On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – January 20

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“She’s the best” – Lucille Ball on Judy Garland, 1964





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January 20, 1938:  Judy’s semi-regular appearance on the “Good News of 1938” radio program from NBC Radio.  Judy sang “Smiles.”

No transcription disc survives of this performance, but her April 6, 1937, performance of the song does and can be heard here:

The photo above was taken of Judy during this broadcast.

More Judy Garland radio performances can be downloaded from The Judy Room’s “Judy Sings! On The Radio” page here.

In theaters was Judy’s first film with Mickey Rooney, Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry which was getting good reviews.



January 20, 1939:   In the curio department, here’s an ad touting the appearance of two of the little people who recently completed the filming of the “Munchkinland Musical Sequence.”

Here they’re billed as “Prince Leon – – Gus Wayne – Mickey Rooney’s Midget Pals” apparently part of “Paul’s Hollywood Midgets.”

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Also on this day, Bert Lahr posed for publicity photos in his “Cowardly Lion” costume.

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



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January 20, 1941:  This MGM playback disc of Part 1 of the “Minnie from Trinidad” number for Ziegfeld Girl.  Filming on the extensive number began on January 18th.  Judy pre-recorded the song on January 14th.

Record label from the Rick Smith Collection.  Thanks, Rick!

Check out The Judy Room’s Extensive Spotlight on Ziegfeld Girl here.



January 20, 1942:  Judy and husband David Rose were poised to begin their 10-day tour of Army camps in conjunction with the USO.  First stop:  Fort Custer in Battle Creek, Michigan.  The couple arrived from Chicago on January 21st.



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January 20, 1944:  Judy and extras were on MGM’s Backlot #2, on the standing train depot set which was dressed up as the trolley depot.  The short scene featuring Judy and the extras boarding the trolley must not have taken very long to shoot as it’s also noted that scenes were shot on the “Interior Rose and Esther’s Bedroom” and “Exterior Slope” sets, which were on MGM soundstages. They may or may not have included Judy.

Time called: 10 a.m.; Judy arrived on set at 10:15 a.m.; ready at 10:25 a.m.; dismissed at 5:15 p.m.

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



January 20, 1945:  These three ads appeared in various film trade magazines promoting MGM’s successes, of which Meet Me In St. Louis was a major part of.

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



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January 20, 1947:  Decca Records released a new Judy Garland single.  “Connecticut” was released “A” side of Decca Single #23804 and “Mine” was on the “B” side.  Both are duets with Bing Crosby.  “Mine” was recorded on July 31, 1944, “Connecticut” was recorded on March 9, 1945.

Record label from the Rick Smith Collection.  Thanks, Rick!

Listen to “Connecticut” here:

Listen to the alternate take of “Connecticut” here:

Listen to “Mine” here:

Listen to the “C” take of “Mine” here:



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January 20, 1954:  A Star Is Born filming continued with scenes on the “Interior Malibu Home” set, specifically the scene of Judy’s “Vicki Lester” telling Charles Bickford’s “Oliver Niles” that she’s giving up her film career to concentrate on taking care of James Mason’s “Norman Maine,” his overhearing the conversation and then telling Vicki he’s going to go for a swim.

Time started: 10 a.m.; finished: 7:10 p.m.

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



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January 20, 1964:  Ben Gross of New York’s “Daily News” shared letters from readers who were Garfans who objected to Judy’s TV series, “The Judy Garland Show,” possibly facing cancelation.

“Judy Garland is the greatest entertainer in the world and anyone who doesn’t like her should be sent to a psychiatrist.” Tommy Shaw, Manhattan

“If CBS lets her go, I’ll never tune in that station again.” Frances Mason, Brooklyn

The letters were, of course, mailed in prior to this day.  The publication of these letters was timely because on this same day, CBS-TV allowed Judy to announce the cancelation of the series, saying (in an open letter to James Aubrey, that was reprinted) that she was ending the series because she needed to “give my children the time and attention that they need.”  The official announcement was on January 22nd.  However, it was common knowledge that the real story was that CBS was never really supportive of the show and the rating topple from the high of the first episode aired on September 29, 1963, a 44 share, to a low 28 share by late October, to an even lower 66 out of 80 shows.  It didn’t help that CBS pitted it against the phenomenal “Bonanza” nor that Judy was initially given material beneath her talents, as Lucille Ball stated, “I was furious when Judy Garland was given lines like ‘I’m a little old lady,’ and someone talking about ‘the next Judy Garland.’  I bet she’s glad her series is over.  She’s the best.”






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