On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – September 28

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“Judy the Legend was on – and exciting the toughest critics to say she’s not the Elvis Presley of today but the Al Jolson.” – Earl Wilson, 1956

September 28, 1928:  “The Gumm Sisters” performed at the Montebello Community Center in Montebello, California.  The sisters were part of the Meglin Kiddies act.  No other information about this engagement is known.

September 28, 1934:  “The Garland Sisters” performed at the Tower Theater in Kansas City, Missouri.  It was the first of a six-night engagement for the sisters at the theater.  They were part of the “Shufflin’ South” stage show that accompanied the showing of the Universal film, Million Dollar Ransom.  The sisters and mom Ethel were working their way back to California after their engagement at Chicago’s Oriental Theater where their stage name was changed from “The Gumm Sisters” to “The Garland Sisters” thanks to George Jessel.

September 28, 1935:  The ink was barely dry on Judy’s first contract with MGM before the studio put her name in the papers as part of the cast for This Time It’s Love as this clipping from this date in 1935 shows.

The 1975 book “Young Judy” by David Dahl and Barry Kehoe features the contents of a letter from October 1935 in which Judy’s father, Frank Gumm, told their family friend John Perkins in Lancaster, California that Judy was to start production on This Time It’s Love in January 1936 with an April 1936 release date.  The film would star Robert Montgomery and Jessie Matthews, and “baby [as Judy was still called by her family] plays opposite Buddie [sic] Ebson [sic] a 6 foot 2 comedian that made a big hit with his sister in the new Broadway Melody of 1936.”

This Time It’s Love eventually became Born To Dance starring Eleanor Powell and was released in 1936.  On March 10, 1936, Cole Porter noted in his diary that to his “great joy” Born To Dance would include “Buddy Ebsen and Judy Garland.”  Porter was well aware of who Judy Garland was.  Judy’s part was written out before she began any work on the film.  Judy would appear with Ebsen in her MGM feature debut, Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937).

Learn more about the films that Judy almost made, or was in the running for, at The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages “Films That Got Away” section.

Photos:  1935 clipping; Judy and Buddy Ebsen rehearse their dance for Broadway Melody of 1938.


September 28, 1937:  A busy day for Judy. During the day she was at MGM, along with Mickey Rooney and Ronald Sinclair, filming this scene (see photo) for Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry.  The film was Judy’s first with Rooney.September-28,-1937-Jack-Oakie-image

Later that evening she appeared on the “Jack Oakie’s College” radio show.  Judy had been a regular on the series since January 5, 1937, although the show had ended by this point in September at which time she would ten become a weekly regular on the “Good News of 1938” program. Judy sang “Smiles.”  She later performed the song in the 1942 film For Me And My Gal)

Listen to Judy’s segment of the show here:

Listen to the entire show here:

Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!

September 28, 1939:  Even the ponies that were seen in the Munchkinland sequence in The Wizard of Oz became celebrities of sorts.  According to this fun article published in the “Minneapolis Star” newspaper, their names were “Wizard” and “Oz.”  Something tells me that they got those names after their work on the film…   The ponies were part of an “Oz Caravan” that was currently traveling around the midwestern U.S. promoting the film and featuring the Munchkin carriage that Judy briefly rides in during that sequence in the film. 

More details and images of all of Judy’s activities during that golden year of 1939 can be found on The Judy Room’s Garland Centennial 1939 Page.

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

September 28, 1939:  Here are two very obviously studio-fed stories about Judy that MGM publicists sent out.  Fun fodder to keep Judy’s name in the papers!

The first story pertains to the “Judy Garland Flowers” shop that MGM had opened in her name.  Judy really didn’t have anything to do with the shop in spite of what this short blurb claims.

The is from May Mann’s syndicated column and is quite the story about how Judy likes to eat at the New York automats.  We all now know that MGM would never let her splurge on “pie, sandwiches, and etc.”

Also shown here are a few publicity photos of Judy, along with her sisters and a happy customer, “running” the show at the flower shop.

More details and images of all of Judy’s activities during that golden year of 1939 can be found on The Judy Room’s Garland Centennial 1939 Page.

September 28, 1939:  Here’s a fun article that notes, “While natural color has long been held to be useful in many types of pictures, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is declared as the first to make use of Technicolor on a sound psychological basis.”

More details and images of all of Judy’s activities during that golden year of 1939 can be found on The Judy Room’s Garland Centennial 1939 Page.

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

September 28, 1940:  The trade magazine, “Motion Picture Herald,” included Little Nellie Kelly in its regular “This Week in Pictures” feature, and this full-page ad was placed by MGM producer Arthur Freed congratulating the Herald’s publisher Martin Quigley on his 25 years in the entertainment business.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Page on Little Nellie Kelly here.

September 28, 1940:  Three items from the trade magazine, “Motion Picture Herald.”  A two-page spread featuring MGM’s latest and upcoming films including Strike Up The Band and Little Nellie Kelly.  MGM also placed a four-page spread touting the success of Strike Up The Band.  Finally, in the regular feature “Round Table in Pictures” which showed various advertising campaigns around the country, there was an example of a promotion of Andy Hardy Meets Debutante in Moline, Illinois.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Page on Andy Hardy Meets Debutante here.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Page on Strike Up The Band here.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Page on Little Nellie Kelly here.

September 28, 1940:  “Uncle Dan,” who wrote a column for kids, published the results of his popularity poll after receiving submissions from juveniles in Rochester, New York, and the outlying areas.  Mickey Rooney made the top of the list with Judy in second place.  The winners of the contest were feted at lunch that Saturday and a chance to meet Uncle Dan in person.

From the column:

Marlece Dourlon says Judy is just the sort of girl she hopes to be.

Patsy Socfield had an unusual twist in her reasoning.  She said she admired Judy especially because she had so many beautiful dresses, and because she always seemed so happy.

Marian Gallagher waxed a bit poetical in her answer – 
  Here’s for Judy Garland
  A nice little darlin’, 
  Who’s so lovely and small
  I like her best of all.

These sentiments give some insight into how Judy was viewed by the public, especially fans her age and younger.  Ten years later when Judy was having her very public breakdown and suicide attempt, it’s these same fans who stood by her as adults.  They grew up with her and in spite of her status as a big movie star, to them Judy was still “one of us.”

September 28, 1944:  Joan Leslie wanted to be Judy’s friend, according to Sidney Skolsky.  On this day Judy was on standby for filming on The Clock at MGM.  She was on the set all day until 6:05 p.m. but was not needed and did not film any scenes.

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

September 28, 1948:  A short day at MGM for Judy.  She rehearsed “Jonny One Note” for Words And Music, arrived at 10 a.m.; dismissed at 11:40 a.m.

September 28, 1956:  Columnist Earl Wilson covered Judy’s recent return to The Palace in New York.  That’s Wilson with Judy backstage at The Palace during the interview.

September 28, 1960:  These photos were taken of Judy with Maurice Chevalier at his home in Paris, France.

Judy had just arrived in Paris after having premiered her first two-act solo concert (the first known two-act, solo, one-woman concert by a female pop vocalist) at the Palladium in London.


September 28, 1963:  The cover of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper insert promoting the upcoming premiere of Judy’s new weekly TV series, “The Judy Garland Show.”


September 28, 1967:  Swing with the Stars.  An upcoming series of articles titled “Fall Festival of Celebrities” to be published in the “Philadelphia Daily News.”   The articles published the following week were excerpts from the “Ladies Home Journal” article “The Plot Against Judy Garland.”

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