You Must Remember This

You Must Remember This Podcast

You Must Remember This is a storytelling podcast exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. It’s the brainchild and passion project of Karina Longworth (founder of Cinematical.com, former film critic for LA Weekly), who writes, narrates, records and edits each episode. It is a heavily-researched work of creative nonfiction: navigating through conflicting reports, mythology, and institutionalized spin, Karina tries to sort out what really happened behind the films, stars and scandals of the 20th century.

145: Ramon Novarro (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 19)
Ramon Novarro was a Mexican actor and singer whose stardom at MGM in the 1920s and 30s was not impeded by his offscreen life as a gay man. In Hollywood Babylon, Anger focuses only on Novarro’s grisly murder in 1968 -- which outed Novarro to a public that had largely forgotten him--and needlessly embellishes a crime scene that was already pretty horrible. Today, in our final episode of Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon, we will explore the life which Anger left out of Hollywood Babylon, and correct that book’s...

145: Ramon Novarro (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 19)
Ramon Novarro was a Mexican actor and singer whose stardom at MGM in the 1920s and 30s was not impeded by his offscreen life as a gay man. In Hollywood Babylon, Anger focuses only on Novarro’s grisly murder in 1968 -- which outed Novarro to a public that had largely forgotten him--and needlessly embellishes a crime scene that was already pretty horrible. Today, in our final episode of Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon, we will explore the life which Anger left out of Hollywood Babylon, and correct that book’s...

144: The Trials of Confidential Magazine: Maureen O'Hara (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 18)
In part two of our two-parter on the demise of the biggest and most pernicious tabloid of the 1950s, we’ll explore what happened after the magazine’s claim that redheaded star Maureen O’Hara was caught having sex at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. O’Hara positioned herself the “Joan of Arc” of Hollywood, single-handedly defending a cowardly industry against the existential threat posed by Confidential. As we’ll see, this is one story where the Kenneth Anger version is more credible than the version related by on...


144: The Trials of Confidential Magazine: Maureen O'Hara (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 18)
In part two of our two-parter on the demise of the biggest and most pernicious tabloid of the 1950s, we’ll explore what happened after the magazine’s claim that redheaded star Maureen O’Hara was caught having sex at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. O’Hara positioned herself the “Joan of Arc” of Hollywood, single-handedly defending a cowardly industry against the existential threat posed by Confidential. As we’ll see, this is one story where the Kenneth Anger version is more credible than the version related by on...

143: The Trials of Confidential Magazine: Dorothy Dandridge (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 17)
Over two episodes, we will explore Hollywood Babylon’s coverage of Confidential Magazine and the two celebrities who testified against the scandal rag in the 1957 trial that helped end what Anger rightfully refers to as its “reign of terror.” We’ll begin with Dorothy Dandridge, the first black actress to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. Dandridge’s testimony against Confidential reveals the publication’s racist agenda, as well as the double standards that governed her real private and public lives....

143: The Trials of Confidential Magazine: Dorothy Dandridge (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 17)
Over two episodes, we will explore Hollywood Babylon’s coverage of Confidential Magazine and the two celebrities who testified against the scandal rag in the 1957 trial that helped end what Anger rightfully refers to as its “reign of terror.” We’ll begin with Dorothy Dandridge, the first black actress to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. Dandridge’s testimony against Confidential reveals the publication’s racist agenda, as well as the double standards that governed her real private and public lives....


142: Bugsy Siegel (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 16)
Jewish gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel is frequently credited with corrupting Hollywood’s unions and “inventing” Las Vegas. Siegel did have movie star friends, but the true story of his involvement with the Flamingo casino is also the story of a much bigger movieland player: Hollywood Reporter founder/publisher/columnist Billy Wilkerson....

142: Bugsy Siegel (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 16)
Jewish gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel is frequently credited with corrupting Hollywood’s unions and “inventing” Las Vegas. Siegel did have movie star friends, but the true story of his involvement with the Flamingo casino is also the story of a much bigger movieland player: Hollywood Reporter founder/publisher/columnist Billy Wilkerson....

141: Marlene Dietrich, Claudette Colbert, and the “sewing circle” (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 15)
The bisexuality of Marlene Dietrich was not exactly a secret in 1930s Hollywood -- in fact, her ambiguous sexuality was part of her on-screen brand. But there is some debate as to who Dietrich counted among her lovers, and which of her fellow stars participated in what has been called the “sewing circle” of female intimacy. Anger alleges that Dietrich had a “passionate affair” with Claudette Colbert, an Oscar-winning actress with an extremely heteronormative persona. We’ll explore what was going on in Dietr...


141: Marlene Dietrich, Claudette Colbert, and the “sewing circle” (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 15)
The bisexuality of Marlene Dietrich was not exactly a secret in 1930s Hollywood -- in fact, her ambiguous sexuality was part of her on-screen brand. But there is some debate as to who Dietrich counted among her lovers, and which of her fellow stars participated in what has been called the “sewing circle” of female intimacy. Anger alleges that Dietrich had a “passionate affair” with Claudette Colbert, an Oscar-winning actress with an extremely heteronormative persona. We’ll explore what was going on in Dietr...

140: Lupe Velez (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 14)
Mexican actress Lupe Velez was the victim of one of Anger’s cruelest invented stories. His fabrication of her manner of death lays bare a vicious racism in addition to Hollywood Babylon’s usual sexism. Today we will sort out the fact of Velez’s life from Anger’s fiction and consider the star of the Mexican Spitfire series as a comedienne ahead of her time....

