Monday, June 10, 2013

Happy 91 Judy Garland!

Anything and everything Judy is always a cause for celebration!
-Vicki Burns

 "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else," -Judy Garland

 I can live without money,but I can't live without love. -Judy Garland

Happy Monday!
I hope you had a great weekend. I certainly did! Friday night, dining out with friends, Saturday night, seeing the Awesome Mark Nadler in his one man show, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, and seeing the Tony Awards last night.
As I start this week, I am anticipating seeing Barbara Porteus tonight at Don't Tell Mama, Julie Budd on WEdnesday night at The Metropolitan Room, and Alison Arngrim Saturday Night at The Laurie Beechman Theater!

I thank God every day that I live in a city where I have so many choices. I love to be entertained! The first entertainer I ever fell in love with was Judy Garland.

 I've always taken The Wizard of Oz very seriously. I believe in the rainbow and I've spent my entire life trying to get over it - Judy Garland

She captivated generations of theater-goers with A Star Is Born, Judgement At Nuremburg, and of course the groundbreaking film The Wizard Of Oz.
She would have been 91 years old, a year younger than Carol Channing is now!
It started as it did with many of my generation with The Wizard of Oz.
That fascination continued year after year with the annual showings of The Wizard of Oz.
Weren't those days special? We didn't have the luxury of owning the film. It was a family event once a year
 that I looked forward to with more excitement than Christmas or any other holiday. That continued until I moved to New York at the age of eighteen. Before Turner Classic Movies and TBS bought the rights, it continued for a few years into the eighties to be shown annually. Each time that it was shown, I would receive calls from family members and friends to let me know that they knew I was watching and that they were sharing that experience with me from a distance.
At the time of Judy's passing at the age of 47 on June 22nd, 1969, I was eight years old. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I've written about this in the past, but here goes again. It was a Sunday. It was a hot summer day. That night, my Uncle Gilbert and Aunt Christine and their six daughters arrived for dinner. When Patsy, the third daughter and my age, got out of the car, her first words were, "Did you hear that Dorothy had died?" I asked "Dorothy who?" When she told me that it was Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, I was incredulous. That was impossible. She was ageless. Isn't it amazing the beliefs we have as children? I immediately turned on the TV. It was being covered on all three networks.
 I had to strain to see Dorothy Gale in these recent photos of her wedding in March of 1969 to Mickey Deans.
  This woman was so much older! Although, she was only 47, she easily looked like a woman in her late sixties, due to her lifestyle. WHO was THIS woman and why did she die? The next morning, we were dropped off at our baby sitter's, Hazel Elvington.  I asked for the newspapers over the weekend and devoured everything I could find on Judy Garland. I remember being very sad all day. When I got home that night, I actually broke down in our kitchen over the passing of a woman that I not only had never met, but it was also over the passing of an actress that I did not know beyond one movie.

Ethel Merman, Mae West, Judy (sent by David Mitchell)
But I was on a mission to learn more!
Shortly after Judy's passing, several biographies started coming out. The first one that I had was Rainbow by Christopher Finch given to me by my Aunt Grace. Then there was Al DiOrio's book, the Pyramid book on Judy Garland, Anne Edwards, Gerald Frank's...I was becoming quite the "expert" on Judy's life through these accounts of her life.
 Then, as now, I was never interested in the "tragic" side of Judy Garland. I am interested in her talent and what she brought to the world. I have never been one to jump on that other bandwagon. What made her so unique was her constant need to give to her audiences.

 I know there has always been that cliche of her and gay audiences. As a child, I knew NOTHING of that. I still didn't until I was much older. I still don't get the connection.
All I DO know is that I get that jolt of electricity that James Mason refers to in A Star Is Born when I see or hear her.
Today, I celebrate Judy Garland! Happy Birthday, Judy!
I asked for submissions through Facebook. Rex Garrett writes: I have two points that I have heard very little about in other accounts of her life:
A: from Wikipedia - "there were several patrons at the Stonewall bar that night, Garland fans who, according to bar patron Sylvia Rivera had come from the Garland funeral earlier in the day to drink and mourn. 

Rivera said that indeed there was a feeling in the air that something would happen that night: "I guess Judy Garland’s death just really helped us really hit the fan." The two events are deeply connected in the lore of the gay community.
How do you feel about this subject?  Do you have any additional insight?
B:  I have long heard rumors of how terribly Judy was treated while on contract to Metro.  Working at the studio with Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor,  studio chief Louis B. Mayer, is reported to have referred to her as his "little hunchback".  Very little is ever written about how this time in her life affected her.

