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Judy Garland reads her invitation to the Sigma Chi dinner
as two of the brothers look on
Life Goes to a Party
with Judy Garland,
who becomes the
Sweetheart of Sigma Chi


from Life Magazine,
March 28, 1938

Most famous of all fraternity songs, and one of those whose words can be printed without danger of violating the postal laws, is The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi. To give Sigma Chi a sweetheart in person as well as in song, members of its Alpha Gamma chapter at Ohio State University lately initiated 14-year-old Movie Actress Judy Garland into this 83-year-old fraternity. Taking advantage of the fact that this M-G-M starlet, fresh from her success in Everybody Sing, was making a personal appearance at Columbus' Ohio Theatre, the fraternity presented her with a Sigma Chi pin on the stage. She was whisked to the chapter house for dinner after which she sang songs and indulged in the various fraternal high jinks shown on these pages.

The idea of making Miss Garland the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi originated with no press agent but with two Ohio State Sigma Chis, Richard Ross and Dean Palmer. Thanks to them, this winsome young girl, whose singing and acting net her $1,500 a week, may greet as brothers not only James McDonald, co-captain of the Ohio State football team, and Keith Bliss, member of Bucket & Dipper, junior honorary society, but also former Supreme Court Justice Willis Van Devanter, former Secretary of War Patrick J. Hurley, Booth Tarkington, George Ade and Hervey Allen.


Flanked by Sigma Chis, Judy Garland is escorted to the chapter house by Wesley Leas, president of the senior class and drum major of the University's marching band.

Initiation fun for Judy included Jim McDonald's famous ape act (LIFE, Nov. 1). Fraternity brothers were more interested in Judy's reactions than in the McDonald grimaces.




Judy Garland paddles vigorously. Below she is aghast at the damage
she has apparently inflicted on football co-captain James McDonald.





A milk toast was drunk to Judy Garland's health following the fraternity
dinner attended by 90 Ohio State Sigma Chis. First girl member of the local
chapter's 56 years, Judy is considered the ideal Sweetheart of Sigma Chi
because she has "personality plus."


Her skills at table tennis immediately made Judy Garland a respected member of Ohio State's sports-minded Sigma Chi chapter.

Fraternity President Philip Hughes "plants the pin" on the most recent Ohio State Sigma Chi pledge at Ohio Theatre in Columbus.



At the Sigma Chi house Judy Garland, whose voice has made her favorably known to countless movie-goers, sings for the pleasure of her Ohio State fraternity brothers. Noted for its athletes, Sigma Chi has had 33 All-America football players since 1922.


Sigma Chi's election of Judy Garland at Ohio State as their fraternity sweetheart was inspired by the famous song, The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi. This was written and set to music back in 1911 at Albion College, Mich., by two Sigma Chis, Byron D. Stokes and F. Dudleigh Vernor respectively. The words:

    When the world goes wrong as it's bound to do,
    And you've broken Dan Cupid's bow,
    And you long for the girl you used to love,
    The maid of the long ago;

    Why, light your pipe, bid sorrow avaunt!
    Blow the smoke from your altar of dreams,
    And wreathe the face of your dream girl there,
    The love that is just what it seems.

    The girl of my dreams is the sweetest girl
    of all the girls I know
    Each sweed co-ed, like a rainbow trail,
    Fades in the afterglow.
    The blue of her eyes and the gold of her hair
    Are a blend of the western sky;
    And the moonlight beams on the girl of my dreams,
    She's the sweetheart of Sigma Chi.

In the past 27 years, this sentimental song has become familiar not only to Sigma Chis but to countless other fraternity men all over the country. Copyrighted by the Melrose Bros. Music Co. of Chicago, through whose permission LIFE reprints the extract quoted above, it has sold some 450,000 copies. Mr. Stokes is now an advertising salesman in chicago and Mr. Vernor a Detroit organist.

Singing at the Ohio Theatre, Judy Garland demonstrated the pleasing vocal technique which has made her a No. 1 movie starlet.


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