On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – December 13

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“Why can’t they let [Judy Garland] be pleasingly plump and keep her weight and health up?” – Ida Jean Kain, 1949

December 13, 1926:  Judy and her sisters (as “The Gumm Sisters”) at Loew’s State Theatre in Los Angeles, California.  The sisters were part of the Meglin Kiddie act which in turn performed as part of the “Twinkletoe Kiddie Revue” (as “100 Clever Children”) in conjunction with the latest Colleen Moore film, Twinkletoes.

December 13, 1928:  Judy (and possibly her sisters as well) were part of the “100 Meglin Kiddies” who took part in “The Los Angeles Examiner’s All-Star Christmas Benefit” at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.  Stars who took part in the benefit included Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy, Tom Mix, and Delores Del Rio.

December 13, 1929:  “The Gumm Sisters” performed for the American Legion Organization in Filmore, California.

December 13, 1937:  Judy pre-recorded “Shall I Sing A Melody?” and her part of the “Finale” segment for Everybody Sing.  Co-stars Fanny Brice and Allan Jones also pre-recorded segments of the finale.

Listen to “Ever Since The World Began/Shall I Sing A Melody?” here:

Listen to the complete finale sequence here:

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Page on Everybody Sing here.

1938-12-13 PROD 1060 Unknown 307

December 13, 1938:  Costume tests were made of some of the Munchkins in preparation for the first day of filming the “Munchkinland Musical Sequence” in The Wizard of Oz which happened the next day.  Here the Lolipop Guild is listed as “3 Little Tough Boys.”

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

December 13, 1939:  Here’s another ad for the Decca Records “Cast Album” of songs from The Wizard of Oz.  You can bet that a pristine copy of the complete set these days will go for much more than $1.90!

Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s “Decca Records The Wizard of Oz” pages here.

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

December 13, 1940:  Little Nellie Kelly was still making the rounds and still getting glowing reviews for Judy, although Harold Levy of the “Oakland Tribune” preferred Judy without the Irish brogue.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on Little Nellie Kelly here.

December 13, 1941:  This fun ad appeared in the “Arizona Republic” newspaper out of Phoenix, AZ, promoting the latest “Judy Garland Doll.”

One of the dolls was just auctioned by Julien’s on November 27, 2017, as part of the auction of items from the Michael Siewert Collection.  The doll was sold in Phoenix for $3.95 (regularly $4.98), at the recent auction it went for $576.00!

December 13, 1941:  In the “What The Picture Did For Me” feature of the trade magazine “Motion Picture Daily,” L.V. Bergtold of the Wesby Theatre in Wesby, Wisconsin, said this about Life Begins For Andy Hardy:
About on a par with the others in this fine series, but for no apparent reason at all this nose-dived at the ticket window, as compared to the last three or for we have fun.  In fact, it didn’t do normal Sunday-Monday-Tuesday business, which is very disappointing as it is an indication that the series is slipping.

Included here is MGM’s latest ad printed in the same issue.

December 13, 1941:  Here is a rare blurb and ad for the MGM short subject We Must Have Music which made good use of the outtake of Judy’s performance of the short’s title tune in Ziegfeld Girl.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Shorts pages here for more info.

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

December 13, 1942:  Here is an amusing “Letter for Servicemen” submitted to the “Hollywood Citizen News” in Los Angeles by a man named Ben, who remarked on the length of MGM musicals, singling out For Me And My Gal as the latest he had seen with “Judy Garland working hard and singing well.”  He also commented on the differences between westerns made at the smaller studios compared to the bigger studios.


December 13, 1943:  Judy had a call to be at MGM for work on Meet Me In St. Louis.  She was there from 2:00 – 4:40 p.m. but was not used.

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

December 13, 1944:  Judy was in New York with Vincente Minnelli and made the columns for her various activities, including a reference to her romance with Joe Mankiewicz.

Walter Winchell Column 
Memos of a Midnighter: Judy Garland’s pared on “Ain’t Misbehavin’” is the easiest way of being killed we ever heard. She sings it: “Aint’ Miss de Haven”
[Wouldn’t it be great if a recording of Judy singing this were to surface???]

Memos of a Midnighter:  Judy Garland, who always looks like a startled faun [sic]. Some faun, huh?”

Winchell’s “Faces About Town” published the following day noted, “Judy Garland has her heart set on a Broadway musical and may not resume in H’wood for a while.”

