“Judy has never lacked for an audience because … she’s still the greatest singer of them all.” Leonard Lyons, 1963
March 7, 1925: “The Gumm Sisters” (3-year-old Judy and her two sisters) performed at a private birthday party for Laverne Mueller, at the Mueller home in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, which is Judy’s birthplace.
March 7, 1930: Frances (Judy) played the lead in the Lancaster Grammar School Operetta/School Play’s version of “Goldilocks.” Sister Virginia played “The Wood God,” at the Lancaster Grammar School, Lancaster, California, which was the family’s new hometown.
March 7, 1935: “The Garland Sisters” appeared at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles, California. This engagement resulted in the only known on-stage photograph of the sisters in performance and the only known photo of the sisters on a marquee as “The Garland Sisters.”
The girls were earning $110 per week at this point which was a huge amount considering it was the middle of the Depression.
The film playing was the musical All The King’s Horses. Oddly enough, the theater’s newspaper ads did not promote The Garland Sisters although they did promote the “Sirens of the Sea” as “Girls Actually Floating in a Fish Bowl” !!!
The sisters received their fifth notice from “Variety”:
Garland Sisters, three femmes, one of whom, Frances, is still a child and about 80% of the combination, are excellent harmonists, but it remained for the youngster to tie things up in a knot. Girl looks like a bet for pictures and should make rapid headway. However, she should be coached more proficiently in her foreign tongue songs, particularly the German, as her pronunciation is none too accurate. Otherwise, the kid is tops and deserved everything she drew today.
“Variety” was right, Judy was definitely a “sure bet” for pictures!
March 7, 1938: Spencer Tracy as the “Tin Man?” Edwin Schallert thought that he would have been a good choice.
March 7, 1939: Judy appeared on NBC Radio’s “The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope” and sang “It Had To Be You” and “FDR Jones.” Also on the show: Skinny Ennis and His Orchestra, Patsy Kelly, and Jerry Colonna
Listen to Judy’s segment here:
March 7, 1939: Here’s a good laugh. Although principal filming on The Wizard of Oz had recently been completed, this article noted that Judy had begun rehearsals with a “professional stage magician” for the scenes where she’s picked up by the Flying Monkeys, using an illusion technique similar to one practiced by Harry Houdini!
March 7, 1940: Here’s a nice notice about Barbara Koshay, Judy’s stunt double/stand-in, most notably on The Wizard of Oz. Koshay was in Miami as part of the “Cavalcade of Thrills” at the West Flagler speedway. I bet it was quite the show!
March 7, 1943: Judy joined the ranks of the glamour girls.
March 7, 1943: Here’s a fun double feature, 1933’s King Kong and The Wizard of Oz. Actually, they’re not as mismatched as one might think. King Kong is, like Oz, a brilliant masterpiece in the film fantasy genre, although obviously not a musical and firmly rooted in the movie monster genre.
The actual re-release of The Wizard of Oz was still several years away, but it wasn’t uncommon (as today) for theaters to rent films for special showings/occasions.
March 7, 1944: Filming on Meet Me In St. Louis continued on the “Exterior Smith Home and Street” set which was the new “St. Louis Street” built on MGM’s Backlot #3 specifically for the film. The permanent standing set was initially seen by many at the studio as a waste of money but it ended up being one of the most used sets on the backlot. Time called: 10:00 a.m.; Judy arrived at 10:20 a.m.; dismissed at 4:00 p.m.
The images above are from the “Garlands For Judy” special issue, “Judy on the Backlot” which can be downloaded here.
March 7, 1945: Judy used Max Factor, according to this ad. The ad is from 1945 but the photo is from 1941.
On this day at MGM, The Harvey Girls’ assistant director’s notes state that Judy had a call for 12:30 p.m. and that there was a “Publicity Luncheon” at the studio that Judy took part it.
March 7, 1947: The newly formed MGM Records label was promoting the release of the very first MGM Records album, the soundtrack to Till The Clouds Roll By. In today’s parlance, the album “dropped” on Tuesday, March 11, 1947.
Record critics welcomed the new label and the “Clouds” set was given good reviews. MGM was off and running with a new revenue stream while also creating a new market, the original soundtrack album. MGM Records released soundtracks to just about all of their musicals, and a few dramatic films, in the next 20+ years. All of Judy’s MGM musicals from 1946 through the end of her tenure with the studio in 1950 had MGM Records soundtracks created to complement them.
Originally the soundtracks were four 78 rpm discs with two sides each meaning only eight songs from the films could be included. This means that there was a lot of editing of the musical numbers to fit the short time constraints of the 78s and also some cherry-picking of the “best” numbers from films with more than eight numbers, as most of them were. It wouldn’t be until the long-playing records were developed that MGM began to include more songs from their recent musicals, such as Kiss Me Kate (1953) which was one of the first in the long-playing format.
Oddly enough, MGM Records never released updated and expanded versions of their originally-78rpm-albums in the LP era. They were content to re-release the existing soundtracks, over and over again. In the late 1980s and early 1990s CBS Special Products (later Sony Music Entertainment Inc./Sony Music Special Products), released expanded soundtracks that were taken directly from the actual film soundtracks and not the pre-recording sessions.
Finally, in the mid-1990s, Rhino Records, working with Turner Entertainment, began to release expanded “complete” soundtracks to MGM musicals utilizing the surviving pre-recordings as their main source of content.
Recent technology in audio restoration software has resulted in the revisiting of some of these pre-recordings. The results are phenomenal. Hopefully, Warner Bros., who now owns the pre-recording sessions, will revisit all of the soundtracks and remaster them with today’s technology giving us the ultimate in audio clarity and sonic enjoyment.
The most recent example of what our new technology is capable of is the FANTASTIC two-CD set “Soundtracks” from Mint Audio Records. The set features not just a great compilation of Judy’s film performances, but also several new-to-CD versions of Garland film favorites including some MGM Records album versions, film versions, and stereo versions. This is the compilation that fans of Judy’s film soundtracks have been waiting for! More details on each recording and how some of the audio magic of these tracks was accomplished, can be found here.
Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s Till The Clouds Roll By pages for information about the original and all subsequent releases of the classic MGM soundtrack.
March 7, 1947: Judy models slacks. This photo is interesting because MGM rarely featured Judy in slacks for promotional photos although she was featured a few times in slacks in more casual shots in her early years at the studio.
March 7, 1951: “The Bing Crosby Show” was broadcast on CBS Radio out of Hollywood, California.
Judy and Bing recorded the show on February 23, 1951. Crosby always recorded his shows a few weeks in advance, which is why we have so many that have survived. Judy sang “You Made Me Love You” and engaged in a comedy skit with Crosby.
Listen to “You Made Me Love You” here:
Listen to the comedy skit here:
Listen to the entire show here:
March 7, 1956: Here’s a notice about Judy being featured on the MGM TV show “MGM Parade.” The show was mostly a big commercial for MGM’s upcoming movies and a look back at their classic films via clips. The show was broadcast in black and white and hosted by George Murphy, Judy’s co-star in 1940’s Little Nellie Kelly and 1942’s For Me And My Gal. The shows survive and are run on the Turner Classic Movies channel. It’s odd to see clips from Judy’s Technicolor films in black and white!
March 7, 1963: The New York Times published this interview with Judy and their columnist, Leonard Lyons. Judy promoted I Could Go On Singing and talked about daughter Liza Minnelli.
Scan provided by Kim Lundgreen. Thanks, Kim!
March 7, 1963: The premiere of I Could Go On Singing in London, England, the night before, made international news and was a huge success.