Judy Garland Timeline

Highlights of Judy Garland's life and career.

This timeline is dedicated to the late Scott Schechter. Scott was tireless in his efforts to get previously unreleased material and information into the hands of both Judy's fans and her daughter Liza's fans. Thanks to his efforts, we now have many amazing performances at our fingertips. ;xNLx;;xNLx;Scott's book "Judy Garland - the Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Legend" is the ultimate Judy Garland timeline ever produced. The book features tons of detailed information, all laid out in chronological order. ;xNLx;;xNLx;This timeline draws from the information in Scott's book as well as other sources such as biographies, CD liner notes, and of course the Internet.;xNLx;;xNLx;There are many ways to view this timeline. Use the wrench icon at the bottom right of the screen to customize your viewing experience. You can browse by category, or browse all categories at once.;xNLx;;xNLx;You can also change the type of view you want or do a simple word search.;xNLx;;xNLx;Be sure to check back from time to time for new additions.;xNLx;;xNLx;Enjoy!

1922-06-10 07:11:26

Frances Ethel Gumm is born

Frances Ethel Gumm is born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The third and youngest child of Frank and Ethel Gumm. Frances' two older sisters are Virginia & Mary Jane.

1923-12-01 00:00:00

First Performance

Frances' (Judy's) first known public performance. She sings "Jingle Bells" at her sisters neighborhood talent show.

1924-12-26 00:00:00

Stage Debut

Frances' (Judy's) official stage debut at her father's movie theater "The New Grand Theater" in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

1926-06-08 08:23:24

Gumm Family Visits Los Angeles

The Gumm family takes a vacation west to California. They perform along the way. After their return, they decide to move there.

1927-12-17 00:00:00

First Acting Role

Frances (Judy) plays one of the Seven Dwarfts in the Lancaster Grammar Schools production of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." This is the earliest known production in which Judy acted in.

1928-08-01 00:00:00

Radio Debut

This is the earliest known radio appearance by Judy and her sisters. They performed for the KFI Radio, Los Angelese "The Kiddies Hour" program (a.k.a. "The Children's Hour").

1929-06-11 10:14:51

FILM DEBUT: The Big Review

Performing as "The Gumm Sisters," Judy and her sisters make their first film for Vitaphone. The film is shot over 3 days, June 11, 12, & 13th just after Frances' 7th birthday. The short premieres on August 14th at the Fox Belmont Theater in Hollywood, California. The short is a "two reeler" and eighteen minutes in length.

1929-10-01 00:00:00

First MGM Audition

Judy and her sisters audition for Gus Edwards at the MGM Studios. Nothing comes from the audition.

1929-11-11 00:00:00

Film Shorts

Judy and her sisters film three shorts as part of "The Vitaphone Kiddies" for "Vitaphone Varieties" (part of Warner Bros). The films were made at the First National Studios in Burbank, CA in two-color technicolor. The films are: "A Holiday In Storyland" singing "When The Butterflies Kiss The Buttercups Goodbye" (as "The 3 Kute Kiddies" and Judy (Baby Frances) has her FIRST ON SCREEN SOLO: "Blue Butterfly;" "The Wedding of Jack and Jill" with Judy singing a solo of "Hang Onto A Rainbow;" and "Bubbles" with the sisters singing "The Land Of Let's Pretend" (Baby Frances has a partial solo). The audio for all of these films has survived. A black and white print of "Bubbles" also survives.

1931-08-15 00:00:00

Audition at Universal Studios

Judy auditions for Universal Studios. Nothing comes from it.

1934-06-01 00:00:00

Chicago World's Fair

The now famous cross country tour. Destination: The Chicago Worlds Fair.

1935-01-10 00:00:00

Universal Studios Screen Test

"The Garland Sisters" were screen tested and signed to Universal Studios for their planned film "The Great Ziegfeld." It was a one film only deal, no short or long term contract. Universal sold the property to MGM so the sisters were not used, or filmed, for any project at Universal.

