On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – December 11

Posted by

“I think I’ve become much better since then,” she said candidly.  “I know it sounds awful to say, but I never really liked myself on the screen before.  But now I go to the rushes and I actually enjoy them.  I even cry a little at the sad scenes.” – Judy Garland on filming “A Star Is Born,” 1953

December 11, 1934:  “Variety” listed the Garland Sisters as one of the acts currently playing at the Wilshire-Ebell Theater in Hollywood.  They were billed as the “Garland Trio” although they were listed in “Variety” as “Garland Sis.”

December 11, 1937:  In the “What The Picture Did For Me” feature in the trade magazine “Motion Picture Herald,” the following theatre owners/managers had the following to say about Broadway Melody of 1938:

W.H. Hardman of the Royal Theatre in Frankfort, Indiana:
Good musical.  Did extra business and pleased.

R.B. Hipple of the Bijou Theatre in Pierre, South Dakota:
Powell’s first picture put Frances Langford and Buddy Ebsen in pictures, and this one puts Judy Garland in for sure.  This “Broadway Melody” won’t do as much business as the previous ones, but it is still a good enough picture.

1940-Photoplay Nov Dec FXAbove:  December 1940 “Photoplay” magazine.

Radio Mirror

December 1938:  Judy was featured in the December issue of the “Radio Mirror” magazine as, what else, an “In Between.”

December 11, 1939:  Babes in Arms

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 Centennial 1939 Page.

December 11, 1940:  Judy, Lana Turner, and Hedy Lamarr posed for promotional photos for Ziegfeld Girl.

Most of the photos here were provided by Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!

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


December 11, 1941:  “M-G-M News Is Good News” touts this ad in the trade magazine, “Film Daily.”  Included was the latest Mickey Rooney – Judy Garland epic, Babes on Broadway.

Judy Garland in 1942

December 11, 1942:  The first of a rare four days off (in a row) from MGM for Judy during which she was not on call to the studio.

December 11, 1943:  This ad was placed by MGM in the trade magazine, the “Showmen’s Trade Review.”

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

December 11, 1943:  More filming of the iconic “Trolley Song” number.  Scenes were shot on the “Exterior Trolley Car” and “Exterior Treadmill” (John Truett running) sets for Meet Me In St. Louis.  This was the last full day of filming on the number although some extra shots were filmed on December 14th.  Time called: 10 a.m.; dismissed: 5:30 p.m.

Since the bulk of the number required extensive use of rear projection as well as a treadmill, it was most likely filmed on MGM’s Soundstage 14 on Lot 1.  Soundstage 14 was the “Process Shot Stage” meaning that most scenes in MGM’s films involving rear projection were filmed there.  Check out The Judy Room’s extensive “Judy Garland on the MGM Backlot” for more details about where Judy’s films were shot on MGM’s three lots.

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


December 11, 1947:  Judy was in the middle of filming Easter Parade when on this day she had the first of several days of more retakes for The Pirate.  Judy had a call for 1:30 p.m.  Per the assistant director’s notes:  “JG reported for recording at 1:30 p.m.  She rehearsed until 3:30 p.m. when she said she felt as if she had temperature.  Mr. Freed, who was on the set, asked to have the doctor called.  Dr. Jones was summoned, but found no temp.  However, advised that Miss Garland not work any longer today, and not tomorrow.  Miss Garland was sent home with the understanding that we check with her tomorrow evening for further proceedings.”  Dismissed: 3:45 p.m.

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

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

December 11, 1953:  Judy had the first of two days off from filming on A Star Is Born.  Also, Bob Thomas’s column about Judy’s return to films was published.

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

December 11, 1954:  Two items from the trade magazine “Motion Picture Herald.”  The first is a list of the box office champs for November which includes A Star Is Born.

