“Judy is an appealing and wonderfully sweet person when she is not harassed by worry and fear. Now that all those unhappy, haunting fears seem to have vanished she is exactly the Judy I knew so long ago.” – Louella Parsons, 1951
November 17, 1933: Born on this day, the one and only Toto! Actually, Toto’s real name was Terry. She was a Cairn terrier who was adopted by trainer Carl Spitz and turned out to be quite the little actress. In addition to The Wizard of Oz, she also made an appearance in another 1939 classic, The Women, as well as many other films during her lifetime. She died on September 1, 1945, and was buried at Spitz’s ranch. Unfortunately, her grave was destroyed when the Ventura Freeway was built in 1958.
On June 18, 2011, Terry was memorialized at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, California, with a wonderful statue and dedication.
November 17, 1935: Judy’s father, Frank Gumm, died of spinal meningitis. He had entered the hospital the day before, and they placed a radio in his room so he could hear Judy’s appearance on the “Shell Chateau Hour” in which she sang a very passionate “Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart.”
Judy referred to the loss as “the most terrible thing that ever happened to me in my life.” She also stated that she felt that no one was “on her side” after his death. She was very close to her father, and he reciprocated with unconditional love and support. It’s been speculated ever since just how, or if, Judy’s career might have been different if Frank had lived. Perhaps he would have been able to shield her from the grind at MGM when she was overworked several years later. No one will ever know.
The funeral arrangements were handled by the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park & Mortuary. The obituary above is from the November 19, 1935, edition of The Tennessean newspaper out of Nashville. The only notice in the LA Times is a simple listing of Frank’s name along with the other recent deaths in the area.
November 17, 1939: Judy’s mom, Ethel, married William Gilmore. By all accounts, Judy did not like her new stepfather and the two did not get along. Allegedly Judy never forgave her mother for marrying Gilmore on the anniversary of the death of her beloved father, Frank Gumm.
Also, published on this day, was this article about how popular Judy and Mickey Rooney were in Babes in Arms. So much so that audiences wanted to see more of the team in similar musicals. They got their wish!
November 17, 1940: Two items. Judy is seen in the weekly “Hollywood Off Guard” photo page. The exact venue is unknown. She’s wearing the same floral chiffon dress that she posed in for some promotional photos (shown above). The second item is Hedda Hopper’s chat with director Norman Taurog who talks about youngsters wanting a career in Hollywood, and of course, Judy, whom he recently directed in Little Nellie Kelly.
November 17, 1941: That terrific twosome, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney performed the radio version of the popular “Merton Of The Movies” story (the film starred Red Skelton) on “The Lux Radio Theater” broadcast by CBS Radio and hosted by Cecil B. DeMille.
Listen to the following from the show:
Judy’s rendition of “The Peanut Vendor”
Judy and Mickey premiere the new song “How About You”
The entire broadcast:
November 17, 1943: Judy had more rehearsals of “The Trolley Song” and “Skip To My Lou” for Meet Me In St. Louis. Time called: 11:30 a.m.; dismissed: 4:50 p.m.
November 17, 1943: This ad from “The Philadelphia Enquirer” notes that Judy and Mickey Rooney’s latest (and final) costarring musical, Girl Crazy, was going to open the next day (November 18th) although the film actually didn’t premiere until November 26th. It could be a misprint by either the paper or the theater.
November 17, 1944: The Clock filming continued on the “Exterior NY Street-Flat Tire” set which was actually the “New York Streets” section of MGM’s Backlot #2. Time called: 10 a.m.; dismissed: 5:55 p.m.
November 17, 1947: Judy and co-star Fred Astaire pre-recorded the “Vaudeville Montage” for Easter Parade. Time called: 10 a.m.; time dismissed: 5:55 p.m. Judy’s co-star, Fred Astaire, was also in the recording studio and pre-recorded “Happy Easter.”
Listen to the “Vaudeville Montage” here:
Listen to “Happy Easter” (Fred Astaire solo) here:
November 17, 1948: It was a busy day on the MGM Recording Stage for the production of In The Good Old Summertime. Judy pre-recorded: “Play That Barbershop Chord” (with The King’s Men); “I Don’t Care”; and the unused “Finale/In The Good Old Summertime” (also with The King’s Men and co-star Van Johnson). Van Johnson also pre-recorded his short opening of “Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey” with Roger Edens at the piano. The bulk of the song (Judy’s vocal) was pre-recorded the previous day (November 16th).
Listen to “I Don’t Care” here:
Listen to “Play That Barbershop Chord” here:
Listen to the outtake “Finale” here:
November 17, 1951: Louella Parsons’s latest column reports on how Judy is looking alter and years younger. However, the paper chose to feature Linda Darnell next to the articles. I’m sure when people first glanced and the headline and photo, they probably thought for a split second, “Wow, Judy’s glamorized!” Regardless, it’s a nice article and flattering to Judy.
November 17, 1953: The second of three days of filming on the “Exterior Rooming House and Roof, ” and “Exterior Oleander Arms” locations for A Star Is Born. All of this was on location in Los Angeles. Time started: 10:00 a.m.; finished: 5:30 p.m.
November 17, 1959: Judy was the “Guest of Honor” at a party for Aly Kahn given by the legendary Elsa Maxwell, at the Drake Hotel in New York City. There are no extant photos or recordings from this event. The photo above is a snapshot of Judy taken at some point in 1959.
November 17, 1963: “Episode Three” of “The Judy Garland Show” premiered on CBS-TV. Judy’s guests: Liza Minnelli, the Brothers Castro, and Soupy Sales; plus regular Jerry Van Dyke.
Judy sang: “Liza”; “Come Rain Or Come Shine”; “Together” (with Liza); A medley of “We Could Make Such Beautiful Music Together”/”The Best Is Yet To Come”/”Bye, By Baby”/”Bob White (Whatcha Gonna Swing Tonight)'”; “As Long As He Needs Me” (in the “Born In A Trunk” segment); and, as a closer, Judy and Liza singing “Two Lost Souls” followed by “I Will Come Back.” Judy also performed in a brief sketch with Soupy Sales.
The show was taped on July 16, 1963.
Also on November 17: Judy called President Kennedy at the White House as this White House Telephone Memorandum shows. Judy called at 8:25 a.m. local time, meaning it was 5:25 a.m. in California where Judy was calling from. It’s unknown if Judy was able to speak to JFK. A number is given, which indicates that she left her call-back number. Just five days later JFK was assassinated. Judy and JFK were good friends and it’s well known that she would call him to chat and sometimes seek advice. He usually asked her to sing the last few bars of “Over the Rainbow” to him before they ended their calls. His assassination devastated Judy.
November 17, 1968: Judy performed at the ASCAP Salute to Harold Arlen, Vincent Youmans, and Noel Coward at New York’s Lincoln Center.
Judy was in fine form, and sang “The Man That Got Away”; “It’s A New World”; “Get Happy”; and “Over the Rainbow.”
Listen to the entire performance here:
Judy’s performance was restored and remastered in 2016 and released on the JSP 2-CD set “Judy Garland Sings Harold Arlen” this past February. Check out the link to The Judy Garland Online Discography’s “Judy Garland Sings Harold Arlen” for details.
November 17, 2017: Julien’s Auctions held a huge Garland auction, chiefly comprised of amazing items from Michael Siewert’s amazing collection.