On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – December 17

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“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 15, 1937:   The fourth and final installment in the story of Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry as published in “The Boston Globe.”

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 were the last scenes shot on the set.

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

December 17, 1939:  Judy appeared on the cover of the Sunday Magazine newspaper insert 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.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on For Me And My Gal here.


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:

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

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.

Listen to “The Trolley Song” here:

Listen to “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” here:

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

December 17, 1944:  Two “photo blurbs” featuring Judy with James Gleason on the set of The Clock and a recent glamour shot used to promote Meet Me In St. Louis.

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

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

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


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!

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

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:  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 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.

October 27, 1964 Peter Allen Chris Allen (Chris Bell) Mark Herron Liza Minnelli at airport.

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’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.”

Judy came on at 10 p.m., and her program lasted 40 minutes, with Mort Lindsey conducting.


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.”



  1. More breathtaking “widescreen” shots! of Technicolor Garland!!! You’re killing me!!!!! LOL

    But seriously, I do so admire your work, Scott. Your daily tribute to Judy has to be the best there is- and has been- of its kind.

    It’s what she always deserved. . . . .I LOVE IT!

  2. Thank you so much! I really appreciate it, and truly appreciate that people enjoy the posts. My goal is to have an entry for each day of the year and to add to them all the time as more info becomes available. Like an ongoing timeline…

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