The second is a list of the ratings of the quality of films by film buyers in the independent circuits of the U.S.  The list covers 123 “attractions” (films) and 6,740 playdates.  The ratings are EX for Excellent!; AA for Above Average; AV for Average; BA for Below Average; PR for Poor.  A Star Is Born received the following number of votes:
Excellent!: 12
Above Average: 10
Average: 4
Below Average: 4
Poor: 2

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

December 11, 1955:  Judy signed a five-year contract with CGS-TV, calling for five yearly color specials from 1956 through 1960.  The deal would pay Judy $83,333 for the first three shows, $90,000  for the fourth, and $95,000 for the fifth, a total salary of $434,999.

Judy only made one special under this new contract, the “Judy Garland Show” that aired on April 8, 1956.  She had previously had great success with her first TV appearance which was the premiere episode of the new “Ford Star Jubilee” series that aired on September 24, 1955.

December 11, 1960:  The Wizard of Oz was broadcast on network TV (CBS) for the third time (it premiered in 1956 and then wasn’t broadcast again until 1959).

This 1960 broadcast was hosted by Richard Boone and his son Peter.  The annual airings were hosted from 1959 to 1967.  The 1956 premiere was hosted by Cowardly Lion Bert Lahr along with Judy’s daughter Liza Minnelli and a young Oz expert, Justin G. Schiller; 1959 was hosted by Red Skelton & his children; 1961 & 1962 by Dick Van Dyke and his children; and from 1964 through 1967 it was hosted by Danny Kaye and his children.

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

December 11, 1960:  Two articles about the upcoming pre-inaugural review at the Amory in Washington, D.C.  The star-studded event took place on January 19, 1961, and was planned by Frank Sinatra as part of the inaugural celebrations for President-elect  John F. Kennedy.  Sinatra was quoted as saying, “and I hope to Judy will be able to come over from Europe.”  Judy was unable to attend this event but she did appear at the 1963 inauguration anniversary event.


December 11, 1961:  This fun photo was taken of Judy and Kay Thompson on a plane heading to West Berlin.  Judy traveled to the city for the premiere of Judgment At Nuremberg.

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

December 11, 1962:  President John F. Kennedy sent this letter and press release to his secretary, Mrs. Evelyn Lincoln, for her review.  The press release provided details about the Second Inaugural Anniversary Salute which was a fundraiser held at the Armory in Washington, D.C., on January 18, 1962.  Judy is mentioned as one of the stars that had announced their participation in the event.

December 11, 1964:  Judy’s appearance on “The Jack Paar Program” was aired on NBC-TV.

Judy taped the show on November 25, 1964, at the Prince Charles Theater, Fielding’s Music Hall, London, England.  The taping took place at 8:45 p.m.  Judy 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 by 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…

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


December 11, 1964:  Mike Connolly’s column featured news of Liza’s upcoming wedding to Peter Allen as well as Judy’s plans to marry Mark Herron.  Note that Connolly gets Peter’s name completely wrong, calling him “Don.”


Judy’s Daughter Plans Wedding


HOLLYWOOD – Judy Garland phoned me from London to give me two scoops. Her daughter, Liza Minnelli, is getting married to Don Allen of the Allen Brother [sic], a singing act that Judy met in Hong Kong.  Judy herself is coming back from London to Hollywood Dec. 16 to face the grim ordeal of getting a divorce from Sid Luft, after which she will wed Mark Herron.

It was a four-way phone conversation. Liza, on one extension, hit the ecstatic high C of an 18-year-old when she squealed, “isn’t it wonderful?  I Didn’t even want to meet him at first but Mom insisted.  She was right.  I flipped when I met him.  So now I’m an old engaged lady.

I asked when her wedding to Don will take place.  “Give us a chance, we just got engage,” she said.  “I wish you had one of those see-phones so I could flash this fabulous engagement ring at you.”

Judy said, on the second extension, “Let Mother let a word in, baby, I guess everything’s all settled, by our attorneys, between Sid and myself.  Anyway, I’ll be back in good old WARM Hollywood – we’re freezing here – in three weeks to file for the divorce.  Then Mark and I will pick up my other children, Lorna and Joe, and head back to New York for a white Christmas.

