From the archives: Catcalls and curtain calls for Judy Garland

Miss Garland, accompanied by Mr. Herron and her manager Mr. Karl Brent, was driven directly to the airport’s V.I.P. room and emerged to board the aircraft seconds before it took off.

When sections of the crowd started to jeer her, she struggled with her escorts and tried to turn back toward the crowd.

But they half-carried her up the tarmac ramp and into the aircraft which left 10 minutes late.


Earlier, Miss Garland was surrounded by more than 20 newspaper, television and radio reporters as she hurried from her suite at the Southern Cross Hotel at 7.15 p.m.

During her hectic 10-minute trip from her car at the front of the hotel, Miss Garland …

Miss Garland and her entourage leaving the Southern Cross Hotel.

Miss Garland and her entourage leaving the Southern Cross Hotel.Credit:Staff photographer

— Gave meaningless answers to some questions as she and her entourage battled their way towards the lift.

— Answered other questions wittily.

— Told reporters she thought her performance at Festival Hall on Wednesday night had been “rather good.”

As her car pulled away many of the large crowd outside the hotel shouted, “You were wonderful Judy.” “You’re the greatest,” and “Come back soon, Judy.”

Last night the secretary of the Musicians’ Union (Mr. J. D. Thomson) said Melbourne musicians employed at the Judy Garland concert were “screaming over the whole shocking affair.”

“It was the most humiliating experience professional musicians have ever had to bear in Australia,” he added.

“I doubt if I would give permission for any musician to work with her again in Melbourne.”

Miss Garland, So Late, Quells Jeers

(May 21, 1964)

Performing at Festival Hall.

Performing at Festival Hall.Credit:John Lamb

Singer Judy Garland faced an irate and restless audience on hour and seven minutes late at Festival Hall last night – yet won 8000 fans over completely.

She walked on-stage unperturbed by jeers and catcall, blew kisses to the capacity house, then treated them to one hour of her inimitable entertainment.

International theatre goers at the performance described the audience as “surely one of the best and most patient in the world.”

But they missed scenes in the Festival office, where almost an hour after the show’s advertised starting time scores demanded their money back and pleaded to be allowed to use telephones.

During the long wait the audience slowly grew more restless and broke out with bursts of foot stamping and slow hand-clapping.

But it took the 42-year old star only a few minutes to make most of them forgive her.

Dressed in a simple white frock, she stopped to look at the audience, blew her first kiss, snatched the baton from the band leader as was deluged with applause.

She pouted at the few remaining catcalls and said simply: “I just couldn’t get out of that hotel.”


The she launched into When You’re Smiling, The Bells Are Ringing and The Man That Got Away – and she was on top again.

Even when an annoyed patron yelled “Act your age” as she clowned, she retorted: “And I’m supposed to be temperamental.”

Miss Garland called for an intermission break a few minutes short of an hour after she opened, but it was a different audience she left to the one which she entered.

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