140: Lupe Velez (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 14)
Mexican actress Lupe Velez was the victim of one of Anger’s cruelest invented stories. His fabrication of her manner of death lays bare a vicious racism in addition to Hollywood Babylon’s usual sexism. Today we will sort out the fact of Velez’s life from Anger’s fiction and consider the star of the Mexican Spitfire series as a comedienne ahead of her time....


139: Mary Astor's Diary (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 13)
In 1936, actress Mary Astor (who had not yet made her most famous film, The Maltese Falcon) and her husband went to court to fight for custody of their four year-old daughter. The trail made international news thanks to both sides’ use of Astor’s diary, in which she had recorded details of her affair with playwright George S. Kaufman. How much did Astor truly reveal in her diary, and what role did the scandal play in her life and career?...

139: Mary Astor's Diary (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 13)
In 1936, actress Mary Astor (who had not yet made her most famous film, The Maltese Falcon) and her husband went to court to fight for custody of their four year-old daughter. The trail made international news thanks to both sides’ use of Astor’s diary, in which she had recorded details of her affair with playwright George S. Kaufman. How much did Astor truly reveal in her diary, and what role did the scandal play in her life and career?...

138: Mae West (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 12)
Mae West was the biggest new star in Hollywood in 1933, thanks to two hit films she co-wrote and starred in as a sexually implicit, wisecracking broad who romanced a young Cary Grant. In Hollywood Babylon, Anger credits West’s abrupt decline in movies to a coordinated conspiracy organized by William Randolph Hearst and carried out by the Hays Office. Today we’ll explore West’s background, her history of pushing the censors past the limits of legality, and the truth of her lightning-fast rise in Hollywood an...


138: Mae West (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 12)
Mae West was the biggest new star in Hollywood in 1933, thanks to two hit films she co-wrote and starred in as a sexually implicit, wisecracking broad who romanced a young Cary Grant. In Hollywood Babylon, Anger credits West’s abrupt decline in movies to a coordinated conspiracy organized by William Randolph Hearst and carried out by the Hays Office. Today we’ll explore West’s background, her history of pushing the censors past the limits of legality, and the truth of her lightning-fast rise in Hollywood an...

137: Gina Lollobrigida (The Seduced, Episode 6)
This Italian pin-up, along with Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot, was emblematic of a brand of post-war European sexuality that America happily imported. But the Hollywood career of  “La Lollo” was delayed, thanks to Howard Hughes, whose obsession with Lollobrigida led him to keep her virtually imprisoned in a Los Angeles hotel and sign her to a contract that essentially made it impossible for her to work for any other U.S. producer....

137: Gina Lollobrigida (The Seduced, Episode 6)
This Italian pin-up, along with Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot, was emblematic of a brand of post-war European sexuality that America happily imported. But the Hollywood career of  “La Lollo” was delayed, thanks to Howard Hughes, whose obsession with Lollobrigida led him to keep her virtually imprisoned in a Los Angeles hotel and sign her to a contract that essentially made it impossible for her to work for any other U.S. producer....


136: Yvonne De Carlo
The future Lily Munster became a star when producer Walter Wanger cast her in Salome, Where She Danced (1945). A curvaceous brunette in her early 20s, De Carlo fit the mold of Howard Hughes’ mid-century girlfriends to a T. But that relationship would be brief, and De Carlo would go on to distinguish herself in movies, television, and as a star of the original production of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies....

136: Yvonne De Carlo
The future Lily Munster became a star when producer Walter Wanger cast her in Salome, Where She Danced (1945). A curvaceous brunette in her early 20s, De Carlo fit the mold of Howard Hughes’ mid-century girlfriends to a T. But that relationship would be brief, and De Carlo would go on to distinguish herself in movies, television, and as a star of the original production of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies....

135: Linda Darnell (The Seduced, Episode 4)
A stunning brunette sex symbol married to cinematographer Pev Marley, Darnell thought her affair with Howard Hughes would result in marriage to the aviator. But after Hughes’ near-fatal 1946 plane crash, Marley tried to make a deal to sell his wife to the tycoon--which was not what Darnell wanted. This was not the low point of a life that ended in incredible tragedy, amid a career that, to this day, has not been given the acclaim it deserves....


135: Linda Darnell (The Seduced, Episode 4)
A stunning brunette sex symbol married to cinematographer Pev Marley, Darnell thought her affair with Howard Hughes would result in marriage to the aviator. But after Hughes’ near-fatal 1946 plane crash, Marley tried to make a deal to sell his wife to the tycoon--which was not what Darnell wanted. This was not the low point of a life that ended in incredible tragedy, amid a career that, to this day, has not been given the acclaim it deserves....

134: Ann Dvorak (The Seduced, Episode 3)
The child of a silent film actress, Dvorak was so determined to be a star that at first, she wouldn’t take no for an answer. Her big break came when she was cast in Howard Hughes’s production of Scarface. But Hughes would sell her contract to Warner Brothers, and when Ann later accused Hughes of having “sold [her] down the river,”  she would swiftly suffer the consequences of going up against Hughes in the press when his mastery over the medium of publicity was at its peak....

134: Ann Dvorak (The Seduced, Episode 3)
The child of a silent film actress, Dvorak was so determined to be a star that at first, she wouldn’t take no for an answer. Her big break came when she was cast in Howard Hughes’s production of Scarface. But Hughes would sell her contract to Warner Brothers, and when Ann later accused Hughes of having “sold [her] down the river,”  she would swiftly suffer the consequences of going up against Hughes in the press when his mastery over the medium of publicity was at its peak....


