On This Day In Judy Garland’s Life And Career – March 20

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“When I began playing vaudeville engagements with my sisters, he helped coach us.  He told me to put all my enthusiasm into a song.  Doing that would make the audiences like me, he said, even if they didn’t like the song.” – Judy Garland about her father, Frank Gumm, as quoted in 1955

March 20, 1937:  Before she was signed by MGM, Judy was a pupil at the Hollywood School of Dance, one of several schools for professional children that Judy was enrolled in.

March 20, 1938:  More from Judy’s Everybody Sing tour.  She was currently in Detroit, Michigan.  This notice mentions a planned luncheon that Judy was scheduled for the following day.  They sure kept her busy!

The caption for the photo mentions Judy’s live appearance at the theater showing Everybody Sing.

March 20, 1938:  “Reporter Finds Judy Garland Charming” – this fun cartoon and article appeared in the Times newspaper out of Hammond, Indiana. A local high school boy named Hubert Bagley traveled to Chicago to meet Judy during her appearance there, part of her Everybody Sing tour.


Editor’s note – Hubert Bagley, Hammond high reporter, pursued Judy Garland, 15-year-old movie star, for two days at considerable expense to himself.  The interview, which he finally obtained, follows:


Judy Garland, a peppy, Titian-haired girl of 15, dashed into the wings and started up the stairway leading to a dressing room at the Chicago theater.

‘C’mon upstairs where we can talk – there’s too much noise here,” she invited, and led the way into a modernistic dressing room where she – just relaxed.

“Oh, I really didn’t want to be an actress, I wanted to study lawny, but my parents are show people and well, here I am – and I’m having a good time,” she exclaimed, and dropped herself into a comfortable chair with no more ceremony than any other healthy school girl of 15.

Had Fun

“We had all sorts of fun in ‘Everybody Sing’ and you should see us enjoy ourselves every week rehearsing for Bob Taylor’s program.  Of course acting is a lot of work, but I still have time for tennis – and archery, too . . . and I haven’t told you, have I, about my collections?”

“I just love picking up unusual perfume labels – and it’s fun keeping recording and photographs too.”

Judy has been on the stage for 10 years now.  The Garland family, who played at the Chicago World’s fair, has trooped all over the United States.  About two years ago, she went to Hollywood, sang for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer officials, and captured a long-term contract.

It’s Hard Work

“If you want to get into movies, work, work some more, cross your fingers, and just hope – but don’t go to Hollywood; it’s easier to attract the attention of a talent scout near your own home.”  She toyed with a couple of stray curls on the nape of her neck.

My early life?  Oh, I was born in Grand Rapids, Minn., and grew up just like everybody else – only a little slower.”  (Judy is even tinier than she looks.)

“I’ve gone to public schools a number of times, but it never lasts long; you can’t be traveling about and going to a public school at the same time.  I’m sort of sorry that I can’t go to school with other people my age – but my tutor, Chas. McGinn, is a swell person.”

Now – Exit

“Some day I’d like to start a charity hospital for crippled children – but I guess I won’t be ready for that for a couple of years anyhow.”

When words fail – and the carefully prepared list of questions seems glued to the trouser pocket – and one of the nicest girls in the world has talked herself out, there’s nothing to do but leave.

We did.


March 20, 1938:  Here’s an article about a local production of a stage version of “The Wizard of Oz” that mentions MGM’s upcoming production starring Judy and that “it will mark Miss Garland’s greatest achievement to date on the screen.”  How right they were!

March 20, 1942:  Prerecording session for For Me And My Gal.  At this point, the film was still titled The Big Time, as reflected on the Daily Music Report for this day.  Judy, along with Lucille Norman, George Murphy, Ben Blue, and the MGM Studio Chorus, pre-recorded the extensive “Doll Shop” sequence.  Also pre-recorded on this day was part of Marta Eggerth’s solo of “Do I Love You?”  Time called: 1:00 p.m.; dismissed: 5:00 p.m.

