Today in My History
All Right, Jack
JUDY, JUDY, JUDY
10 June 2020
Happy birthday, Judy Garland.
I think this is the picture that I brought to the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco to have her autograph for me.
Only my 8x10 copy was in black and white and a few years ago, I gave it to my friend Michael, probably even a bigger Judy Garland fan than I am. I knew he would get more out of it than I would.
I still have the snapshot that I took after she autographed the portrait for me.
I was thinking the other day of when I became a Judy Garland fanatic. My friend Gayle and I used to walk to school together. We frequently went to movies together but I did not go with her to see A Star Is Born so on our walk to school, she told me the plot and I wanted to see it.
The rest, as they say, is history. I saw it and became a Judy Garland fanatic immediately.
But the thing that I find interesting is I was wondering how old I was at the time, and when I thought about it, the movie was released in 1954 which would make me younger than Brianna when I first saw it!!! At one point I asked my mother if she could please put me up for adoption so Judy Garland could adopt me.
I started keeping scrapbooks and bought every movie magazine I could find that had anything about her in it. As I got older, I found out about the Judy Garland fan club and joined that (which is how I knew where to find her when she was scheduled to check in at her hotel in 1961).
At some time in the late 1950s, she did a week of concerts at the San Francisco Opera House (how old would I have been?) I saved money and was able to buy tickets to three of the concerts. It was the show she did at the Palace Theater in 1951. Comedian Alan King opened for her, but he did the first half of the show and she did the second.
I remember calling my mother when the first concert was over to rave about how wonderful it was and I remember saying "and she wasn't drunk!"
There was a movie theater in San Francisco which charged 50 cents for admission and showed old movies. It played A Star Is Born frequently and I saw it there often. I was taking a night class in French and would take the bus down to the cable car line and get there about 3/4 of the way through the movie, but pay to see the end of it (and I don't even like that 1/4 of the movie!) and then take the cable car home. I figure that I have probably seen A Star Is Born more than 100 times.
When the movie was re-released with pieces of the film that had been cut that someone uncovered, there was a big to-do at the theater in Oakland when it was shown. I went for opening night and sat in the row directly behind James Mason.
I followed her ups and downs and kept a record in all those scrapbooks. I bought movie posters and cut them up to fit in the scrapbooks (if I had not cut them up, I suspect they would have been worth a lot to sell).
I bought every recording I could find and every book I could find.
After she did her TV show, Mel Torme wrote a tell all book about how horrible the experience had been (he was musical director) and the book was so uncomplimentary to her that when I found it remaindered in a used book store, I bought all the books so nobody else could read it.
When video tapes became available and they showed movies on TV, I recorded every movie she ever made.
I remember how I found out she died. I was sitting at home on the couch, nursing Paul in 1969 when my mother called, jokingly asking me if I was in mourning. I still can't believe she thought my possible grief at the loss of Judy Garland would be funny, but then my mother and I never really shared the same emotional attachments to things.
Ultimately I outgrew the fanaticism. I still enjoy watching her and I still have a whole shelf of Garland books.
(I actually bought one a year or so ago and was amazed at how much in it I did not know about her!)
But I don't have the videos any more (I have some DVDs) and a few years ago I contacted the Judy Garland Fan Club in London and offered them my scrapbooks. They were delighted. It cost me abut $50 to send everything (didn't send the books, but sent the material). I was surprised when they were so happy with it that they refunded my postage.
It's been a strange relationship, me with Judy Garland and it is not as it was for most of my life, but it's a nice memory. And I think of her every June 10th. She would be 98 today.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
how could I not buy this shirt?
I'd love it if you'd leave a comment!
This is entry #7384