Sunday, April 28, 2013

JUDY IN HOLLYWOOD the second time around

Event organizer Jan Glazier and filmmaker Frank Labrador

Earlier this month Jan Glazier threw another one of her famous Judy events. This year's extravaganza was called Judy In Hollywood 2. Here is a report on the event by TJGE member Tracy Terhune that was originally published on Yahoo and is being republished here with Tracy's permission (as well as his personal photos from the event, with additional photos supplied by Hannah Brown). 

By Tracy Terhune

I thought I would add some narrative to the wonderful photos being shared here by other members of the Judy Experience who attended the JUDY IN HOLLYWOOD. 

First off, hats off to Jan, Frankie and Steve Sanders who really were the guiding force for making behind this charming event. It was respectful that with Steve's sudden passing that the event was dedicated in his honor.

On Wednesday night we gathered at the Beverly Garland hotel for a reception-mixer. Finger food lined one side of the room and a bar tucked in to the corner. Once checked in, with Judy Garland songs floating in the air in the background, guests could mingle, find a seat and soon the program was under way. We had wonderful videos provided by Richard Glazier who interviewed Gene Allan who had worked on A Star Is Born as production designer. He is naturally a bit elderly and once referred to A Star Is Born as My Fair Lady. Also was a very funny Punchy Players Judy- Ann Miller video that had been created and tailored to our Judy In Hollywood festival. Too funny. It's now available for viewing on Youtube. Check it out, if you haven't already.

We had a guest speaker Robert L. Freedman, who had written the TV script "Me & My Shadows; Life With Judy Garland". He talked at length about his involvement and how he had to compress components of various members of her life into one person.

He said he never went to the set during shooting (It was filmed in Canada) He then ended his segment with a 

I had brought two costumes for display that I had purchased from auction that had been worn/used in the movie. The 1969 wedding dress and the off-camera OZ jumper. They made a nice backdrop for Mr. Freedman's talk.

Original costumes from Me And My Shadows

With a knock on the door it opened and who was there to start our festivities off – feeling a song coming on? …in walked Peter Mac who does a Judy Garland impersonation act. While I admit these things are usually not my cup of tea…, I rather enjoyed his songs and banter. To me, he sounded nothing like Judy but had some of her mannerisms and vocal inflections, It was all done in good taste and good fun. Peter had made up special printed cards just for our event. He scheduled a special show on Friday night, after hours.

Is Joan Beck Coulson asking Peter Mac if he accepts credit cards?
Film at eleven.

On Thursday morning everyone met to get on the bus to be transported to the Warner Bros VIP Tour. The Warner Bros lot is postage stamp size compared to where I work (Universal) but it still had a lot of Judy connections from A Star Is Born which I was anxious to see. Our guide, Rance was openly vocal how pleased that he had a crowd that loved `old Hollywood' rather than what his usual tour guests who considered Dukes of Hazard old Hollywood!! He made it a point to show us the remaining structures on the Warner Bros lot that are associated with Judy Garland.
First stop: the Theater on their NY street that can be seen as Norman escorts Esther and he sees the marquee with one of his pictures and he assures Esther she's in luck that his picture is so bad….

We posed for our first group photo under the empty marquee. We were shown other things that were non-Judy and the next one was the walk over bridge between buildings that is seen in the film, if I recall in the part where she's being taken to all the departments upon her signup.
We were also shown the location of where the artist payroll scene where she gets her name changed to Vicki Lester.

That actual building is now gone, but the camera pans around as she walks off with her check, and the surrounding area is all still there intact. 

Next up on our Judy sites was Norman Maine's bungalow. It looked very much like it did in the film and we got to walk right up to it and take as many photos as we liked.

We then went to the property department which was impressive as they have exhibits of furniture from famous films with stills there to show you how it looked. We were shown a couple of what looked like Chinese style boxes that he said were used in Norman Maine's bedroom scene.

Our last Judy spot on the tour got a bit derailed as someone was shooting a scene exactly where our guide wanted us to be. This was the walkway scene where Judy exits the makeup session and passes Norman and he doesn't recognize her. It's still there and looks exactly the same. Sadly, due to the filming, we had to view it from the opposite angle that was used in the film, but it was instantly identifiable to me.

