On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – March 5

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“Youthful Judy Garland who crashed the portals to film stardom last year steals the show in MGM’s ‘Everybody Sing’ … She is able to do this moving along in fast company … We hand the laurels to little Garland” – Robert G. Tucker, “The Indianapolis Star” review, 1938 





March 5, 1934:  The first of a three-night engagement for “The Gumm Sisters” (Judy and her sisters) at the Liberty Theater in Lewiston, Idaho.  They were billed as “Radio’s Sweethearts.”  This was the end of the family’s tour of the West Coast although on the way home they stopped and played a couple of engagements in San Francisco, California.



March 5, 1936:  Judy is mentioned in Louella Parsons’s column about a recent MGM party.  Parsons noted that one of the highlights was Judy who was “called back again and again.”  At this point, Judy had only been at the studio for less than six months and had yet to make a film.  The studio kept her occupied, if not terribly busy, with various parties and appearances in some nightclubs (even though she was only 13 years old!) and with her vocal lessons with mentor Roger Edens.

Photo above right:  From Judy’s very first studio portrait session, November 6, 1935.  The studio tried to make her seem even more precocious than she was by claiming she was 12 years old.



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March 5, 1937:  The first noted day of Judy’s first work on her first MGM feature, Broadway Melody of 1938.  Judy pre-recorded “Everybody Sing” with Sophie Tucker, Barnett Parker, J.D. Jewkes, and the MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus.  The Daily Music Report sheets that I have for the film are missing this day’s recording session.

Listen to Part 1, Take 6 here:

Listen to Part 1, Take 7 here:

Listen to Part 1, Take 8 here:

Listen to Part 2, Take 4 here:

Listen to Part 2, Take 6 here:

Listen to the edited version as heard in the film here (remastered):



March 5, 1938:  Judy was still in Columbus, Ohio, for her personal appearance promoting Everybody Sing.

Newspapers reported on a fender-bender that Judy was involved in while on the way to Loew’s Ohio Theater.  Luckily no one was injured and Judy was, of course, able to fulfill her performance obligations.

Also printed on this day (as well as in other papers at this time) was an article about how Judy planned to create a publishing house for “juveniles only, ranging up to 18 years.”  This is more fantasy created by the MGM Publicity Department!

Meanwhile, the Chicago Theater in Chicago, Illinois, began advertising Judy’s upcoming appearance there beginning Friday, March 11.



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March 5, 1940:  Judy’s weekly appearance on “The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope” broadcast on NBC Radio.  No records of what Judy sang and no recordings of the show are known to exist.

Photo:  Clipping from this day noting the recent Oscar winners. In most of the Oscar notices, Judy’s image was featured with the other big winners even though she didn’t win a competitive Oscar.



March 5, 1943 - Finale Routine

March 5, 1943:  MGM recording session for Presenting Lily Mars.  Judy (along with Judy Carol, Ralph Blane, Six Hits and a Miss, Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra, and the MGM Studio Orchestra & Chorus) pre-recorded the rest of the lengthy ten-minute medley that would be edited before the release of the film.  The “Broadway Rhythm” number that ends the sequence was pre-recorded the day before.

This medley replaced the previously recorded and filmed (the footage is lost) “Paging Mr. Greenback” which was deemed as not a fitting showcase to show the character of “Lily Mars” in her star turn.

Listen to Part 1, Take 3, of the Finale here:

Listen to Part 2, Take 3, of the Finale here:

Listen to Part 3, Take 9, of the Finale here:

Listen to Part 4, Take 5, of the Finale here:

Listen to Part 5, Take 17, of the Finale here:

Listen to the complete edited version of the Finale here:

Check out The Judy Room’s Extensive Spotlight on Presenting Lily Mars here.



March 5, 1944:  Judy recorded, and appeared in the corresponding film, of the “Command Performance #92” radio show, hosted by Bob Hope.

This is the only known film record of a young Judy Garland singing “Over the Rainbow” (outside of the film version, of course).  The smile on her face at the end when she realizes she nailed it is pure magic.