Rex, Read any book by John Fricke and you will get ACCURATE answers to these questions.
John Fricke is a friend and a historian/author on The Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland. He has been a major figure in the Oz community for many years. He served as consultant for every aspect of the 2005 deluxe DVD set(s) of M-G-M's The Wizard of Oz, released by Warner Home Video. This includes his participation and appearance in the accompanying L. Frank Baum documentary, The Man Behind the Curtain. (Source Wikipedia)

John has a new book coming out in October to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz.

The celebrations continue!
Happy 91st Birthday Judy Garland! Celebrate Judy’s Birthday by attending this PRIDE Concert, Night of a Thousand Judys next week on June 17th! Experience the amazing talents of Martha Wash, Carolee Carmello, Justin Vivian Bond, Madeleine Peyroux and MORE! Tickets HERE:

 Check out this amazing Blog! 9 Bittersweet Judy Garland Performances

The following is from Variety:
Warner Bros. has big plans for the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz.

Imax will unspool a remastered 3D version of the film in theaters for one week beginning Sept. 20 in North America, to coincide with a collector’s edition box set for the film that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Oct. 1

The limited and numbered collection includes five discs: the Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, DVD and UltraViolet digital version of the film.
Judy Garland and Angela Lansbury at the opening night party of Judy Garland at The Palace (1967)
A new documentary, “The Making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” featuring film historians John Fricke and Sam Wasson, composers Stephen Schwartz and Marc Shaiman, critics Leonard Maltin and Michael Sragow, Bert Lahr’s son John as well as interview clips with Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Buddy Ebsen, Margaret Hamilton and Mervyn LeRoy.

Collection also includes a collectible 75th anniversary journal; ruby slippers globe; Noble Collection three-piece enamel pin set, a map of Oz; and a 48-page hardcover book.

Set will retail for $105, while a two-disc Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray will be available for $36. A one-disc Blu-ray ($20) and two-disc DVD ($17) will also include the documentary and extra content.

“Seventy-five years later, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ continues its reign as a multi-generational favorite, with nearly 100% awareness among adults and more than 80% awareness among children,” said Jeff Baker, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment executive VP and general manager, theatrical catalog.

The Imax showing is the first time “The Wizard of Oz” has played on the bigscreen format. Imax managed the remastering of the film’s image and soundtrack.

Warner Bros. worked with Prime Focus on the 3D conversion, scanning the film’s original Technicolor camera negative in high-resolution 8K before transforming the 2D image frame-by-frame into 3D based on distances from the viewer’s vantage point.

“People have asked for years about ‘The Wizard of Oz’ 3D conversion,” said Ned Price, Warner Technical Operations’ VP of mastering. “My answer was always, ‘We’re not doing it until it’s perfect.’ And now it is,” “As a kid, I was so enthralled by this film. Watching it, you just want to enter the frame, enter the Land of Oz. This new version will allow you to do just that.”

Warner Bros. Consumer Products is promoting the release with a line of toys and merchandise that includes apparel, jewelry, collectibles, publishing, stationery and paper goods, toys and games, slot machines and personal care. Overall push includes deals with 80 licensees, including Mattel, Thomas Kinkade and Steiff — impressive for a homevideo release, and on par with many summer movie tentpoles.

Warner Bros. has also lined up Amtrak, Gourmet Trading Company, Langers Juice, QVC and Simon Malls as promotional partners, with the Ad Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also planning tie-in PSAs.

And as promo stunts, Warner Bros. will have a hot air balloon and ballonhead characters featured in the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. A “Wizard of Oz”-themed competition will also be featured on an upcoming episode of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” to be aired later this year.
Tina the Diva visiting Judy's star! Happy birthday lady!

MGM premiered the film at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 1939, and re-released the pic in 1949 and 1955, before beginning its TV run on CBS in 1956.

Thank you Judy Garland for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!
NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY! next blog will be...Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation Presents Heroes of Hollywood, honoring Debbie Reynolds, Milt Larsen, George Abou-Daoud, Craig Darian, Bill Farra, Stormy Sacks and the My Friends Place organization.

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!


Richard Skipper   
This Blog is dedicated to ALL THAT HAVE BEEN TOUCHED BY JUDY and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with her on ANY Level!


  1. I saw her at the Palace. She is iconic and I love her.

  2. I always saw and felt Judy's need to be loved and the need to give love. Possibly because that was my desperate need as a child. Maybe it is recognizable. But I wanted to love her, protect her from those mean studio bosses who gave her the drugs to fulfill their own purposes.
    I spent many nights as a teenager crying and praying that someone could help her, but I believe she is with God now and I will see her in Heaven someday. Such a harsh world we live in. We will always love Judy because of her immense heart.
    Thank you Richard, for another wonderful blog!

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