“It’s very flattering to have people asking you to get together with them on projects, especially after the rumors that I’m temperamental and have been fired from every job I ever had.” – Judy Garland, 1956
September 23, 1920: Born on this day, Judy’s greatest friend and soul mate, Mickey Rooney (born Joseph Yule, Jr.; September 23, 1920 – April 6, 2014). There are tons of photos of the two to choose from, but here are a few of my favorites, including the first three which were taken on September 23, 1941, at MGM when Mickey “came of age” turning 21-years-old.
September 23, 1937: Judy and Mickey Rooney took a break from filming Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry to celebrate Mickey’s 17th birthday.
September 23, 1938: Judy’s name and likeness were used to sell back-to-school fashions.
September 23, 1939: Here is another great review of The Wizard of Oz which brings home the point, once again, that the film was not only a hit at the box office but also with critics.
September 23, 1940: This photo was taken of Judy with director Norman Taurog on the set of Little Nellie Kelly.
September 23, 1941: Work on Babes on Broadway continued with rehearsals and the pre-recording session of the “Minstrel Show Sequence” which included “FDR Jones.” Judy was joined by co-star Mickey Rooney and the rest of the cast for the recording session. The session continued the following day followed by over a week of filming. On this date, Judy had a 1 p.m. call, dismissed at 6:15 p.m.
Listen to “FDR Jones” here:
September 23, 1943: Judy was still touring the country as part of the Hollywood Cavalcade Bond Tour. On this date, the cavalcade was traveling from their previous events in Dallas and San Antonio, Texas, to San Francisco.
September 23, 1944: Filming on The Clock continued with more scenes shot on the “Exterior Top of Bus” and “Bus Stop” sets. Time called: 10 a.m.; time arrived: 10:33 p.m.; dismissed: 6 p.m. The assistant director’s notes state 2:43-2:57 – Miss Garland discussing neuralgia pain with doctor/Fixing hair and makeup.
September 23, 1947: Judy’s second day of preproduction work on Easter Parade. The day was spent rehearsing music, most likely the “Mr. Monotony” and “I Want To Go Back To Michigan” which were the first songs Judy recorded for the film. At this point, Judy’s co-star was Gene Kelly but he broke his ankle on October 13th and was replaced by Fred Astaire, which happened before any songs were actually recorded so there are no existing recordings of Kelly singing any of the score.
Photo: Judy with producer Arthur Freed, MGM boss Louis B. Mayer, and songwriter Irving Berlin in a posed promotional photo.
September 23, 1948: Judy recorded an appearance on Bing Crosby’s radio series, “Philco Radio Time” for ABC Radio in Hollywood, CA. It’s also been noted that Bing left on this date for a fishing trip, so either the show was recorded prior to his departure or possibly on a different date although that’s unlikely.
Crosby always recorded his shows a week or two earlier than the broadcast date. Judy sang “Over The Rainbow” and duetted with Crosby on “For Me And My Gal,” “Who?”, “Confess,” and “Embraceable You.” The show aired on October 6, 1948.
Listen to the performances here:
“For Me And My Gal”
Photo: Judy and Bing just a few years prior.
September 23, 1954: Preparations were underway for the upcoming premiere of A Star Is Born at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.
September 23, 1955: These photos were taken of Judy in rehearsal for her first television appearance on the “Ford Star Jubilee” the following night on CBS-TV.
September 23, 1956: “Judy Garland Loves Life Nowadays” – Sheilah Graham’s latest column was devoted to Judy, partly to advertise her upcoming return to The Palace Theater in New York.
September 23, 1962: Two more carpet company ads featuring the tie-in to Chemstrand which was one of the sponsors of the recent rebroadcast of “The Judy Garland Show” (aka “Judy, Frank, and Dean”).
September 23, 1963: Here’s a great article about Judy and Donald O’Connor, who had just taped his guest appearance on her new TV show, “The Judy Garland Show,” which premiered on September 29, 1963.
September 23, 1964: Judy attended the London premiere of Lionel Bart’s “Maggie May.” She had recorded four songs from the show for Capitol Records on August 6th and August 12th at their Capitol/EMI Records Studios in London. The session turned out to be Judy’s final recording session for Capitol Records.
After attending the opening night party, Judy felt a pain in her stomach. Mark Herron rushed her to a nearby nursing home. The following day x-rays were taken, reportedly “all day”, out of a fear of appendicitis. Judy’s doctor, Phillip Lebon, said, “Miss Garland is suffering from an acute abdominal condition. At present there is no danger.” She was released the following day (September 25th).
Judy said the following to the “Daily Express”: “The first thing I did when I got home was bake myself a chicken pie, just to settle in again. I guess people get the impression I’m seriously ill every time I go to the hospital, but all I had was a good old fashioned tummy ache.”
Photo: Judy with Mark Herron, Lionel Bart, and actor Kenneth Haigh at the opening night party; Judy and Herron arriving at the theater.