1935-03-29 00:00:00

First Studio Recordings

Judy and her sisters, known professionally as "The Garland Sisters", recorded several tests for Decca Records. The recording session took place at the Recordings Incorporated Studios at 5505 Melrose in Hollywood, California. Judy's Mom, Ethel Gumm, played the piano for the tests. This is Judy's first known recording session in a studio (the shorts from 1929 & 1930 were recorded live on-set during filming), and the first time records were made of her voice. Judy and her sisters sang "Moonglow". Judy then made two solo tests, one of the song "Bill" and one of a medley of "On The Good Ship Lollipop/The Object Of My Affection/Dinah." Judy's two solo records were found and surfaced in the 2000's. Click on the link below to read the details.

1935-07-15 01:57:13

Cal-Neva Lodge Appearance

The sisters appear at the Cal-Neva Lodge, Lake Tahoe - Frances introduces Mary Jane to a young musician whom she would soon marry, and the chain of events that brings Judy to MGM: On their way home to Los Angeles, they discover they have left some hats back at the hotel. They go back, and Judy goes in to retrieve it - the owner "Bones" Remer wanted Judy to sing for a few friends of his - the songwriter Lew Brown and agent Al Rosen - she sings "Dinah" and Rosen gives her a slip of paper to have her mother call him when they return to LA. They do, and this results in Judy getting auditions at various studios, culminating in her now famous audition at MGM.

1935-08-12 00:00:00

La Fiesta De Santa Barbara

The sisters make their last appearance together, in the Technicolor film La Fiesta De Santa Barbara performing "La Cucaracha" - although the film is produced by MGM, it is one month before Judy's audition and subsequent contract with the studio.

1935-09-13 00:00:00

MGM Audition

Judy's father takes her to an audition (again!) for MGM. This time, Judy wows everyone and is offered a contract.

1935-10-01 00:00:00

First Day at MGM

Judy's first day at MGM. She pends it with schooling and vocal coaching with Roger Edens.

1935-10-26 00:00:00

The Shell Chateau hour

Here is Judy's first "official" appearance after signing with MGM. It's MGM's program "The Shell Chateau Hour with Wallace Beery" on NBC Radio. Judy had just signed her contract with MGM and is only 13 years old! This recording gives us a glimpse into the raw, unrefined talent that Judy was before that talent would be polished and trained at MGM throughout her years with the studio. We get the chance to see just what all of the excitement of "discovering Judy" was all about. Remember, no one else sang this way back in 1935 (Sophie Tucker & Ethel Merman come close by way of being "belters") - and certainly no 13 year old could come even close to the way Judy could sing with such power, richness, and emotion. Her talent is so obviously "God given." Judy would later sing "Broadway Rhythm" as part of the finale sequence in Presenting Lily Mars in 1943.

1935-11-16 00:00:00

"Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart"

Judy's return to the "Shell Chateau Hour." This time, Wallace Beery makes note that Judy has been signed by MGM - making it seem that she had been signed since her first appearance on the show (when in fact she singed with MGM a few months earlier and prior to any appearances on this program). This performance is especially noteworthy in Judy's life - and we're lucky to have it. It's the earliest known recording of a song she would sing throughout her career (in varying arrangements) as well as being the song that she sang at her audition for MGM. However, most importantly, while Judy was giving this performance, on this night, her beloved father, Frank Gumm, was listening from his hospital room, having come down with spinal meningitis that day. Judy was aware of this, and her performance has an added intensity. Judy never saw her father alive again. He passed away later that night, but the family had put a radio in his room, and he was able to listen to his beloved "Baby" sing her heart out for her father one last time. In Judy's words: "The most terrible thing that ever happened to me in my life."

