“‘It’s a New World’ will probably go round the world and is strangely symbolic of the new Garland epoch.” – Edwin Schallert, 1953
December 20, 1931: Here’s an ad for “Baby Gumm’s” appearance at the Warner Brothers Theater in Hollywood. She had a weeklong engagement. At the time, Baby Gumm (Judy) was a part of the Maurice Kusell Studio. Kusell specialized in child acts.
December 20, 1938: Here is a very early instance, out of England, of a legal battle regarding the name “Judy Garland” as used by the Canadian Trading Agency, Ltd. of England, to sell apparel. It’s interesting that in the U.S. at this time, Judy’s name was used in many advertisements by a variety of stores to sell frocks, purses, coats, and more.
December 20, 1938: Judy appeared on the “National Redemption Movement Program” on NBC Radio. It was her last radio appearance of 1938. No other information is known about this show. The appearance was also the second of two (the other being “Good News of 1939” on October 20th) referenced in the contract shown above, dated September 9, 1938. Note how the contract states Judy’s work on The Wizard of Oz would be done by “the end of October, or early part of November.” Boy, were they hopeful!
December 20, 1941: This two-page ad promoting MGM’s latest films, including Babes on Broadway, appeared in the “Motion Picture Herald” trade magazine.
Local theater owners/managers around the country would send in their feedback about the films they had shown for publication in the magazine’s regular “What The Picture Did For Me” section. In this issue, J.E. Stocker of Myrtle Theatre in Detroit, Michigan, had this to say about Life Begins for Andy Hardy: “To me, this seemed about the poorest of the Hardy series. Too much of the sordid and tragic for an Andy Hardy picture. Attendance for a Sunday-Monday playdate was not up to expectations.”
December 20, 1942: This MGM ad from the “Showmen’s Trade Review” featured their upcoming titles, including Presenting Lily Mars.
December 20, 1943: Meet Me In St. Louis filming continued with scenes on the “Interior Lower Floor” and “Kitchen” sets. Time called: 1 p.m.; dismissed: 5:35 p.m. The scenes shot were most likely some of those in which only the principals were needed. The chorus and extras needed for the “Skip To My Lou” scenes were not needed until the filming of that sequence in early January 1944.
December 20, 1944: This Decca Records holiday ad listed Judy’s single of “The Trolley Song” as one of the singles available at J.W. Millikan’s record store in Munster, Indiana.
Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s Decca Records Section for info about all of Judy’s Decca recordings.
December 20, 1947: Easter Parade filming continued with scenes on the “Interior Amsterdam Theater Stage” and “Interior Amsterdam Back Stage ” sets. Included was the “When The Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves For Alabam'” song and dance with Fred Astaire. Songwriter Irving Berlin was on the set to watch.
December 20, 1947: “Swinging into 1948” was an array of MGM’s current and upcoming films, including The Pirate, which was one of three Garland films to hit theatres in 1948. The other two were Easter Parade and Words and Music. The latter wasn’t really a “Judy Garland film” but her guest spot was singled out as one of the highlights, and MGM wisely placed Judy at the top of most of their ads for the film.
December 20, 1948: These photos were taken of Judy on the set of In The Good Old Summertime. She’s in her party dress for the sequence in which she sings both “I Don’t Care” and “Play That Barbershop Chord.”
December 20, 1948: The trade magazine “The Film Bulletin” included an article about, and review of, Words and Music. Also included was this MGM ad using their current “Metro Cola” theme. The article notes how the film was being criticized for its rather “thin” storyline, but that the musical numbers were great. The Bulletin’s review by one of their resident critics, “Abrams,” noted the story as “commonplace” while pointing out that the story isn’t the point at all, it’s the musical numbers that make the film great and are what the public goes to the film to see.
December 20, 1950: Columnist Sheilah Graham reported on two alleged film projects in the works for Judy. Judy had just left MGM and almost immediately her name popped up attached (or rather, allegedly attached) to various film projects.
For more about the films that Judy was (again, allegedly) in the running to star in, check out The Judy Room’s Filmography “Films That Got Away” pages. There was quite a lot!
December 20, 1953: Columnist Edwin Schallert’s column reported that there was a “New Punch to Judy.”
Responsibility Brings a New Punch to Judy
Voice in Plans Adds Incentive
BY EDWIN SCHALLERT
Judy Garland, busy on “A Star Is Born” at Warners, as her first motion picture in four years, believes that she has now embarked on an entirely new era in her motion picture experience. She feels she is at last blending management of her career with action. She is today much happier than at any time in recent years.
“When I was regularly under contract I was naturally fitted into a groove,” she said. “I took orders as a studio saw fit to give them, carried them out without question.”
“For a long time, I felt that I should have some real participation in what I was doing beyond simply action and singing. But with a contract and the obligations it implies, that was seemingly impossible.”
“Now my husband, Sid Luft, and I have our own company, and I enjoy the planning and knowing exactly what we are going to do. This has been a great new stimulus and inspiration.”
