray.