On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – September 26

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“There was thunderous applause, and then with two spots on her radiant face, Judy began her program of songs.  The voice floated through the room – thrilling and tearing at us.  No one talked.  No one even whispered.  It was as though time was suspended.” – Eve Star, 1962




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September 26, 1938:  “The Breen Office” sent this letter to MGM after their review of the then current script of The Wizard of Oz.

Check out The Judy Room’s Extensive Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz here.



September 26, 1938 On The Bumpy Road

September 26, 1938:  Judy, along with Mary Astor, Freddie Bartholomew, Walter Pidgeon, and Scotty Beckett, pre-recorded “On The Bumpy Road To Love” for Listen Darling.

Listen to a newly remastered version here:

Listen to Take 8 of the full song here:

Listen to Take 10 of the full song here:

Listen to Take 1 of the shorter finale version with the Intro by Walter Pidgeon here:

Listen to Take 11 of the shorter finale version with the “kids alone” here:

Listen to Take 1 of the shorter finale Judy only version here:

Several takes were included on the MGM/UA laserdisc double feature of “Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry/Listen, Darling.”



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September 26, 1939:  Judy returned to radio as a “series regular” on the NBC-Radio show “The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope.”  This was her second time as a “series regular” on a radio show, the first being from February through June 1937 on the CBS-Radio show “Jackie Oakie’s College.”  Judy sang “Over the Rainbow” and a song sketch “Start The Day Right.”  The latter was probably performed with Hope.  There are no extant recordings of this show.

Hope gave a party for Judy which included the young MGM stars of the day.  A studio photographer just happened to be on hand to snap photos.  Can you name all the stars in the group photos?

Judy would make over 25 weekly appearances on the show through May of 1940.



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September 26, 1942:  Judy was photographed on the set of Presenting Lily Mars.

Check out The Judy Room’s Extensive Spotlight on Presenting Lily Mars here.

Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!



September 26, 1943:  The “Hollywood War Bond Cavalcade” returned home to Los Angeles.  Judy, along with Mickey Rooney, Greer Garson, Lucille Ball, Fred Astaire, Betty Hutton, Kathryn Grayson, James Cagney, Paul Henreid, Jose Iturbi, Dick Powell, Harpo Marx, Kay Kyser and His Orchestra, Ruth Brady, Rosemary La Planche, and Dorothy Merrit were given quite the welcome as this silent video shows.

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September 26, 1944:  Filming on The Clock continued with scenes shot on the “Interior Bus” set.  Time called: 10 a.m.; Judy arrived on the set at 10 a.m.  The assistant director’s notes state 1:30-2:12: Waiting for Miss Garland; Miss Garland knew that we had only one other shot to do this afternoon due to Robert Walker’s illness.  [She] arrived on stage at 1:57; ready at 2:12.  Time dismissed: 3 p.m.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on The Clock here.



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September 26, 1947:  Music rehearsals on Easter Parade continued with Judy and Gene Kelly rehearsing “A Couple Of Swells.”  Time called: 1 p.m.; dismissed: 3:30 p.m.

Check out The Judy Room’s Extensive Spotlight Section on Easter Parade here.



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September 26, 1954:  Judy took part in the NBC Radio two hour “Bing Crosby 20th Anniversary Tribute.”  Judy sang “Swinging On A Star.”  This was Judy’s last real radio program.  Her few appearances that were to follow were interviews or performances that had been lifted from various recordings.



September 26, 1954:  Premiering soon!

Check out The Judy Room’s Extensive Spotlight Section on A Star Is Born here.



Miss Show Business

September 26, 1955:  Judy’s first album for Capitol Records, and first-ever “LP” album, “Miss Show Business” was released.

Download the 2015 HD release of this album from HD Tracks.  You won’t be disappointed.  This new remastering is amazing!



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September 26, 1956:  “Judy Garland in Person” at the Palace Theatre in New York, Judy’s second run at the theatre.

Judy was scheduled for four weeks but was such a success that the engagement was extended for an additional four.  The first half of the show was a “Vaudeville” act, with Judy appearing in the second act.  She performed the same show she had just done at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas that previous July/August.

This engagement also featured Liza’s first stage appearance, at age 10, dancing while Judy sang “Swanee.”  Some silent color film was shot by a fan from the audience, some of which has been seen is a few documentaries.

The reviews were great, of course.  Some clippings are shown in the slideshow above.  Also featured are photos of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (one shows the Duchess chatting with a reporter) and Joe DiMaggio with his then-girlfriend, Lee Merriweather, arriving at The Palace.

Below is a photo of Judy with columnist Earl Wilson, who interviewed her after the show.  Next to that is the column as it was printed.

Also on this night, Jinx Falkenburg interviewed Judy for her radio show.  Here is that interview (the sound isn’t the best but it’s all we have), referred to as “Jinx and Judy”:



September 26, 1957:  Judy opened a week-long engagement at the Mastbaum Theatre in Philadelphia.  Judy was sporting a ponytail and wearing her hair out and long during this engagement.  She also had a vocal coach with her.



September 26, 1960:  Bennett Cerf of Random House wrote a letter printed in the fan publication “Garland Gazette” that said Random House had “not yet seen one line of the manuscript of the Judy Garland autobiography.  I have been assured that we will have half of the manuscript within a month’s time.”

On January 2, 1960: Judy signed a contract with Random House, to write her autobiography.  The press release announcing the deal was produced on January 4 by Jean Ennis.