133: The Bacchanal of 1920s Hollywood, via Frederica Sagor Maas (The Seduced Episode 2)
Seduction begins at an MGM sponsored orgy at the Ambassador Hotel, as told through the eyes of one of the attendees, a young female screenwriter named Frederica Sagor. Sagor would go on to pen one of the frankest memoirs of 1920s Hollywood, revealing the systematic sexual exploitation of women in the film industry by men like Marshall Neilan--one of Howard Hughes’ early mentors. Frederica’s story also details how tough it was for a woman to hold on to power behind the scenes in the film industry as Hollywoo...

133: The Bacchanal of 1920s Hollywood, via Frederica Sagor Maas (The Seduced Episode 2)
Seduction begins at an MGM sponsored orgy at the Ambassador Hotel, as told through the eyes of one of the attendees, a young female screenwriter named Frederica Sagor. Sagor would go on to pen one of the frankest memoirs of 1920s Hollywood, revealing the systematic sexual exploitation of women in the film industry by men like Marshall Neilan--one of Howard Hughes’ early mentors. Frederica’s story also details how tough it was for a woman to hold on to power behind the scenes in the film industry as Hollywoo...

132: Rupert Hughes's Women (The Seduced, Episode 1)
In the new book Seduction: Sex, Lies and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood, Karina Longworth explores the lives and careers of over a dozen actresses who were involved, professionally and/or personally, with Howard Hughes. Inspired by the You Must Remember This episodes on “The Many Loves of Howard Hughes” produced in 2014-2015, the book goes in depth, with much new research, into the stories of stars like Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, Ida Lupino, Jane Russell and many more. In this short series of You Mus...


Rupert Hughes's Women (The Seduced, Episode 1)
In the new book Seduction: Sex, Lies and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood, Karina Longworth explores the lives and careers of over a dozen actresses who were involved, professionally and/or personally, with Howard Hughes. Inspired by the You Must Remember This episodes on “The Many Loves of Howard Hughes” produced in 2014-2015, the book goes in depth, with much new research, into the stories of stars like Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, Ida Lupino, Jane Russell and many more. In this short series of You Mus...

131: Clara Bow (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 11)
We’ll close this half of our Hollywood Babylon season with one of that book’s most famously distorted stories: the tale of “It” Girl Clara Bow’s supposed nymphomania and alleged “tackling” of the entire USC football team. The real story of Clara Bow’s life and career is a much richer tale, involving changing sexual mores, and the change in the audience’s tastes that overlapped with the end of the silent era....

Clara Bow (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 11)
We’ll close this half of our Hollywood Babylon season with one of that book’s most famously distorted stories: the tale of “It” Girl Clara Bow’s supposed nymphomania and alleged “tackling” of the entire USC football team. The real story of Clara Bow’s life and career is a much richer tale, involving changing sexual mores, and the change in the audience’s tastes that overlapped with the end of the silent era....


130: Rudolph Valentino (Fake News: Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 10)
Rudolph Valentino was Hollywood’s first “latin lover.” His shocking death at the age of 31 was attributed to side effects from an appendectomy, but Hollywood Babylon forwards theories that Valentino may have actually been poisoned, or killed by the husband of a lover, and/or secretly gay and recently divorced from his second secretly lesbian wife. What was the real story of Valentino’s marriages, and what really led to his untimely demise?...

Rudolph Valentino (Fake News: Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 10)
Rudolph Valentino was Hollywood’s first “latin lover.” His shocking death at the age of 31 was attributed to side effects from an appendectomy, but Hollywood Babylon forwards theories that Valentino may have actually been poisoned, or killed by the husband of a lover, and/or secretly gay and recently divorced from his second secretly lesbian wife. What was the real story of Valentino’s marriages, and what really led to his untimely demise?...

129: Thomas Ince and the Hearst "Coverup" (Fake News: Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 9)
Thomas Ince was one of early Hollywood’s most pioneering producers—in fact, some credit him for popularizing “producer” as a job title and for codifying what it meant to do the job, as well as helping to develop the Western as a genre. But today, if Ince is remembered at all, it’s for his death aboard a yacht owned by William Randolph Hearst, amidst a star-studded party attended by Chaplin, writer Elinor Glyn, and actress/Hearst’s mistress Marion Davies. For decades, rumors have swirled that Ince was felled...


Thomas Ince and the Hearst "Coverup" (Fake News: Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 9)
Thomas Ince was one of early Hollywood’s most pioneering producers—in fact, some credit him for popularizing “producer” as a job title and for codifying what it meant to do the job, as well as helping to develop the Western as a genre. But today, if Ince is remembered at all, it’s for his death aboard a yacht owned by William Randolph Hearst, amidst a star-studded party attended by Chaplin, writer Elinor Glyn, and actress/Hearst’s mistress Marion Davies. For decades, rumors have swirled that Ince was felled...

128: Peggy Hopkins Joyce and Charlie Chaplin (Fake News: Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon, Episode 8)
The Kim Kardashian of her day, Peggy Hopkins Joyce was famous for being rich and famous—and for her marriages and involvements with rich and famous men, including Charlie Chaplin. Did Peggy really ask Chaplin on their first date if he was “hung like a horse?” We’ll investigate this and other claims made about the affair in Hollywood Babylon, and chart how the dalliance with Hopkins Joyce inspired Chaplin’s first dramatic film A Woman of Paris, and explain how a woman of the 1910s-1920s could come from nothi...

