“MGM killed her, absolutely. All of us at ‘Girl Crazy’ were on layoff for a month – on full salary – while she was doing retakes on ‘Presenting Lily Mars.’ Two pictures at once. And that wasn’t the only time they did that to her,” – Gil Stratton, supporting actor in “Girl Crazy”
February 20, 1939: The Wizard of Oz was in its final days of principal photography. These set design stills were taken on this date and in the days following.
Photos provided by Robert Welch and Mike Siewert. Thanks, guys!
February 20, 1940: Here is an MGM studio photo of Judy “relaxing” at home, taken on this day.
Also on this day, Judy had her weekly appearance on “The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope” on NBC Radio. No other details are known about the show.
February 20, 1943: For Me And My Gal was held over in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The film was released in 1942 and was a huge hit, being held over in quite a few theaters.
February 20, 1944: Here’s an obvious studio-generated blurb about Judy allegedly working on her second book of poems, and planning on dedicating it to her mother. Judy wrote poetry in the late 1930s and bound and gave the books to friends.
On this day at MGM, filming on Meet Me In St. Louis continued with scenes shot on the “Exterior Slope,” “Trolley Tracks” and “Interior Rose and Esther’s Bedroom” sets. Time called: 10 a.m.; Judy arrived on the set at 10:27 a.m.; dismissed: 5:45 p.m.
February 20, 1945, & February 20, 1946: Someone at “The Boston Globe” liked this 1938 photo of Judy, using it to promote both Meet Me In St. Louis and The Harvey Girls exactly one year apart from each other, even though it was a photo of a very young Judy compared to the more adult Judy in the two films.
February 20, 1945: The Harvey Girls filming consisted of scenes on the “Interior Alhambra” set. Judy and the cast also rehearsed “Hayride” and the “Swing Your Partner Round and Round” numbers. Time called: 10 a.m.; Judy arrived on set at 10:22 a.m.; dismissed: 4:20 p.m.
February 20, 1947: The Pirate filming consisted of scenes on the “Interior Manuela’s Bedroom” set. Time called: 9 a.m.; dismissed: 6:10 p.m.
Later that evening, Judy and her husband Vincente Minnelli were photographed at Don Loper’s latest fashion show. The photos, by Nat Dallinger, were copyrighted by King Features Syndicate and ran in their publications the week ending February 27 and after. However, both Hedda Hopper and Bob Thomas mentioned the fashion show in their columns published as early as February 17 and 18, respectively, so it’s feasible that the show happened before this day, but exactly which date is unclear.
February 20, 1947: More ad art for Till The Clouds Roll By which was a big hit for MGM.
February 20, 1950: The 1949 re-release of The Wizard of Oz, which was the very first re-release of the film, was still in theaters in early 1950.
February 19, 1954: A Star Is Born filming consisted of more retakes on the “Interior Down Beat Club” set (“The Man That Got Away”) as well as shots on the “Exterior Parking Lot” set. Time started: 10 a.m.; finished: 6:15 p.m.
February 20, 1961: Here’s a notice about the upcoming sale of Judy’s home at 144 South Mapleton Drive in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles. This was the home she and her husband Sid Luft (and her family) had lived in since 1952.
Photo: The 1955 Luft family Christmas card featuring the family in front of the home.
February 20, 1965: Judy was photographed at the Manhattan Supreme Court waiting to testify in a suit brought against her by her former TV series producer Gary Smith, for $12,000, in a “breach of contract.” Judy’s company, Kingsrow, countersued for $50,000 charging he “did not supply proper services.” Judy told Justice I.L. Levy, “I didn’t agree with his choice of material,” and revealed that Smith had hired the Smothers Brothers at $7,500 for a second appearance, and Dan Dailey and Betty Grable at $5,000, yet they were not used because they did not fit into the production. Judy won – Smith’s case was thrown out of court.
Shown above is a clipping that reports Judy was to perform a Cole Porter medley at the Oscars, which were broadcast live on April 5, 1965, and during which Judy did, in fact, perform the medley.
February 20, 1966: Judy taped her appearance on the “Kraft Music Hall” for NBC-TV, hosted by Perry Como and guest starring Bill Cosby. The show aired on February 27, 1966.
The show was taped in color, but all that exists is an inferior black & white print.
While Judy was waiting in the wings to go on stage, wearing that gown engulfed in feathers, she folded her hands under her arms, clucked like a chicken, and said if she had to wait any longer she would “lay an egg in this dress!”