On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – January 29

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“I’ve been entertaining people since I was a little girl.  And on this show, I’m not doing anything now that I haven’t done before.  Of course, we’re doing it quite a bit faster.  But I enjoy it.” – Judy Garland about her TV series, 1964.

January 29, 1933:  Frances (Judy) performed at her father’s theater, the Valley Thater, in Lancaster California.  She appeared with a fellow Maurice Kussell student named either Clarke or Claire Williams – both names are mentioned on different dates – the duo was featured in a “stage specialty.”

January 29, 1935:  This article printed in “Variety” notes Judy’s involvement with the Universal Studios production of The Great Ziegfeld.

On January 10, 1935, Judy and her sisters, as “The Garland Sisters,” tested and were signed to Universal Studios to appear in the studio’s upcoming biopic of Florenz Ziegfeld titled “The Great Ziegfeld.”  The contract was not the standard studio seven-year contract but a one-picture deal, which wasn’t unusual at the time, especially for talent (whether famous or not) that a studio only intended to use on one film.  On January 18, 1934, the sisters performed at Universal Studios head Carl Laemmle’s 68th birthday party at the studio which is the only known work the sisters had under this brief association.

In the late spring of 1935, The Great Ziegfeld project was sold to MGM but the sisters’ contract was not, thus ending their association with Universal.  The final MGM film was released in 1936 and won three Academy Awards in 1937 including Best Picture.

On November 20, 1935, “Variety” carried the story (dated November 19) that Sam Katz of MGM was looking for a property to star “Metro’s 12-year-old torch singer” Judy Garland (she was actually 13).  The story incorrectly claims that Judy went to MGM when The Great Ziegfeld did and that no one at MGM noticed her until she sang at a “night spot.”  The unnamed author apparently assumed Universal changed Judy’s last name from “Gumm” to “Garland” as well.  The article is pure fiction, aside from the fact that Judy was indeed contracted to Universal for the film.  It’s noted here because it’s an indication that even though Judy had only been at MGM for a little over a month, the studio was already getting her name in the trade publications and it’s one of the last mentions on Judy’s association with the Universal project.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Films That Got Away” page that includes information about this and many other film projects that Judy was either cast in or wanted for.

January 29, 1939:  Two items.  The first is a collage of photos featuring young stars who were successfully navigating the “awkward” age of adolescence.  The second is an obvious studio-fed version of the same old story of a girl (or “lady”) breaking up a gang of guys.  In this version, it was “little Judy Garland” who was breaking up the “Dead End” boys by being the object of affection for both Billy Halop and Bobby Jordan.  Judy did go out with Halop a few times socially but it wasn’t anything more serious than some innocent dates.

January 29, 1942:  Judy and her husband David Rose, along with Judy’s mom, Ethel, and assistant Baron Poland, were on their way to the final stop on their USO Tour of Army camps, Camp Wolters just outside of Mineral Wells, Texas.  They arrived on the night of January 29.  The “Fort Worth Star-Telegram” (Fort Worth, TX) noted that she slipped through their “town” on her way to Mineral Wells, TX (west of Fort Worth) arriving there without the usual fanfare.

Mineral Wells citizens chafed at the restrictions that kept them from ballyhooing the visit of one of America’s most popular movie queens.  But Miss Garland, her studio executives and USO officials had specified that there should be no blowing of trumpets when she arrived.  She is here to entertain the soldiers and they were all asleep at camp when she arrived to get a brief rest in her hotel suite before a busy day.

Also on this day, the “Rolla Herald” (Rolla, Missouri) printed an article that amusingly feigns disappointment that Judy did not visit Fort Leonard Wood, located in the Missouri Ozarks and just two and a half hours from Fort Jefferson Barracks where she had recently visited.

January 29, 1942:  In theaters, Babes on Broadway.

January 29, 1943:  News reports made note that Judy’s first dramatic role would be in the film Forever.  Judy’s name was tied to the project off and on, with different co-stars at different times that included Robert Taylor, Tyrone Power, and Gregory Peck.  At one point it was to be a musical with a score by Rodgers & Hammerstein.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Films That Got Away” section for more about the various film projects Judy was attached to, even if in rumor only.


January 29, 1943:  Judy’s personal, and lifelong, family physician, Dr. Marcus Rabwin, ordered her not to dance for three weeks.  Her mom, Ethel, told MGM that Judy was confined to bed.