To be called “The Judy Garland Story,” the book was to be a collaboration with Fred Finklehoffe. Finklehoffe had written the screenplays for some of Judy’s greatest films including Strike Up The BandBabes on BroadwayFor Me And My GalGirl CrazyMeet Me In St. Louis,” and Words and Music.

Judy was paid an advance of $35,000, and she and Finklehoffe recorded their sessions on audiotape some of which have survived – see link below.

A partial manuscript was eventually produced, totaling 65 pages, and it contains frank observations and startling revelations, including:  Judy knew she was an “unwanted” (unplanned) baby, and she received a great amount of psychological abuse from her mother and the man who became her stepfather who had taunted and laughed at Judy together, with Ethel (Judy’s mom) at one point telling Judy that she had been born with a defective brain.  Although Judy admitted that she loved Ethel and that “she was always doing things . . . which made me love her so much, but at the same time I was afraid of her.  At any time, in the middle of a great kindness or loud laughter, she was capable of saying something or doing something that would scare me to death.”

Judy also talked candidly about her attempts to rid herself of the medications she was on; the men at the studio who made advances on her; and most astonishingly, about the abortion she had when she was twenty.  However, the book would not continue after a certain stage, as Judy felt too good and happy to look back.



September 26, 1961:  Here’s an article about Harold Arlen, who talks about Hollywood, writing the score (and “Over the Rainbow”) for The Wizard of Oz, the upcoming Gay Purr-ee, and of course, Judy.



September 26, 1962:  Judy was currently enjoying a four-week engagement at The Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The engagement began on September 18 and ended on October 29.  This odd looking photo was published of Judy out on the town with Harry Belafonte (at extreme left), Henry Fonda (back to camera at right), and Polly Bergen.  Included here is an article about Judy’s recent opening at the Sahara also published on this day.



September 26, 1965:  “A Heart-Tugging Story Of Adversity.”  Columnist Bob Ellison reports on Judy’s recent appearance at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, California, and her fractured elbow that was a result of her tripping over her dog, and how Mickey Rooney, Martha Raye, and Johnny Mathis helped her out on stage on September 14th.




8 comments

  1. I thought that photo looked odd! I had it in my files and didn’t look closely enough at it. Now that I did, I see it’s one of those fake images for that weird “fan fiction” site of Judy and Gene stories by that nutty Garfreak, Krispie Ray.

  2. Oops Scott. Someone substituted LB with Gene Kelly in LB’s office in the photo with Irving Berlin and Judy.
    Of course it would have been nice if it had been Gene with Judy instead of LB, but to be fair, Judy was laughing with LB and Irving Berlin in LB’s office. Maybe you will add the proper photo. Thanks for all that you do.

  3. Library of Congress website has home movie footage of Judy i have never seen before. Taken by Ira Gershwin, first part is little Liza Minnelli’s birthday party in 1948 with appearances by Judy, grandma Ethel Gumm, Jimmie Garland, and I think I see young Candice Bergen and Mia Farrow among the kid party guests. Part 2 is from 1953 with Judy and Sid Luft meeting Harold Arlen and
    Ira Gershwin probably about ASIB. Last brief part is from 1946-47 at MGM with Gershwin, Arlen, Arthur Freed and Roger Edens
    https://www.loc.gov/item/mbrs02062159/

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s a shame the book wasn’t completed, but at least we have some of it, and the McCall’s articles, which give us some insight into how Judy saw her life. And what a life it was!

  5. I attribute her confusion on some of the sequences of events to the fact that she was in, for lack of a better term, a fog when those things happened. She was having mental and physical breakdowns and the drugs didn’t help either. She made a couple of suicide attempts before the publicized one in 1950. She might have been thinking about one of those, which were unpublicized at the time. I think she could be forgiven for not remembering the sequence of events perfectly considering her health at the time. 🙂

  6. I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I was to hear the tape of Judy and Freddie Finklehoffe working on her book. So many revelations from Judy when she sounded happy and in control. The conversation about the whole “Annie Get Your Gun” situation was the first time I felt I was hearing the truth. Where was Irving Berlin when all this was going on? The people at Peter Brentwood did so much good for her. Too bad she didn’t stay close with them as the understood her problems very well. Things would have been so much easier if MGM simply allowed her time to rest. Also, to hear Judy speak of Louis B. Mayer’s kindness when so many horrible things have been said about him was a true insight. The remark about, “If they’ll do this to you they’ll do it to me too.” was chilling. The N.Y. MGM people only cared about money and business. Too bad the book wasn’t completed as I feel it would have been the most truthful thing concerning her life and career.

  7. Whoops! I meant to write…”she places the “Royal Wedding” fiasco right AFTER “Easter Parade.”

  8. Judy’s discussion with Fred F. is extremely fascinating, as this is one of those rare recorded instances where she’s not “on”, but instead, is attempting to talk openly and honestly about her “mixed up” life. It always strikes me as odd, though, that Judy could never seem to get the chronology of her life correct. For instance, she says her highly publicized suicide attempt was BEFORE “Annie Get Your Gun”, when in fact, it was a year later AFTER “Summer Stock” and her firing from “Royal Wedding.” And it’s only ten years later when she’s discussing it! Also, on her TV series, she places the “Royal Wedding” fiasco right AFTER ”Summer Stock.” She also told Jack Paar she was 14 when she did “Oz.” Very odd how poor her memory was for details, many of which, were so significant. Thanks for this! Enjoyed the whole thing in one sitting.

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