“With ‘A Star Is Born,’ Judy Garland has reached the peak of her career to date. It will be interesting to see what she chooses as her next vehicle to satisfy the multitudes of additional fans she will surely garner with her current appearance.” – Theresa Loeb Cone, 1954
October 9, 1927: “The Gumm Family” performed at the Antelope Valley Fair, Lancaster, California. This might have also occurred on October 14th.
October 9, 1934: The first night of a three-night engagement for “The Garland Sisters” at the Dubinsky’s Jefferson Theater in Jefferson City, Missouri. This was the last stop on the sisters’ tour on their way from Chicago home to California.
October 9, 1936: These ads promoting Pigskin Parade appeared in various trade magazines and newspapers. The film premiered on October 23, 1936, and was Judy’s very first feature film and her only loan out to another studio while under contract to MGM.
Be sure to listen to the previously unreleased recording of Judy singing “Hold That Bulldog” on Jack Oakie’s radio show. It’s the only extant recording (that we know of) of Judy singing this song that was cut from the film.
October 9, 1937: This glowing review of Judy’s work in “Broadway Melody of 1938” (1937), was published in The Winnipeg Tribune:
SOPHIE TUCKER AND YOUNG STAR STEAL “MELODY”
Without being numbered among the great pictures of the year, “Broadway Melody of 1938,” now showing at the Metropolitan, is good enough entertainment for anyone’s favor, and contains some numbers that will be remembered for a long time. The story is old, but is livened up very considerably by introduced items, for the show is studded with talent to good that the patron may be excused for forgetting the story altogether, while revealing in the dancing of Eleanor Powell, George Murphy and Buddy Ebsen, applauding the work of the one and original Sophie Tucker as she sentimentally reminisces about Broadway, and enjoying the torch type of singing by young Judy Garland. These latter two stand out among the cast like traffic lights on a dark night.
Eleanor Powell is as graceful and talented as ever. From her first dance in the horse car, to the very fine dance duet with George Murphy in a rain storm sequence and continuing to the final number where she taps with male chorus, and Murphy and Buddy Ebsen as her partners, against a background of sky scrapers, she shows increased speed and power. Her every appearance spells good entertainment.
George Murphy, too, known for some time as a ball room dancer of more than usual ability, shines in this. His times, helped of course by Miss Powell’s dancing skill and delightful personality, are good enough to leave the audience wanting more. Buddy Ebsen is just the same Buddy. If you saw him do the codfish ball number with Shirley Temple a long time ago, you see him in this – with the added advantage of more to do and an improved way of doing it. He still ranks, with the best hoofers of his type.
In straight acting Robert Taylor deserves credit. As the young Broadway producer he is very human and distinctly likable. His technique has also considerably improved. Robert Benchley, comedian of parts, does a good job as Duffy, the bibulous press agent. Raymond Wilbur sings well. Charlie Grapewin introduces his own brand of comedy, such as he once displayed on Broadway, and Willy Howard does a bit as the waiter in the theatrical boarding house that will stand out. Also Robert Wildhack introduces one of his snoring specialties, hardly as good as the material in which he has been previously seen. Binnie Barnes also plays acceptably.
This about accounts for the cast with the exception of Sophie Tucker and young Judy Garland. Miss Tucker has done the rounds to stardom and back again but she is still a great artiste. As soon as she walks on the screen things begin to happen. And they happen so pleasantly that one is loath to see her leave. Her Broadway song with lyrics bringing in the great names of the past in the entertainment world is sentimental enough to bring sighs as well as applause. Judy Garland, still in her teens, is wonderfully good, her Gable song in particular being a model of its kind. Advance notices of “Broadway Melody” give the main spot to Powell and Robert Taylor. But after you see it, it is Sophie Tucker and Judy Garland you will remember longest.
October 9, 1938: This photo and caption appeared in various papers around the country promoting the NBC Radio show “Good News of 1939.” The picture was taken on June 29, 1939, during the special edition of the program titled “Behind the Scenes at the Making of The Wizard of Oz.” That show was hosted by Robert Young and starred Judy along with Ray Bolger, Harold Arlen, Hanley Stafford, Bert Lahr, E.Y. Harburg, Fred Stone, Frank Morgan, Fanny Brice, and Meredith Willson with The NBC Orchestra.
