On this day in 1961, Judy Garland made the rafters of Carnegie Hall ring with her celebrated solo concert, a performance that has been called “the greatest night in the history of show business.”
Lewis Funke in the New York Times:
The religious ritual of greeting, watching and listening to Judy Garland took place last night in Carnegie Hall. Indeed, what actually was to have been a concert- and was- also turned into something not too remote from a revival meeting.
From the moment Miss Garland came on the stage, a stage, incidentally, on which have trod before her the immortals of music, the cultists were beside themselves. What Rev. Billy Graham would have given for such a welcome from the faithful!
They were on their feet before the goddess grabbed the microphone, and by the time she had bestowed the first of those warm smiles, they were applauding and screaming “Bravo!” Miss Garland could have probably ended the concert right there and they would still be cheering. The fact is that at least a half dozen times more during the evening the standing ovation, plus the screaming, took place. . . .
Miss Garland was always in control of herself. She soothed the tender songs as only she knows how to soothe tender songs, and she projected the loud ones with all the vigor at her command. With “Alone Together” or “The Man That Got Away” she wove enchantment. With “San Francisco,” “Come Rain or Come Shine” or “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” she whipped the adherents into frenzies of exaltation.
It was, to be truthful, surprising that this audience was able to muster the pandemonium it let loose when Miss Garland wound up with “The Trolley Song,” “Rock a Bye” and included among her encores “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Swanee.”
Through it all she was the usual Judy, perspiring profusely (“sweat,” she said candidly and more earthily), taking the usual sip of water, standing frequently in front of the microphone letting her voice convey her emotions with a minimum of gesture or movement; other times she skipped a bit, sort of dancing lightly with the rhythm, always making her audience feel- as one listener remarked- “as if she’s singing just to you.”
On this day in 1775 Mozart’s Il re pastore premiered in Salzburg.
Born on this day in 1857 composer Ruggero Leoncavallo.
Born on this day in 1928 performer and diplomat Shirley Temple .