Great news for Garland audiophiles. Sepia Records has announced that they will release Judy’s 1955 concert in Long Beach, California, for the first time on CD, newly remastered. This is the first time this concert is being released on CD and judging from the previous Sepia releases this is sure to sound fantastic.
Judy took her concert to Long Beach on July 11, 1955. Her Rat Pack friends Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Humphrey Bogart, and other celebrities rented a bus to go and see Judy. They also came up on stage after her performance. The show was another success for Judy and luckily for us, it was recorded and has been remastered for this CD release. The CD will be released on August 5, 2022. Pre-order it here on Amazon.
- LET’S HAVE A PARTY – The Hi-Los & Judy Garland 5:54
- THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY 4:15
- CAROLINA IN THE MORNING 2:36
- MEDLEY: THIS IS THE TIME OF THE EVENING – The Hi-Los / WHILE WE’RE YOUNG 4:44
- A PRETTY GIRL MILKING HER COW 3:10
- MEDLEY: JUDY’S OLIO (YOU MADE ME LOVE YOU / FOR ME AND MY GAL / THE BOY NEXT DOOR / THE TROLLEY SONG) 6:46
- ROCK-A-BYE YOUR BABY WITH A DIXIE MELODY 3:47
- AFTER YOU’VE GONE 2:18
- A COUPLE OF SWELLS – Paul Sanchez & Judy Garland 5:06
- OVER THE RAINBOW 5:06
- LIZA 3:03
- SWANEE 3:38
- HOW ABOUT YOU? 2:59
- BUT NOT FOR ME 3:07
- EMBRACEABLE YOU 3:12
- MINE – Bing Crosby & Judy Garland 2:46
- LOVE 3:23
- YAH-TA-TA, YAH-TA-TA – Bing Crosby & Judy Garland 3:03
- YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE 3:17
- I WISH I WERE IN LOVE AGAIN 2:47
The article shown above was written by Tim Grobaty and printed in the Long Beach Press-Telegram on June 14, 2011.
THE GREATEST SHOW IN TOWN:
After more than three decades thinking that the best show to take place in the magnificent Long Beach Auditorium was the Quicksilver Messenger Service and Mark-Almond Band concert in 1973, a year before the building was razed, we realize now we were off by several measures of magnitude.
Our friend and co-citizen Steve Harvey, who wrote a column for the L.A. times before it was cool, sent us this reminder of a show held in the Auditorium on July 11, 1955, featured Judy Garland and more stars than you’d see on Oscar night.
“Crazy, the stuff you find websurfing,” writes Harvey, who found YouTube audio of part of the show. “Not sure what was going on but it sounds like one of the greatest collections of talent on one state in Long Beach history.”
It surely was. Even if the entire cast of the star-packed “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” which included a lot of footage in Long Beach, had hopped up on stage, it would’ve been blinded by the talent that joined Garland for that one show in ’55.
Garland, billed, with not a bit of hyperbole, as “America’s No. 1 Entertainer,” had just opened her touring stage act in San Diego and had expressed a desire to not perform any closer to the L.A.-Hollywood area, but she was lured here by a charity close to her heart: The Long Beach Exceptional Children’s Foundation.
And, if it had been her dream to not have any Hollywood big-shots in attendance at her show in Long Beach, she failed on an epic scale.
Garland, who was 33 that night, opened with “The Man That Got Away,” which was met with loud and long applause.
The evening went on in a revue-style, with Garland coming and going. She’d sing a number, like “We’re A Couple of Swells,” before turning the stage over to singer-comic Frank Fontaine (from “The Jackie Gleason Show”), the Hi-Lo’s singing group, her backing Jerry Gray & His Orchestra, and the Wiere Brothers, three screwball violinists who engaged in fencing with their bows while balancing their fiddles on their noses.
She sang “You Make Me Love You,” “For Me and My Gal” and others before she closed with – what else? – “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which earned her a standing ovation that didn’t end until she returned to do several encores, including “Liza” and “Swanee.”
And then the crowd-pleasin’ began.
“Would you like to meet some of my friends?” she asked, still out of breath from her performance.
She brought up Frank Sinatra, who talked about the “bus full of my idiot friends,” which he and his pals chartered to attend the show. Sinatra called up Humphrey Bogart, a classier act than Sinatra. Bogart actually sang for a second, just the opening snippet of “My Melancholy Baby,” which Garland sang in “A Star Is Born.” (In the film, she sings the song in response to a drunk hollering the request fro the audience. The drunk was played by an extra, but, the story goes, Bogart supplied the voice.)
Bogart bantered a bit then called up his wife, Lauren Bacall. Then, Bogart and Sinatra decided to quit with the one-star-at-a-time bit and just started dragging all their “idiot friends” up onto the Auditorium stage, while a crowd of 4,300 kept up a constant cheer: Dean Martin, Van Johnson, Eddie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Betty Hutton, Leslie Caron, Sammy Davis Jr., Dick Powell, June Allyson and Edgar Bergen.
They’d all come to Long Beach on the same bus, and it was swamped by fans outside the Auditorium before the show.
Inside, with all of the friends onstage together, you’d think they would have at least started singing something “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain,” anything – but the greatest talent of the age stood around fidgeting, with no screenwriter to write them out of the scene.
Finally, Bogart, bless his heart, grabbed the microphone and said “Let’s he the hell off,” and so they did, bringing the curtain down on the greatest show in Long Beach.
As for Garland’s good cause, the concert brought in $15,000 for the Long Beach Exceptional Children’s Foundation – thanks in large part to the towering $10 a seat that the stars paid. Tickets farther back were $4 and $5.