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Judy Garland in Greensboro
Judy Garland (and Eloise) in Greensboro. 

One week after performing in Greensboro, Judy Garland finally made it over the rainbow
By Billy Ingram

“Kay is my best critic and severest friend.” — Judy Garland

Bred to be an entertainer, like Tarzan raised by the Great Apes, hers was an almost impossibly insular existence. Frances Gumm, rechristened Judy Garland as a youngster, was a wholly manufactured product of a stage mother who pushed her relentlessly and a movie studio that wound her up chemically in the mornings then spun her down at night.

The biggest box office star on the MGM lot, she starred in 27 films in 14 years. In her 20s in 1950, as Garland began having difficulty coping emotionally (how could she not, under the circumstances?), the studio coldly spat her out into a world she knew nothing about. As a working professional earning millions for her bosses, she’d never attended a proper school, written a check, bought a train ticket, or negotiated a contract.

By the end of the ’50s, the 37-year old star was considered washed up in Hollywood, the nail in her professional coffin hammered shut after A Star Is Born flopped. Her albums were failing to chart and a lawsuit she was embroiled in with CBS kept her off television. Stricken with an inflamed liver, Garland was told by doctors she’d live the rest of her short life as a semi-invalid and never work again.

Yet she soldiered on. New managers got her out on the road in 1960 for what was billed as Garland’s “That’s Entertainment!” tour. No opening acts as in previous public appearances, just Garland fronting a 28-piece orchestra.

The singer would later declare 1961 to be the best year of her life.

In March of 1961, she paused that globe-spanning tour to shoot her emotionally raw scenes for Judgment At Nuremberg, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. Afterward, back on the road, she headed down south for shows in Atlanta, Birmingham, Alabama, and Charlotte before arriving in Greensboro for the tour’s final performance on April 17, 1961.

Ticket prices ranged from $2 to a high of $3.75 ($17–32 in today’s dollars, what a bargain). Some among the 2,400 ticket holders, it was reported by The Greensboro Daily News, were perturbed that the venue was switched at the last minute from the Coliseum to the smaller War Memorial Auditorium. This mixup led to laughs when Garland sang her opening number lyrics, “If you feel deceived, don’t get peeved.” She joked that she too thought the show was in the main room, only discovering she was in the wrong place, “When I found myself alone!” But, because of the overflow, 240 lucky concertgoers got to watch from the orchestra pit.

READ THE REST AT O.HENRY MAGAZINE...

A portion of Judy Garland's Carnegie Hall concert. 

 

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!

Judy Garland - part 1
Judy Garland on TV - part 2
The Judy Garland Show - part 3
Judy Garland & TV - part 4

 

Judy Garland TV series on DVDJudy Garland Christmas Show

Judy Garland's Comeback
Judy Garland on TV
Judy Garland TV Show
Judy Garland & TV - part 4

Judy Garland Christmas Show


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