“Miss Garland came on stage, wearing the female version of a tuxedo and ‘wowed ’em’ before she sang a note.” – Charles D. Perlee, 1968
November 15, 1938: This article by Jack King provides Judy’s alleged “jitterbug descriptions” of stars. This sounds like more of the made-up tidbits of information put out by MGM’s publicity department.
Casts and Forecasts
By JACK KING
THE PAST FEW months has seen the spectacular ride to stardom of two grand youngsters, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. Judy was a guest star in Mickey’s hit picture “Love Finds Andy Hardy” and scored a definite sensation with her singing of the songs in the film.
JUDY’S LATEST picture, “Listen, Darling,” co-stars her with Freddie Bartholomew and again she sings as only she can. The songs are: “On The Bumpy Road To Love,” “Zing Went The Strings of My Heart” and the already popular “Ten Pins In The Sky.”
IN ADDITION to Bartholomew, who incidentally is growing up surprisingly, the cast includes Mary Astor, Walter Pidgeon, Alan Hale and Scotty Beckett.
HERE ARE Judy Garland’s jitterbug descriptions of some of the screen’s most famous stars:
Clark Gable – “Stark Fable.”
Nelson Eddy – “Nice and Steady.”
Mickey Rooney – “Crickets Crooney.”
Wallace Beery – “Waffles Speery.”
Robert Young – “Rubber Tongue.”
Basil Rathbone – “Rattle Bathroom.”
Franchot Tone – “Frenchy Phone.”
Diana [sic] Durbin – “Suzanna Turban.”
Robert Taylor – “Here Comes a Sailor.”
Freddie Bartholomew – “Start and I’ll Follow You.”
Since youth is no respect or age or fame, the jitterbug appellations take very curious form. They may sound a bit foolish but you have to admit that they are clever.
November 15, 1938: Filming resumed on The Wizard of Oz. Production had been halted, again, when it was discovered that the Tin Man’s costume was shiny rather than rusted. Three days worth of shooting the initial meeting with the (shiny) Tin Man were scrapped and the costume was effectively “rusted.” The mistake cost the production an estimated sixty thousand dollars. The sequence, from the initial meeting to “If I Only Had A Heart” to the threats by the Wicked Witch of the West to “We’re Off To See The Wizard,” was shot from November 15 through November 19.
Photo note: Judy is seen wearing her regular slippers in a couple of the photos. She wore these whenever the Ruby Slippers were out of camera range to keep the slippers from extra wear and to make her seem shorter (i.e., more childlike). Director Victor Fleming is seen in two behind-the-scenes photos. He’s wearing a dark hat and jacket with a dark sweater, and a shirt and tie underneath. The last pic is a before and after comparison showing the original shiny Tin Man and the properly rusted one we see in the film.
November 15, 1940: The following review of Little Nellie Kelly appeared in the Film Daily trade paper.
Also included are a few more newspaper reviews and ads.
“Little Nellie Kelly”
FAIR OFFERING FOR GENERAL AUDIENCE CONSUMPTION WITH ENGAGING CAST AND FIRST-RATE PRODUCTION VALUE TO OFFSET POOR SCRIPT.
The George M. Cohan stage success of two decades ago has been transferred to the screen by Metro with fair results. Picture has a nostalgic appeal to it and there are a number of lines that will get heavy laughs from anybody familiar with the New York of today and the New York of many years ago that serves as the story’s setting.
Picture offers numerous avenues of exploitation in addition to having the increasingly popular Miss Garland a sits star. George Murphy and Charles Winninger are strong supporting marquee “names.” Director Norman Taurog makes the most of his material and keeps his characters believable, with a nice production background provided for the film by producer Arthur Freed. Essential weakness of the film is a poor script.
Miss Garland sings pleasingly, and puts her numbers over with a great deal of charm and appeal in addition to doing a nice bit of acting where it is demanded. It may seem incongruous to some people, however, to see Miss Garland get married, have a baby and die in the early sequences of the picture. George Murphy ably fills the bill as the Irish lover of Nellie Kelly and the Irish police captain father of little Nellie Kelly after they emigrate to New York. A swell performance is contributed by able veteran Charlie Winninger cast as the crochet father who never forgave Murphy for marrying his daughter, but lived with them just the same.
The delightful voice of Douglas McPhail is heard in a couple of numbers and is adequate as the swain of little Nellie. Arthur Shields and James Burke are helpful additions to the cast.
