- Charlotte, NC -
May 22, 1965 -
Judy, Judy, Judy
By Kays Gary - Charlotte
Judy Garland comes to Charlotte's
Coliseum April 22, and it ought to be a sentimental return. Just
a week short of four years ago in this same coliseum, the audience twice
stood to cheer, finally moving toward the stage as if under some hypnotic
command. Tears were streaming down faces old and young, and barrel-chested
Paul Buck croaked, "I never saw anything like this before. I've been
around, friend, and I never saw anything like this." A sentimental
return? Yes. That was Judy Garland's 'comeback' and 10 days
later she scored the second greatest triumph of her life in Carnegie Hall.
The recording of that concert will be playing when those of today's top
pop artists aren't even a dusty memory. The No. 1 triumph would have
to be her 1939 Academy Award winning WIZARD OF OZ, the only film featured
annually by TV networks ever since.
Judy. Judy. Judy. A
lot of people want to psychoanalyze her, and a lot of people like to sit
in that judgment seat. They like to gossip about how fat she got
and the running 14-year battle with husband Sid Luft, and the times she
has been rushed to hospitals with bleeding wrists or head and unconscious.
Me? I never wanted to psychoanalyze Judy. But I'd walk some
bloody miles to hear her sing. Now she's slender and shapely and
clear-eyed again, but if she weighed 250 pounds and croaked like a frog
I'd walk those miles to hear. This is because nobody, but nobody
from Jolson to Ann Margaret (and-what-else-is-new?) could feel so much
in a song. Oh, I am not talking about on TV or in movies, even.
I am not talking about live radio or set-up recordings. I am talking
about Judy when she sings for people with no gadgets in between, which
is the way it was here before and the way it was in Carnegie Hall and the
way it will be this time.
Something happens to her
with an audience like this, and it is only like this that she goes soaring
up to Cloud 9 and takes you along for a darned good look at the rainbow
and both ends of it and what is above and beyond it. Judy. Judy.
Everything else is all wrong
except when Judy is up there on stage and singing for the people instead
of a camera or a spinning machine. Her only great recordings are
those of concerts -- never of purposeful recording sessions. so she
is coming to Charlotte, and she will sing for an hour, and it may be the
last time I'll ever hear ROCKABYE MY BABY... or WHEN YOU'RE SMILING sung
again that way. It may be my last chance to get the briefest glimpse
of both ends of that rainbow... the last chance to take that trip to Cloud
No. 9. Judy let me down? Don't be silly. When she's singing
for people it doesn't happen. I'm people.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr.,
who does not sing will also appear and talk for 15 minutes.
She's Returning Here
Judy Broke a Vow
By Emory Wister - News
Judy Garland has a soft spot
in her heart for Charlotte.
You knew that when she agreed
to fly here to sing at the Democratic Gala at Charlotte Coliseum next Thursday
You know it again when she
broke a vow to quit traveling around the country to entertain the millions
who want to see and hear her in person.
"I'm not going to do any
more of these one-night stands." she said in January, 1962. But she
left a door open when she added: "Not now, anyway."
So here it is three years
later and she's bringing her glorious voice back to the Coliseum where
it found such a welcome home in the spring of 1961.
Charlotte was mid-point on
her last nationwide tour and the ovation she received was tremendous.
In fact, tremendous was the word she used to describe it.
"It was like that in Charlotte,
like that in every city we played," she said. "But it was tiring
and I don't want any more of that now."
Since then several motion
pictures, had a brief television career, gone into semi-retirement, shed
a husband and made plans to acquire another. She also rejected the
role of the mother of Jean Harlow in a movie on the late silent star's
life after tentatively agreeing to play it.
What she really wants to
do, she'll gladly tell you, is to be a dramatic actress. Oh, she'll
still sing and now and then make a musical movie. But she'd rather
She first went the dramatic
route in Stanley Kramer's "Judgment at Nuremberg." The role was small
but she came off so well Kramer gave her the top feminine role in "A Child
is Waiting," a story of retarded children.
She did all right in that
one, too, but the picture was a dreadful flop. Her ambitions went
down in the red ink of box office reports.
She decided to give television
a whirl. she was a glorious success in several lavish and spectacular
specials. One in particular pleased her.
"I don't often brag about
anything I've done, but I will just this once," she told interviewers.
"That was a damned good show."
She was offered a weekly
spot and she happily agreed to try it. But she found a weekly show
a horse of another color. It was too much for her and she gladly
surrendered her spot on CBS' Sunday night schedule.
but she may still sing on
occasional TV shows. And she will sing on stage and in occasional
movies. But she would rather not sing in noisy restaurants and night
"I don't like people eating
and drinking while I'm singing," she said.
Her appearance here next
Thursday will be slightly different from the one in the Coliseum four years
Then she came up by train
in late afternoon, was hustled off to a hotel and then the Coliseum.
This time she'll fly to Charlotte from Hollywood. And her appearance
here, incidentally, will be her first since the Academy Awards presentation
She stepped off the train
on that mild afternoon to be greeted by a reporter. He apologized
for the old and grimy Southern station and the fact she had to walk in
jagged gravel for a half block before reaching the pavement.
