Hollywood great Judy Garland was nervous before she stepped on Opera House stage - but Blackpool loved her
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Let's begin with the star of stars, as seen on screens around the world, Judy Garland.
Her movie career had slumped when promoter Harold Fielding brought her to the Opera House on a concert tour of the largest UK venues.
The date was Sunday, June 24, 1951. Gazette reviewer Bill Burgess noted that Judy was somewhat plumper than her screen persona when she enthralled two audiences with vocal highlights from her films.
But I recall being told many years later by Bernard Crabtree, who was the deputy entertainments manager, that Miss Garland was a bundle of nerves before the first show.
She was calmed by the assurance that Blackpool loved her - and the first house audience proved it.
Judy (1922-69) had brought her own pianist, Buddy Pepper, and was accompanied by Ronnie Aldrich and and the Squadronaires.
What a great concert experience that must have been, Judy soaring Over the Rainbow, riding through St Louis on the trolley and walking up the avenue in the Easter Parade!
During her performance Judy removed her shoes, confiding that she could sing better without them. At curtain she clasped a bouquet and hoped Blackpool would one day invite her back. Sadly, it didn't happen.
The Gazette interviewed her in her dressing room and noticed a fold-out album of photos of her five-year-old daughter, Liza Minnelli.
You can't read about Judy's tragic demise at the age of 47 without shedding a tear . . .
In that post-war era another music legend was a regular visitor to the Opera House and the adjacent Empress Ballroom in the Winter Gardens.
It was the bandleader Geraldo (Gerald Bright, 1904-1973) who was the music advisor to the Blackpool Tower Company, owners of the Gardens complex.
Geraldo and his orchestra played short seasons for dancing in the late 1940s and early 50s and did several Sunday concerts at the Opera House.
But his local links dated back 30 years, when he was a violinist at the Tower before being given charge of a small orchestra at the Metropole Hotel in 1922.
Two years later he moved to the Majestic Hotel, St Annes, from where he did many broadcasts in the early days of radio.
Now the drama spot. It's G for Gielgud. But who would imagine Sir John starring as Macbeth in Blackpool?
It happened in Easter week, 1942, at the Opera House. It was his third Blackpool stage visit in three years.
In September, 1939, he brought his own production of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest to the Grand Theatre.
In the spring of 1941 he brought his revival of JM Barrie's Dear Brutus to the Grand.
Another knight of the stage, Alec Guinness (1914-2000), was seen at the Grand years before his many movie triumphs. In the early months of WW2 he starred in a tour of an inspirational American play, Thunder Rock. But he didn't get the role in the 1942 film.