This concluded our Judy @ Warner Bros Tour, and we boarded the bus and were whisked down to Hollywood Blvd for lunch at the famous Musso's & Franks restaurant. After lunch this concluded the day's events and everyone was on their own for what they wanted to do for the evening.

Part 2

The morning started off for an all day session @ The Hollywood Heritage Museum.  
Its a fabulous historic building which was used by Cecil B. DeMille when he came to Hollywood to shoot the 1st feature length film done in Hollywood.  It sat on the Paramount lot for almost 80 years until it was moved to across the street from the Hollywood Bowl.  Its been turned into a museum on the early origins of Hollywood, but today it would be Judy Garland Central - as everyone gathered for the days festivities.   Large "Judy In Hollywood"  posters were placed about the museum including a laminated one which everyone was encouraged to sign.

To start the day Tom Barnes kindly brought his 16mm projector and provided us with his private print of one of Judy's concert episodes of the TV series.  He introduced the film and set the tone of the day by mentioning that Steve Sanders had asked him to show this print to start our days events.  I wondered how receptive everyone would be as most of us have seen the show many times.  As in all things Judy, it was magical!  Projected on a large screen a room with all the Bench Wenches & 2 Bench Dudes, and all the JIH attendees, and the memory of Steve in the air, there was an undeniable electricity. 
Next up was the Kay Thompson author Sam Irvin who spoke at length about the history of Kay and his new book that he was promoting.  He spoke a really long time, and in my opinion this segment was my least favorite presentation of the weekend.  He certainly knew his subject and I don't mean  to imply otherwise.  Yes Kay and Judy were associates but his talk really did not go much into Judy at all, however at the conclusion of his talk he did show a brief slide show that had several shots that included Judy as well as Liza.

Right after his talk Mr. Irvin was signing books in the lobby and people were "milling about" I noticed an older couple standing in the back against the wall.  I walked up and introduced myself, fearing they had wandered into the museum thinking it was a normal operating day, and were lost.  It turns out it was Mr. and Mrs Christopher Finch!  the famed author of "Rainbow"  I enjoyed talking with him very much and hearing his stories of his research and people he had interviewed such as Tom Drake who's name came up in our conversation.  I had brought my copy of the book for him to sign and I grabbed Frank Labrador to take our photo.  He mentioned his wife Linda had assisted him in doing research on the book and he gave her credit for the book even though his name was on the cover. 

Tracy Terhune and Christopher Finch

It was then announced that a caravan of cars would dash everyone across the street to a backstage tour of the famed Hollywood Bowl.  Of course we all know Judy's historic concert there, so there was no pleading with people this time, to "hurry up"  they were ready!

   I myself have been there many times so I decided to stay at the Barn and I am sure glad I did! 
With the Museum mostly empty I noted the Bench Wenches and Dudes standing around talking and I walked over and had a wonderful 35 min one -on- one with them asking questions, getting to hear in person their stories first hand. What a thrill!  This was my first time to meet Margo Slaughter, Ken Young, and Norman Chramoff. 

Judy's bench warmers. Two of the original Bench Wenches, Eleanor Lyon and Margot Slaughter, pose with their beloved Bench Dudes Norman Charmoff and Ken Young.

   Norman even told me his personal story of being in NYC when Judy died in 1969 and how he had gotten in the long line at Campbell's to walk past Judy's bier 3 times, that is how much she meant to him.   You cant put a price on stories like this.   Margo was so thrilled when I asked her about when I watch the shows I am always amazed at the lack of applause.  I called it 'polite applause' at best, in most cases.  She said she was so glad I brought that up, that the studio would pack the one section with VIP guests who were given tickets for one reason or another but had no more than a passing interest in Judy.  She had noticed this even in 1963.  Well, I got that question answered!  I had always wondered about that.

