“Any kid can grow up normally in Hollywood if she wants to.” – Judy Garland, 1939
February 26, 1927: “The Gumm Family” (Judy, her mother and father, and her two sisters) performed at The Order of the Eastern Star Annual Ball at the Shrine Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.
February 26, 1937: Here are a couple of ads that include showings of the popular and well-known 1936 short Every Sunday.
Reported on this date, as well as on the 25th, was Judy’s participation in a benefit performance helping to raise money for the victims of the Great Ohio and Mississippi River Valley Flood of 1937. There were many different benefits in Los Angeles (as well as around the country). It’s unclear what benefit this burb is referencing due to the number of benefits over several weeks and the fact that this is the only known mention of Judy’s participation. It’s possible that Judy was a part of the big flood benefit show at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre at midnight on February 13th (see ad below), or perhaps the benefit at the Shriners on February 3rd that MGM stars like Mickey Rooney and Clark Gable were a part of. The Gable notice below mentions the recent extortion plot against him, which was the inspiration for the “Dear Mr. Gable” part of Judy’s version of “You Made Me Love You.”
February 26, 1938: Judy’s personal appearance in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was a huge success. The appearance was partly to promote her latest film, Everybody Sing, and to promote Judy herself. She charmed everyone as you can read in the reviews above. She was even made a member of the local “Sekatary Hawkins Club.”
It’s unknown what the program was for Judy’s show, but one notice singled out her rendition of “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” for praise. It’s most likely it was the same arrangement as the version she prerecorded for Love Finds Andy Hardy on June 21, 1938. There’s no doubt that she sang “(Dear Mr. Gable) You Made Me Love You” as well as selections from Everybody Sing.
February 26, 1938: Here is a notice from Louella Parsons that the show “Topsy and Eva” had been purchased by MGM for Judy. The show was a musical version of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that originally starred the popular Duncan Sisters. It was a title that was briefly considered for Judy to co-star with Betty Jaynes in 1938. It was resurrected when Shirley Temple joined the studio in 1941 as a project for Temple and Judy although that might have just been press fodder. MGM never did make a film version of the show.
For more info about the various projects that Judy was considered for, check out The Judy Room’s “Films That Got Away” pages.
February 26, 1939: Three items. First is an article from columnist Alice L. Tildesley about Judy and Deanna Durbin and how they led similar lives “despite all the glamor.” Tildesley posed the question, “Can successful children grow up normally in Hollywood?” Judy’s response, “Any kid can grow up normally in Hollywood if she wants to. And any kid with a grain of sense can look around and see what happens to people with swelled heads.”
The second is a photo of Judy with her St. Bernard, “Mountain Scout.” It appears that the dog was shown in the San Bernadino Kennel Club’s show at the Municipal Auditorium in San Bernadino, California, on this date. It’s possible this is true as it was a Sunday and Judy, having just completed principal photography on The Wizard of Oz and an extensive day of posing for promotional photos, would have had the day off.
The last is a blurb that reports Judy was going to learn skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho, after completion of The Wizard of Oz.
February 21, 1941: Shirley Temple had recently signed with MGM after her tenure at 20th Century-Fox where she became the biggest child star of the movies.
Publicity photos were taken of MGM’s resident teen stars, Judy and Mickey Rooney, showing Temple around the MGM lot, featuring other stars such as Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Marsha Hunt, and director/producer Mervyn LeRoy. It was planned to have Temple co-star with Judy and Mickey in Babes on Broadway but the role, which was a supporting one and beneath her stature and talents, went to Virginia Weilder.
MGM wasn’t the right studio for Temple at this time. The addition of Temple to their roster of players was more a case of the studio acquiring a lucrative asset than anything to do with advancing her career. MGM didn’t know what to do with her. She only made one film for MGM before mutually terminating her contract and temporarily leaving films to concentrate on school.
February 26, 1942: Judy was a talent scout! That is, according to Louella Parsons’s column in which she relates how Judy was able to get Gene Kelly into the movies.
February 26, 1944: Meet Me In St. Louis filming consisted of the now-iconic “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” scenes on the “Interior Children’s Room & Exterior Window of Same” sets. Judy had a call to be on the set at 10 a.m.; she arrived at 10:32 a.m.; dismissed: 6:20 p.m.
February 26, 1947: Here’s a fun ad for Till The Clouds Roll By plus another article about MGM’s new record company, MGM Records, and the label’s first release which was the soundtrack album of the film.
On this day at MGM, Judy had rehearsals for the “Voodoo” number for The Pirate. Time called: 2:00 p.m.; dismissed: 4:25 p.m.
February 26, 1948: Here’s an ad for St. Patrick’s Day offerings from Decca Records. The two Irish-themed singles that Judy recorded for the label on December 18, 1940, were listed. Decca usually advertised Judy’s “Irish” songs each year at this time. Oddly enough, “Wearing of the Green,” which Judy recorded on April 10, 1940, was not listed in this ad probably because there was no other Irish-themed Garland single to pair with it.
Listen to “A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow” here:
Listen to “It’s A Great Day For The Irish” here:
Listen to “Wearing of the Green” here:
February 26, 1950: Judy told columnist Hedda Hopper that when she completed Summer Stock she would take a rest in Boston, Massachusetts. In fact, when she completed the film she went to Carmel, California, for a planned six-month rest but was called back to the studio after just under three weeks to replace a pregnant June Allyson in Royal Wedding.
It’s amusing to read that Judy stated, “Nothing – or no one – will keep [Liza] from being an actress.” She sure was right!
February 26, 1958: Judy and husband Sid Luft’s on again off again marriage was in “off” mode for the third time.
February 26, 1962: The Academy Award nominations for 1961 were announced. Judy was nominated as “Best Supporting Actress” for her role as Irene Hoffman in Judgment at Nuremberg. Judy lost to Rita Moreno’s performance in West Side Story.
Also on this day, and due to the success of the recent special with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, the trades reported that CBS had signed Judy for two more TV specials, with Ethel Merman and Dean Martin as her guests for the first. Judy did one more special, in early 1963 with Phil Silvers and Robert Goulet as her guests. Merman would later appear on Judy’s TV series.
February 26, 1962: The reviews were in for Judy’s TV special with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, which premiered the night before (February 25, 1962). Particularly amusing is Dick Du Brow’s article about “Judy Garland’s Screaming Cultists.” Apparently, some things never change!
February 26, 1962: Here is a nice letter that Judy wrote to a fan, mailed on February 27th.