“Judy Garland Wows ’em in Palace’s Return to 2-a-Day” – Louis Shaeffer, 1951
October 17, 1926: “The Gumm Family” performed at a George O’Brien Dinner in their hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
October 17, 1938: Judy filmed the reprise version of “Over the Rainbow” for The Wizard of Oz. The scene was cut from the film. It was a part of the sequence in which Dorothy is trapped in the Witch’s castle and is crying for her Auntie Em, just before Auntie Em appears in the crystal ball.
It was decided to have Judy sing the reprise live on the set with piano accompaniment only (Roger Edens was at the piano), rather than lip-sync to a pre-recording, due to its emotional nature.
Listen to the on-set recording here:
Months later, Judy had to refilm the scene, again live on the set, due to the changes in the costumes after these early weeks of filming with the blonde Dorothy. The orchestral background music was not recorded until May 6, 1939. All that exists of Judy’s vocals from both versions is the audio to this first one.
Listen to the underscoring recorded on May 6, 1939, titled “Toto Brings New” here:
Photo provided by Kurt Raymond. Thanks, Kurt!
October 17, 1939: Judy appeared on “The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope” aired by NBC-Radio out of Hollywood, California. This was Judy’s regular weekly appearance on the show, although she had missed the previous two weeks’ shows due to her schedule at MGM. It’s unclear what Judy sang, and no recording of this broadcast is known to exist.
Meanwhile, Babes in Arms was set to open across the country. It became one of MGM’s biggest hits, bringing in tons of revenue for the studio.
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.
October 17, 1942: This ad promoting the recent opening of For Me And My Gal appeared in the trade magazine, “The Showmen’s Trade Review.”
October 17, 1944: Filming on The Clock continued with scenes shot on the “Interior Marriage License Bureau” set. time called: 10 a.m.; dismissed: 5:50 p.m.
October 17, 1945: Judy had a rehearsal of “Who” for Till The Clouds Roll By. Time called: 1 p.m.; Judy arrived at 2:15 p.m; dismissed: 3:45 p.m. Below is one of the MGM playback discs for the number, dated on this date. The date is the day the record was pressed, not the prerecording date. The number was prerecorded on October 9, 1945. Thank you to Hisato M. for providing the image.
October 17, 1951: The reviews of Judy’s previous night’s opening of her show at The Palace in New York were coming in. Judy was a smash hit! Her comeback was complete and this was the official beginning of what would later be known as her “legendary concert years.”
Here are a few clippings, the text of the first (which is difficult to read here) is as follows:
Palace Triumph Of Judy Garland Stirs Broadway
Judy Garland sang vaudeville back onto the Palace stage Tuesday night and took one of entertainment history’s most glittering audiences by storm.
For an hour and 15 minutes – the entire second half of a show brilliantly fashioned to bring back the fabled times of “two-a-day” – Judy sang to a house jammed with show folk and celebrities as only Judy can sing.
When it was over they stood and cheered her and watched happily as basket after basket of flowers came up on the stage.
Outside the Palace, the one-time vaudeville Mecca now renewing the old “two-a-day” policy for the first time in 18 years, police lines held back thousands of people who balked Times Square traffic as they stood for hours to catch a glimpse of the stars.
Whatever they saw, they missed the real show. The real show went on inside before an audience that shouted approval for every number Judy sang. She sang, it seems, all of her wonderful songs; yet she could have sung twice as many, and no one would have stirred.
There were “You made me Love You,” “The Boy Next Door,” “For me and My Gal,” “The Trolley Song,” Love Is Sweeping the Country,” “Get Happy,” and the tramp number from “Easter Parade.”
Seldom as an audience seen Judy Garland so beautiful and radiant as she was Tuesday night. She did one or two production numbers with eight friendly guys (“Judy’s Eight Escorts”) and suffered a foot slip that almost matched the pratfall she took when she opened at the London Palladium last summer. At one point, she lost a rakish hat she was wearing, grinned, said “wait a minute,” picked it up, and went on with a song.
For the finale, still wearing the battered swallow-tail outfit from the tramp number, she sat herself on the edge of the stage, shunned the microphone, and sang directly to the audience: “Over the Rainbow.”
To say that the rest of the acts, which will accompany Judy for at least four weeks of two shows a day at the Palace, were equal to Judy would be unfair to everybody. But they were fine, too. They included, in the true vaudeville traction, Joe Smith and Charles Dale, still growing through their hilarious “Dr. Kronkhite” routine after 50 years on stage together.
And there were:
The Langs, a sextet of terrific acrobats; Doodles & Spider, two energetic and comic pantomimists; Gisela and Francois Szony, a truly marvelous brother-and-sister team from Hungary, and Max Bygraves, an unaffected and affable young English comedian.
It’s the kind of thing you want to see over and over again. That’s the good thing about vaudeville. You can.
October 17, 1954: While in Chicago for the Chicago premiere of A Star Is Born. Judy had a photo op with the Milwaukee Red Feather Kids. Note how the blurb states that Judy got her start at the Chicago World’s Fair.
Scan courtesy of Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
October 17, 1954: Miscellaneous A Star Is Born items.
1) An ad and two reviews of the Columbia soundtrack to the film. Harvey Southgate, in his “Records Roundtable” review curiously notes that Judy’s singing was “not always on pitch.”
2) A full-page photo spread from the St. Louis Dispatch.
3) The Pittsburgh Press published an article about Judy and Marlon Brando being difficult but worth it, with a great sketch of Judy.
4) KTTV in Los Angeles was re-airing the coverage of the film’s premiere.
October 17, 1957: Star Mothers
October 17, 1961: Judy was in concert at the War Memorial in Rochester, New York. After the performance, she played cards all night and then caught a 6 a.m. flight to Pittsburgh. She slept all day on October 18 upon her arrival.
October 17, 1966: Judy was seen with Peter Carlyle at Jack Jones’ opening at Coconut Grove.
October 17, 1993: Here is an article that includes information about the upcoming MGM/UA Home Video release of “The Ultimate Oz.” The set proved to be incredibly popular and was such a success that subsequent “ultimate” and “collector’s editions” from all of the video labels copied the basic format, which became ultimate treats for film fans everywhere.