It’s also been noted that Judy rehearsed dances on this day, which must have taken place before lunch.  Also note that the second sheet has a typo of March 30, when it’s really also from March 20.  It’s actually a continuation of the first sheet of this day’s session, as indicated by “page 2” and the sequential numbering of the scene nos as well as the fact that it’s also a continuation of Eggerth’s “Do I Love You?”

Listen to “The Doll Shop” Part 1 here:

Listen to “The Doll Shop” Part 1A here:

Listen to “Don’t Leave Me Daddy/Oh You Beautiful Doll” multiple takes here:

Listen to “Don’t Leave Me Daddy/Oh You Beautiful Doll” Part 1A conclusion here:

Listen to “The Doll Shop” Part 2 here:

Listen to “By The Beautiful Sea” here:

Listen to “Do I Love You?” here:

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on For Me And My Gal here.

March 20, 1945:  The Harvey Girls filming consisted of scenes on the “Interior Harvey House Party” set.  Specifically, the “Round and Round” number.

The assistant director’s notes state: 11:48-12:20 Rehearse w/JG although she said we could not shoot with her as her hair was done wrong and would have to be done over – it was decided to call lunch; 1:20-1:49 – Rehearse w/Harvey Girls and stand-in while waiting for JG who was dissatisfied with her hair arrangement, which was done by other than her own hairdresser who is ill – Judy’s hair had to be done all over; 1:49-2:55 – Waiting for JG; she returned to the stage at 2:47; ready at 2:55.  Company dismissed at 6:40 p.m.

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

March 20, 1948:  MGM placed this two-page ad in the trade magazine, the “Showmen’s Trade Review.

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

March 20, 1950:  Here are two notices about Judy currently “vacationing from the movies” and on the advice of doctors, needing a “checkup” in Boston, Massachusetts.  By this point, Judy had completed her work on Summer Stock, including the filming of the iconic “Get Happy,” and was taking time off to rest.  She, her husband Vincente Minnelli, and her daughter Liza Minnelli, never made the planned April 1st trip to Paris as mentioned here nor did Judy go to Boston, she rested in Carmel, California, intending to take a full six months off, but she didn’t make it to three weeks before she was called back to MGM to replace a pregnant June Allyson in Royal Wedding.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on Summer Stock here.

Check out The Judy Room’s Filmography Pages on Royal Wedding here.

March 20, 1953:  Judy’s husband, Sid Luft, settled the damage suit against him, the result of a collision he was involved in on September 30, 1951.  Luckily, no one was seriously injured in the crash.  The damage suit was for $20k.  Luft was lucky to be able to settle for only $1,750.

March 20, 1955:  Two versions of the same article.  Columnist Bob Thomas pointed out that the hottest race in recent Oscar history, the race for “Best Actress” between the two favorites, Judy and Grace Kelly, boiled down to a “class conflict.”

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

March 20, 1958:  Judy opened a three-and-a-half-week engagement at The Town and Country Club in Brooklyn, New York.  The show was scheduled to start at 10:30 p.m.  It started at 11 p.m. due to a delay caused by a twenty-four-hour snowstorm.

Judy’s opening act, which included singer/dancer Bobby Van, ran for an hour. Judy came on at midnight. Her songs included (in the following order): “Brooklyn” (special material); “Life Is Just A Bowl of Cherries”; “How About Me?”; “You Made Me Love You/For Me And My Gal/The Trolley Song”; “When The Sun Comes Out”; “Mean To Me”; “After You’ve Gone”; “By Myself”; “I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plans” (with Van); “When You Wore A Tulip” (with Van); “Maybe I’ll Come Back”; “Rocke-A-Bye Your Baby”; “A Couple of Swells” (with Van); “Over The Rainbow”; and “Swanee.”

