On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – February 9

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“After five months of trial and error in which the show has been subjected to various and ill-fated formulas, CBS is going to let Miss Garland do what she does best – sing.” – “The New York Times,” 1964

February 9, 1938:  Two articles.  The first tells the fanciful story of how Judy saved a black cat that was found sleeping on the Everybody Sing set.  The technicians who found the feline were about to “fling her out into the cold dawn” when Judy arrived and saved her against their protestations that the cat was black and therefore bad luck.  Clark Gable got into the act when Judy took the cat around “to almost everyone on the lot” and bought it a collar which he autographed.

The second article, attributed to Howard Whitman, links Judy with Sonja Henie via the same color camera.  Judy allegedly stated, “I’m saving up to build a poor kids’ hospital in Hollywood.  See, I’ve already bought the land, about an acre and a half.  I’ve got everything I want.  Why shouldn’t I try to make someone else happy?”

February 9, 1940:  Judy Garland – Teen Fashion Icon.

February 9, 1941:  Here’s an example of the type of celebrity photo pages that were popular at the time.  This one is called “Hollywood Night Out” and on this day featured this photo of Judy with fiance David Rose.  The second clipping gives examples of the kind of fan mail Judy received which were usually “from boys and girls of about her own age.”  As with the 1938 articles above, this article is no doubt more fantasy from MGM’s busy publicity department.


February 9, 1941:  Judy appeared on the “Chase and Sanborn Hour” (aka “The Charlie McCarthy Show”) on NBC Radio.  The stars of the show were Edgar Bergen and his puppet, Charlie McCarthy.  No other information is known about this broadcast.

Judy and Virginia Weilder

February 9, 1943:  Judy’s second day back on the set of Girl Crazy, specifically the “Interior Western Dance Hall” set, after being out due to overwork and exhaustion.  Time called: 11:00 a.m.; dismissed: 6:00 p.m.

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

Photo:  MGM star Virginia Weilder gets Judy’s autograph on the Girl Crazy set.

February 9, 1944:  Thousands Cheer (released in 1943).

February 9, 1945:  Here’s a fun ad for the Decca Records cast album of songs from Meet Me In St. Louis.

Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s Pages on Decca’s Meet Me In St. Louis album here.

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

February 9, 1945:  Production on The Harvey Girls continued.  The assistant director’s notes give a very detailed report on Judy’s activities for the day:

At 4:30 p.m. yesterday, Thursday, the company called Miss Garland to give her Friday’s shooting call.  At this time Miss Garland advised the company that she could not work until possibly Monday due to having two teeth extracted and or which a bridge was being made.

At 12:45 p.m. today, Friday, I telephoned Miss Garland at her studio dressing room to inquire if the situation was the same and she advised it was, Mr. Grady [an assistant] communicated with Miss Garland’s dentist, Dr. Pinckus, and received the information that Miss Garland will receive the bridge on Saturday, wear it Saturday and Sunday and be in Dr. Pinckus’s office on Monday morning for a checkup.  Mr. Grady therefore advises Miss Garland should be ready at 1 p.m. on Monday morning for shooting purposes IF the dentist reports the bridge satisfactory.

Under the present conditions it would not be wise for the company to plan a shooting day on Lot 3 [on MGM’s “Billy The Kid Street” which was dressed up for the film as “Sandrock”] on Monday, with a big crew and talent list, on the possibility of getting a couple hours work in the event Miss Garland is available. Inasmuch as we have nothing to shoot at this time without Miss Garland we must avoid a shooting call for Saturday.  We therefore plan on rehearsing musical numbers Saturday and Monday.

The AD reports for that following Monday state: Judy Garland was given a 1:00 shooting call which she didn’t accept on account of her teeth.  The call was then changed to a 1:00 p.m. wardrobe fitting; she didn’t come in for fittings.

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

February 9, 1946:  The Harvey Girls.

February 9, 1946:  In the regular feature “What The Picture Did For Me” in the “Motion Picture Herald,” the feedback about The Clock from theater manager A.L. Dove of the Bengough Theatre in Bengough, Saskatchewan, Canada was not favorable at all:

“The lion badly slipped on this as far as a small town is concerned.  For the small town there is no entertainment value, no comedy, no action and no music.  What a flop for two good stars!  It would not even make a lower half of a double bill.  It is the worst that I have shown from an excellent production company.”