She’s a New Person
Even a casual meeting with Judy Garland today would make those who have known her previously quite aware of the fact that she is an entirely new person. She is alert and vital, with an encompassing sense of responsibility and a big determination to succeed more importantly than ever before.
The writer appraised her first independent production from a variety of angles. I saw the lavish Cocoanut Grove setting at the studio, which is used for an Academy Award climax in the picture, heard the commentary of Director George Cukor on the progress of the film and Miss Garland’s own performance, glimpsed the rushes of the honeymoon scene with James Mason and listened to the views of various people, including Edward L Alperson, the film producer, who had owned the rights to “A Star Is Born” and who has joined with Luft and Judy in the new production.
They are all enthusiastic, particularly Cukor, who is long experienced in guiding unusual feminine personalities in pictures, notably Katherine Hepburn, Judy Holliday, and others. Cukor stressed Miss Garland’s “rare combination of power and gentleness.”
“I gave a birthday party for Ethel Barrymore and asked Judy to sing a tribute,” Cukor related. “The results were so remarkable and so full of heart appeal that I thought the celebrated actress would be dissolved in tears.”
Cukor and Miss Garland are a new combination and this is but one of the facets that will cause “A Star Is Born” to be an utterly different picture. The oddity is that they should be working together for the first time since they both [were with] MGM over so long a period. But musicals are off-beat for Cukor and it was actually the Barrymore incident that first gave the director the idea of guiding Miss Garland.
Incidentally, “A Star Is Born” is very much off=beat as a musical, because, like the original version with Fredric March and Janet Gaynor, it will end in tragedy. James Mason, who is a victim of alcoholism, descends the ladder as a famous Hollywood star, while his wife (Miss Garland) ascends to fame.
“The main difference from the original is that I play a singer with bands, instead of simply a country girl,” said Judy. “That justifies the numbers, which are beautifully woven into the action and dialogue of the picture. Mr. Mason as our hearo asks me to sing on our wedding night when we stop at a motel in a small California town, and that prompts my singing of ‘It’s a New World,’ which is a number that I reprise at the time of his death.
Mason Good Choice
“We could not imagine a more ideal choice tan Mason for the role which was previously associated with March. People forget that he can look surprisingly young, simply because he’s had to play so many mature Rommel-like characters. I am sure that his work in this picture will be a great revelation.”
Having witnessed the two in the honeymoon scene in the rushes, this write is quite willing o concur with Miss Garland’s estimate of the male star.
Judy will have eight songs in the production. The titled ones, besides “It’s A New World” including “Someone at Last,” which is called a tour de force number; “Here’s What I’m Here For,” “The Man That Got Away,” “Lost That Long Face,” “The TV Commercial” [“Trinidad Coconut Oil Shampoo”], and “Gotta Have Me Og With You.” They’re by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin. “It’s a New World” will probably go round the world and is strangely symbolic of the new Garland epoch.
Third Time on Screen
Cukor reveals a hitherto unstressed fact, namely that this will be the third time the story of “A Star Is Born” has reached the screen because he personally directed the first version under the title “What Price Hollywood?” which starred Constance Bennett with Lowell Sherman. That was very early in sound history in pictures, while “A Star Is Born” was made by David O. Selznick in the late 30s.
The four-year lapse in her film career has been highly profitable in many ways for Judy. She had a striking success at the Palladium in London. Then there were five months at the Palace in New York, and successively her engagements at Philharmonic Auditorium here and in San Francisco under Civic Light Opera auspices, in the spring and summer of 1952. “Then we had to take time out for little Lorna, who was born Nov. 26 of that year,” said Judy. ” all together it was a busy year because the palace engagement had started the prior November.”
Judy and Sid Luft had quite a time getting the rights to “A Star Is Born,” because they didn’t know who had them. “We felt it was a tremendously appealing story and could be even better told with music,” she explained. “We finally discovered that Mr. Alperson owned the rights. He has thus become interested in the picture with us.
Alperson, besides his own productions, is frequently identified as a partner in other enterprises like the recently completed “New Faces” of Leonard Stillman.
December 20, 1953: This on-set photo of Judy during early filming on A Star Is Born was used, as shown here, as a holiday photo due to its snowy, wintery look.
December 20, 1963: Videotaping of both the dress rehearsal (from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and the final performance (from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.) of “Episode Seventeen” of “The Judy Garland Show” at CBS Television City, Stage 43, Hollywood.
Judy’s guests were Vic Damone, Chita Rivera, Louis Nye, and Ken Murray. Judy sang: “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”; “I Believe In You” (with Rivera and Nye); “By Myself” (for which Judy received a standing ovation from the audience. This footage was inserted into the “Battle Hymn” number in “Episode Sixteen” because the cameras never turned onto the audience standing at the end of that song.); “West Side Story Medley” (with Damone); “Better Luck Next Time” and “Almost Like Being In Love/This Can’t Be Love” followed by the last performance of “Maybe I’ll Come Back” as the episode closer.
Judy also taped a segment with Ken Murray and his “Hollywood Home Movies,” a new segment for the show that showed Murray’s silent film clips while Judy commented. On this first outing, a clip of Judy was shown playing tennis in 1939.