The “Command Performance” radio shows were recorded and then sent overseas (on discs) to play on American radio (AFRS – Armed Forces Radio Network) for the troops during WWII.  This particular show was filmed and also sent overseas.  Bob’s other guests included Lana Turner, Hedy Lamarr, and Betty Hutton.

Also on this day, Judy recorded three other “Command Performance” radio shows (audio only), with Bing Crosby & Bob Hope.  CP (Command Performance) #81, CP #91, & CP #106.

Listen to “The Man I Love” from CP 106 here:

Listen to “Embraceable You” from CP 106 here:



March 5, 1944:  “Saga of a Song”

This article appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  No author is credited probably because this is about 90% fabrication courtesy of the ever-reliable MGM publicity department!

“Judy Garland Came, Caroled, Conquered”

JUDY GARLAND is a very persistent young lady.  She always has been, and this train brought about one of the most important turning points in her life.

It happened when Judy was 12. She and her mother, then Mrs. Ethel Gumm (Judy’s family name), were vacationing in Tahoe.  Around the campfire one evening Judy sang for the other guests.  A talent scout was among them who suggested that Judy try for pictures.

It was only a suggestion, but the next morning Judy and her mother were on their way home, full of excitement, vacation forgotten.

Somehow, Judy managed to squirm inside the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio gates.  To this day she doesn’t know how she did it.  But when the casting office noticed the 12-year-old mite the verdict was quick: “No babies today.”

They didn’t know persistent Judy.  She had come there to sing, and sing she did.  Perched on the desk of one of the clerks, Judy began her repertoire and kept right on.

Finally the casting director, either in desperation or because he was enchanted, passed her on to another office.  All afternoon she kept singing, moving along from office to office until finally, she was before Louis B. Mayer.  A contract was signed for her before she left the studio, and a chapter of screen history began.

Judy had made many public appearances before with her two older sisters, Suzanne and Virginia, billed as “The Gumm Sisters.”

HER “FIRST TIME ON ANY STAGE” WAS AT THE AGE OF THREE IN THE DOWN OF HER BIRTH, GRAND RAPIDS, MINN.

Judy’s father, Fred [sic] A. Gumm, had retired temporarily from the vaudeville stage and was managing a theater there.  As a Christmas attraction, a program of amateur theatricals was presented.  Judy’s sisters sang “Jing Bells,” and the three-year-old Judy wanted, more than anything, to go out on the stage and sing with them.

But she had been told to stay quietly in the dressing room.

Little Judy wasn’t daunted for a minute.  Just as Sue and Jinny [sic] walked off the stage, she walked on and sang “Jingle Bells” as a solo.  The applause was wonderful. Judy loved it, so she began again.

She sang “Jingle Bells’ seven more times before her father, rushing frantically from the box office, carried her, squalling loudly, from the stage.

Soon after Judy’s third birthday, her parents decided that California would be a more suitable place to raise three active and talented girls.  They decided to revive their vaudeville turn and make one night stands along the way.

It was a memorable tour, at least tot he impressionable Judy.

When Father and Mother were on stage, the three daughters sat in the audience and led the applause.  That, says Judy, is when she first learned one of the practical lessons of the theater: IT TAKES ONLY ONE FRIEND TO START THE APPLAUSE ROLLING.

Because she was the smallest, Judy stood between Sue and Jinny [sic].  When things got too dull for her active young mind, Judy would tickle or pinch one of her sisters.  Sometimes they all began to laugh so hard they had to run off stage before their number was really finished.

Judy also likes to remember how her father introduced her mother to the audiences.  Her mother was noted for her tiny hands.  After Daddy did a dance routine, he stopped toward the footlights, held up his hands for silence, and offered to introduce “a tiny pretty lady, with pretty tiny hands.”

“I know it sounds corny now,” she admits, “but it always Brough a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. Still does.”

Arriving in California the family settled in the Los Angeles suburb of Lancaster and resumed a normal existence.  Dad managed a theater, Sue and Jinny [sic] were enrolled in public school, but Judy was still too young.  Then that old feeling of showmanship cropped up again, and again it changed Judy’s life.