Peggy Hopkins Joyce and Charlie Chaplin (Fake News: Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon, Episode 8)
The Kim Kardashian of her day, Peggy Hopkins Joyce was famous for being rich and famous—and for her marriages and involvements with rich and famous men, including Charlie Chaplin. Did Peggy really ask Chaplin on their first date if he was “hung like a horse?” We’ll investigate this and other claims made about the affair in Hollywood Babylon, and chart how the dalliance with Hopkins Joyce inspired Chaplin’s first dramatic film A Woman of Paris, and explain how a woman of the 1910s-1920s could come from nothi...


126: Wallace Reid (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 6)
According to Hollywood Babylon, actor Wallace Reid—a morphine addict who died in an asylum at the age of 31—was the first sacrificial lamb of the post-scandal era, and Reid’s wife, a former teen star named Dorothy Davenport, was the ultimate opportunistic hypocrite. What made Reid’s case different from the other scandals around this time? Was Davenport the black widow that Anger suggests, or should she be remembered as a pioneering female writer, producer and director?...


Wallace Reid (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 6)
According to Hollywood Babylon, actor Wallace Reid—a morphine addict who died in an asylum at the age of 31—was the first sacrificial lamb of the post-scandal era, and Reid’s wife, a former teen star named Dorothy Davenport, was the ultimate opportunistic hypocrite. What made Reid’s case different from the other scandals around this time? Was Davenport the black widow that Anger suggests, or should she be remembered as a pioneering female writer, producer and director?...

125: Mabel Normand (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 5)
A frequent co-star of Roscoe Arbuckle’s, Mabel Normand was the definitive female screen comedienne of her generation. But it wasn’t her association with Arbuckle that brought Normand’s career to an abrupt close and her life to an early end. Today we’ll interrogate Hollywood Babylon’s claim that Normand was a cocaine addict, explore Normand’s involvement in various scandals which did more damage than drugs, and talk about the disease that led to her early death....

Mabel Normand (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 5)
A frequent co-star of Roscoe Arbuckle’s, Mabel Normand was the definitive female screen comedienne of her generation. But it wasn’t her association with Arbuckle that brought Normand’s career to an abrupt close and her life to an early end. Today we’ll interrogate Hollywood Babylon’s claim that Normand was a cocaine addict, explore Normand’s involvement in various scandals which did more damage than drugs, and talk about the disease that led to her early death....


124: William Desmond Taylor (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 4)
The killing of director William Desmond Taylor was the third in a trifecta of scandals which, over the course of about a year and a half, painted such a sordid a picture of the movie colony as a hotbed of sin that the industry was forced to fundamentally change its way of conducting business. Anger’s telling implies that Taylor’s murder may have been a consequence of the affairs he supposedly conducted simultaneously with several women, including both a starlet and her mother, or related to the fact that Ta...

William Desmond Taylor (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 4)
The killing of director William Desmond Taylor was the third in a trifecta of scandals which, over the course of about a year and a half, painted such a sordid a picture of the movie colony as a hotbed of sin that the industry was forced to fundamentally change its way of conducting business. Anger’s telling implies that Taylor’s murder may have been a consequence of the affairs he supposedly conducted simultaneously with several women, including both a starlet and her mother, or related to the fact that Ta...

123: Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Virginia Rappe (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 3)
At a boozy party over Labor Day weekend 1921, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, silent Hollywood’s superstar plus-size comedian, followed sometime actress Virginia Rappe into a hotel room. They were alone together for only a few minutes, but in that time, Rappe fell ill, and died several days later from her sickness. Arbuckle was tried for murder, and accused of rape in the newspapers. The story of the definitive sex-and-death scandal in early Hollywood history, which left a woman dead and effectively killed off a s...


Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Virginia Rappe (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 3)
At a boozy party over Labor Day weekend 1921, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, silent Hollywood’s superstar plus-size comedian, followed sometime actress Virginia Rappe into a hotel room. They were alone together for only a few minutes, but in that time, Rappe fell ill, and died several days later from her sickness. Arbuckle was tried for murder, and accused of rape in the newspapers. The story of the definitive sex-and-death scandal in early Hollywood history, which left a woman dead and effectively killed off a s...

122: Olive Thomas (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 2)
The first Hollywood scandal to attract international attention was the death-by-poison of Olive Thomas, the twenty-five-year old star of au courant Hollywood hit The Flapper. According to Hollywood Babylon, Thomas’s death was the suicide of a woman desperate over her failure to score dope for her junkie husband. What’s the real story—and what role was played by Jack Pickford, Olive’s husband and the brother of the actress then considered “America’s Sweetheart”?...

Olive Thomas (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 2)
The first Hollywood scandal to attract international attention was the death-by-poison of Olive Thomas, the twenty-five-year old star of au courant Hollywood hit The Flapper. According to Hollywood Babylon, Thomas’s death was the suicide of a woman desperate over her failure to score dope for her junkie husband. What’s the real story—and what role was played by Jack Pickford, Olive’s husband and the brother of the actress then considered “America’s Sweetheart”?...


121: D.W. Griffith, the Gish Sisters and the origin of "Hollywood Babylon" (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 1)
This season will interrogate Kenneth Anger’s controversial and influential gossip collection, Hollywood Babylon. Is this cult classic a needed subversive attack on Hollywood’s false idols, or a dangerous work of “fake news”? In our first episode, we’ll look at how D.W. Griffith’s follow-up to his racist smash The Birth of a Nation gave Anger the structuring image of his gossip bible, helping to set the ironic tone of the book. But what of Anger’s accusations that Griffith was a known pedophile, and that his...

