On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – December 9

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“All performers are a bit daffy, but that’s what makes them performers.  The most important thing is the audience.” – Judy Garland, 1951

Born on this day in 1902:  Everyone’s favorite Wicked Witch, the one and only Margaret Hamilton.

December 9, 1936:  Louella Parsons reported on an alleged film project for Judy titled Gram.  The project was first listed for Marie Dressler, then after Judy’s association, it went to Freddie Bartholomew.  Freddie never made the film either.

Photo:  Judy with Deanna Durbin and Freddie Batholomew, 1936.

December 9, 1937:  Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry was still in theaters and in spite of its slight plot still proved to be a successful “B” picture.

December 9, 1940:  Judy posed for these fun photos during a promotional photoshoot by MGM studio photographer Clarence Bull for Ziegfeld Girl.  That Garland gal sure was flexible!

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Ziegfeld Girl here.


December 9, 1942:  A very short rehearsal day for Judy on Girl Crazy.  Time called 3 p.m.; dismissed: 4:30 p.m.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on Girl Crazy here.

December 9, 1943:  Judy was romantically involved with director Freddie De Cordova (mistakenly named “Pardova” in the photo caption).  Cordova was currently a dialog director but eventually became a film and television director and producer, most famously producing “The Tonight Show” starring Johnny Carson.

On this day Judy had a day off from MGM and filming Meet Me In St. Louis.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Meet Me In St. Louis here.

December 9, 1943:  More for Girl Crazy.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on Girl Crazy here.

December 9, 1944:  Here is another MGM trade ad, plus an interesting article about some local promotions of Meet Me In St. Louis as published in the “Motion Picture Daily.”

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Meet Me In St. Louis here.

December 9, 1945:  Judy participated in the “Jerome Kern Memorial” radio show broadcast by CBS Radio.  She sang “Look For The Silver Lining” and part of “They Didn’t Believe Me.”  The show featured a huge roster of stars: Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Nelson Eddy, and Dinah Shore, with Oscar Hammerstein serving as the host.

Judy had just completed filming her guest spot as Marilyn Miller in Till The Clouds Roll By a month before, which includes her beautiful rendition of “Look For The Silver Lining.”

Listen to “Look For The Silver Lining” from this broadcast here:

Download the entire show here (zip file).

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Till The Clouds Roll By here.

December 9, 1947:  Easter Parade filming continued with the second day of shooting the “I Want To Go Back To Michigan” number on the “Interior Pastini’s Restaurant” set.  Time called (for makeup): 7 a.m.; due on set 9 a.m.; Judy arrived on set at 1 p.m.; dismissed at 5:55 p.m.

Per the assistant director’s notes: Miss Garland was called for 9 a.m. today for Int. Pastini’s Restaurant.  Miss Garland called Wally Worsley at 1:30 a.m. this morning to say that she was exhausted and should be unable to work until after lunch today.  Miss Garland called the set at 9:40 a.m. and said she would be in as soon as possible for shooting Int. Rehearsal Hall.

Judy completed filming the number the following day, December 10th.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Easter Parade here.

December 9, 1948:  Premiered on this date at Radio City Music Hall in New York, Words and Music.  The film went into general release on December 31, 1948.

December 9, 1949:  Two articles that reflect the recent issues Judy had been experiencing both personally and professionally.  Columnist Jimmie Fidler relayed a story that MGM would buy Judy a mansion if she behaved.  Fidler was quite angry about the situation although Judy never received any new mansion from MGM because the story isn’t true at all.  Excerpt:  Miss Garland, whether her actions have been prompted by poor health, foolish habits, or just plain nasty disposition, has been a Grade AAA pain in the next to her studio bosses (not to mention the company’s stockholders) for the last two or three years.  According to the testimony of key MGM workers, her tantrums and her general refusal to co-operate have cost the studio hundreds of thousands of dollars in production delays.

The second article is about Judy taking time off between films has some truth in it.  Judy planned to take six months off after completing Summer Stock (which she was currently filming) and went to Carmel, California, to rest but the studio called her back early to work on Royal Wedding.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on Summer Stock here.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on Royal Wedding here.

December 9, 1951:  “Judy at The Palace” was still news (Judy’s engagement was still going), especially after she had collapsed from overwork but bounced back.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

December 9, 1953:  The first of two days of filming on the “Interior Motel Room” set for A Star Is Born.  This included Judy’s (as Esther Blodgett/Vicki Lester) singing “It’s A New World” to James Mason (as Norman Maine).