Alice Hughes Column
Hughes reported on an Elsa Maxwell party that Judy and Vincente attended.
Judy Garland and Vincent [sic] Minnelli, who directed her latest movie, “Meet Me in St. Louis,” were at another [table “” not found /]
, and so were the Viking columnist Dorothy Thompson and the publicist-playwright, Robert Sherwood.

Dorothy Kilgallen
Judy Garland, visitor from Starland, looking impish and oomphish at the Coq Rouge …

And in Hollywood, Hugh Dixon made a thinly veiled reference to Judy’s romance with Joe Mankiewicz, with:
Torch in Offing – If Judy Garland really marries Vincente Minnelli, a certain writer in town will be carrying the world’s biggest torch.

Judy Garland, Kenny Baker, and Virginia O'Brien in Decca's cast album of songs fro "The Harvey Girls"25299632_10155968151874859_910368802313789714_o

December 13, 1945:  William Inge mentioned Decca’s latest album release of songs from The Harvey Girls in his “Record Album” column.  He didn’t care much for Virginia O’Brien’s rendition of “The Wild, Wild West.”

Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s “The Harvey Girls” pages here.

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

December 13, 1945:  Here’s an interesting article about top salaries in the U.S., and Hollywood occupied most of the positions.  Fred MacMurray was the top earner of movie stars and Deanna Durbin was the highest-paid actress at an annual salary of $326,491.  Judy’s listed as earning $227, 013.

December 13, 1949:  Here’s an article, written by Ida Jean Kain for “The Evening Times” in Sayre, Pennsylvania (and probably published elsewhere), that is a rarity in that Kain bemoans Hollywood’s (and MGM’s) insistence that their actresses stay insanely thin (much like today).  She remarked that Judy looked much better heavier than bone thin.  She also talks about the real cause of Judy’s “temperament” which she believed was plain old nervous exhaustion.

December 13, 1950:  Here’s a fun ad for MGM Records releases including Summer Stock.

Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s Summer Stock pages here.

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

December 13, 1959:   A TV milestone.  The Wizard of Oz was broadcast on CBS TV for the second time.  The first broadcast was three years earlier in 1956, but this is the broadcast that was the first of the annual broadcasts that became a uniquely American tradition.  The success of this second broadcast convinced CBS that annual broadcasts would be popular (and lucrative) and indeed they were.  The annual broadcasts became a yearly tradition through 1991 when it switched over to cable networks via Turner Entertainment.

The first nine broadcasts of the film were hosted.
1956:  CBS TV premiere hosted by Bert Lahr and Liza Minnelli
1957 & 1958:  No broadcasts
1959:  Hosted by Red Skelton
1960:  Hosted by Richard Boone
1961:  Hosted by Dick Van Dyke
1962:  Hosted by Dick Van Dyke
1963:  Not broadcast due to the change in time of year from the previous dates in December (between Thanksgiving & Christmas) to being broadcast in January.
1964:  Hosted by Danny Kaye (first January broadcast)
1965:  Hosted by Danny Kaye
1966:  Hosted by Danny Kaye
1967:  Hosted by Danny Kaye
1968:  No host, due to it moving from CBS to NBC.  NBC also moved it to the spring broadcasting it in either April or March.
1969:  No host.
1970:  Gregory Peck hosted, paying tribute to Judy Garland who had passed away the previous year.
Fun fact:  The Peck segment was directed by the film’s producer Mervyn LeRoy, which was LeRoy’s first work for TV.

There were no more hosted broadcasts until 1990 when Angela Lansbury hosted a special 50th-anniversary broadcast and was the narrator for a 50th-anniversary special about the making of the film that was included in almost all subsequent home media releases.

In 1974 it was scheduled for a February broadcast but was preempted so it was rescheduled to March of that year.

The broadcasts remained in either February or March after CBS got the rights back in 1976.  In 1991 it was broadcast in November after already being broadcast that previous March, which was the first time it was broadcast twice in one year.

1998 was the last broadcast on network TV.  From then on, broadcasts were controlled by Turner Broadcasting first on the WB station then on TCM (Turner Classic Movies), TNT (Turner Network Television), and TBS (Turner Broadcasting System).  It was also shown a few times on the Cartoon Network.  Beginning in 2000, the film would be broadcast several times a year on various Turner-controlled networks and sometimes twice in one night.

In 1998, the rights to the film (except the TV rights) went over to Warner Bros. when they purchased the library from Turner, which probably has Louis B. Mayer turning over in his grave.

Since 2000, the broadcasts have only been in the months of March, June, July, November, and December.

Excepting for 1961, all telecasts were in color even though in the early years very few families had color TV sets.

