“The Garland girl is as delectable as ever … she helps to pump up the fun, and how she sells the songs! She and a student group do things to a typical Western ballad [Bidin’ My Time].” – George L. David, review of “Girl Crazy,” 1943
November 26, 1936: Judy’s first feature film, Pigskin Parade, is still doing boffo business in theaters around the country.
November 26, 1937: Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry.
November 26, 1937: Here is a memo from David O. Selznick regarding some early casting choices for Gone With The Wind. Along with wanting to test Judy for the part of Careen [sic], he also wanted to test Billie Burke for the role of Aunt PItty Pat. Neither actually tested. The role of Carreen (misspelled Careen by Selznick) went to Ann Rutherford and the role of Aunt Pitty Pat went to Laura Hope Crews. Judy and Billie ended up in that other 1939 masterpiece, so it all worked out in the end.
November 26, 1940: There’s a lot of punch in Judy!
November 26, 1940: In this article from the trade magazine “The Film Daily” G. Ralph Branton (general manager of the Tri-States Theatre Corp) reported on his trip to Hollywood noting, “There will be less dialogue, fewer parlor dramas, less of Hedy Lamarr and more of Judy Garland.”
November 26, 1942: Here is a wonderful full-page promotion devoted to For Me And My Gal. Below are more ads and a review.
November 26, 1943: Girl Crazy had just opened nationwide. Here is a gallery of ads and reviews.
Decca was also promoting their Christmas singles offerings including Judy’s “The Birthday Of A King” and “The Star Of The East” both recorded on July 20, 1941, and released on Decca’s “Christmas Candle” album in 1942, and again in 1946 on their “Christmastime” album.
The Judy Garland Online Discography has complete details on both Christmas albums and the “Meet Me In St. Louis” album. Check out the links below.
November 26, 1944: Here is some newspaper coverage of Meet Me In St. Louis.
Text from the first clipping is below and includes that oft-told story about Judy storming MGM for an audition that was dreamed up by the ever-creative publicity department.
The second clipping from the St. Louis Post Dispatch (puts the spotlight on a local boy who was one of the dancers in the film).
Charmer in Ruffles . . . Judy
A pin-up girl on the 1900s! That’s Judy Garland!
A very nice, too, besides being cute, an opulent little eyeful, a nice bundle of femininity, and exactly the right twinkle in her roguish eyes. But out Judy is the pin-up girl of the St. Louis world fair, in her new M-G-M Technicolor picture, “Meet Me in St Louis.”
Portraying a high school girl in 1904 when the boys on the corner cracked “Oh, you kid,” she brings to the screen a new, intriguing Judy – one who does square dances in a ruffled dress covering four bulging petticoats and who wears “rats” beneath her luxurious pompadour.
Based on Sally Benson’s New Yorker magazine sketches, the picture was directed by Vincente Minnelli. It narrates the diverting affairs of the Smith family.
Judy, who plays Esther Smith, sister to Margaret O’Brien’s Tootie, does a cakewalk with the little girl in a scene which is a high spot in the picture. She also sings “The Trolley Song,” as well as several other new tunes, including “Skip to My Lou,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Under the Bamboo Tree.”
When Judy was 12 years old she resolved to get into the movies. She managed to get through M-G-M studio gates and then persuaded an executive to let her sing. She made such a hit she was signed to a contract before she departed. She has appeared in “Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry,” “Everybody Sing,” “Love Finds Andy Hardy,” “Wizard of Oz” and “Babes in Arms.” A number of musicals followed, including “Babes on Broadway,” “Ziegfeld Girl,” “For Me and My Gal,” “Girl Crazy.”
The photo caption reads:
In her beruffled schoolgirl role in “Meet Me in St. Louis,” Judy Garland is happy to be back in an adolescent part. She has a chance to cake walk and to sing as only Judy can to and technicolor adds to her beauty. The play is founded on the diverting affairs of the Smith family.
November 26, 1944: Judy and her husband Vincente Minnelli were on their way to New York City for the NY premiere of Meet Me In St. Louis when this photo was taken during their stop at Chicago’s Dearborn Station. The notice above was published the following day (the 27th).