The show was a milestone in Judy’s career in that it was the first time she performed “Over the Rainbow” on the radio as well as her first public performance of the song.
October 9, 1939: Babes in Arms was set to premiere the following night (October 10) at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. MGM knew they had a hit and a new hit teen duo with Judy and Mickey Rooney and they put out a lot of press notices, articles, photos, and blurbs.
Included were notices that the duo’s follow-up film would be a new adaptation of Good News (previously filmed in 1930). Producer Arthur Freed decided on Strike Up The Band as the duo’s second musical but kept Good News in the back of his mind for several years, finally producing it in 1947 with June Allyson and Peter Lawford in the lead roles.
One of these notices also mentions that Judy would be in the comedy-drama Susan and God starring Joan Crawford. Wouldn’t that have been interesting! Several blurbs went out on this alleged casting at this time although it’s doubtful that Judy was seriously considered for a non-musical role at this time. It was just more of MGM’s publicity department fodder keeping her name in public awareness.
October 9, 1940: Strike Up The Band is the centerpiece for this full-page ad by MGM promoting their films.
October 9, 1941: Filming on Babes on Broadway was canceled for the day due to the illness of the film’s director, Busby Berkeley. The assistant director’s notes state: “Co. [company] rehearsal canceled at 11:14 a.m., account illness of Mr. Berkeley. JG [Judy Garland] – Call Cancelled.”
Photo: Undated photo of Judy and Busby Berkeley on the set of Babes on Broadway.
October 9, 1942: Judy appeared on the “Command Performance No. 35” radio show with Bob Hope as the host. She sang “It’s A Great Day For The Irish” and “On The Sunny Side Of The Street.”
Listen to “It’s A Great Day For The Irish” here:
Listen to “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” here:
Photos: Details of the “Orthacoustic” record labels from the LP of the show.
October 9, 1944: Filming on The Clock continued with scenes shot on the “Interior U.S.O”; “Riverside Park”; and “Interior Subway Train” sets. Time called: 10 a.m.; time arrived; 10:06 a.m.; time dismissed: 5:55 p.m.
October 9, 1945: Judy prerecorded “Who?” for Till The Clouds Roll By. Judy had a call for 1 p.m., she arrived at 1:15 p.m.; dismissed at 3:53 p.m.
Listen to the MGM Records version of “Who?” here:
Listen to the extended version of “Who?” here. This starts off with the sound technician noting that it’s “Take 3” which is not noted on the sheet above as a printed take. The version here is the complete number (all “scenes” together), it’s unknown which takes from the separate scenes were used to create this complete version):
October 9, 1947: Judy and Gene Kelly had another music rehearsal of “A Couple of Swells” for Easter Parade. Time called: 12 p.m.; Judy arrived at 12:25; p.m.; time dismissed: 2 p.m.
October 9, 1953: Judy had more wardrobe test for A Star Is Born. Time started: 12:00 p.m.; finished: 12:50 p.m.
Photo: Judy and husband Sid Luft, circa mid-1953.
October 9, 1954: The Oakland Tribune critic, Theresa Loeb Cone, loved A Star Is Born overall, but didn’t like the film’s length.
October 9, 1956: The second of a 5 part series about Judy, calling her the “Hollywood Problem Girl.”
How Sid Luft Helped Judy to Star Again
Team at Studio Or at Home for Children-First
Second of Series
By JOE HYAMS
Written for The Pittsburgh Press
Yesterday I said you could always get an argument at the mention of Judy Garland’s name.
The same thing applies when you mention her husband, Sid Luft, but he has far fewer defenders.
Actually very little is known about Luft, not because he’s a man of secrecy, but because people usually accept him merely as Judy’s husband. The fact is Mr. Luft is responsible for salvaging his wife’s career.