1935-11-27 00:00:00

Decca Test Session #2

Records two more tests for Decca Records. This second audition was actually a "tag" on the end of a recording session that Decca musical director Victor Young was conducting with Johnny Mercer and Ginger Rogers. Young was the orchestra leader for "The Shell Chateau Hour" on NBC Radio where Judy was also appearing. Young liked Judy and arranged for this second audition, and conducted as Judy sang "All's Well (Down In Coronado By The Sea)" and "No Other One". Unfortunately, these records were "kept on file" only until 1942, when it's thought that they were lost as part of the wartime metal scrap drives. But, so were the first tests from March 29 (see The Judy Garland Online Discography for details) that have recently been discovered, so who knows?

1936-06-12 00:00:00

First Decca Records Released

While in New York, Judy records "Swing Mr. Charlie" & "Stompin' At The Savoy" for Decca Records. These are the first Judy Garland records to be released to the public, although she did not enter into a recording contract with the label until 1937.

1936-10-01 00:00:00

Pigskin Parade

Judy's first feature length film, "Pigskin Parade" is released. Judy was loaned to 20th Century-Fox for this film, the only time in her career at MGM that she was ever loaned to another studio. Judy recorded four songs for the film "Hold That Bulldog" (deleted, not known to exist), "The Balboa," "The Texas Tornado," and "It's Love I'm After."

1936-11-28 00:00:00

Every Sunday

Judy's first film for MGM, the short "Every Sunday" co-starring Deanna Durbin, is released.

1937-02-01 00:00:00

Clark Gable's Birthday

Performs "(Dear Mr. Gable) You Made Me Love You" at Clark Gable's birthday party on the set of Gable's film "Parnell." Response to her performance is so enthusiastic that MGM finally puts Judy as well as the song in a film, the upcoming "Broadway Melody Of 1938" (1937).

1937-04-06 00:00:00


Judy's radio career is really booming. On this night, she performs on "Jack Oakie's College" radio show & sings "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off" (with Jack Oakie) and a memorable rendition of "Smiles."

1937-08-20 00:00:00

Broadway Melody of 1938

Judy's first feature film appearance for MGM. She sings "Everybody Sing" and "(Dear Mr. Gable) You Made Me Love You." The latter steals the show and gives Judy her first signature song.

1937-08-30 00:00:00

First Decca Contract

Judy enters into her first contract with Decca Records for an initial six months. She records "Everybody Sing" (from her film "The Broadway Melody of 1938") and "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm." The single is released in September as Decca #1432

1937-09-24 00:00:00

"Dear Mr. Gable"

Judy records "(Dear Mr. Gable) You Made Me Love You" for Decca Records.

1937-11-06 00:00:00

Silent Night

This short film was made for theaters to play, of course, during the holiday season. Unfortunately, Judy only sings one chorus of the song. It was recorded and filmed November 6 through 8, 1937.

1937-11-26 00:00:00

Thoroughbreds Don't Cry

"Thoroughbreds Don't Cry" is released. It's Judy's first teaming with Mickey Rooney and her second with Sophie Tucker.

1938-02-04 00:00:00

Everybody Sing

"Everybody Sing" premieres at the Sheraton Theater, Miami Beach, Florida. The screwball musical comedy features Judy's best role to date, giving her a chance to show off her singing and comedy skills. She holds her own with Fanny Brice, Billie Burke, and Allan Jones.

1938-02-24 00:00:00

Oz Annoucement

MGM announces it will film "The Wizard of Oz" with Judy starring as "Dorothy."

1938-07-22 00:00:00

Love Finds Andy Hardy

"Love Finds Andy Hardy" is released. It's Judy's second film with Mickey Rooney and the first of her three appearances in the "Andy Hardy" series as the character "Betsy Booth." Judy's performance helps make this the quintessential Andy Hardy film. She sings: "In-Between," "It Never Rains But It Pours;" and "Meet the Beat of My Heart."