D.W. Griffith, the Gish Sisters and the origin of "Hollywood Babylon" (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 1)
This season will interrogate Kenneth Anger’s controversial and influential gossip collection, Hollywood Babylon. Is this cult classic a needed subversive attack on Hollywood’s false idols, or a dangerous work of “fake news”? In our first episode, we’ll look at how D.W. Griffith’s follow-up to his racist smash The Birth of a Nation gave Anger the structuring image of his gossip bible, helping to set the ironic tone of the book. But what of Anger’s accusations that Griffith was a known pedophile, and that his...

120: Boris and Roger Corman (Bela & Boris Part 6)
Where Bela Lugosi lived his last decade in sad obscurity, Boris Karloff worked until the very end of his life, even as his body began to fall apart. Some of that work was for Roger Corman, the extremely prolific independent genre film producer whose movies helped to define the generation gap in the 1960s, while serving as a training ground for the next generation of auteurs. Karloff’s and Corman’s finest collaboration, Peter Bogdanovich’s directorial debut Targets, would serve as a bridge between cinematica...


120: Boris and Roger Corman (Bela & Boris Part 6)
Where Bela Lugosi lived his last decade in sad obscurity, Boris Karloff worked until the very end of his life, even as his body began to fall apart. Some of that work was for Roger Corman, the extremely prolific independent genre film producer whose movies helped to define the generation gap in the 1960s, while serving as a training ground for the next generation of auteurs. Karloff’s and Corman’s finest collaboration, Peter Bogdanovich’s directorial debut Targets, would serve as a bridge between cinematica...

119: Bela and Ed Wood (Bela & Boris Part 5)
Forgotten by Hollywood, struggling with morphine addiction and a dependency on alcohol, at the end of his life Bela Lugosi was welcomed into a rag tag bunch of micro-budget movie-making freaks led by Edward D. Wood Jr,, who would later become known as the worst filmmaker of all time. Through their collaborations on movies like Glen or Glenda? and Bride of the Monster, did Ed Wood help Bela, exploit him, or a little of both? Featuring Taran Killam as Bela Lugosi and Noah Segan as Ed Wood....

119: Bela and Ed Wood (Bela & Boris Part 5)
Forgotten by Hollywood, struggling with morphine addiction and a dependency on alcohol, at the end of his life Bela Lugosi was welcomed into a rag tag bunch of micro-budget movie-making freaks led by Edward D. Wood Jr,, who would later become known as the worst filmmaker of all time. Through their collaborations on movies like Glen or Glenda? and Bride of the Monster, did Ed Wood help Bela, exploit him, or a little of both? Featuring Taran Killam as Bela Lugosi and Noah Segan as Ed Wood....


118: Bela vs. Boris (Bela & Boris Part 4)
Lugosi and Karloff, the two stars made by Universal’s monster movies, made eight films together. Today we’ll dive deep into some of these movies (including The Black Cat, The Raven, Son of Frankenstein and Val Lewton’s The Body Snatcher), and continue to explore how even when their careers brought them together, Karloff and Lugosi remained worlds apart. Featuring Patton Oswalt as Boris Karloff and Taran Killam as Bela Lugosi....

118: Bela vs. Boris (Bela & Boris Part 4)
Lugosi and Karloff, the two stars made by Universal’s monster movies, made eight films together. Today we’ll dive deep into some of these movies (including The Black Cat, The Raven, Son of Frankenstein and Val Lewton’s The Body Snatcher), and continue to explore how even when their careers brought them together, Karloff and Lugosi remained worlds apart. Featuring Patton Oswalt as Boris Karloff and Taran Killam as Bela Lugosi....

117: Boris and the Monsters (Bela & Boris Part 3)
After twenty years as a journeyman actor/laborer, Boris Karloff became an instant superstar as the Monster in Frankenstein (1931). Today we’ll explore how Karloff, unlike Lugosi, managed to maintain a steady stardom throughout the decades, returning to the monster that made him without feeling trapped by the character. Featuring Patton Oswalt as Boris Karloff....


117: Boris and the Monsters (Bela & Boris Part 3)
After twenty years as a journeyman actor/laborer, Boris Karloff became an instant superstar as the Monster in Frankenstein (1931). Today we’ll explore how Karloff, unlike Lugosi, managed to maintain a steady stardom throughout the decades, returning to the monster that made him without feeling trapped by the character. Featuring Patton Oswalt as Boris Karloff....

116: Bela and the Vampires (Bela & Boris Part 2)
With Dracula (1931), Bela Lugosi instantly became the first horror star of sound cinema. It’s not easy being a trailblazer, and Bela would have difficulty capitalizing on his newfound stardom. In this episode we’ll discuss how Dracula made him, and trapped him, and trace the subsequent vampire roles that became his bread and butter....

116: Bela and the Vampires (Bela & Boris Part 2)
With Dracula (1931), Bela Lugosi instantly became the first horror star of sound cinema. It’s not easy being a trailblazer, and Bela would have difficulty capitalizing on his newfound stardom. In this episode we’ll discuss how Dracula made him, and trapped him, and trace the subsequent vampire roles that became his bread and butter....


115: Where the Monsters Came From (Bela & Boris Part 1)
Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff were two middle-aged, foreign, struggling actors who became huge stars thanks to Dracula and Frankenstein, the first two of a trend of monster movie hits released by Universal Studios during the 1930s. This season, we’ll discuss their parallel but very different lives and careers. Today, we’ll start by exploring where each man came from, what they were doing before they got to Universal, and why Universal began making monster movies in the first place....

115: Where the Monsters Came From (Bela & Boris Part 1)
Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff were two middle-aged, foreign, struggling actors who became huge stars thanks to Dracula and Frankenstein, the first two of a trend of monster movie hits released by Universal Studios during the 1930s. This season, we’ll discuss their parallel but very different lives and careers. Today, we’ll start by exploring where each man came from, what they were doing before they got to Universal, and why Universal began making monster movies in the first place....