February 9, 1947:  Hedda Hopper’s column was devoted to the latest about Judy Garland, “the Rainbow Girl.”  In theaters, Till The Clouds Roll By (released in 1946).

February 9, 1948:  Easter Parade filming consisted of shooting the last half of the title song that ends the movie, on MGM’s Lot #3, on Drumhead Road which was located just behind the famous St. Louis Street.  The studio built a mock-up of 5th Avenue in New York to match the photos taken in the early 1900s.  Only the lower ten feet of the buildings were built, matching what’s seen in the vintage photos.  Extras in cars, horse & buggy, and walking, along with Judy and co-star Fred Astaire, were filmed walking down the street in the “Easter Parade.”  That film was then matched to a very detailed matte painting creating the final shot as seen in the film.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland on the MGM Backlot” for more details about this and all of Judy’s films shot on MGM’s famous backlots.

Note that most people assume the parade was filmed on the New York Streets on Lot 2, specifically Fifth Avenue Street, but that was too modern in appearance.  It was easier for MGM to build this separate mock-up of circa-1912 New York to match the vintage photos than to dress up a section of the existing modern street on Lot 2.  The fact that it was one of the busiest and most used sections on the backlot probably had something to do with it.  Dressing up that much of it to look vintage for filming, and then filming, would have taken days if not weeks, precluding anyone else using that section.

It’s also noted that on this day, Judy filmed some shots on the “Interior Amsterdam Lobby.”

Judy was in makeup for the day at 8 a.m. and arrived on the set at 10 a.m.  The company was dismissed at 2:35 p.m.

This completed filming for Easter Parade save for some retakes on March 12th.

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

Photos:  Rare photo of the matte painting that completed the effect; The original early-1900s photos that inspired the shot; the combined shot at the end of the film; Judy on Drumhead Road on MGM’s Lot #3.

February 9, 1948:  Words And Music (released in 1948).


February 9, 1950:  Judy’s name was still attached to the upcoming MGM production of Show Boat.  It was hoped that she would play the pivotal role of “Julie” in the film, although it’s difficult to imagine that at this point MGM nor The Freed Unit seriously considered her.  Judy’s recent personal ad professional troubles had reached their apex making her too unreliable.  However, considering how callous MGM seemed to be regarding her problems, it also wouldn’t have been surprising if they expected her to take on the role.  Especially considering how they threw her into Royal Wedding when she wasn’t ready.

For details about this and other “films that got away” check out The Judy Room’s “Films That Got Away” section here.


February 9, 1953:  This photo of Judy at a recent party (“the other night”) at the Racquet Club in Palm Springs, California, appeared in papers around the country.  Judy was in Palm Springs dieting and preparing for the start of production on her comeback film, A Star Is Born.

Photo provided by Bobby Waters.  Thanks, Bobby!

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

Bob Willoughby Kim 4

February 9, 1954:  Filming on the “Someone At Last” number continued on the “Interior Malibu House” set for A Star Is Born.  Time called: 10 a.m.; finished: 5:15 p.m.

Photo:  Judy and James Mason during the filming, photographed by Bob Willoughby, provided by Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!

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


February 9, 1964:  This article about Judy’s show ending was published in papers around the nation.

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

February 9, 1964:  Judy was in New York on a one-week break from the taping of her TV series “The Judy Garland Show” when she slipped and fell in her suite at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel on February 8th, suffering a mild concussion.  She spent the night at the Mt. Sinai Hospital under the care of her physician, Dr. Kermit Osterman.  She was released the following day.

On the 9th, while the news of her fall hit the papers, Judy took Jorna and Joe to the CBS headquarters in New York to watch the airing of the first “concert episode” of her series, which followed The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

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

February 9, 1964:  “Episode Twenty” of “The Judy Garland Show” aired on CBS-TV.  The show was taped on January 24, 1964, at  CBS Television City, Studio 43, Hollywood.   It was the first show in the new, and popular, format of “Judy in Concert” – just Judy and the boys in the band (and sometimes some dancers).

Judy’s concert consisted of an “Overture” followed by her songs: “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”/”He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands”; “World Ware One Medley”; “That’s Entertainment”; “Make Someone Happy”; “Liza”; “Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe”; “Lorna’s Song”; “Rock-A-bye Your Baby”; “A Couple Of Swells”; and “America The Beautiful.”

