WORLD PREMIERE! – YOU COULDN’T BE CUTER – JUDY GARLAND
15-year-old Judy Garland performed the novelty song “You Couldn’t Be Cuter” as part of her weekly appearance on the “Good News of 1938” radio show, broadcast live by NBC Radio on April 28, 1938,.
This previously unknown and unreleased performance of “You Couldn’t Be Cuter” is the only performance from this April 28, 1938, episode that is known to exist.
“You Couldn’t Be Cuter” was written for the film Joy of Living (1938) by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields. Irene Dunne introduced it in the film.
This Judy Garland version of “You Couldn’t Be Cuter” is a previously unknown performance and recording. The only details about the content of the radio show comes from newspaper archives. None of them list this song and only a few mentioned that Judy would perform “Thanks for the Memory.”
According to the surviving newspaper notices of the time, this April 28, 1938, edition of “Good News of 1938” featured a “surprise” emcee, Robert Young, who was set to play the lead “in a dramatic sketch with Maureen O’Sullivan” as part of the broadcast. Una Merkel did a comedy “sequence” and Fanny Brice was to “exchange punches” with Max Baer, the former heavyweight champion of the world in a skit “The Love Battle of the Century.” Baer was also set to take “expert boxing ‘instruction’ from Frank Morgan.” Betty Jaynes and Douglas MacPhail returned “for one of their musical highlights” and “Baby Snooks [Fanny Brice)]will invade the neighborhood beauty parlor.” It was reported in a few notices that Judy was going to present “a classic rendition of a modern swing song” (“Thanks for the Memory”). That performance is not known to exist. No notices mentioned “You Couldn’t Be Cuter,” making this gem even more of a delight since no one knew that Judy ever performed the song let alone that a recording of it existed. Until now! As usual, and even at this young age, Judy Garland delightfully makes the song her own.
A big thanks to collector David Plotkin for sharing this gem from his collection and providing the digital transfer; John H. Haley, Harmony Restorations, LLC, for his expert restoration and remastering; and Lawrence Schulman for his guidance and assistance with photos.
Check out The Judy Garland Online Discography’s “Miscellaneous” section for details about Judy’s radio performances available on CD and other home media formats.