One day she found the boy next door in tears.  He was her “ideal” – almost grown up, too – nine, going on ten, and she was only five.  But when she discovered he had been deprived of his weekly 25 cent allowance she offered to sing for him.  That didn’t cheer him up at all.

So, the practical Judy decided, if she sang and let him invite the neighborhood youngsters to pay to hear her, that might solve the problem.  It did.  The boy next door not only collected his 25 cents but 10 cents more.

“THEN HE SPENT IT ALL ON A LITTLE GIRL WITH YELLOW CURLS,” JUDY SIGHS.

But Judy got her reward.  When her parents discovered that she was going to give concerts, even if they had to be free, they decided she might as well have dramatic training.

School plays followed for Judy, then professional work with the Meglin Kiddies in some of their reviews, and finally to climax it all, a chance to appear in a Los Angeles theater.

Gus Edwards was in the audience, and after the performance, he came backstage to congratulate the moppet.  When he saw her two pretty sisters and heard that they had once formed a trio, he urged them to resume.  That was all the encouragement they needed.

They were in great demand, too – for benefits!  One legitimate bid did come – the Biltmore theater, with a private dressing room and maid service.  Judy’s mother bought new dresses, at $10 each; all their friends came, Dad sat in the first row, and they got a lot of applause.

BUT WHEN THEY OPENED THE PAY ENVELOPES THERE WAS 50 CENTS IN EACH.

That was enough career, their father said. So the three girls went back to school. But wait – a theater manager in Chicago had heard of them, somehow, and offered not only an engagement but their names n electric lights!

That, of course, was too much to resist, even over Dad’s opposition. So the three sisters, and their mother headed east.  They arrived at the Oriental theater an hour and a half early just to feast their eyes on that electric sign.

It was there, all right, but it read “The GLUM Sisters.”

But on the bill that night was a man named George Jessel.  He tried to comfort the forlorn quartet, as any real trouper would.  He took little Judy on his knee, dried her tears and told her she was pretty as a “garland of lowers.”  Then he paused – Hmmm – In New York.  There was a drama critic named Garland – Robert Garland.

“Why don’t you change your name to Garland?”  He suggested.

They did, then and there.  Little Frances Gumm decided, also then and there, that if there was going to be a name changing she’d do a complete job.

She thought Judy was a pretty name and, and that’s when and how “Judy Garland” was born.

When the engagement at the Oriental was ended Chicago seems to lose interest in the Garland Sisters.  Because their father had opposed the trip to Chicago they refused to write home for money to return.  Just in the nick of time can an offer to appear at the Chicago Worl’s Fair.

That was just dandy until the concession closed and their salary was withheld.

Eventually, another engagement came, and with it enough money to get home to California. But the buffeting wasn’t over.  While waiting for the train west, someone made off with their luggage.  It didn’t matter.  They were traveling by day coach and had no use for sleeping garments.

California looked pretty good to the prodigals.  It was back to school for the Garland Sisters, with occasional engagements on weekends.  Then, finally, the act really did real up.  Both Sue and Jinny [sic] fell in love and were married.  And Judy turned all of her attention to school.

THAT’S WHERE SHE WAS WHEN SHE WENT TO TAHOE WITH HER MOTHER ON THAT VACATION THAT BECAME SO IMPORTANT, AFTER ALL.

But even though she has grown up by now, Judy hasn’t changed much from the persistent little imp that took over the stage in Grand Rapids, Minn., when she was three.  And if she makes up her mind to sing for you, don’t try to stop her.

Well, who would?



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March 5, 1944:  “Hollywood Off Guard” featured this photo of Judy (barely recognizable) getting a kiss from Paul Henreid.  There’s no indication as to where the photo was taken but the page of photos purported to show pictures of stars in their favorite nightspots, so it’s anyone’s guess at what nightspot this photo was taken.



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March 5, 1944:  Columnist Harold Heffernan noted MGM’s upcoming production of Ziegfeld Follies and its revue format and that Judy would be a part of the film, “so there’ll be at least a few flashes of those whooper-uppers in action.”



