“Her quiet performance is all the more effective for the fact that her well-known, well-loved mannerisms are kept in check. She has seldom been better.” – “The London Times” review of “A Child Is Waiting,” 1962
February 17, 1938: Judy “appeared” on the NBC Radio show “Good News of 1938” and sang “Down On Melody Farm” from her current film, Everybody Sing.
It’s most likely that Judy’s performance was actually a recording from the soundtrack that was used rather than a live performance (this was not uncommon) as she was in New York at Loew’s State appearing between showings of Everybody Sing when this show was broadcast.
February 17, 1938: The first of a six-part daily series of panel stories promoting Everybody Sing was published. These panel stories were popular at the time and MGM put out its fair share. Included here are all of the panels which ran over seven days (Sunday was skipped).
February 17, 1940: Judy participated in the Finnish Relief Fund Benefit at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. She was one of many stars who were lucky enough to perform with the MGM Symphony Orchestra. That must have been fantastic. No information is known about what Judy sang, and no recording of the event is known to exist.
February 17, 1942: Judy was hired as an author for “Cosmopolitan Magazine”! Obviously, this was more studio fiction but amusing nonetheless.
February 17, 1944: More filming on the “Exterior Smith Home” set on MGM’s Lot #3 for Meet Me In St. Louis.
The “St. Louis Street” had been specifically built for the film and although the studio resisted the expense of the construction, it turned out to be one of the most versatile standing outdoor sets on the lot, popping up in many films and later TV shows, most famously The Unsinkable Molly Brown and episodes of “The Twilight Zone” series. The street also made an appearance in Judy’s 1949 hit In The Good Old Summertime.
Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland on the MGM Backlot” section for more details about MGM’s amazing backlots.
It’s also noted that on this day some filming was done on the “Interior Living Room Hall/Stairs” set. Time called: 11:30 a.m.; dismissed: 6:15 p.m.
Photos: Studio rendering of the Smith home; scene and set photo of the “Interior Living Room Hall/Stairs” set; a scene from the film.
February 17, 1945: Pre-recording sessions for The Harvey Girls included: “In The Valley” (deleted reprise version); and “March of the Doagies.” Time called: 1 p.m.; dismissed: 4:17 p.m. These songs were cut from the film but the audio and some of the film footage have survived.
Listen to “March of the Doagies – Take 4” here:
Listen to the remastered version of “March of the Doagies” here:
Listen to “March of the Doagies” (reprise) – Take 5 here:
Listen to “In The Valley” (reprise) Take 1 here:
(which is identified as Scene No. 2020, the same as Judy’s solo version pre-recorded on February 16, 1945)
Included above is an ad placed on this day by MGM in the trade magazine “Showmen’s Trade Review” promoting the success of Meet Me In St. Louis.
February 17, 1947: The first day of filming for The Pirate consisted of scenes shot on the “Interior Manuela’s Patio” set. Time called: 9 a.m.; Judy arrived at 9:14 a.m.; dismissed: 6 p.m.
February 17, 1951: This photo was published showing Judy with Groucho Marx and Senator Dudley J. LeBlanc from January 12, 1951, the special radio program “Hollywood Party” (also known as the “Hollywood Testimonial Dinner”) paying tribute to the Senator.
Judy performed “Stars and Stripes Forever”; “How Deep Is The Ocean?”; “You’re Just In Love” (with Vic Damone), and she engaged in a comedy skit with Groucho Marx.
February 17, 1952: Here is an unflattering review of the Decca Records’ new Judy Garland album, “Judy At The Palace.” The title is misleading. The album is a compilation of singles Judy recorded for the label in the 1930s and 1940s and not recordings from her recent Palace engagement. Decca was taking advantage of Judy’s recent astounding success at the Palace in what was the label’s fourth Garland compilation album and the first in the long-playing format. The record critic, Louis A. Renzulli, didn’t care for the album nor was he a Garland fan, saying that he “still thinks [Judy] neighs like a horse” and that “(Dear Mr. Gable) You Made Me Love You” was “awful.” He also recognized that Decca was blatantly taking advantage of Judy’s comeback. This guy was in the minority. Even those who didn’t care for Judy’s singing, in general, recognized her one-of-a-kind talent. Renzulli appears to have been tone-deaf.
February 17, 1952: Here’s an article about the young costume designer Elgee Bove, who designed some of the costumes for Judy’s Palace show and her upcoming shows on the U.S. West Coast.
February 17, 1959: Judy opened at The Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami, Florida. This was Judy’s Miami cabaret debut and she was a sellout, filling up the capacity crowd of 800. Also on the bill was the puppeteer Sid Krofft, who would later go on to great success with his brother Marty, as “Sid and Marty Krofft” and such TV successes as “H.R. Pufnstuf” and “Land of the Lost.”
February 17, 1963: Judy and her husband Sid Luft left Lake Tahoe for Las Vegas. Judy had canceled the rest of her recent engagement at Harrah’s due to having a bad case of the flu. She was well enough by this point to leave.
In theaters at this time was A Child Is Waiting. The sensitive film co-starring Judy and Burt Lancaster was getting good reviews and although it wasn’t a big blockbuster it did respectable business.
February 17, 1963: Judy and her husband Sid Luft went to Las Vegas for a few days. They were photographed on this day having a midnight supper at the Dunes Hotel. Judy had recently been in concert at the Harrah’s South Lake Tahoe Casino when, on February 13, she collapsed just before going on stage. She was taken by ambulance to Carson City suffering from exhaustion. She left the hospital that afternoon and was able to have a “quiet Valentine’s Day party” with her children.
On February 15, the management of the casino let Judy out of her contract for the remaining time of the run due to her exhaustion. Mickey Rooney came in to replace her for the rest of the engagement.
February 17, 1965: The Palace Hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland, announced that it had canceled plans to have Judy perform there as part of their annual gala on February 27th.
February 17, 1969: Judy’s legendary humor was on display in Bennett Cerf’s column when he wrote about a recent party during which Judy told stories about her vaudeville years.