The Luft-Garland story begins in New York in 1951. Luft, a handsome and muscular fellow who was an RCAF pilot during the war, was recuperating from burns received in a crash while he was a test pilot for Douglas Aircraft. He met Judy at a party and asked her out. She said no.
Luft never asked for a date again but Judy remembered him. A few weeks later she called and asked him to take her to a ballet.
At the theater Luft fell asleep. Judy, who was also bored asked if he wanted to leave. “Right now,” said Luft. They went to a drugstore for an ice cream soda.
Judy was intrigued with any man unaffected enough to go to sleep during a ballet. The ice cream soda was the final bit of corn, since it came from a fellow as obviously manly as Luft.
They saw each other every night after that and a year later, in June 1952, they were married. She was 29, he was 39.
Hollywood took a cynical view of the marriage. Luft was known as a man about town. He had held many jobs including one as a private secretary to Eleanor Powell. He had been married briefly to Lynn Bari. Although he called himself a producer, the only films he had produced were two mildly successful “B” pictures for Monogram in 1948.
At the time of their marriage Luft offered Judy three things she desperately needed: Sympathy, strength and escape from MGM. When they were married, Judy’s show business career seemed ended.
She walked out in the middle of “Annie Get Your Gun” and started but never finished “Royal Wedding.” Her long term contract with MGM was dissolved at Judy’s request and she was considered unemployable by most Hollywood producers.
Luft, who was then trying to become a Hollywood agent, suggested Judy regain her confidence by appearing in vaudeville. He went to MGM and arranged to borrow Roger Edens to write an act. He offered the show to London’s famous Palladium and the offer was snapped up.
Star Is Born
The rest is show business history. Judy’s comeback trail led from the Palladium to the Palace in New York and to Warner’s where, with Luft as producer, “A Star Is Born” was made.
In the beginning Luft was only Judy’s manager. He became producer of her film at Jack L. Warner’s insistence because the studio head was certain Luft was the only one who could manage Judy.
The film was made at a cost of $4,500,000 – $2,000,000 over budget – but it established Luft in Hollywood. Now he devotes full time to managing his wife’s affairs from an office in their Hollywood home.
Luft is quiet, easy and soothing. He rarely uses flattery and he never pleads. He presents Judy with the facts arranged in such a manner that she makes what he considers to be the right decision. She knows that he has her best interests at heart.
Most of the time the Lufts live quietly in their big rambling home in Holmby Hills. They entertain very rarely, because most of their time is spent with the children. The house is only partly furnished although they have lived in it for three years. The only items in the living room are a grand piano and a ping pong table which holds a toy train set with lawns and bridges still to be set in place.
The Lufts entertain in the den, which has hi-fi with four speakers, an expensive radio and TV set; plus a small bar. The principal piece of furniture is a giant sofa about 14 feet long.
Home is for Children
The entire house is planned to permit the children to have freedom to play. The outside grounds which are extensive, are covered with playground equipment. There is no swimming pool because it would be a danger to the children.
“We haven’t bothered to furnish the house completely,” Judy told me, waving her hand to include the empty living room, dining room and entry hall. “We believe the house should grow with us. We aren’t through growing yet and neither is the house. If I have my way we’ll have a few more kids around. It’s children, not furniture, that makes a home.”
NEXT – Judy Garland as a professional entertainer.
October 9, 1956: This photo was taken of Judy out on the town at the El Morocco Club in New York City. She’s chatting with director Micheal Curtiz and actress Gene Tierney.
October 9, 1957: That Garland laugh! The Savoy Hotel in London.
Judy’s ship (the SS United States) was delayed arriving from the U.S. due to fog. She and husband Sid Luft along with daughter Lorna and son Joe arrived at London’s Waterloo Station at 4:30 a.m. where they went directly to the Savoy Hotel. Later in the evening, there was a press reception of Judy at the Londonderry House from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Judy was in London for her upcoming four-week run at the Dominion Theatre. It was her first engagement in London since beginning her legendary “concert years” at London’s Palladium in 1951.
October 9, 2006: This DVD of The Wizard of Oz was released in the U.K.