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March 5, 1945:  Filming continued on The Harvey Girls on the ‘Interior Alhambra” set.  Time called: 10:00 a.m.; Judy arrived at 11:09 a.m.; dismissed: 5:50 p.m.

Photo:  Cast publicity photo with Preston Foster, Angela Lansbury, Judy, and John Hodiak.  Photo provided by Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!

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



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March 5, 1952:  Judy and Sid’s upcoming arrival (March 6, 1952) in West Palm Beach, Florida, was covered by the “Palm Beach Post.”   As noted, the trip was Judy’s time to relax after her record-breaking engagement/comeback at The Palace Theater in New York.



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March 5, 1954:  Judy was scheduled for more rehearsing of the “Lose That Long Face” for A Star Is Born.  The assistant director’s notes state that Judy was “taking off to rest” and this call sheet for this day shows the day’s planned activities as being canceled.

Image provided by Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!

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



1955-3-5-Picturegoer-UK

March 5, 1955:  “Picturegoer” magazine in England featured this two-page spread.

Scan provided by Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!

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



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March 5, 1962:  The Golden Globes awarded Judy the Cecil B. DeMille Award “for outstanding contributions to entertainment throughout the world.”

Listen to, and download, audio of Judy’s acceptance speech here:

As of this date, Judy Garland is still the youngest recipient of this award.

Photos:  Judy at the Globes with Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh, Henry Wilcoxon, Maximilian Schell, and Sid Luft.



March 5, 1963:  Judy finally arrived in London, England by train from Manchester.  She was due to arrive in London by plane on March 4th but the plane was diverted to Manchester due to weather issues, where Judy spent the night.  After arriving in London, Judy had a press conference for two hours related to the upcoming world premiere of I Could Go On Singing at the Savoy Hotel, where she stayed during this trip.

Below is a gallery of photos from the press conference.  Judy was joined by her young co-star in the film, Gregory Phillips.  Photos provided by Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!

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March-5,-1964---Court

March 4, 1964:  Judy appeared in court at the Santa Monica courthouse for against Sid Luft for a custody hearing for daughter Lorna and son Joe.  The photo above was taken of Judy at the courthouse.



March 5, 1967:  Judy appeared as the “mystery guest” on the popular “What’s My Line?” TV show.  She’s absolutely charming as the panel of stars tries to figure out who she is.

The show was hosted by John Daly.  The panel was comprised of Arlene Francis, Tony Randall, Sue Oakland, and Bennett Cerf.



March 5, 1967:  Don’t mess with Judy’s fans!  By this point in 1967, the “Garland Cult” was well known not only for their ardent support of Judy but also for their actions.  Imagine if they had social media back then?  Yikes!

Emotional instability is a popularity builder, too, as witness the fervid admiration aroused by that disaster-prone singer, Judy Garland.  Woe betide the critic who pans one of her records or a music hall performance by the quavery-voiced Miss Garland.  The postman staggers to the critic’s door under a load of vilification.  Writers invariable call their heroine “Judy.”  Their outrage is personal. 





7 comments

  1. Is there any known interview with Gregory Phillips on his experiences with Judy on I Could Go on Singing?

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  2. I’ve never heard or read any, but I would think someone has talked to him at some point. I don’t know of any interviews though. 😦

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  3. I especially enjoyed this entry, Scott. Those 1962 pics of Judy are spectacular, cigarette and all. And JG bussing MM! MAGIC!!!

    What a life she led!

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  4. I love seeing the young Judy singing Over the Rainbow. The orchestration in the movie though, brings out the quality of her voice on Over the Rainbow much better. Thank God for Roger Eden who was I believe the one who was her influence when she sang in the movie.

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  5. This is probably my second favorite version of the song. The movie version is in a class of its own. Absolute perfection! Edens was definitely involved in all aspects of her singing at that point and was usually on the recording stage when they pre-recording her songs. In some of the session recordings, you can hear him giving guidance from the background.

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  6. I agree. Her Over the Rainbow in the Wizard of Oz was perfection and definitely in a class by itself. Even Aretha Franklin commented on Judy Garland’s talent and said “Judy was in a class by herself ” when she was interviewed for the 32 records box-set of Judy! So true.

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