Director Busby Berkeley had overworked Judy for several weeks rehearsing and filming the “I Got Rhythm” number for Girl Crazy.  On top of that, Judy had some additional rehearsals for the new finale for her recently completed film Presenting Lily Mars.  She was down to 94 pounds.  The situation was so bad that Berkeley was replaced as director of Girl Crazy by Norman Taurog with Charles Walters staging the rest of the songs.  Berkeley’s version of “I Got Rhythm” remained in the film as its big finale.

Unfortunately, Judy was back at the studio after only a little over a week’s time.

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

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Presenting Lily Mars here.

January 29, 1944:  Judy was enjoying success with two films currently in theaters: Thousands Cheer and Girl Crazy.

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

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

January 29, 1944:  Filming continued on Meet Me In St. Louis with more scenes shot of the Christmas Ball sequence on the “Interior Conservatory and Ballroom” set.  Time called: 10 a.m.; Judy was ready and on the set at 10:47 a.m.; dismissed: 6:05 p.m.

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


January 29, 1945:  Filming on The Harvey Girls continued on the “Interior Dormitory” and “Interior R.R. Engine and Train” sets.  Time called: 1:00 p.m.; Judy arrived at 2:00 p.m.; dismissed 5:55 p.m.

Published on this date was this note in Erksine Johnson’s column about Judy’s already well-known issues being on time at the studio.

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

January 29, 1947:  Till The Clouds Roll By.


January 29, 1948:  Judy was out sick from the production of Easter Parade.  She returned the next day.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on Easter Parade here.


January 29, 1951:  “Punch and Judy.”  Columnist Erksine Johnson tells a story that pokes fun at Sid Luft’s reputation for using his fists to settle conflicts.  Apparently, that reputation prompted a bystander at the Mocambo to mutter “Ah, Punch and Judy” when Judy and Sid arrived at the club.

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

January 29, 1951:  Part 1 of Judy telling her own story, to Michael Drury.

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

January 29, 1951:  Although Judy had left MGM that previous September 1950, that didn’t stop the studio from listing Summer Stock as one of the films that kept the studio smiling.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Page on Summer Stock here.

January 29, 1952:  Judy took part in the March of Dimes fashion show event at the Waldorf-Astoria.  A photo of the event made the papers in the next few days.  In the photo, Judy is seen with Mrs. Douglas MacArthur and Larry Jim Gross.

Judy’s association with the March of Dimes began in the late 1930s when she and Mickey Rooney appeared in a short film promoting the organization.  Watch that short here:

Judy was always ready to help raise money and awareness for the rights and care of children in need.  She had a real love of children which shows her very deep warm humanity and is something that’s rarely mentioned in articles and exposés about her “tragic” life.

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


January 29, 1954:  Judy was out sick from the production of A Star Is Born.  She returned the next day.

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

January 29, 1956:  William D. Laffler of the “Honolulu Advertiser” wrote this review of the recent Decca Records compilation, “Judy Garland – Greatest Performances.”  He mentions Judy’s recent TV special, and how some “harsh observers” took her “tearful ending of ‘Over the Rainbow'” as Judy’s swan song.  The album had just been released in late 1955.

Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s “Greatest Performances” page for details about the album and its Australian re-release in the early 1970s.

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


January 29, 1957:  Here’s an interesting article from columnist Aline Mosby about fashion designer Elgee Bove.  According to Mosby:  “At 17 he was a has-been working as an usher in the Palace Theater.  The star of the show, Judy Garland, heard about his talent and hired him to design her clothes.  Then came such top jobs as designing clothes for the ‘Fire and Ice’ and “I dreamt I was A in my Maidenform bra’ before he was old enough to vote.”

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


January 29, 1961:  Director John M. Frankenheimer’s wife tried to evict Judy from the apartment she was renting.  Although the story doesn’t mention it, the alleged real reason was that Mrs. Frankenheimer was jealous of the time Judy and John were spending together.

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


January 29, 1964:  Columnist Vernon Scott reported on the recent announcement of the cancellation of Judy’s TV series, “The Judy Garland Show.”  Scott notes how Judy proved the oddsmakers wrong by being able to complete 26 shows and that the show did not succeed partly because Judy was a “personality which is difficult to define.”

Also on this day, Judy signed check #221 on her Kingsrow Enerprises, Inc. checking account for $245.48 payable to L.F. Houser, Plumbing Service. P.O. Box 18, Beverly Hills, California.  The check cleared through her account at the city national Bank of Beverly Hills, on February 4, 1964.  Judy also wrote a check to a member of her household staff, Kevin L. Entwright, for $259.98.

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

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