“The virtue of their performance lies in the talent of the youngest, Little Francis [sic]. I loathe child actors particularly in vaudeville, but this youngster sings a song called, I think, ‘Night and Day’ in a fashion that would do justice to Helen Morgan. Little Francis [sic] will undoubtedly go places – but not with mama and sisters Virginia and Mary Jane.” – Wood Soanes, 1934
December 27, 1934: Wood Soanes of the “Oakland Tribune” (Oakland, California) reviewed the vaudeville acts currently playing across the bay at San Francisco’s Curran theater.
Of the group [of acts,] the Garlands [Garland Trio] have the best novelty. They consist of three girls with mother at the piano and they sing. But the virtue of their performance lies in the talent of the youngest, Little Francis [sic]. I loathe child actors particularly in vaudeville, but this youngster sings a song called, I think, “Night and Day” in a fashion that would do justice to Helen Morgan. Little Francis [sic] will undoubtedly go places – but not with mama and sisters Virginia and Mary Jane.
Included is a notice (second pic here) about the upcoming SF show as published on December 23, 1934, in the “Los Angeles Times” that makes note that Francis Garland (Judy) was returning to sing solos. Judy was a mere 12 years old.
Eighteen years later, on May 25, 1952, Soanes (still a critic for the “Oakland Tribune”) was reminded of his 1934 review when writing in anticipation of Judy’s upcoming concert at the Curran. By this point, Judy had already achieved legendary status thanks to her recently launched “concert years.” Soanes definitely called it back in 1934! Check out the May 25 entry for the full text of that 1952 article or read it below.
December 27, 1940: Judy made the top ten! Here are clippings of notices for Judy’s rankings in the top ten box office stars for that year plus 1941 and 1945.
Scans: The first three are from 1940, the second three from 1941, the last two are from 1945.
December 27, 1941: MGM placed this ad in the trade magazine “Motion Picture Herald.”
December 27, 1941: More from the same issue of the “Motion Picture Herald.” First up is another MGM ad, this time a single page. The second is an article listing the top moneymakers in the movie biz in 1941. Judy came in 10th place across the board.
December 27, 1941: The “Motion Picture Herald” had a regular feature titled “What The Picture Did For Me” which gave movie theater managers/owners a chance to give feedback on how films played in their markets (big city, small town, etc.). In this issue, both Life Begins For Andy Hardy and Ziegfeld Girl are mentioned.
Life Begins For Andy Hardy, from Saul Korman of the Apollo Theatre in Detroit, Michigan:
It wasn’t a bad picture, but it didn’t to any business.
Life Begins For Andy Hardy, from Peter Kavel of the Campau Theatre in Hamtramck, Michigan:
These Hardy pictures have come a long way since the first one. They have all been good ones with the exception of one or two. This one is a little long and interest lags in spots, but, all in all, it’s a nice picture. As another exhibitor said in his report on this picture: “Where does MGM get all those honeyed girls?” Patricia Dane steals the show from Mickey and I do mean steal. She’s a honey.
Ziegfeld Girl, from A.L. Dove of the Bengough Theatre, Bengough, Saskatchewan, Canada:
Exceptionally good production, very much enjoyed by my patrons, although somewhat high-brow for a rural audience. Singing very good and lavish sets. Play it.
December 27, 1942: For Me And My Gal was still a hit around the country in both small towns and big cities. Although Judy’s weight had gone down a bit too much, her triple-threat genius was on full display in her first real adult role.
December 27, 1944: Coming soon to Los Angeles, California, for its LA premiere, Meet Me In St. Louis.
December 27, 1944: On December 26, the “Los Angeles Evening Citizen News” paper out of Hollywood noted the list of stars and military officers and dignitaries who were invited to the following night’s invitation-only premiere of Winged Victory (20th Century-Fox). Judy was one of the stars listed. On the day of the premiere (December 27) Judy’s name was not listed in the ad as placed in the same paper. It’s unknown if Judy and her new fiance Vincente Minnelli attended the premiere. There were so many “names” invited it’s possible, although not probable considering her star status, that Judy’s name was simply left off.
December 27, 1945: This ad published by MGM in the “Film Daily” trade magazine touts the studio’s upcoming releases by showing their busy lot and where the films were being made.
December 27, 1946: Judy’s first recording session for The Pirate. From 2 p.m. to 3:25 p.m. she recorded “Love Of My Life.” This version was not used in the final film as the scene that it was originally slated for was deleted. A new version was recorded in March 1947 and placed in a completely different part of the film, toward the end, as we see now see in the complete film.
Listen to, and download, this unused version here:
December 27, 1950: Here is the first in what became a long-running legal battle between Sid Luft (Judy’s third husband) and his first wife, actress Lynn Bari. Judy was always mentioned whether she was a part of the proceedings or not. At this point, Judy was still married to her second husband Vincente Minnelli, so both she and Luft claimed they were “just friends.” Bari was granted a divorce from Luft which became final a year later on December 27, 1951.
December 27, 1957: Judy developed several vocal problems and canceled four nights of shows at the Flamingo in Las Vegas where she was currently appearing. She returned on December 31st.
December 27, 1967: The last of Judy’s concerts at The Felt Forum, Madison Square Garden, New York. Judy was scheduled through the end of the year but had to cancel the last concerts due to laryngitis.
Photos: Newspaper notices featuring the now-famous photo of Judy on opening night (December 25th).
December 27, 1968: Judy, Mickey Deans, and his best friend Charlie Cochran flew to London after having John Meyer, Cochran, and Bobby Cole over to say goodbye. Cole went over the complicated arrangement of “What Now My Love?” that he’d conducted for Judy at the Palace in the summer of 1967. Judy never sang “What Now, My Love?” again, most likely since the arrangement could not be easily or quickly duplicated. Judy and Dean’s Pan-Am flight left Kennedy Airport at 8:30 p.m. They arrived in London at 7:30 a.m., local time, on December 28.
Photo: Judy and Deans after their arrival in London.