“Stepping temporarily out of ‘kid’ roles, Miss Garland becomes a grownup and adds new glory to her acting and singing fame.” – Uncredited review of “Little Nellie Kelly,” 1940
November 23, 1929: “The Gumm Sisters” returned to Waler’s Department Store in Los Angeles, California, as part of the “Big Brother Ken’s Toyland Revue.” The sisters had previously been part of the same revue for the store’s opening on November 16th.
November 23, 1933: Frances (Judy) took part in the “Million Dollar Revue” which was part of the American Jewish Congress Benefit at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California. The Shrine would play a big part in Judy’s career two decades later.
November 23, 1939: Judy Garland dolls were available in time for Christmas. This article about “Toy City” at the People’s Outfitting Company store in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Dolls Are Different. Many new types appear this year, in Toy City’s doll department. Deanna Durbin and Judy Garland dolls which strongly resemble the girl movies stars, are favorites.
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 Biography 1939 Page.
November 23, 1940: Here is another Judy Garland doll, this one features Judy wearing her finale costume from Strike Up The Band. In this case, the doll was used as a promotional giveaway to new subscribers to “The Deseret News” in Salt Lake City, Utah. It also references Judy’s latest film Little Nellie Kelly.
November 23, 1940: More for Little Nellie Kelly. Thanks to Judy’s talents, and the talents of her co-stars, the film rose above the obvious corny plot to be enjoyable and garner Judy more praise for her acting talents.
JUDY GARLAND APPEARS AS GROWNUP AT STRAND
Introducing Judy Garland in her first solo starring role and in her first “grown-up” love affair, “Little Nellie Kelly,” coming to the strand theater tomorrow or an engagement of five days, is herald as giving the popular young actress her fullest opportunity dramatically to date. Stepping temporarily out of “kid” roles, Miss Garland come a grownup an adds new glory to her acting and singing fame. Teamed with her for histrionic honors are George Murphy an Charles Winninger, with an excellent supporting cast.
The story, based on George M. Cohan’s famous play, deals with a long Irish girl who marries against the wishes of her father, who vows that he will never so long as he lives, speak to her husband. He keeps his word in spite of the fact that he, along with the otters two, comes to America to live. In America the daughter dies, leaving behind her an infant named Nellie. As the child grows older she is torn between love for her father and love for her grandfather. In the end, the two men are reconciled through her efforts.
Miss Garland portrays both roles, enacting first the young Irish mother, and later the thoroughly Americanized daughter. The songs she sings include “It’s a Great Day for the Irish,” “Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow,” and the more modern “Singin’ in the Rain.”
Murphy is seen as Miss Garland’s husband, and later as her father. Charles Winninger appears as the grandfather. The young baritone, Douglas McPhail, is the romantic interest of the young Nellie, and Arthur Shields, of the Abbey Players is McPhail’s father.
November 23, 1940: Two pages from the trade magazine, “Motion Picture Herald.” The first is an article about films starring multiple stars, Ziegfeld Girl (released in 1941) is noted twice. The second is the regular “What The Picture Did For Me” in which theatre owners/managers send in feedback about how films performed in their local markets.
Two notes about Andy Hardy Meets Debutante.
John Grabenstein of the Liberty Theatre in Eustis, Nebraska said:
Combination of Rooney and Garland spells boxoffice [sic] for any theatre that has a movie conscious community. This is good and Judy’s growing up – with personality and ability.
Felix H. Tisdale of the Ga-Ana Theatre in Georgiana, Alabama said:
They can’t make too many pictures with Mickey Rooney for me. Had the best business on this I’ve had in months. I saw customers that I thought had forgotten they made movies. This is just as good as any of the Hardy series. Please don’t stop making them.
November 23, 1940: The cover of the Australian “The Movie World” newspaper insert.
On this day, Judy was in the midst of filming on Ziegfeld Girl, having just recorded the comedy and ballad versions of “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” ten days prior.
Scan provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
November 23, 1942: For Me And My Gal was still doing big business across the nation.
November 23, 1943: Judy had dance rehearsals of “The Trolley Song” and “Skip To My Lou” for Meet Me In St. Louis. Time called: 10:00 a.m.; Judy arrived at 2 p.m.; dismissed: 4:20 p.m.
Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
November 23, 1943: This ad (above left) appeared in the “Film Daily” trade magazine. The text at the very bottom reads: “… at press-time ‘GIRL CRAZY’ doing gorgeous 277% in first date, Seattle!”
November 23, 1945: The advance filming of Judy’s scenes for Till The Clouds Roll By was noted. The scenes were filmed prior to her going on maternity leave to give birth to Liza Minnelli.