Miss Garland marries Murphy in Ireland against her father’s wishes. However, Winninger goes to America with them to “see that his daughter is taken proper care of” despite the fact that he lives with them and won’t speak to Murphy. Judy dies giving birth to daughter, and from there the story moves along to a happy ending with a highly amusing windup sequence.
DIRECTION, Smoother. PHOTOGRAPHY, Fine.
November 15, 1940: Hey Leader, strike up the band! Judy and Mickey Rooney’s second big musical was another giant hit for the duo and a very happy MGM Studios.
November 15, 1941: Two items from the trade magazine, “Motion Picture Herald.” The first is an advance synopsis of the upcoming MGM release of Babes on Broadway. The second is the magazine’s regular feature “What The Picture Did For Me.” Theatre owners/managers would submit their feedback on various films and how well they did in their cities/towns. In this issue:
Life Begins for Andy Hardy
S.L. George of the Mountain Home Theatre in Mountain Home, Idaho said:
About the same as other Hardy pictures. Did better than average business but not in comparison to the rental we had to pay. Not the best of this series as the trailer promised, but was satisfactory entertainment.
Walter Elred of the Colfax Theatre in Colfax, California said:
While not measuring up to any in the past series, it was still enjoyed by everyone. Judy singing a song or two would have strengthened it some. However, Rooney still goes over in a big way here.
Otto W. Chapek of the New Annex Theatre in Anamoose, North Dakota said:
A great musical was too long. This had a good story and seemed to please all. Next time make them shorter.
November 1942: The MGM magazine, “Lion’s Roar,” featured Judy on the cover as a promotion for the upcoming release of For Me And My Gal.
On this day at MGM, Judy was rehearsing The Trolley Song” and “Skip To My Lou” for Meet Me In St. Louis. Time called: 1 p.m.; dismissed: 3:40 p.m.
November 1945: The MGM magazine, “Lion’s Roar,” featured Judy on the cover as a promotion for the upcoming release of The Harvey Girls.
November 15, 1947: Judy’s final recording session for Decca Records. The session lasted from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and was Judy’s last recording session of singles for a label (outside of her MGM pre-recordings) until April 3, 1953, when she recorded “Go Home, Joe,” “Heartbroken, ” These Send My Baby Back To Me,” and “Without A Memory” for Columbia Records.
Three songs were recorded during this Decca session, with only twin piano accompaniment, in the following order: “Nothing But You”; “I Wish I Were In Love Again” (not to be confused with her MGM Records duet with Mickey Rooney from the film Words and Music); “Falling In Love With Love.”
“I Wish I Were In Love Again” and “Nothing But You” were released on July 14, 1948, on Decca single #24469 with the former on the “A” side and the latter on the “B” side.
“Falling In Love With Love” is an outtake that went unreleased until it was included in the June 26, 1992, CD release “Changing My Tune – The Best of the Decca Years Vol. 2.”
Listen to “Nothing But You” here:
Listen to “I Wish I Were In Love Again” here:
Listen to the alternate take of “I Wish I Were In Love Again” here:
Listen to “Falling In Love With Love” here:
All of Judy’s Decca recordings have been released over the years in various formats. The most recent, and best, is the boxed set “Smilin’ Through The Singles Collection 1936-1947” released in 2011. The set features new remasters of the recordings making it the definitive collection of Judy’s Decca recordings.
Label images from the collection of Rick Smith. Thanks, Rick!
Learn more about Judy’s Decca records and all of the various releases in The Judy Garland Online Discography’s “Decca Records” Section.
November 15, 1947: Judy’s Easter Parade costar, Fred Astaire, had a pre-recording session of the song “Steppin’ Out With My Baby.” Judy was not a part of the session but she did have a recording session of her own for Decca Records (see entry above).
Listen to the rarely-heard partial stereo edit of “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” here. The first section – the vocals – is in glorious stereo but unfortunately, the multiple tracks for the rest of the number apparently have not survived.
November 15, 1948: This article details MGM’s upcoming 1949 release schedule. It’s quite the lineup of films. The planned Garland films were: Annie Get Your Gun, In The Good Old Summertime as well as the “ready for release” (released in 1948), Words and Music. Other great films (non-Garland) were The Three Musketeers (released in 1948), the 1949 classics Little Women, The Forsyte Saga, Battleground, Madame Bovary, Take Me Out To The Ballgame, The Secret Garden, and so many more.