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on A Star Is Born here. 

Photos provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks again, Kim!

December 9, 1954:  In the early morning hours of December 9, Judy was out on the town with Frank Sinatra when he got into a fracas at a nightclub on the Sunset Strip.  According to columnist Aline Mosby, Judy, Frank, and a couple of other clubgoers had been at Sammy Davis, Jr.’s home (the evening of December 8) helping him celebrate his birthday.  Just a few weeks prior, Davis was in a car accident in which he famously lost one eye.  As reported by Mosby, the group gave Davis a monocle and he joined them.  Per Mosby:

     At the 2 a.m. closing time in the Crescendo, the headwaiter chastised the Sinatra party for leaving with drinks hidden under their coats, pointing out that was illegal and there were two detectives in the club.
     “At that point, I happened to walk up to ask Neal who his date was so I could tell the columnists,” Byron said.
     While Byron went to a phone booth, witnesses said, Sinatra asked, “Who is this guy?” and was told erroneously that Byron was a “legman,” meaning a news reporter.  Witnesses quoted Sinatra as saying to Neal, “Let’s go and get that guy.”
     “Sinatra said, ‘What business is it of yours who that girl is?'” Byron reported.  “He told me to take off my glasses and step outside.  There he jumped me and began pushing me back and forth.  He hauled off with his left and hit me on the side of the face.  We exchanged several blows and I hit him in the nose a couple of times.”
     Parking lot attendants and bystanders separated the fighters and Sinatra jumped into his Cadillac, where Miss Garland was waiting.


December 9, 1960:  Judy arrived in Amsterdam for her concert there the following evening.  While in Amsterdam, she stayed at the Doelen Hotel and attended a party in her honor on this night.  Here are some great photos that were taken of Judy when she arrived at the airport in Amsterdam.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

December 9, 1961:  Judy was in concert at The National Guard Armory in Washington, D.C.  This was the final concert of Judy’s legendary 1961 tour.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

December 9, 1962:  The annual showing of The Wizard of Oz aired on CBS-TV with Dick Van Dyke and his three children as the hosts of the telecast.  It was the fourth year in a row and the fifth overall (it was originally telecast in 1956 but wasn’t telecast again until 1959 which became the first of the annual showings).

At that time the film wasn’t trimmed as it would be in later years so to make up the extra time (shows began and ended as they usually do now, on the hour or half-hour), hosts were brought in.  This was the second year in a row (and the last) with Van Dyke as the host.  Danny Kaye took over the following year.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz here.

December 9, 1966:  Judy signed this letter requesting the transfer of her income tax files from her agent, Al Sherman, to the Santa Monica District Office of the Internal Revenue Service.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

December 9, 1968:  The manager of the apartment building where Judy was living in Boston, Massachusetts, Donald Sisk, called to tell Judy she was being evicted because of the noise she had been making; she would have to be out by December 15 and her security deposit would be refunded.  At 2:30 that afternoon, a girl named Bunny Carnazzo, who was 16, arrived to help them sort through Judy’s things and to pack.  Most of the furniture was leased, and some of it was Ben Freeman’s, Judy’s attorney.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.


  1. In my opinion (for what it’s worth), I believe MGM deliberately set Judy up by calling her back to do “Royal Wedding.” They knew about her constant delays over the previous five years or so (Angela Lansbury stated she was habitually late on “The Harvey Girls” shoot), and simply did not want to pay her enormous salary for six months (which is shameful). So they just waited, and after she cancelled a ONE-HOUR rehearsal on a Saturday, they fired her!!! Back on suspension, and they didn’t have to pay her. Pure evil at work (I blame Dore Schary, who now had incredible power).

    As for the 1968 John Meyer time period we’ve been reading, it absolutely depresses me. She was utterly lost – everyone of substance was gone from her life, even her three children, who could not deal with her self-destruction anymore. I can think of no other legend of Judy’s caliber who hit such rock bottom. Even Monroe, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston weren’t this penniless at the end. So tragic.

    1. I have also always thought that they were trying to bait her. They were fed up and in the end, she really needed the break – the complete break – from the studio, not just a month or two here and there.

      The 1968/69 period is heartbreaking. Here was someone who was the greatest talent of her time, and too many people took her for granted. 🙁

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