“What is exquisite in the film are the backgrounds which have beauty and inventiveness. The colors are artistically arranged to give a painting-like quality.” – Review of “Gay Purr-ee” by Marjory Adams, 1962
December 6, 1930: Another notice that appeared in the “Los Angeles Times.” It notes the “Hollywood Starlets Trio” as one of the acts currently playing in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. Judy and her sisters had gone by the name “Hollywood Starlets Trio” off and on during this time at various hotels, theaters, and other venues. There are no records with exact dates for these Roosevelt Hotel appearances by the sisters but it’s safe to assume from the various notices that they performed there, probably not every night, from November 20th through December 6th.
December 6, 1937: Here’s an amusing article about Judy becoming a “baby Martha Raye.” It also bemoans the fact that Judy’s co-star in Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry, Sophie Tucker, did not sing in the film. Martha’s and Judy’s paths crossed several times over the years. Judy’s first husband had been previously married to Raye before his marriage to Judy. Raye famously guested on Judy’s TV series, “The Judy Garland Show,” in 1963.
December 6, 1940: Here is Judy’s favorite recipe for a vegetable salad which is what she ate three days a week at MGM. Of course, this is pure fantasy whipped up by MGM’s Publicity Department. However, the recipe looks like a good one although it’s unclear just how many green peas are to be added.
Included here is a note published in this day’s issue of the trade paper, “Film Daily,” noting that Little Nellie Kelly was to be the Christmas offering that the Loew’s Criterion theater in New York City.
December 6, 1941: Three items from the latest issue of the trade magazine “Motion Picture Herald.” First is a standard two-page ad placed by MGM, promoting Babes on Broadway; a review of the film, with “several numbers sung very pleasantly by Miss Garland”; and in the “What The Picture Did For Me” feature the following feedback was given by theatre owners/managers:
Life Begins For Andy Hardy
C.W. Ritenour of the Milford Theatre in Milford, Illinois, said: O.K. Played late. It may have been their best as MGM trailer said, but my people didn’t think so. O.K. for Sunday change, however.
Little Nellie Kelly
Walter R. Pyle of the Dreamland Theatre i Rockglen, Saskatchewan, Canada, said: Made to order for small situations and everyone who saw it praised it highly. We played it with the worst blizzard here in ten years so didn’t get any of our rural crowd. Just made rental on film but glad we played it. We’re going to being it back when roads open.
December 6, 1942: More clippings for For Me And My Gal.
December 6, 1943: Meet Me In St. Louis filming consisted of camera and dress rehearsals of “The Trolley Song.” Time called: 1 p.m.; dismissed: 5:30 p.m.
December 6, 1947: The second day of filming the “Vaudeville Montage” (specifically the “Ragtime Violin” section) for Easter Parade with Judy and co-star Fred Astaire. Judy was in makeup at 7 a.m.; on set at 9 a.m.; dismissed at 2:45 p.m.
December 6, 1948: MGM placed this ad in the trade magazine “Film Daily.” Of note is that the listed films reflect the recent behind-the-scenes timeline that played out at the studio regarding Judy’s association with recent productions. In the “planned product” (upcoming productions) Judy is listed as the star of Annie Get Your Gun and “Good Old Summertime” (minus the “In The”). In the “Set for Release” column, she’s one of the stars listed for Words and Music but not The Barkleys of Broadway.
The date of this publication was just a few days before the premiere of Words and Music, which is probably why it’s listed first in that column. The Girl From Chicago had been renamed In the Good Old Summertime in the days between November 12 and November 16, 1948, which is probably why the “In The” was missing from the title in this ad. We know this because the name change is reflected in the Daily Music Reports for those two days. This is also probably the first time MGM mentioned the film in an ad. Judy was in the last months of filming Summertime (her last day was January 27, 1949), with rehearsals for Annie Get Your Gun beginning in March 1949.
December 6, 1948: Judy’s daughter, Liza Minnelli, filmed her screen debut playing the role of Judy and co-star Van Johnson’s daughter for the end shot of In The Good Old Summertime. It’s unclear if Liza was on set filming just this one day or if there were subsequent days of filming. Due to her young age (two and a half) and the fact that the shot is so short, they most likely only needed this one day. Quite a few photos were taken on this day and published in magazines in early 1949.