113: Coming Home (Jean & Jane Part 8)
Jean buries her child in Iowa, and then returns to Paris in a fragile mental state. Increasingly plagued by both justifiable paranoia and delusions, she makes her last significant films (including another misguided collaboration with Romain Gary), and another attempt at marriage. Back in the States, Jane subsumes her passion for activism into her new marriage to Tom Hayden, and works to get her movie career back on track by producing commercial yet socially conscious vehicles in which she can star in. One o...

113: Coming Home (Jean & Jane Part 8)
Jean buries her child in Iowa, and then returns to Paris in a fragile mental state. Increasingly plagued by both justifiable paranoia and delusions, she makes her last significant films (including another misguided collaboration with Romain Gary), and another attempt at marriage. Back in the States, Jane subsumes her passion for activism into her new marriage to Tom Hayden, and works to get her movie career back on track by producing commercial yet socially conscious vehicles in which she can star in. One o...


112: Hanoi Jane & The FBI vs. Jean Seberg’s Baby (Jean & Jane Part 7)
After shooting a film with a much-changed Jean-Luc Godard, Jane Fonda travels to Vietnam, where she naively participates in a stunt that would leave her branded “Hanoi Jane” for decades. The world media had a field day mocking her, the US government set to work plotting to destroy her, and Jane would seek refuge in a new relationship with activist-turned-politician Tom Hayden. Meanwhile, in the midst of divorcing Romain Gary, Jean found herself pregnant. Having wiretapped a phone call between Jean and a Bla...

112: Hanoi Jane & The FBI vs. Jean Seberg’s Baby (Jean & Jane Part 7)
After shooting a film with a much-changed Jean-Luc Godard, Jane Fonda travels to Vietnam, where she naively participates in a stunt that would leave her branded “Hanoi Jane” for decades. The world media had a field day mocking her, the US government set to work plotting to destroy her, and Jane would seek refuge in a new relationship with activist-turned-politician Tom Hayden. Meanwhile, in the midst of divorcing Romain Gary, Jean found herself pregnant. Having wiretapped a phone call between Jean and a Bla...

111: Jean and Jane Become Public Enemies (Jean & Jane Part 6)
On the heels of making her biggest Hollywood movies in years, Jean Seberg becomes involved with two black radicals, one a cousin of Malcolm X who spouted violent, anti-white rhetoric, the other a leader of the Black Panthers. Jean starts offering money and support to these men and their causes, which attracts the attention of the FBI. Meanwhile, Jane leaves Vadim - and Hollywood - to find herself as a political activist, working on behalf of American Indians, the Black Panthers, and Vietnam veterans. Despit...


111: Jean and Jane Become Public Enemies (Jean & Jane Part 6)
On the heels of making her biggest Hollywood movies in years, Jean Seberg becomes involved with two black radicals, one a cousin of Malcolm X who spouted violent, anti-white rhetoric, the other a leader of the Black Panthers. Jean starts offering money and support to these men and their causes, which attracts the attention of the FBI. Meanwhile, Jane leaves Vadim - and Hollywood - to find herself as a political activist, working on behalf of American Indians, the Black Panthers, and Vietnam veterans. Despit...

110: Jane vs "Barbarella" (Jean & Jane Part 5)
Having coaxed Jane into participating in an open marriage, Vadim began casting her in films as a male fantasy of female sexual liberation. This phase of her career would peak with Barbarella, a sci-fi film based on an erotic comic book featuring Jane as a horny space warrior. Jane’s perfect body was on full display and fetishized the world over, but no one knew the self-destruction that went on behind the scenes in order to maintain her looks. While Vadim was building her up as an international sex kitten, ...

110: Jane vs "Barbarella" (Jean & Jane Part 5)
Having coaxed Jane into participating in an open marriage, Vadim began casting her in films as a male fantasy of female sexual liberation. This phase of her career would peak with Barbarella, a sci-fi film based on an erotic comic book featuring Jane as a horny space warrior. Jane’s perfect body was on full display and fetishized the world over, but no one knew the self-destruction that went on behind the scenes in order to maintain her looks. While Vadim was building her up as an international sex kitten, ...


109: Jean vs "Lilith" (Jean & Jane Part 4)
Having left her husband to be the mistress of writer/diplomat Romain Gary, Jean secretly gave birth to a son, and then made the movie that she thought would prove herself as an actress once and for all. In Lilith, Seberg would go all in on her portrayal of madness - perhaps too deep. After a disastrous collaboration with Gary, Jean happily accepted an offer to star in a big budget Hollywood musical. But it was 1969, the studio system had crumbled, and that musical - Paint Your Wagon - would become a symbol ...

109: Jean vs "Lilith" (Jean & Jane Part 4)
Having left her husband to be the mistress of writer/diplomat Romain Gary, Jean secretly gave birth to a son, and then made the movie that she thought would prove herself as an actress once and for all. In Lilith, Seberg would go all in on her portrayal of madness - perhaps too deep. After a disastrous collaboration with Gary, Jean happily accepted an offer to star in a big budget Hollywood musical. But it was 1969, the studio system had crumbled, and that musical - Paint Your Wagon - would become a symbol ...

