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Max Factor Ad 1945

Judy performs "Minnie From Trinidad"

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Judy in 1945

Judy in the 1930 film "Bubbles"
Eight year old Judy sings "The Land of Let's Pretend"
in the 1930 film short Bubbles


Judy Garland was one of the most photograhped personalities of the 20th Century.

Even before she began with MGM in 1935, she had already been much photographed as a child, and as a child performer. When she entered the gates of MGM, she came under the control of the massive MGM Publicity Department. MGM was the biggest and best studio, so naturally they had the biggest and best publicity department.

Once the studio began to actually groom her for stardom, she would be photographed almost constantly.

This is a part of the lives of Hollywood stars of the day that sadly, is rarely mentioned by writers and historians today. Stars (and all contract players) had to take singing, dancing and acting lessons (regardless of whether they really COULD sing, dance or even act!) - they had to take classes on "poise and manners" - they had to learn how to dress and act in public, how to give interviews, and how to pose for "Studio Portraits."

"Studio Portraits" were a vital part of the studio's publicity departments. These pictures would go out (usually for free) to all the fan magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals - all for the sole purpose of publicizing their latest or upcoming film. The star power at the various studios would be used, even if a star wasn't in a current release, to at lease keep that studio's name in the public consiouness.

Advertisement for "Babes In Arms"
Example of publicity photos being used in advertising

Stars and supporitng players spent endless days sitting for portraits. Sometimes they were in costurme for the film they were making, and the subsequent photos would be used in ads, posters, displays & lobby cards to promote the film.
Also popular were publicity shots showing action from the films, and behind the scenes action - like the "Oz" pictures that show the filming of the movie. Usually these were used, like "Oz," to show how big and opulent film sets were.
Most famously though, the stars (and soon-to-be-stars) would sit for "Glamour Shots" or "stills" - beautifully done portraits. Some of these portraits are, to this day, works of art. The studios enlisted some of the greatest photographers of the 20th Century. George Hurrell was famous for his portraits of Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, and other MGM stars, including Judy.
Eric Carpenter did most of the beautiful portraits of Judy during her years with MGM. Clarence Sinclair Bull headed the portrait department for four decades, and you can be sure the he did some of the lovely portraits of Judy as well.
After Judy left MGM - she would continue to sit for portraits, whether it was for her work with Columbia & Capitol records and film and tv work. Whatever the case, there are tons of wonderful photographs out there of Judy which document her entire life.

Publicity Photo
Judy & Toto in a publicity pic from The Wizard Of Oz

Collecting movie and movie star photos (or "stills" as theiy're commonly called) is a fun and inexpensive hobby.

The most popular of these are the 8x10's which were the standard (and still are) for most publicity and glamour stills (see the column on the left). Sometimes you can get original 8x10's from the time period, with a white "border" that would have the name of the film, the star's names, and the studio's name - and sometimes a quick line or two describing the action. For stills of scenes from films, MGM would put the production number of the film followed by the sequential number of the still (see the photo from "Broadway Melody of 1938" below).

Judy in the 1960s
In her famous pantsuit - circa 1968

Since the advent of the Internet, so many great pictures from the golden years of Hollywood have been traded, sold and given away because collectors now have a much easier way to find each other. eBay and other auction sites are great resources to find photos in all price ranges.

There are other memorbilia specialty stores that can be found using any good Internet search engine. But buyer beware! While most people on the auction sites are reputable, there are a few who will sell you what they call and 8x10 (technically it is), but it's really just a copy of the original - sometimes even a badly scanned copy that's been printed. But overall most people are honest about what they have. After a while, you get a feel for the pictures and you can usually tell if pic is a "copy."

This rare Judy pic came from the old MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. I believe they're called "contact sheets" - it's a high quality B&W picture - about 3'X5" in size. The production number 1484 is listed on the side as is the date, January 23, 1950. It's obvious that Judy is in costume for Summer Stock, although that isn't the production number assigned to the film - or is it? That's Spencer Tracy chatting with Judy. There is a slight crease on the left side of the picture, going down part of Spencer's coat - but it's still a fun, unusual photo. Casual pictures like these are always fun to find - showing the stars just having a break (rare for Judy!) or out having fun.

Ziegfeld Girl
Lana Turner, Judy, and Hedy Lamarr in a publicity photo for Ziegfeld Girl (1941)

Judy and Gene Kelly perform the title song in For Me And My Gal (1942)


One of the earliest of MGM's publicity 8x10's to feature Judy - this one is from Judy's first feature-length film for the studio: Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937) - With Judy from left to right are: Charles Igor Gorin, Sophie Tucker and Barnett Parker . The song being performed is "Everybody Sing."

Rare publicity photo from Presenting Lily Mars (1943) - click on the picture to get a full view of the 8X10

Publicty Photo for "The Pirate"
Lovely publicity photo for The Pirate (1948)

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