“After that —“
“After that,” said Herron on the third extension in their apartment in London’s swanky The Boltons, “we’ll get married in Mexico.”

“No, we won’t,” said Judy, who has been through it before, not only with Luft but with Davie Rose and Vincente Minnelli.  “We’ll get married in California.  I want this one legal all the way, none of that Hong Kong razzmatazz.”  Referring, of course, to the false alarm when she and Mark went sailing in a sampan, received the blessing of a Buddhist priest thinking it was the McCoy and announced their wedding to the world, only to be slapped down when Luft hollered Bigamy!

Before they returned to Hollywood, Judy and Mark will rest up in Athens from the recent strain of doing that London Palladium show (in which Judy and Liza co-starred) and Judy’s this-week pre-taping, in London, of a Jack Paar show.  “Like I said,” she said, “we’re chilled to the bone and the weather reports from Greece are sun-shiny.”

Professionally, said the star, she has had several stage and picture offers.  The one she liked best was to stay in London and star in “Laurette,” the movie version of Judy Holliday’s unsuccessful play about the late Laurette Taylor.  “I liked it because it was a straight dramatic role, no signing, but I’ve decided NOT to make any decisions until after the divorce.

It was late afternoon here and 2 a.m. in London, and all four of us had been hollering ourselves hoarse over those transatlantic cables most of 45 minutes – wow, those Garland phone bills – so I said, “A little happy music, Maestro.”  Judy and Liza obliged with a chorus of “Over the Rainbow,” while Mark hummed an offbeat accompaniment.  He, after all, doesn’t pretend to be a singer.  In fact, he’s giving up his acting career to become a director and mentor to Judy – happily ever after she completely severs her ties with Sid Luft.

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


December 11, 1965:  This article notes how Judy’s career and personal life was in an upswing, for the time being.

Professionally the future is bright for Judy.  concerts, personal appearances and television guest shots are waiting.  personally, Judy has all she’s ever wanted – custody of her two children by ex=husband Sid Luft, a new and devoted husband [Mark Herron], the affection of friends and family.  

But Garland fans are holding their breaths.  When Judy’s perched on a pinnacle she also edges near the precipice of disaster.  

Each triumph has been followed by tragedy or near-tragedy.

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

December 11, 1966:  The contract between CBS TV and MGM to air The Wizard of Oz on TV was coming to an end.  By this point, the film had become an annual TV event.  CBS was unable to renegotiate the contract, and the film moved to NBC for eight years before going back to CBS.

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

December 11, 1968:  Judy and John Meyer arrived at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City, at 1:45 a.m.  Judy and John discovered that there was no reservation or message for them.  When they tried the Americana at 53rd Street and 7th Avenue, there was no reservation and when the staff saw Judy they asked for a cash deposit, given her credit history.  They wound up going back to John’s parent’s apartment at 84th and Park Avenue, finishing unloading everything at 4 a.m.  That afternoon was spent speaking to producer Bob Shanks of “The Merv Griffin Show” and Mort Lindsey, about the botched hotel arrangement; 45 minutes later they met with Len Friedlander, from “The Dick Cavett Show” to discuss what Judy wanted to do on the show.  Judy told some stories and sang “Prayer” for the first time.

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

One comment

  1. Wow. Really loved those stills from “Ziegfeld Girl” (so many of them!). I have always enjoyed Lana Turner in her better films (including “Ziegfeld Girl”). She always spoke well of Judy, always expressing admiration for her talent (calling her “the very best” in 1976). I felt that when she had a strong director and a good script, she was quite effective. Many don’t agree with me, and many “Garfreaks” love to attack Turner’s looks in their defense of Judy’s looks (as if you could compare them).

    I’m curious as to what your feelings are about Turner. I think she’s terrific in “The Postman Always Rings Twice”, and “The Bad and the Beautiful.”


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.