November 23, 1946: Judy and her husband Vincente Minnelli were recently seen at Slapsy Maxie’s nightclub in Hollywood, California.
November 23, 1947: Another snapshot of Judy and her husband Vincente Minnelli out on the town, this time at Ciro’s in Hollywood, California.
Also shown above is an ad published on this date for MGM Records. Till The Clouds Roll By is listed, although the focus is on the recording of Lionel Barrymore’s famous portrayal of Scrooge from the Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol.” Beginning in the 1930s, it was an annual tradition that Barrymore would tell the story and play the role on radio. He missed out on playing the role in the 1938 MGM film version of the story due to his arthritis, much to the audience’s disappointment.
November 23, 1953: Recording session for A Star Is Born. Judy pre-recorded “It’s A New World” and the “Tour de Force” (“Someone At Last”). Time started: 2 p.m. – Finished: 5:30 p.m.
The following links are various versions of the two numbers, click on them to listen and/or download:
“It’s A New World” Alternate Take:
“It’s A New World” Mono LP Version:
“It’s A New World” Orchestra Only:
“Someone At Last” Orchestra Only:
“Someone At Last” Recording Session 1:
“Someone At Last” Recording Session 2:
“Someone At Last” Recording Session – Alternate Ending:
“Someone At Last” Rehearsal with Roger Edens:
Photos provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
November 23, 1954: This series of ads appeared this week in the “Los Angeles Times.”
November 23, 1964: Judy and Liza recorded vocal tracks for the “Judy Garland And Liza Minnelli ‘Live’ At The London Palladium” album in Capitol’s London studios. They recorded their vocals over the orchestra tracks that were made during the November 15th concert recording. Judy dubbed “Just Once In A Lifetime” (one take); “His Is The Only Music That Makes Me Dance” (two takes); and together Judy and Liza dubbed “Hello, Dolly” (one take); “Don’t Rain On My Parade” (three takes); “San Francisco” (three takes); and “Chicago” (two takes – this song used orchestra tracks from the first concert). Liza dubbed new solos of her “Mama” tribute and “Who’s Sorry Now?”.
Per Scott Schechter’s book “Judy Garland The Day-By-Day Chronicle Of A Legend,” Part of the reason for recording these new takes is that much of the second concert audiotapes were ruined by a buzzing sound that bled through from some of the television cameras that were videotaping the show that night. For all this effort, the only thing that would be used from this session on the album was the ending of “Hello, Dolly,” that occurs after the dialogue between Judy and Liza and the audience.”
November 23, 1965: Judy attended daughter Liza Minnelli’s opening at the Coconut Grove, with husband Mark Herron and her two children from previous husband Sid Luft, Lorna, and Joe. Liza’s father, Vincente Minnelli, was scheduled to attend but according to Mike Connolly’s column, he came down with appendicitis and had to be rushed to the hospital. Luckily it wasn’t life-threatening and everything turned out fine.
Per Connolly, at one point “Liza fluffed a line in a song, she flashed a smile at her mom and cracked: ‘Judy call me Judy-Made-in-Japan!”
November 23, 1967: In this interview with George Cukor by Roger Ebert, the legendary director talks about Judy and A Star Is Born including the notorious cuts. From the article:
“No gossip,” he said. “I didn’t come here to talk a lot of nonsense.” And when someone asked if Judy Garland is washed up as a performer, he snapped: “Why do you bother to come if you ask such stupid questions?”
In answering questions on his work, Cukor provided a glimpse into the philosophy of a director long considered one of Hollywood’s most literate craftsmen.
On Garland: “People who aren’t complicated in real life come through as pretty bland on the screen. Mos great performers are not very happy and well adjusted. Perhaps that’s the price they pay for being originals.”
On “A Star Is Born,” described by Douglas McKay in his book “The Musical Film” as the greatest of all musicals: “I knew when I had finished it that it was too long. I suggested to the studio that I could seat out 20 minutes here and there without it ever being missed. But the studio said, no, they’d release the full film.”
“Then, tragically, the studio decided on the basis of the first showing around the country to cut the movie to a more conventional length. It was edited brutally, stupidly and arbitrarily, and many of Garland’s finest moments were taken out. I have no doubt that the reason Judy didn’t win an oscar [sic] in 1964.”
“Neither of us has ever gone to see the butchered version; it’s a very painful business. Even worse, nobody seems to know what happened to the missing scenes after they were cut. There doesn’t seem to be a complete negative of the film in existence.”
November 23, 2015: Bonhams & Butterfields held an extensive auction that included these great Garland items.