108: Jean and Jane in Paris (Jean & Jane Part 3)
With her Hollywood career already something of a disappointment, Jean Seberg took a chance on a French film critic turned first-time director who wanted her to play an amoral American in an experimental movie without a script. The result was Breathless, the catalyzing hit of the French New Wave and the movie that would make Jean Seberg an icon. Soon thereafter, Jane Fonda got her own invitation to come make a movie in Paris, where she’d soon fall in love with Roger Vadim, the man who discovered Brigitte Bar...


108: Jean and Jane in Paris (Jean & Jane Part 3)
With her Hollywood career already something of a disappointment, Jean Seberg took a chance on a French film critic turned first-time director who wanted her to play an amoral American in an experimental movie without a script. The result was Breathless, the catalyzing hit of the French New Wave and the movie that would make Jean Seberg an icon. Soon thereafter, Jane Fonda got her own invitation to come make a movie in Paris, where she’d soon fall in love with Roger Vadim, the man who discovered Brigitte Bar...

107: Jean and Otto Preminger/Jane in New York (Jean & Jane Part 2)
Jean Seberg made her first two films, Saint Joan and Bonjour Tristesse, for director Otto Preminger, a tyrannical svengali character whose methods would traumatize Jean for the rest of her life and career. No wonder she rebelled against this bad dad figure by marrying a handsome French opportunist. Meanwhile, Jane Fonda moves to New York, joins the Actors Studio, takes up with her own hyper-controlling male partner, and tries to define herself as something other than Henry Fonda’s daughter....

107: Jean and Otto Preminger/Jane in New York (Jean & Jane Part 2)
Jean Seberg made her first two films, Saint Joan and Bonjour Tristesse, for director Otto Preminger, a tyrannical svengali character whose methods would traumatize Jean for the rest of her life and career. No wonder she rebelled against this bad dad figure by marrying a handsome French opportunist. Meanwhile, Jane Fonda moves to New York, joins the Actors Studio, takes up with her own hyper-controlling male partner, and tries to define herself as something other than Henry Fonda’s daughter....


106: Hollywood Royalty/Middle-American Martyr (Jean & Jane Part 1)
Introducing our new series, “Jean and Jane,” exploring the parallel lives of Jane Fonda and Jean Seberg, two white American actresses who found great success (and husbands) in France before boldly and controversially lending their celebrity to causes like civil rights and the anti-war movement. Fonda and Seberg were both tracked by the FBI during the Nixon administration, which considered both actresses to be threats to national security. But for all their similarities, Jane and Jean would end up on differe...

106: Hollywood Royalty/Middle-American Martyr (Jean & Jane Part 1)
Introducing our new series, “Jean and Jane,” exploring the parallel lives of Jane Fonda and Jean Seberg, two white American actresses who found great success (and husbands) in France before boldly and controversially lending their celebrity to causes like civil rights and the anti-war movement. Fonda and Seberg were both tracked by the FBI during the Nixon administration, which considered both actresses to be threats to national security. But for all their similarities, Jane and Jean would end up on differe...

105: Dorothy Stratten (Dead Blondes Part 13)
Our Dead Blondes season concludes with the story of Dorothy Stratten. Coaxed into nude modeling by Paul Snider, her sleazy boyfriend-turned-husband, 18 year-old Stratten was seized on by Playboy as the heir apparent to Marilyn Monroe. She ascended to the top of the Playboy firmament quickly, and just after Hugh Hefner decided to make her Playmate of the Year, she met filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, who fell in love with her and rewrote his upcoming film, They All Laughed, to give Dorothy a star-making role. Af...


105: Dorothy Stratten (Dead Blondes Part 13)
Our Dead Blondes season concludes with the story of Dorothy Stratten. Coaxed into nude modeling by Paul Snider, her sleazy boyfriend-turned-husband, 18 year-old Stratten was seized on by Playboy as the heir apparent to Marilyn Monroe. She ascended to the top of the Playboy firmament quickly, and just after Hugh Hefner decided to make her Playmate of the Year, she met filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, who fell in love with her and rewrote his upcoming film, They All Laughed, to give Dorothy a star-making role. Af...

104: Barbara Loden (Dead Blondes Part 12)
Barbara Loden won a Tony Award for playing a character based on Marilyn Monroe in Arthur Miller’s After the Fall. Like Marilyn, Barbara was a beauty with no pedigree who fled a hopeless upbringing in search of the fulfillment of fame. Like Marilyn, Loden found some measure of security as the mistress (and eventual wife) of a powerful man, in Loden’s case Elia Kazan. But instead of satisfying her, her small taste of fame and her relationship with Kazan left Barbara Loden wanting more, which would lead her to...

104: Barbara Loden (Dead Blondes Part 12)
Barbara Loden won a Tony Award for playing a character based on Marilyn Monroe in Arthur Miller’s After the Fall. Like Marilyn, Barbara was a beauty with no pedigree who fled a hopeless upbringing in search of the fulfillment of fame. Like Marilyn, Loden found some measure of security as the mistress (and eventual wife) of a powerful man, in Loden’s case Elia Kazan. But instead of satisfying her, her small taste of fame and her relationship with Kazan left Barbara Loden wanting more, which would lead her to...


103: Grace Kelly (Dead Blondes Part 11)
The quintessential “Hitchcock blonde,” Grace Kelly had an apparently charmed life. Her movies were mostly hits, her performances were largely well reviewed, and she won an Oscar against stiff competition. Then she literally married a prince. Was it all as perfect as it seemed? Today we’ll explore Kelly’s public and private life (and the rumors that the two things were very different), her working relationship with Hitchcock, her Oscar-winning performance in The Country Girl, the royal marriage that took her...