She replied in kind, saying,
"Well it is a hell of a station, what happened to it?"
In Charlotte she will share
the stage with Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., whose father was President of
the United States for over 12 years prior to and during World War II.
She will sing many of the songs that helped make her famous including the
Cole Porter hits she sang at the Academy Awards show last week.
The Musicians to accompany
her will be recruited locally. One will be Chick Robertson, a guitarist,
who played for her here in her 1961 appearance.
She insisted Robertson accompany
her here and put in her contract that he do so.
Judy Was Less Than Great,
But Audience Loved Her
By Dick Banks - Observer
Judy Garland was having trouble
last night, but her sympathetic audience was with her all the way.
She couldn't hit the high notes and she knew it. The glorious voice
that filled the coliseum her last time here was weaker, and sometimes she
had to strain. And that didn't help either. It was hot in the
building, and the heavy white dinner dress she wore didn't make her any
cooler. she paused for a drink of water once and assured the audience,
"It's only water, damnit."
Then she sang a couple of
more songs and called it quits. But there were no hecklers.
She received a big ovation and a huge crowd formed in front of her dressing
room after the show was over to ask for her autograph. You can't
really say she didn't have it last night. For when she sang her old
standby THE TROLLEY SONG, she was the same old Judy and she belted the
ballad to the highest rafter in the dome. But when she sang some
tuneless dirge or tried to hit a high note, she was pretty sad. She
knew it and told her audience: "You'll have to hit the high notes.
It's obvious I can't."
She came on singing HE'S
GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS and even then it was obvious this wasn't
the same Judy that electrified the building in 1961. But she
soon had her listeners clapping their hands to the tune and forgetting
that, at least for the moment, she was in some trouble. The program
was to have lasted for an hour, and, including the bit done by Australia's
Allen Brothers, was just about that long. There was no intermission.
Miss Garland quit at 10 o'clock and hundreds of persons stood around waiting,
not knowing if this was the end or just an intermission. She quickly left
the building and returned to the Red Carpet Inn, passing up a party there
because she was too tired. And you could tell she was. she
wanted to sing better and was a little bit embarrassed, a little bit disgusted,
that she couldn't.
Judy Didn't Have It Thursday Night
By Dick Banks - Charlotte
It was a pity. Whatever
the reason, Judy didn't have it Thursday night. And nobody understood this
more clearly or hated it more than Judy Garland.
It was 9:20 when cries of
"Judy" in the Coliseum audience of 3,000 to 4,000 were answered by her
theme music, OVER THE RAINBOW. Judy came on, dressed in a two-piece
white mandarin gown traced with sequins. But not the poised Judy
Garland of 1961. She was overly warm, kept touching her hair.
Midway in many songs, not-quite-true
notes marred their emotional buildup -- although almost always, Judy managed
to belt the lyrics toward the end and finish strong. HE'S GOT THE
WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS and WHEN YOU'RE SMILING brought applause and yells.
She sang a ballad from FUNNY GIRL, then ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE.
None of them matched the impact of 1961. "Can you people hear?" Judy
asked. "Trouble is, I can hear too, and it isn't too good."
After saying, "I have to have a sip of water... It's water, damn it."
Judy sang JUST IN TIME seated on the piano bench. She sang WHAT NOW
MY LOVE? with good feeling and a splendid rhythmic accompaniment of her
30-piece orchestra. But she shot the las note in a scratchy squawk,
said, "Aw hell," and tried it again with no luck.
"I think you should sing
instead of me," she commented to the audience. "I've got a frog or
something. I'm a mess." After YOU MADE ME LOVE YOU, she got
the audience to join in FOR ME AND MY GAL. Then TROLLEY SONG.
Judy came back with a smash and got a fine hand. After BY MYSELF,
Judy held a conference out of the spotlight, came back handkerchief in
hand, for OVER THE RAINBOW, went scratchy about the bluebirds, and finished
fairly well. She got a standing ovation and cries of "More."
It was 10 o'clock. Judy took one bow, and that was it.
You almost wanted to cry.
Kays Gary - Charlotte
Judy Garland flew into Charlotte
Wednesday in a private plane and was mobbed by young fans.
Behind a police escort, sirens
screaming, and in a new, white Cadillac, she was whisked to a press conference
and TV cameras.
Thursday night, her voice
cracking and rasping and only occasionally reaching its old-time timbre,
she heard and saw devoted fans stand and cheer anyway.
But only 40 minutes after
she began, Judy Garland quit. Most thought it was intermission but
it was over.
Friday afternoon, wearing
dark glasses, she was driven to the airport in a rented, 1964 Chevrolet
by Red Carpet bellhop Doug Gardner.
There was no police escort,
nor screaming siren. There were no reporters, no cameras, no fans.
At 2:35 p.m. Judy Garland's
personal nightmare was airborne for New York City in a commercial airliner.
Some of it remained in Charlotte.
Everybody is sorry.
She won't be back.
Judy, Judy, Judy.