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

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“Judy Garland is still a wonderful little trouper, possessed of all the grace and vitality, the finesse which go to make a star.” – “J.D.”, “The Windsor Star” (Windsor, Ontario), 1955

January 17, 1931:  “The Gumm Sisters” (Judy and her sisters) performed as part of the Meglin Kiddies act at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, California.

January 17, 1939:  The first of three days of filming on the “Interior Emerald City” set (including the “Merry Old Land of Oz” number) on The Wizard of Oz.  Included here are a couple of design watercolors from art director and lead sketch artist Jack Martin Smith, plus some “lily’ frames.  The “lily” frames are from the practice of having a crew member step in at the end of the scene for a few seconds while the camera still rolled, with a whiteboard (the lily).  If that whiteboard showed white when the film was processed, it meant all the other colors were rendering correctly.  This was necessary due to the difficulties of shooting with three-strip Technicolor and the fact that with a fantasy film such as Oz, many unusual shades of color were used.

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

January 17, 1942:  Babes on Broadway was playing around the nation proving to be another hit for Judy and Mickey and MGM’s Freed Unit.

On this evening Judy was chosen by the armed forces to appear on “Your Hit Parade.” She sang “I’m Nobody’s Baby,” “Abe Lincoln Had Just One Country,” and “This Love of Mine.”

No recording of this show is known to exist, but you can hear Judy’s December 23, 1941, radio performance of “Abe Lincoln Had Just One Country” here:

Also on this date, MGM placed this ad in the trade magazine “Showmen’s Trade Review.”

January 17, 1942:  On the same night that Judy performed on “Your Hit Parade” this notice was published about Kay Thompson’s show.  In just a couple of years, Kay would become a part of the Freed Unit at MGM and would become Judy’s closest female friend and a huge influence on her style and later daughter Liza Minnelli’s style.

Photo:  Judy, Kay, and Liza in 1960.

January 17, 1943:  For Me And My Gal was still opening and getting good reviews.  The reviewer for the Minneapolis “Star Tribune,” Robert E. Murphy, noted the blurred film on a few of the shots of Marta Eggerth, “The print seen by this reporter posed something of a mystery.  In a number of shots in which Eggerth wears a gown with swooping neckline, the picture was badly diffused in just one spot.  It didn’t appear in other shots of the same sequence.  It can’t be just sloppy camera work.  Could it be censorship?  See if you can spot it.”  The second article (third clipping) is all about how tough it was for Judy to learn the dances for the film when in reality she was, according to both Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, a quick learner due to her natural musical abilities.

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

January 17, 1944:  Filming continued on Meet Me In St. Louis with scenes shot on the “Interior Little Girl’s Bedroom” and “Interior Rose and Esther’s Room” sets, specifically the scene in which Rose tightens Esther’s corset and they discuss monopolizing all the “worthwhile men” at the Christmas ball.

Time called: 10 a.m.; Judy arrived on set at 10:22 a.m.; ready at 10:40 a.m.; dismissed at 5:50 p.m.

Later that evening Judy appeared on the radio show “Let’s Back the Attack” with Glenn Miller and his Orchestra.

The undergarment that Judy wears in this scene was a part of Mike Siewert’s extensive collection and was recently auctioned for $3,750.00. Read more about that auction here, and all of the major Garland events of 2017, in The Judy Room’s 2017 Year in Review here.

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

January 17, 1946:  This four-page ad appeared in the “Film Daily” trade magazine.

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


January 17, 1955:  Judy was a “good trouper.”  The reviewer, “T.D.,” singled out (as he titled it) “I Was Born In A Trunk In The Princess Theater” as the breakout hit song.

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

January 17, 1964:  Videotaping of both the dress rehearsal (from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.) and the final performance (from 9:00 to 10:30 p.m.) of “Episode Nineteen” of “The Judy Garland Show” at CBS Television City, Stage 43, Hollywood.

Judy’s guests were Louis Jourdan, The Kirby Stone Four, and Ken Murray.

Judy sang: “San Francisco”; “Whispering” (with The Kirby Stone Four)”; “Paris Is A Lonely Town”; “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” (comedy version); “Children’s Songs” medley (with Jourdan); “What’ll I Do?” and a repeat performance of “Battle Hymn Of The Republic.”

Judy also taped another segment with “Ken Murray and His Hollywood Home Movies” and an introduction to the “Glenn Miller Medley” dress rehearsal performance for the previous episode that was taped on Tuesday, January 14.

This episode was aired on February 2, 1964.

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

January 17, 1969:  This recent photo of Judy performing at the “Talk of the Town” nightclub in London, England, made the rounds.

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


January 17, 1987:  This still-moving editorial cartoon by Chicago Tribune artist Dick Locher ran on this date, which was two days after the death of Ray Bolger, the last of the main cast members to pass.  It portrayed the Scarecrow running along the Yellow Brick Road to catch up with the other Oz cast, as they all dance off into the sunset toward the Emerald City.

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



  1. I get chills (and very emotional) every time I hear Garland’s take on “Abe Lincoln.” It’s sung with such purity and feeling. Unquestionably one of her greatest radio recordings. Thanks for posting it.

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