“A star who refuses to hold back, Miss Garland belts, stops if necessary for a moment to sip hot tea, then resumes as the audience roars its approval. As one loyal fan in the lobby sums it up: ‘Nother she can do is wrong.'” – William Glover, 1956
November 25, 1934: “The Garland Sisters” sang at a party for Dr. and Mrs. Marcus Rabwin, held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. S.E. Rykoff. Dr. Rabwin was one of the most important men in Judy’s life, second only in importance to her father. He had convinced Judy’s parents to proceed with the pregnancy of Judy when they were thinking of abortion because they didn’t think they could handle a third child. Rabwin was a constant throughout Judy’s life and as late as a year or two before her passing, he was still running to her side helping her out. As her funeral, he was probably the only person in attendance who had known Judy for, literally, her entire life.
According to Rabwin’s widow, at some point in the 1960s, Judy asked him if her father was gay and he told her “No” because at that point he didn’t see what good it would be to tell her the truth.
November 25, 1935: Judy was mentioned with other screen performers in this notice about who would appear in the Will Rogers Memorial Fund “Show of Shows.” This is one of the earliest notices of Judy appearing as part of an industry event after signing with MGM that previous September.
The Will Rogers Memorial Fund “Show of Shows” took place on December 1, 1935, at the Shrine Auditorium. Photos were taken of Judy with Mickey Rooney, Freddie Bartholomew, Edith Fellows, and others.
Subsequent notices did not mention Judy’s name. Many other stars joined in the fundraising, so perhaps since she was still new to the scene the notices omitted her name in favor of the more well-known stars. We know how that would soon change….
Photos: The November 25, 1935, article; Judy at the event on December 1, 1935, with Joe E. Brown.
November 25, 1937: Judy’s weekly appearance on the “Good News of 1938” radio show broadcast out of Los Angeles, California, on NBC Radio. Judy sang “Got A Pair Of New Shoes” promoting Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry which was released on this date. No recording of this broadcast is known to exist.
Also shown above is an article about how child stars of the movies were spending their Thanksgiving Day holiday.
November 25, 1938: MGM officially promoted Judy from “Featured Player” to “Star.” The studio marked the event by presenting her with her own dressing room on the set of The Wizard of Oz. Cast and crew assembled for the event.
The dressing rooms of the stars were mobile trailers allowing them to be easily moved from one set to another. Judging from the photos taken over the years, Judy’s dressing room looked quite nice, with light wood paneling, a chaise lounge, and a makeup table. Very modest-looking for a star of Judy’s caliber.
Photos: Judy in her dressing room in the early 1940s (there are no photos of this 1938 event). In the fifth photo, Judy is in costume for Babes on Broadway and is chatting with Mrs. Busby Berkeley. The last two show Judy in costume for the ultimately deleted “Paging Mr. Greenback” finale for Presenting Lily Mars.
November 25, 1939: This lovely photo of Judy was published in the “LaPresse” newspaper in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
November 25, 1940: Judy’s new MGM contract was filed in Superior Court. The numbers are pretty incredible when you think of them in terms of 1940 dollars, and when you think that other stars at that time were paid even more.
The new contract called for an immediate raise from $600 to $2,000 per week (the work week was Monday through Saturday), with options over seven years to bring her up to $3,000 per week.
Thus, for seven years with at least forty weeks of work each year, MGM was willing to guarantee Judy a total salary of $680,000 for each of those seven years.
This contract would be superseded by a new one in 1946 for even more money – MGM wanted to keep her after she gave birth to Liza whereas she wanted to freelance and also try Broadway. They wooed her like crazy and she caved (her husband Vincente Minnelli had a hand in convincing her as well). Those next four years at the studio were torture which ended with a mutual cancellation of the contract and her exit. She never returned to the studio.
November 25, 1943: Girl Crazy went into general release around the country. It was the last of the Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney “Let’s Put On A Show” musicals as well as their final co-starring film. They appeared on film together just once more, when they duetted on “I Wish I Were In Love Again” in the 1948 biopic Words and Music. There is some question as to whether the film premiered on November 26 or went into general release (in theaters around the country) that day.
Girl Crazy cost $1,410,850.85 to make and grossed $3,771,000. Even though it was a big hit and made a huge profit producer Arthur Freed had decided “No more kids pictures.” It was clear that Judy had outgrown the format. Some reviewers noted Rooney’s talents but also noted that his schtick was wearing thin. Regardless, he enjoyed one of the longest active careers in Hollywood history.
