“Sing Judy! Dance Judy! The World Is Waiting For Your Sunshine!” – “A Star Is Born” ad tagline, 1955
March 3, 1938: Judy was still in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, giving 5 to 6 shows a day at the Stanley Theater between showings of the Frank Morgan film Paradise For Three. These clippings document Judy’s lunch date the previous day and her modeling a fur coat that she apparently purchased from the Jerome Wolk & Brother fur salon.
March 3, 1940: “The First Sixteen Years” by Judy Garland (Part One of four).
What’s In A Name? ‘Plenty of Heartaches, Particularly If Your Name Is Misspelled On a Marquee,’ Says Judy Garland Whose Own Story of Her Life Begins in This Issue
At last it’s here! Judy Garland has been persuaded to writer her life story for Parade. Due to the numerous requests of Hartford Courant Parade of Youth readers, Judy has consented to furnish them with the story of her life. Following the series of articles written by Deanna Durbin, Parade was swamped with letters from readers who, recalling Judy’s visit to Hartford last summer when she acted as editor of Parade of Youth with Mickey Rooney, wanted to know why we couldn’t run a similar series of Miss Garland. Parade contacted the North American Newspaper Alliance and for the past seven weeks they have been communicating with Hollywood and Judy. The following is the first is a series of four articles written by former honorary editor, Parader Judy Garland.
By JUDY GARLAND
Hollywood, March 2: I wish it could have been snowing the day I was born, but then I don’t know why I should worry about that now because the sun was playing hot on the morning of June 10, in Grand Rapids, Minn., when I first said “hello” to this world. I was really born in Grand Rapids, even if I did write Murfreesboro, Tenn., on my biography when I first went into movies. Hollywood meant clamor to me then and I thought Murfreesboro had an “oomph” sound. In just about three weeks, though, I confessed that Grand Rapids was my real birthplace.
Even though I lived there only until I was three, we did have fun. “We,” was mother, dad, my two sisters Suzanne and Jimmy. Jimmy’s name is really Virginia, but no one ever called her anything but Jimmy. For that matter, my name is really Frances Gumm, but no one ever called me Frances. I was “Baby” until we played on the same bill with George Jessel.
We were in Chicago, with our names on the marquee for the first time. We were so thrilled we went to the theater two hours before our opening time. Do you know what we saw on that marquee? “The Glum Sisters.”
I’ll never forget how heartbroken we were. But Mr. Jessel, hiding a smile, suggested we changed our name so such a horrible mistake wouldn’t happen again. He christened us Garland, after a New York drama critic, Robert Garland. Judy was my own idea. But, I’m getting ahead of my story.
Let me see – I was born in Grand Rapids and lived there until I was three. I also made my first theatrical appearance there. Dad owned the New Grand Theater and when Sue, Jimmy and I were good we were allowed to go through the stage entrance and talk to the performers. Our worst punishment was to be deprived of this privilege.
Mother and Dad had a vaudeville act and soon Sue and Jimmy did, too. They never appeared with Mom and Dad because our family didn’t believe in taking chances. That is, when Mom and Dad were on the stage my sisters would sit out front and lead the applause. You know, it just takes someone person to start an audience to clapping. Then, Mom and Dad would return the compliment by applauding enthusiastically when the girls sang.
That was my first practical business training in theater technique. But my debut came on my third birthday. It was amateur night and I wanted to sing “Jingle Bells.” Finally, all agreed I could go on the stage. Sue and Jimmy pinned sprigs of holly on my new white dress, and everything was fine.
The chorus ended as far as the orchestra was concerned, but not for me. I started the song over again. Again it ended. Again I started it over. After five verses and two choruses, Dad had to march out on the stage, pick me up and literally carry me off. I never heard the end of that, for Sue and Jimmy said if he hadn’t done that I would have got “the hook.” I don’t know, the audience certainly laughed, and everyone likes to laugh. At least I do.
That was my first and last appearance at the New Grand Theater. Shortly after that incident, we moved to California.
During our trip Wes, (we drove), the family appeared in several shows along the way – always in the two acts. We also stopped at Duluth to visit my Uncle John Milne and his family. Although I was only three then, I’ll never forget that visit. Uncle John has 14 children and did we have fun! They have a big rambling house, gardens and six dogs and dozens of cats.
We still correspond and they save all my clippings for me, while I, in turn, save all my stamps from foreign mail for them. To tell the truth, I never can remember which one of the fourteen is saving stamps, but I do know one of them does.
We finally arrived in California and the girls enrolled in public school in Lancaster, where we settled, and for the moment at least, forgot about professional careers.
We liked the west from the very beginning – especially I, because I developed quite a curs on the boy next door who was just ten.
I’ll always give him credit for starting me to dramatic school. One day, I caught him crying. It seemed he had lost his 25 cent allowance for the week.
“I’ll sing for you,” I said.
But that didn’t console him.
“But I’ll sing and you can get the other neighborhood kids to come and pay a penny to listen,” I insisted.
Apparently mentioning money did the trick, for he consented. I suppose I sang “Jingle Bells” again, but anyway we made 13 cents – and my hero walked off and bought another girl an ice cream cone with the money!
