Judy Garland’s Philadelphia History

The fabulous, yet troubled, gay icon played her last full-length concert in Philly 47 years ago today.

Judy Garland

Judy Garland

It takes a seasoned Philadelphian to know JFK Stadium. The multi-purpose venue was demolished in 1992, and the Wells Fargo Center currently stands in its place. But, one might argue that the ghosts of divas past might haunt the venue given the historical significance JFK Stadium had for the one and only Judy Garland.

In 1968, Ms. Garland performed her last full-length concert here in Philly, right at JFK Stadium. In fact, today marks 47 years since Judy belted her classic hits at the venue, clearly a sign of time gone by. She was joined by members of the Count Basie Orchestra on July 20, 1968, and her set included “For Once in My Life,” “The Trolley Song,” and, of course, “Over the Rainbow.” Her full concert is captured below:

Ironically enough, Garland’s final concert at JFK isn’t the only historical milestone that Philly has when it comes to Judy. She also gave her first-ever public concert at the Robert Hood Dell in 1943. It’s quite romantic to think what that experience was like for Philadelphians attending the event. To get a taste of what Judy looked and sounded like in 1943, here’s a clip from the film Thousands Cheer, which was released in the same year:

It’s enough to make any Philly show tune queen cheer. Godspeed, Judy!  We’ll see you somewhere over the rainbow (or, somewhere over Broad Street).