“This picture is truly outstanding as great entertainment … All the popular tunes of 1917-18 are presented in true Garland style.” – Hartzell H. Huntley on “For Me And My Gal”
December 17, 1928: Frances Gumm (Judy) played one of the dwarfs in the Lancaster Grammar School’s production of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in their new hometown of Lancaster, California.
December 17, 1936: Pigskin Parade was still in theaters.
December 15, 1937: The fourth and final installment of the story of Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry as published in “The Boston Globe.”
December 17, 1939: The Christmas show at the King Theater in Honolulu was 1938’s Everybody Sing.
December 17, 1938: The first day of filming on the immense and amazing “Munchkinland” set for The Wizard of Oz. Filming of the complicated and intricate sequence lasted until the end of the month. Dorothy’s arrival and initial conversation with Glinda which are the first scenes of the sequence were the last scenes shot on the set.
December 17, 1939: Judy appeared on the cover of the Sunday Magazine newspaper insert published in papers around the country. Also published on this date was this lovely photo of Judy relaxing at home. She was probably tired from chopping down and lugging that tree home!
December 17, 1942: Two items from the “Showmen’s Trade Review” magazine. The first is an article about the various marketing campaigns possible in promoting For Me And My Gal, especially with the local Y.M.C.A. in Toledo, Ohio.
Membership Secretary for the Y.M.C.A., Hartzell H. Huntley, wrote to members, “Dear ‘Y’ Friend: I have just witnessed the showing of Judy Garland’s new picture, ‘For Me and My Gal,’ now showing at the Esquire Theatre. This picture is truly outstanding as great entertainment. In addition, the actual role of the Y.M.C.A. in World War No. 1 is revealed through Miss Garland’s portrayal of a hostess in the Y.M.C.A. canteen overseas. See for yourself the real work of the ‘Y’ in the last war. All the popular tunes of 1917-18 are presented in true Garland style. It’s enjoyable and wholesome entertainment for the entire family. I heartily recommend it to you.”
The second is an ad touting MGM’s recent successes, including For Me And My Gal.
December 17, 1943: Judy and Margaret O’Brien had a pre-recording session for Meet Me In St. Louis during which they recorded “Under The Bamboo Tree.” The session didn’t take long, beginning at 1:00 p.m. and ending at 2:15 p.m.
Listen to Take 1 here:
Listen to Take 10 here:
December 17, 1943: Hedda Hopper reported from the set of Meet Me In St. Louis.
December 17, 1943: MGM placed this ad in the trade magazine, “Film Daily,” touting their recent successes including Girl Crazy.
December 17, 1944: Judy appeared on the “Philco Radio Hall of Fame” radio show. She sang “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra (he had appeared in 1940’s Strike Up The Band with Mickey and Judy). Judy had just returned to Los Angeles from New York City where she attended the NY premiere of Meet Me In St. Louis. Judy took part in the medley of Jerome Kern songs, contributing “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man” and “Look For The Silver Lining” predating her performance of the song in Till The Clouds Roll By (1946), which she pre-recorded on October 2, 1945.
Listen to “The Trolley Song” here:
Listen to “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” here:
Listen to the complete show here:
December 17, 1947: The first day of filming retakes of the revised “Mack The Black” number for The Pirate. Time called: 8 a.m.; Judy arrived at 9 a.m.; dismissed: 5:30 p.m.
December 17, 1953: Filming on A Star Is Born continued with more scenes shot on the “Interior Coconut Grove” set which was the pivotal “Academy Awards” segment of the film. Time started: 10 a.m.; finished: 5:50 p.m.
Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
December 17, 1956: The first day of a week off for Judy from her current run at The Palace Theater in New York City. She spent seven days in the hospital due to the strain of doing eight shows a week. The theater closed down while she was out. She returned on December 26th.
December 17, 1956: In his recent column, Walter Winchell quoted Judy about opening night stage fright.
December 17, 1956: This edition of Leonard Lyons’ column is interesting and bizarre. It tells the story of a rich Brazilian who, while at El Morocco, slapped a young lady (not Judy!) for throwing water in his face. He slapped her twice “fore and backhand.”
Judy and her husband Sid Luft witnessed it. The quote attributed to Sid is very telling, especially in light of recent revelations of how some powerful men treat women.
December 17, 1956: Judy sang at Elsa Maxwell’s charity ball, title “8-Ball” (it must have had a billiards theme) at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The ball benefitted the City Center. It’s unclear if Judy actually made an appearance at this party in spite of the notice above due to the fact that around this time she also spent seven days in the hospital resting from the strain of doing eight shows a week at The Palace.
December 17, 1964: Judy, Mark Herron, and the Allen Brothers attended “Beyond the Fringe” at the Mayfair theater in London, in Row E. Judy said she had seen it “three times, and I always laugh at it!” The show was a British comedy revue which ran from 1960 through 1964 and featured (at various times) the future stars Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. The show was a hit in London’s West End as well as New York’s Broadway.
Photo: Judy with the Allen Brothers, Mark Herron, and daughter Liza Minnelli at London’s Heathrow Airport on October 27, 1964.
December 17, 1965: Judy became the first artist to play the new Astrodome in Houston, Texas. She was paid $43,000 for the one show. None other than Diana Ross and The Supremes were her opening act (!)
The dome seated 48,000 people with another 12,000 added for this show. Ticket prices ranged from $1.00 to $7.50. Judy came on at 10 p.m., and her program lasted 40 minutes, with Mort Lindsey conducting.
Judy’s songs: “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands”; “Just In Time”; “My Kind Of Town, Houston Is”/”Houston” (arranged by Roger Edens, which turned out to be his last work with Judy, their association lasting 30 years from October 1935 to December 1965); “As Long As He Needs Me”; “Joey, Joey, Joey”; “Do It Again”; “What Now My Love?”; “By Myself”; “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby”; “San Francisco”; “Chicago”; and “Over the Rainbow.”
December 17, 1965: Vernon Scott’s latest column, “Judy Garland Rides the Roller Coaster.”
December 17, 1968: Judy appeared on “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson” taped in the afternoon, in color at NBC-TV in New York City for airing later in the evening. This is the last television appearance by Judy that is known to still exist. Judy sang John Meyer’s songs, “It’s All For You” and “Till After The Holidays.”
Also on December 17, 1968, Judy signed a new recording contract with Bob Colby and his “Blue Records” label – but only after he went to the bank to cash her advance check of $2,500. Nothing became of the association.
The photo below: A snapshot of Judy after the appearance on “The Tonight Show.”