By this time everyone returned and Jan introduced Christopher Finch, who talked about the book, "Rainbow" and recalled marvelous stories including one about going to Fred Astaire's home to interview him and how Fred sort of blew him off politely, saying he 'lived in the present'... and Mr. Finch got up and politely said "Mr. Astaire, I fear I have been wasting your time...." and got up to leave, and Fred Astaire leapt up and apologized and sat down and told his whole Judy story.  That was just one little chestnut he shared with us in his talk.  He later opened it up to a Q&A
Then everyone waited in excitement as Frank Labrador took to the podium to introduce his 'work in progress' documentary on the Judy Garland Show.  This year being the 50th anniversary of the launch, he told us Steve Sanders had given him access to his original audio recordings of the interviews he conducted in preparation for his book Rainbows End.   The lights were dimmed and the documentary unfolded.  What a masterpiece!  I kept thinking oh, how proud Steve would be of Frankie's work.   Frank has shown his skills time and again with his editing, but truly this was his finest hour.   He had mined several private photo collections for rare behind the scenes shots, most I had never seen.  All this was combined with voice overlays of those Steve interviewed such as Jayne Meadows and Steve Allan, and so many more I cant recall now.  I can tell you his video was given a standing ovation at the conclusion and that included all the bench wenches and dudes and George Sunga who was in attendance. He was production supervisor for the show.

After a brief break we were summoned back to our seats for the final segment of the (now) evening.  "Tribute To Steve Sanders" started off with a wonderful 4 minute film lovingly done by a former room-mate of Steve's and who is an editor himself. Sorry, but his name escapes me at the moment.  After his touching video, he shared his memories of Steve and was visibly moved.   Frankie had previously selected a number of people to read messages for friends of Steve who could not be in attendance.  First up was Randy Henderson who shared a very heartfelt  piece submitted by Judy Experience Founder Daniel Berghaus.  Randy then spoke on his own behalf touching on knowing Steve for almost 35 years and mentioned the Sid Luft 'A Star Is Born" screening Steve had arranged, which turned out to be Sid's last pubic appearance.  Others speaking on behalf of Steve Sanders included the wonderful, delightful Joan Coulson.  Joan had attended the first show taping @ CBS when she worked there.  She also had attended several of Judy's London concerts. 
She read a passage from Gary Horrocks and then from her own heart.  Very moving.  Tears were in everyone's eyes, this was such an emotional day!  Then Ruth Turner spoke so passionately about interacting with Steve and recalled him visiting her and her husband Robert in their home.  I was last to speak (hopefully not least) and I read a piece submitted by respected collector Charles Triplett.  Charles shared his memories with Steve which he included both of their mothers were named Margaret!  Then I read my own remarks on Steve, who meant so much to me.  In fact his last message to me was thanking me for getting use of the Museum for the Judy In Hollywood event and that he would be in town a few extra days after, and we could have 1 on 1 time.  My remarks about Steve:
I find it hard to put into words - my feelings about him.  I dearly loved Steve. I thought the world of him.  Friends of his caliber are a treasured breed. Steve was without a doubt one of the funniest guys I have ever met. What a wit, what a turn of phrase!!   With his death, what a tremendous void has been inflicted upon the Judy Garland community. Yes, we've lost one of our own. Coyne Steven Sanders is a iconic example of the impact of one man .  Of the difference one man can make in the world.  What If he had not lived?  There would be no Rainbows End.  Can you even fathom that book not being on your bookshelf in your arsenal of Judy Garland books? 
When my dog Bosco passed away a couple years ago, Steve reached out to me, sending me an email saying "I will pray for you and him.... he will be waiting for you....I don't care what any church says... my cat Spike will be up in heaven when I get there waiting for me, and Bosco will be waiting for you... I just know it."
Today we gather here to remember the gift of his life -  both professional and private. Our grief is beyond words..... yet I still find myself trying to grasp the right ones.   Yes, Steve, I will miss the extended telephone calls, Steve I will miss our Judy Parties, Steve, I will miss the restaurant adventures... I will miss the laughter you brought about. IT WAS YOU. Its with great sadness. that I stand here today to say farewell to a wonderful, friend.  Steve - "I just know it" that you have Spike in your lap at this very moment as you look down in approval.  I will always be a part of your life, and you a part of mine.   I will remember you.... always.

This concluded the days events.   That night several went to the club "Oil Can Harry's" to see Peter Mac do his Judy Garland show. 

The scene at Oil Can Harry's.

Glamorous Hannah Brown and dashing Tom Early 
are enjoying their night at Oil Can Harry's.

Peter Mac and Eleanor Lyon share a post show moment.

SATURDAY; CBS, and Matteo's coming soon.

No comments:



The Judy Garland Experience

Web Site Counter
Free Counter

Blog Archive