When the folks heard about that episode they decided if I insisted on giving concerts in public, I should have some dramatic and singing lessons. So I enrolled in a new school which specialized in stage training for children.
This was in Lancaster, and after six months (I was then almost five) a group of us were chosen for a prologue at a Los Angeles theater. This was quite an event, for I was to be Cupid and sing a solo, “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby.” The preparation and celebration at home is never to be forgotten.
Continued next week…
March 3, 1940: Judy was still being promoted as the epitome of teen fashion.
March 3, 1940: An apparently studio-written blurb about Judy buying her first fur coat was published in various papers around the country. At the same time, it was noted that Judy wore red fur to the recent premiere of The Grapes of Wrath (no photos exist). She had also purchased a different fur with a leopard print while in Pittsburgh. The premiere fur, perhaps this one in the photo, was most likely a studio-loaned fur which was standard practice at the time.
What’s interesting is how adept the studio was at feeding short news blurbs to the syndicates that detailed her fictional teen activities.
March 3, 1944: More Meet Me In St. Louis work, including rehearsals for the “Dinner Sequence”; “Halloween Sequence” and “Xmas Card Game.” The latter did not appear in the final film and it’s unknown if it was even filmed after these rehearsals. Time called: 11 a.m.; arrived: 11:40 a.m.; dismissed: 3:15 p.m.
March 3, 1945: This 4-page ad appeared in the “Showmen’s Trade Review” promoting Meet Me In St. Louis
March 3, 1947: After a couple of days off (and not from being ill), Judy returned to MGM and more vocal rehearsals for the “Voodoo” number in The Pirate. Time called: 2:00 p.m.; dismissed: 4:50 p.m.
Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
March 3, 1954: A Star Is Born filming continued with rehearsals for “Lose That Long Face” but without Judy. Per the assistant director’s notes: “Miss Garland ill – Unable to report today for rehearsal – Gloria Se Werd (Dance-in) going to Miss Garland’s home to rehearse – 8:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.”
It’s sad that though Judy was ill, the studio still sent a person to her home to get more work out of her. That wouldn’t happen in today’s world!
March 3, 1955: The UK premiere of A Star Is Born took place at the Warner Theatre on Leicester Square, London, England. The event benefitting the Actors Orphanage and the Variety Heart Fund For Underprivileged Children.
Photo: Premiere ticket and program cover; photo of a billboard advertising the film; two pages from the advertising campaign book.
March 3, 1960: Walter Winchell’s column featured this fun caricature of Judy.
March 3, 1962: In the “Record Roundup” by Robert Kauth makes note of MGM Records’ latest Garland compilation “The Judy Garland Story Vol 2 – The Hollywood Years!”
This LP release was the first time MGM Records released some of Garland’s pre-soundtrack album performances (i.e., pre-MGM Records soundtracks which began in 1947), taken directly from the soundtracks of the films rather than the pre-recording sessions, with the notable exceptions of “You Can’t Get A Man With A Gun” and “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen.”
What is interesting is that they chose two more outtakes, including the premier release of one of Judy’s 1949 prerecording of “You Can’t Get A Man With A Gun” that she made for Annie Get Your Gun (1950).
The liner notes are again written by Robert Kotlowitz, Senior Editor, “Show.” He mistakenly notes Judy’s performance of “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” as being in the film Love Finds Andy Hardy and not the outtake that it really is.
The packaging is the same as the first volume, in the “gate-fold” style, with another nice collage of photos. The cover photo is again of Judy post-MGM, obviously, MGM Records was capitalizing on Judy’s career renaissance of the early 1960s by trying to appeal to the public’s then-current image of her.
March 3, 1963: This article appeared in “This Week Magazine” promoting Judy’s return to musicals, I Could Go On Singing.
Scan provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
March 3, 1964: Columnist Mike Connolly reported that although Judy’s TV series, “The Judy Garland Show,” was not being renewed for a second season, Capitol Records was going to release an album of songs from the soundtrack of the show, featuring Vic Damone. Damone had recently appeared as a guest star on the show and sang a “West Side Story” medley with Judy. Connolly reported that Damone was set for a return to the show because the proposed album was short by 8 minutes.
That Garland/Damone album didn’t happen but Capitol did release an album of songs from the show, without Damone, in 1964. Titled “Just for Openers” it was the first and only official LP release of songs from the series.
March 3, 1967: Judy attended Liza’s wedding to Peter Allen in New York, escorted by ex-husband (and Liza’s dad) Vincente Minnelli. The ceremony was held at Stevie and Richard Friedberg’s apartment (Stevie was Liza’s manager). Afterward, a reception was held at Liza’s business manager’s apartment, Marty Bregman. Other guests included: Yul Brynner, Tony Bennett, Elizabeth Ashley, Diahann Carroll, Gwen Verdon, and Bob Fosse, Phil Silvers, Jule Styne, John Kander, and both Freddie Fields and David Begelman.
Note: The first photo is a snapshot of Liza and Peter on a separate date.