Just a few days prior to the taping, CBS allowed Judy to announce the cancellation of the series, stating that she needed to “give my children the time and attention they needed.”  The real story, which was common knowledge, was that CBS was never really behind the show, tinkering with the format and putting it against “Bonanza.”  Critics, fans, and other stars came to Judy’s defense, with Lucille Ball stating “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.”

This concert format, while too late, was embraced by the critics and public alike.  “The New York Times” stated:  “After five months of trial and error in which the show has been subjected to various and ill-fated formulas, CBS is going to let Miss Garland do what she does best – sing…”

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

February 9, 1964:  Two Garland-related TV specials aired.  “The Songs of Harold Arlen” on the show “Twentieth Century” and the premiere of the animated TV special, “Return to Oz,” not to be confused with the later 1985 film of the same name.  This also is not to be confused with the 1962 animated film Journey Back to Oz (released in the U.S. in 1974).

February 9, 1965:  The following article appeared in the “Toronto Telegram.”  Judy had opened at the O’Keefe Center the night before and would play there through the 13th, with a cancellation of the February 10th shows due to her severe cold and laryngitis and no show on the 12th.

Toronto Telegram – February 9, 1965

Judy Garland had been on stage 40 minutes and was midway through her ninth song last night when it happened. Her voice broke.  She reached for a note and it came out a croak.

The capacity O’Keefe Centre audience gasped and waited.  Judy clutched her throat and said ‘ugh’ in frustration and went on.  The applause at the end of the song was, if anything, more vigorous than ever.

But six songs later, it happened again.  She was climbing a swanee crescendo when it cracked.  “We’ll try that once more,” said Judy unsmiling, “everybody deserves a second try.”  The orchestra backed up and tried again, again Judy broke. “I’ll be damned,” she muttered. At that moment, a woman’s voice trilled from the balcony. “We still like you.” And the rest of the audience roared its accord.

They proved it a few minutes later, when Judy started OVER THE RAINBOW, and stopped after a few bars.  “I can’t sing anymore,” she said lightly, “you’ll have to sing it to me.”  They did.  And when it was finished and Judy stepped to the edge of the stage blowing kisses, they rushed down the aisles in dozens to clutch her hands, to touch her, just as they always do at a Judy Garland concert.

But this time it seemed a mechanical gesture, a ritual demonstration by emotional matrons and doe-eyed young men, awaiting their chance.  There was a moment of hesitation before four middle-aged women hurried down the aisle together.  They wore expressions of concern, as though they were on their way to visit an ailing neighbor and you could almost hear the whisper, “Come on, Sadie, somebody’s got to go.”

Make no mistakes, this was a loving audience that finally wound up on its feet in a standing ovation.  But the applause seemed largely a matter of reassurance, as swelling end of that sympathetic cry from the balcony, “we still like you”… no matter what.

There must have been some genuine delight as well as pure loyalty in the applause, however, for Judy had sung 14 other songs without incident.  Sung them well and easily and happily.  And she never looked better.  Stepping on to the stage to begin the second half of the show in an ankle length, white silk gown, appliquéd in gold with typical box jacket, she looked fine.  Her figure was trim too, when she turned up later in slim white slacks and sweater.

She seemed the Judy of old, with the endearing gestures, the hand on hip or lifted to press her cheek.  And the sweet husky voice was powerful, with the big band pounding behind through all the favorite standards.

Everything was going grand until the awkward breaks and there were no explanations for those.  No mention of cold, or fatigue or nerves.  Just one quip: “I think I lost my voice at the press conference yesterday. One of those newspaper men must have it.”

Everyone chuckled indulgently.

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

February 9, 1969:  Johnny Ray joined Judy on stage at Caesar’s Palace in Luton, England, where he was performing.  Judy had just seen his show at the venue on Tuesday, January 21.

Ray jokingly held up a sweater from the stage that Judy had washed – and it had shrunk to the size of a child’s t-shirt.  Obviously, Judy’s housekeeping skills were not the greatest. I think it’s enough that she was a genius performer. 

While leaving, Judy said she hoped to catch Ray’s act again “later in the week.”

Photos provided by Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!

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

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