On this date at MGM Judy had more dance rehearsals of “The Trolley Song” and “Skip To My Lou” for Meet Me In St. Louis. Time called, 11:30 a.m.; Judy arrived at 1 p.m.; dismissed: 3:15 p.m.
November 25, 1944: In the “What The Picture Did For Me” section of the trade magazine “Motion Picture Herald,” the following feedback was given about Thousands Cheer (released in 1943):
From Rubel Hutchings of the Allen Theatre in Allen, Nebraska:
A very good color picture.
From A.L. Dove of the Bengough Theatre in Bengough, Saskatchewan, Canada:
Well, the lion roared again and I mean roared with good entertainment. It is a swell production in beautiful color. What a change from some of the product we have to put up with these days. Twenty years ago there was plenty of product, but now the exhibitor has to beg for it. Well, times will change. Thanks, Metro, for a swell release. Play it in any spot.
November 25, 1944: MGM placed this ad in the trade magazine “Motion Picture Herald.”
November 25, 1945: This wonderful all-color full-page ad for The Harvey Girls was printed in the Sunday, November 25, 1945, edition of the “Chicago Tribune.” Also published on this day was this article about whether to pronounce “St. Louis” as “Louis” or “Louie.” Included is another example of the current newspaper ads for The Clock.
Scan provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
November 24, 1947: More work on Easter Parade. Judy had rehearsals and fittings for the “Interior Millinery Shop” scene as well as a rehearsal of “A Fella With An Umbrella.” Time called; 11 a.m.; dismissed: 2:45 p.m. There is no millinery shop scene in the final film. This scene was probably part of the shopping sequence where Fred Astaire’s “Don Hewes” chooses the wrong look for his new dancing partner, Judy’s “Hannah Brown” or rather, “Juanita.”
November 25, 1951: Judy was the hottest ticket on Broadway.
November 25, 1953: The second of two days of filming for A Star Is Born on the “Exterior Makeup Dept.”; “Exterior Publicity Dept.; “Exterior Studio St. and Auto Gate”; and “Exterior Oleander Arms” sets. On this day, Judy started at 10 a.m. and finished at 11:15 a.m. It’s doubtful that filming was done on all of these sets in this short amount of time. Either the 11:15 a.m. is a mistake or filming was accomplished on just one of the sets.
November 25, 1954: A Star Is Born.
November 25, 1956: This wonderful photo of Judy in her clown costume, taken by Richard Avedon, was featured as the cover of the Sunday “This Week” magazine insert in most major papers around the country. This scan, provided by Kim Lundgreen, is the “Los Angeles Times” edition. Judy was currently in concert at The Palace in New York and was getting raves – another triumph! Photos of Judy on stage in this costume were circulated in the press usually accompanied by a rave review.
What’s left of the costume was auctioned for $4,000 at the “Love, Liza” auction on July 30, 2018. Apparently, the pants are long gone but the boutonniere survived.
November 25, 1961: Judy was in concert at the Convention Hall, Miami Beach, Florida.
November 25, 1963: The first of four days of rehearsals at CBS for the next episode of “The Judy Garland Show.”
Judy was still distraught over the recent assassination of her friend, John F. Kennedy. She wanted to do a one-hour concert of patriotic songs in his honor and to help lift the spirits of the country. CBS turned her down. Allegedly their response was “in two weeks no one will remember JFK” (!!!)
Judy managed to slip a tribute to JFK in the taping of another episode of the show on December 13th when she sang this chilling rendition of “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic.” Just prior to singing the song, she said to the camera “This is for you, Jack” (JFK). The network cut that out.
November 25, 1964: Judy taped a guest appearance on the NBC TV show “The Jack Paar Program” at the Prince Charles Theater, Fielding’s Music Hall, London, England. The taping took place at 8:45 p.m. She sang “Never Will I Marry” and “What Now, My Love?” The show aired on December 11, 1964.
Per Scott Schechter’s book “The Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Legend”:
Unfortunately, Judy was not in top form, appearing somewhat medicated in her delivery – although incredibly funny – and the airing on December 11, 1964, had the opposite effect of the Carnegie Hall concert and album. Thus, many people were actually turned off of Judy Garland. It was something that would happen frequently when she appeared on television during her last few years. It was becoming increasingly difficult to find her in good voice, appearing in good form, and looking lovely all at the same time…
November 25, 1968: Judy and John Meyer went to the movies to see The Boston Strangler. A nearby couple had been looking at them during the movie and the man, Vinnie Toscano, had a restaurant up the street, the “Beef and Ale House.” Judy and John joined them there after the movie. The restaurant is now gone, having been replaced by the parking garage for the Tufts Medical Center.