The scene was shot on MGM’s Backlot #2, in front of the “Southern Mansion” permanent set which is where the opening and closing segments of the film were filmed.
For more about the backlot locations of Judy’s films, check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland on the MGM Backlot” section for maps, photos, and more!
December 6, 1950: Judy’s third appearance on “The Bing Crosby Show” aired. The show was recorded on December 2, 1950. Judy and Bing’s duet on “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” is a fan favorite.
Listen to “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” here:
Listen to the entire show here:
December 6, 1950: Did Judy return to MGM for a visit after having just left the studio for good that previous September? According to Harrison Carroll’s column, she did return to visit the filming of the ballet sequence in An American In Paris by her husband, director Vincente Minnelli.
Also published on this day, as well as during this time in general, was the talk of young Debbie Reynolds being Judy’s successor at MGM. Almost immediately after Judy’s break with the studio, columnists and just about everyone else in Hollywood speculated about who would fill that void. Reynolds was the top contender. However, it should be noted that the roles Reynolds played would have gone to Judy had it been the early 1940s, but by this time, if Judy had stayed at MGM, she would have been given the high profile and more mature, leading lady roles, not the ingenue roles.
December 6, 1961: The continuing drama surrounding the on-again, off-again legal battles and separations and reconciliations between Judy and husband Sid Luft played out, of course, in the papers.
December 6, 1962: Two reviews of the recently released animated film Gay Purr-ee, Judy’s only animated voice work. Singled out after Judy’s vocals was the film’s fantastic artwork.
December 6, 1962: Judy was in Washington, D.C., and took part in the “First International Awards” dinner given by the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation. She sang some songs, although it’s unknown exactly what songs she sang, and her upcoming film A Child Is Waiting was given a special preview (the film premiered on February 13, 1963). The awards focused on the achievements of those involved in the “furthering of understanding, treatment, and prevention of mental retardation,” what we now refer to as “special needs.” Download a PDF of the entire program here.
Listen to President Kennedy’s remarks here, in which he thanks Judy for participating. Unfortunately, no recording of Judy’s performance is known to exist.
December 6, 1963: Videotaping of both the dress rehearsal (from 5:30 to 7 p.m.) and the final performance (from 9 to 10:30 p.m.) of “Episode Fifteen” of “The Judy Garland Show” at CBS Television City, Stage 43, Hollywood.
This episode is generally known as “The Judy Garland Christmas Show.” Judy’s guests were Jack Jones, Mel Torme, and her children, Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft, and Joey Luft. Dancer and “Liza’s beau” Tracy Everitt also joined the festivities.
Judy sang: “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,”; “Consider Yourself” (with Lorna and Joe, plus a reprise with Liza, Lorna, and Joe), “Little Drops Of Rain,”; “Holiday Medley” (with Liza and Jack Jones), “The Christmas Song” with Torme, “Traditional Carol Medley” with everyone, and “Over The Rainbow.” Judy also did a fun little dance with a group of Santas (who provided several “flash mob” type comical interruptions to the proceedings) to the tune of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Judy always claimed that this was her favorite episode, and it’s no wonder. She’s surrounded by her family in a very intimate and homey environment (albeit on a soundstage mock-up of her Brentwood living room).
The show aired on December 22, 1963.
In 2011, the popular musical TV show “Glee” paid homage to The Judy Garland Christmas Show by recreating the set and having its characters become a part of the show in black and white, semi-recreating some of the original show’s scenes such as the opening with Judy (“Kurt” in “Glee”) welcoming everyone to the show/set, “Blaine” singing in the window, and so on. If you haven’t seen it, check it out; it’s a good show.
Photos: Some wonderful comparison shots of the two shows from the equally wonderful “Christmas TV History” blog.
December 6, 1968: Judy and John Meyer went to the movies to see Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand. Judy fell asleep during the showing. Apparently, Judy had fallen asleep at a few other films. Later that night, she told Meyer that she fell asleep due to the fact that she wanted to be up there on the screen singing or acting. It’s more likely at this point that her medicines were the culprit.
Photos: A couple of snapshots of Judy from 1968, the latter taken in London.