In spite of the snowstorm, Judy filled the venue to capacity (1,700 east).  Her salary was $25k per week, with an advance of $15k in cash when the contract was signed on October 4, 1957.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

March 20, 1963:  This ad for Acrilan carpeting notes that their “Chemstrand” carpet was seen on Judy’s series, “The Judy Garland Show.”  Judy didn’t actually sing “Save on Acrilan carpeting” but it makes for good advertising.


March 20, 1964:  Judy left the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, California, and flew to San Francisco, California, for several days of rest, accompanied by her musical advisor, Robert Cole.  Judy had been admitted to the hospital on March 19 suffering from flu-related stomach pains that they thought might be appendicitis.  Judy stayed in San Francisco through March 25, which is when she attended the opening of a new musical titled “Firefly” that she was allegedly interested in purchasing.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.


March 20, 1965:  After finishing her show at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, Florida, Judy rushed over to the Eden Roc Hotel to substitute for Debbie Reynolds, who had collapsed and could not go on.

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

March 20, 1969:  These photos appeared in the local Stockholm, Sweden newspapers. Judy had just successfully opened her show in Stockholm the previous night.

Photos from the collection of Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!

Check out The Judy Room’s “Judy Garland – The Concert Years” here.

March 20, 1970:  The Wizard of Oz was back in theaters as part of a series of “Children’s Matinee” films.  This was the first nationwide re-release of the film in theaters since the 1955 re-release.  Included here is the two-page press book.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz here.

March 20, 1977:  We all love Margaret Hamilton.  Here is a nice article about “Maggie” and her thoughts about Judy published on the day of the annual airing of The Wizard of Oz in 1977.

Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz here.

A Wiz Of A Good Bad-Witch

When Judy Garland began her cyclone trip “over the rainbow” and down the “yellow brick road” to stardom on the set of the new classic motion picture “The Wizard of Oz” she was a relatively unknown teenager.

“But once we started to work with her, we realized there was something special about her,” recalls actress Margaret Hamilton, who starred as the Wicked Witch in the film, which will air Sunday, March 20, 7 to 9 p.m., on CBS-TV.

As she sat near the fireplace in her town-home apartment overlooking Gramercy Park, in New York City, Miss Hamilton betrayed only by an occasional facial expression that she was once a Wicked Witch who lived in Oz in a dark castle complete with drawbridge, parapets, and flying monkeys.

Recalling her years both as a kindergarten teacher and as an actress, Miss Hamilton notes: “No one impressed me quite as much as Judy (Garland) did those first days.  She had those marvelous, expressive eyes, and there was a whole feeling of wonder in that little face. Her enthusiasm was contagious.”

Although Miss Hamilton was aware of the star quality in the young Judy, she had no idea, of course, that the film would become a classic, reaching landmark statue [sic] in motion-picture history.  Nor did she envision its popularity lasting the better part of a half-century.

“Now I can see why it became a classic, but then, when we were filming it, I didn’t even visualize its lasting 10 years,” she admits.

“I remember when they cut a scene because it included a jitterbug dance that they feared might date the movie.  I asked them how long they expected it to play,” she recalls. “ When they said, ‘about 10 years,’ I said ‘you’re crazy!’”

“Of course when you’re in the process of something like that you don’t always see the motion picture,” she explains. “For instance, I did’ know how frightening the witch was until I saw her on the screen. I rather enjoyed her then.”

As a former teacher of young children, Miss Hamilton only hoped at that point that she wasn’t too frightening on screen.  But her fears were allayed by a letter from a little girl who stated, “I was so sorry when you melted.”

“I think the reason many children rather like the witch is that she had tremendous frustrations – she never got what she wanted,” says the actress. “All she wanted was that pair of magic slippers. She really didn’t want to hurt anyone.”


March 20, 1977:  “TV Guide” ad for the annual showing of The Wizard of Oz on CBS-TV.

Scan provided by Kurt Raymond.  Thanks, Kurt!


Check out The Judy Room’s Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz here.

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