November 15, 1949: It’s unknown if Judy had any work on this day for Summer Stock which had just begun filming, however, Judy’s costars Gloria DeHaven and Phil Silvers had a recording session for the song “Fall In Love.” This duet didn’t make the final cut of the film but the recording survives (in stereo) and is provided below:
November 15, 1951: Here is a second article by Inez Robb (see yesterday’s post for the other article) in which she reports on Judy’s recent success at The Palace in New York and her more recent collapse. Prior to her collapse, Judy chatted with Robb about her weight, spending Christmas with Liza and ex-husband Vincente Minnelli, and how she wasn’t in a rush to get married (to Sid Luft) although just seven months later, on June 8, 1952, she and Luft married. Of note is Robb’s comment about Judy’s weight, “the truth is that she is somewhere between a size 12 and 14 now, and looks pretty as a picture.” That’s quite a difference from today’s media which seem to want all women to be a size 0.
November 16, 1954: The trade magazine “Motion Picture Daily” noted that A Star Is Born was one of the films promoted in New York City by the city’s subway system as one of this month’s “Go See” films.
November 15, 1958: Judy appeared in Sammy Davis, Jr.’s benefit show at the Swing Auditorium at the National Orange Show in San Bernadino, California. The show was a tribute to the newly-built San Bernardino Community Hospital with the funds going to purchase equipment for the hospital. Davis introduced Judy as “the world’s greatest entertainer.” Judy sang “When You’re Smiling,” “Day In, Day Out,” “Judy’s Olio,” “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby,” “Over The Rainbow,” and “Swanee.” Others who took part in the event were Danny Thomas, Tony Curtis, Shirley MacLaine, Sidney Poitier, James Garner, and Joan Collins.
November 15, 1960: Judy was in concert at the De Montford Hall in Leister, England.
Photo: Judy in 1960.
November 15, 1961: The dentist (Dr. Ruben Larson) involved in the car crash with Sid Luft on September 30th sued for $15,000. Larson wasn’t actually in the crash but was a witness trying to help when in a fit of anger Luft slugged him and broke his nose. The man involved in the actual crash, Charles T. Neal, sued Luft for $10,000. Judy was not involved in the accident. She was at a nearby bar and came running to see what had happened. The second article above was printed on October 1st and gives some details about the accident.
November 15, 1962: Another development in the ongoing divorce battle between Judy and husband Sid Luft happened on this date. Judy had recently proceeded to file divorce papers in Nevada in spite of an injunction issued by a California judge (where Luft was living) against her doing so. Because of this, the assets of the couple were placed in receivership on this day. Per the article, “Superior Judge Edward R. Brand appointed a receiver on petition of Luft’s attorney, Guy Ward. Immediately after Judge Brand’s order, Ward said a Nevada attorney would enter the divorce action there to represent Luft.”
November 15, 1964: Judy and daughter Liza Minnelli’s second concert at the London Palladium. There was such a huge demand for tickets for the first concert on November 8, 1964, that this second concert was scheduled. Both nights were hits with both audiences and critics.
Capitol Records recorded both nights although for the two-record set that was released, only one song from this second show, a Liza solo, was included.
ITV British Television videotaped this second show. The telecast five weeks later used only 55 minutes of the 130-minute concert. Those 55 minutes of video are all that are known to have survived.
The complete two concerts have never been released on CD or any other audio format, although there were two proposed releases in 2002 and 2009 that were allegedly halted by the “Judy Garland Heir’s Trust.”
Read all about “The Plagued History of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli ‘Live’ at the London Palladium, 1965-2009” by Lawrence Schulman here (PDF), it’s a great read with fascinating details.
The videos here feature audio from this second night, restored by John H. Haley, and paired with the ITV footage.
November 15, 1965: Judy’s marriage to Mark Herron the previous day made all the papers on this day. These were the years before instant news like we have today and most stories took a day to be covered by the print media and then they would appear in different papers for several days afterward, sometimes even weeks.
November 15, 1967: Judy sang informally at a party following a Lincoln Center ASCAP tribute in New York. This is not to be confused with Judy’s appearance at the ASCAP event a month earlier on October 16, 1967.
Photo: Judy in Chicago, Illinois, being interviewed by Irving Kupcinet. See the September 17, 1967, entry for details and the surviving video of that interview.
November 15, 1974: That’s Entertainment! was still a hit with audiences, which prompted this interview of Judy’s ex-husband (and Liza’s dad), Vincente Minnelli, by columnist Tom Shales of the “Washington Post.”
November 15, 2017: Julien’s Auction house in Los Angeles, California, held a special screening of the documentary film The Slippers.