November 26, 1947: Judy rehearsed “A Fella With An Umbrella” with Peter Lawford, and “It Only Happens When I Dance With You” for Easter Parade. The latter was written by Irving Berlin specifically for Judy to sing in the film.
Berlin was inspired when he and Judy posed for early publicity photos. Judy later told the story:
“The photographer asked us to stand in the dancing position. I quipped, ‘Maybe this will inspire one of the new songs.’ Irving laughed and said, ‘Maybe.’ Then as I was leaving, he slipped a small piece of paper into my hand, said, ‘Don’t show this to anyone yet.’ When I looked at it, I read the words, ‘It only happens when I dance with you.’ … I’ve always considered this my very won beloved melody.”
Photos: Snapshot of Judy and Peter Lawford; Arthur Freed, Judy, Louis B. Mayer, & Irving Berlin; Fred Astaire, Berlin, & Lawford; Berlin & Lawford; Berlin, Judy, & Astaire.
November 26, 1949: “Picture Show” magazine featured this wonderful article about In The Good Old Summertime.
Scans provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
November 26, 1954: Here’s a short yet nice review of A Star Is Born.
For a straight two and one-quarter hours, Judy Garland kept a packed audience in the palm of her hand as she ran the gamut of songs, dances, comedy patter and mimicry at the final performance of her 19-weeks run at the New York Palace.
The crowning moment came when she sat on the stage edge and sang “Somewhere, Over the Rainbow” until eardrums of customers in the farthest rows of the gallery vibrated with delight.
Judy now appears in films where the only audience is the camera but her triumphant stage appearances have reportedly left their mark. Those who were on hand during the filming of the heralded CinemaScope and Technicolor triumph, “A Star Is Born,” now playing at the Paramount Theatre, have acclaimed her an even greater motion picture star.
November 26, 1960: Owing to the unfortunate indisposition of Miss Garland on November 5, the above concert will now take place on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, AT 7 30 P.M.
Judy’s scheduled concert on November 5th at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England, had been canceled when she, her husband Sid Luft, and Fred Finkelhoff and his wife, all came down with food poisoning.
November 26, 1961: An article (in which Judy discusses her “tramp” costume and makeup) and ad promoting Judy’s upcoming concert at the Armory in Washington, D.C.
November 26, 1961: Judy’s appearance at the Miami Beach Convention Hall the previous night was a huge success.
November 26, 1961: Here’s an amusing article (with an interesting cartoon) about Judy, her hairdresser, and Robert Ryan, at the airport, leaving Rochester, New York that previous October 17th.
November 26, 1962: Judy hired a hypnotist to help her relax and sing!
November 26, 1962: Gay Purr-ee was popular with critics and audiences but it never achieved the “hit” status that most of the Disney animated films achieved. Over time it has become a cult classic, celebrated for its artwork. In fact, Judy was the first star of her stature to lend her voice to an animated film. It’s common today, but in those days it was unheard of for a huge star to “voice a cartoon.”
November 26, 1964: Judy gave interviews on this day to announce daughter Liza Minnelli’s engagement to Peter Allen. During a 2 a.m. interview in London, just after the taping of Judy’s appearance on the Jack Paar Show (see yesterday’s post), for columnist Mike Connally, Judy mentioned that she was thinking of possibly staying in London to do the movie version of the unsuccessful Judy Holiday stage drama “Laurette,” which was about the late actress Laurette Taylor. Unfortunately, the project never happened. Judy would have been amazing as the legendary actress. Mark Herron also stated during the 45-minute conversation with Connally that he was, “giving his acting career to become director and mentor to Judy.”
Later this day Judy, Herron, and Allen went to the airport with Liza, who was returning to New York. Liza missed her plane and wasn’t able to leave until the 27th.
November 26, 1968: At about 2:30 in the morning, Judy decided she wanted to spend the night in a hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After checking into the wrong hotel, Judy and John Meyer finally found the Charter House Motel at about 6 a.m. At about 9:20 a.m., Judy slipped and struck her head sharply on the edge of a marble coffee table; a Dr. Brecher arrived to bandage Judy’s bleeding head. At 2:30 p.m., a waitress at the “Beef and Ale House” named Margret, came by to take Judy to her (Margret’s) apartment so that John could get back to Boston for some things, which he did late that night.