Although many people remember it as an Easter special, it was only broadcast on Easter Sunday twice, although in some years it was broadcast during the general Easter season.

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

December 13, 1960:  Here’s another ad for Judy’s latest album for Capitol Records, “That’s Entertainment!”  The album is one of Judy’s best.  Some people place it at the #1 spot.

Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s “That’s Entertainment!” pages for details about the various releases of the album.

December 13, 1961:  Judy and co-star Maximillian Schell gave a press conference at the Hilton in West Berlin about Judgment At Nuremberg which premiered in that city on December 15th.

Spencer Tracy joined Judy for dinner later that evening (shown in the last two photos featured here).

Thanks to Kim Lundgreen for the photos!

December 13, 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 Sixteen” of “The Judy Garland Show” at CBS Television City, Stage 43, Hollywood.  Judy’s guests were Ethel Merman, Shelly Berman, and Peter Gennaro.  The episode was aired on January 12, 1964.

Judy’s songs: “Everybody’s Doin’ It” and “Let’s Do It” (opener with Merman, Berman, and Gennaro); “Shenandoah”; “Makin’ Whoopee” (with Gennaro, then joined by Berman); and “[Ethel] Merman Medley.” The “Trunk” segment featured Judy singing “A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow”; “Puttin’ On The Ritz” and her once-in-a-lifetime performance of “Battle Hymn Of The Republic” which she sang in tribute to John F. Kennedy who had been assassinated just a few weeks prior.  JFK and Judy were friends and she was devastated by his death. She had wanted to do a tribute show just after the assassination but CBS nixed the idea, with one exec now famously telling Judy that in a week no one would remember JFK.

Judy also taped an unaired comedy sketch with Berman in which she played a pushy newspaper reporter who “interviews” Berman about working with Judy Garland.  The sketch exists and is on the now out-of-print DVD of this episode.

December 13, 1965:  The closing night of Judy’s two-week engagement at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas.  Judy opened on November 30, 1965, and was paid $50,000 per week.

On this closing night, Judy added “Liza” in tribute to the next headliner at the Sahara, who was opening on Christmas Day and just happened to be her daughter, Liza Minnelli.

Judy and Mark Herron had flown to Vegas prior to the engagement and were married on November 14th at the Little Church of West at 1:30 a.m.  They went back to Los Angeles for Liza’s opening night at the Coconut Grove on November 23rd and were back in Vegas by the 29th.

Judy’s engagement at the Sahara was a successful one.  Paul Rice reported in “The Sun” newspaper that: “[Judy’s appearance] may well have been the most fabulous night in show business … and I’ve never been much of a fan.”

Judy was backed by the 30-piece Louis Basil orchestra.  Her songs were: “He’s Got The Whole World In Hi Hands”; “Almost Like Being In Love”/”This Can’t Be Love”; “As Long As He Needs Me”; “Just In Time”; “What Now My Love?”; “Joey, Joey”; “The Man That Got Away” (on some nights this was replaced with “Stormy Weather”); “Do It Again”; “By Myself”; “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby”; “San Francisco”; “Swanee”; “Judy’s Olio”; “Chicago”; and “Over The Rainbow.”

It was reported at this time that Judy and Mark would spend the holidays in England and then return to New York in the middle of January for another “Ed Sullivan” show.  These two events never occurred.

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

December 13, 1968:  Judy taped her guest appearance on “The Dick Cavett Show” taped in color at the ABC-TV studios in New York City.  The show was broadcast that following Monday, December 16, in the morning.

Here is a recording of Judy singing “Prayer (God Bless Johnny)” as performed on this show.  The song was written by John Meyer.

Photos: Judy on the set and with her fans on the way into the taping.

Sadly, all that exists of her appearance is a poor quality black and white copy:

In November 2021, the owners of the Dick Cavett Show released this updated audio accompanied by color photos that might be screenshots which makes us all wonder if a good video copy of the show does exist?

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

Meet Me In St Louis on Blu-ray

December 13, 2011:  Meet Me In St. Louis premiered on Blu-ray in the deluxe “digi-book” format.  The Blu-ray was re-released in a standard snap case single-disc edition by the Warner Archive on April 24, 2018.

Check out The Judy Room’s “DVD/Blu-ray” page about this release here.

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

December 13, 2020:  TCM’s holiday lineup for this night included both of Judy’s major holiday films.

One comment

  1. I love Virginia O’Brien in The Harvey Girls and her other films too. I would say my favorite O’Brien number is “Bring on Those Wonderful Men” from Ziegfeld Follies. I am surprised at the reviewer’s comments about her singing.

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