There’s no place like home
After a brief spate of warm weather, the temperature has turned colder, and the foliage around the Antelope Valley has changed from summer shades of green to the colorful red, gold, orange, yellow and russet hues of fall.
The evening and morning air is turning chill, and many people’s thoughts turn toward Nov. 11, Veterans Day, when we pause to honor our heroic servicemen and women currently serving and veterans who have and are sacrificing so much for America’s freedoms.
On a more familial note, people are also thinking ahead to the upcoming holiday season, when people get together with family and friends. It’s a time when many think, “There’s no place like home.” That was a famous mantra uttered by Dorothy Gale in the cherished 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.” It starred the preternaturally talented Judy Garland who was only 17 when she made famous its theme song, “Over the Rainbow.”
But before Garland became Garland, she was Francis, or “Baby,” Gumm of Lancaster. Her father, Frank Gumm, moved his wife and three daughters from Minnesota to California in search of a theater to run and in 1927 leased the 5-month-old Valley Theatre on what is now Sierra Highway, south of Lancaster Boulevard. Between movies, the Gumm sisters sang and did vaudeville acts. They didn’t stay long, departing sometime in the mid-1930s. Frances, who started performing at age 2, landed her first contract with MGM at age 12 in 1935 under the name Judy Garland.
With that in mind, the November issue of LIFESTYLE is dedicated to Garland, her early formative years in Lancaster, and the movie, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Local historian Norma Gurba, in “Little ‘Gummy’ to her friends,” recounts Garland’s time here in the Valley through reminiscences of old-timers who knew her, and opinion editor Aaron Campbell, in “Yellow brick roads less traveled,” details variations on the theme of “The Wizard of Oz,” examining the different versions, adaptations and retellings of the classic L. Frank Baum tale.
And in her story, “Judy was here traces of Garland in the Valley,” special sections editor Karen Maeshiro looks at where Garland lived and went to school, as well as Judy-type artifacts housed in local museums, including a footprint she made in wet concrete in 1928. And “The magic of the ruby slippers” delves into the story behind those special shoes whose heels Dorothy clicked to return home.
But this month’s issue doesn’t just concern Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion. A variety of other interesting and informative articles are featured, including a profile by staff reporter Julie Drake of steampunk artist Michael Evans, whose interesting artwork garnered honors at the annual juried art show at the Museum of Art and History, and Horse Tales columnist Elaine Macdonald’s latest horse camping trip adventure in the Eastern High Sierra. Also on view are all of our regular articles and columns, including Good Kids, A Taste for Wine, Collector’s Corner, Kovel’s Antique Forum, and more.