1938-08-27 00:00:00

Oz Costume Tests

Judy begins Initial work on "The Wizard of Oz" consisting of costume tests - the infamous "Lolita Gale of Kansas" blonde hair and baby doll make-up

1938-10-07 00:00:00

"Over the Rainbow"

The first recording of Judy singing "Over the Rainbow" is made on this date at MGM when she records several takes for the soundtrack of "The Wizard of Oz."

1938-10-16 00:00:00

Listen Darling

"Listen Darling" is released. It's Judy's only pairing with Freddie Bartholomew. Bartholomew was originally slated to star in "Thoroughbreds Don't Cry" with Judy and Mickey Rooney, but as Judy later said "Freddie's voice was changing!" "Listen Darling" features Judy's only screen performance of "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart." The film also co-stars Mary Astor, Walter Pidgeon, and Alan Hale.

1939-06-29 00:00:00

"Over the Rainbow"

Judy's first public performance of "Over the Rainbow." Most of the cast of "The Wizard Of Oz" appears on the "Maxwell House Coffee Time" radio show entitled "Behind The Scenes At The Making Of The Wizard Of Oz" in "recreations" of Judy's audition of "Over The Rainbow," the filming of the movie, and highlights from the film.

1939-08-17 00:00:00

Oz NY Premiere

"The Wizard Of Oz" has its New York premiere. Judy and Mickey are on hand for the first two weeks, providing shows between showings.

1939-10-10 00:00:00

Babes in Arms

"Babes In Arms" premieres at Grauman's Chinese Theater and Judy puts her hand and footprints in cement in front of the theater. The musicals is the first of four "Let's Put On A Show!" musicals that Mickey and Judy would make over the next several years.

1940-01-01 00:00:00

If I Forget You

Circa 1940: Judy records and films this short benefitting the Will Rogers Hospital

1940-02-29 00:00:00

Judy Receives an Oscar

Judy receives her special Oscar for "The Wizard Of Oz." She later jokingly referred to it as her "Munchkin Award." It's presented to her by Mickey Rooney. She treats the audience to a rendition of "Over the Rainbow."

1940-06-26 00:00:00

Judy Graduates from High School

Judy gets her diploma from the Hollywood High School. She spent her school time at the studio, but she did manage to make a few appearances at the actual high school

1940-07-05 00:00:00

Andy Hardy Meets Debutante

"Andy Hardy Meets Debutante" is released. It's the second of Judy's three appearances in the Andy Hardy series. TWO videos are attached to this entry. One is the trailer and the other is Judy singing her big hit from the film: "I'm Nobody's Baby."

1940-09-01 00:00:00

New MGM Contract

MGM tears up Judy's old contract and makes a new one: $2,000 per week with options for 7 years up to $3,000 per week.

1940-09-30 00:00:00

Strike Up The Band

"Strike Up The Band" premieres in New York. It's the second of four "let's put on a show" musicals that Judy and Mickey make. Judy's best numbers: "Alone'" "Our Love Affair" and "Drummer Boy"

1940-11-22 00:00:00

LIttle Nellie Kelly

Little Nellie Kelly premieres. The film features Judy's only death scene. It also features her singing "It's A Great Day for the Irish" and "Singin' In The Rain."

1941-04-25 00:00:00

Ziegfeld Girl

"Ziegfeld Girl" is released. Judy costars with Lana Turner, James Stewart, Hedy Lamarr, Jackie Cooper, and Charles Winninger. Judy's best songs: "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" and "Minnie from Trinidad."

1941-07-28 00:00:00

Judy Marries David Rose

Judy marries musician David Rose. It's her first marriage.

1941-08-01 00:00:00

Life Begins for Andy Hardy

"Life Begins for Andy Hardy" premieres. It's Judy's last appearance in the Hardy series. She recorded several songs that were not used, making this technically her first non-singing role.

1941-12-28 00:00:00

Honorary Corporal

Judy is made Honorary Corporal by the soldiers at Fort Ord, CA

Judy Garland Timeline

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