103: Grace Kelly (Dead Blondes Part 11)
The quintessential “Hitchcock blonde,” Grace Kelly had an apparently charmed life. Her movies were mostly hits, her performances were largely well reviewed, and she won an Oscar against stiff competition. Then she literally married a prince. Was it all as perfect as it seemed? Today we’ll explore Kelly’s public and private life (and the rumors that the two things were very different), her working relationship with Hitchcock, her Oscar-winning performance in The Country Girl, the royal marriage that took her...

102: Barbara Payton (Dead Blondes Part 10)
In our Joan Crawford series, we talked about Barbara Payton as the young, troubled third wife of Crawford’s ex Franchot Tone, whose inability to choose between Tone and another actor brought all three of them down into tabloid Hell. Today, we revisit Payton’s story, and expand it, to explore her rise to quasi-fame, and the slippery slope that reduced her from “most likely to succeed” to informal prostitution, to formal prostitution, and finally to a way-too-early grave....


102: Barbara Payton (Dead Blondes Part 10)
In our Joan Crawford series, we talked about Barbara Payton as the young, troubled third wife of Crawford’s ex Franchot Tone, whose inability to choose between Tone and another actor brought all three of them down into tabloid Hell. Today, we revisit Payton’s story, and expand it, to explore her rise to quasi-fame, and the slippery slope that reduced her from “most likely to succeed” to informal prostitution, to formal prostitution, and finally to a way-too-early grave....

101: Jayne Mansfield (Dead Blondes Part 9)
More famous today for her gruesome car crash death than for any of the movies she made while alive, Jayne Mansfield was in some sense the most successful busty blonde hired by a studio as a Marilyn Monroe copy-cat. Mansfield’s satirical copy of Monroe’s act was so spot-on that it helped to hasten the end of the blonde bombshell, paradoxically endangering both actress’ careers. But she did manage to star in Hollywood’s first rock n’ roll movie, Hollywood’s first postmodern comedy, meet The Beatles, experimen...

101: Jayne Mansfield (Dead Blondes Part 9)
More famous today for her gruesome car crash death than for any of the movies she made while alive, Jayne Mansfield was in some sense the most successful busty blonde hired by a studio as a Marilyn Monroe copy-cat. Mansfield’s satirical copy of Monroe’s act was so spot-on that it helped to hasten the end of the blonde bombshell, paradoxically endangering both actress’ careers. But she did manage to star in Hollywood’s first rock n’ roll movie, Hollywood’s first postmodern comedy, meet The Beatles, experimen...


100: Marilyn Monroe: The End (Dead Blondes Part 8)
How did a star whose persona seemed to be all about childlike joy and eternally vibrant sexuality die, single and childless, at the age of 36? In fact, the circumstances of Marilyn Monroe’s death are confusing and disputed. In this episode we will explore the last five years of her life, including the demise of her relationship with Arthur Miller, the troubled making of The Misfits, and Marilyn’s aborted final film, and try to sort out the various facts and conspiracy theories surrounding her death....

100: Marilyn Monroe: The End (Dead Blondes Part 8)
How did a star whose persona seemed to be all about childlike joy and eternally vibrant sexuality die, single and childless, at the age of 36? In fact, the circumstances of Marilyn Monroe’s death are confusing and disputed. In this episode we will explore the last five years of her life, including the demise of her relationship with Arthur Miller, the troubled making of The Misfits, and Marilyn’s aborted final film, and try to sort out the various facts and conspiracy theories surrounding her death....

99: Marilyn Monroe: The Persona (Dead Blondes Part 7)
How did Marilyn Monroe become the most iconic blonde of the 1950s, if not the century? Today we will trace how her image was created and developed, through her leading roles in movies and her featured coverage in the press, with special attention to the way Monroe’s on-screen persona took shape during the height of her career.  We’ll pay special attention to the films Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, and Bus Stop, and the struggles behind the scenes of Seven Year Itch and The P...


99: Marilyn Monroe: The Persona (Dead Blondes Part 7)
How did Marilyn Monroe become the most iconic blonde of the 1950s, if not the century? Today we will trace how her image was created and developed, through her leading roles in movies and her featured coverage in the press, with special attention to the way Monroe’s on-screen persona took shape during the height of her career.  We’ll pay special attention to the films Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, and Bus Stop, and the struggles behind the scenes of Seven Year Itch and The P...

98: Marilyn Monroe: The Beginning (Dead Blondes Part 6)
Today we begin the first of three episodes on the most iconic dead blonde of them all, Marilyn Monroe. We’ll start be revisiting our episode on Marilyn from our series on stars during World War II, in which we traced the former Norma Jean from her unhappy, almost parentless childhood through her teenage marriage, her work in a wartime factory, her hand-to-mouth days as a model, her struggles to break into movies and, finally, the sex scandal that made her a star....

98: Marilyn Monroe: The Beginning (Dead Blondes Part 6)
Today we begin the first of three episodes on the most iconic dead blonde of them all, Marilyn Monroe. We’ll start be revisiting our episode on Marilyn from our series on stars during World War II, in which we traced the former Norma Jean from her unhappy, almost parentless childhood through her teenage marriage, her work in a wartime factory, her hand-to-mouth days as a model, her struggles to break into movies and, finally, the sex scandal that made her a star....


97: Carole Landis (Dead Blondes Part 5)
Carole Landis was a gifted comedienne, a decent singer, and - once she dyed her natural brown hair blonde - perhaps the most luminous beauty in movies of the early 1940s. Plus, she was one of the most dedicated USO performers of WWII, and her elopement with an Air Force pilot on her travels became the inspiration for a book, movie and long running tabloid narrative. But then Landis fell into an affair with Rex Harrison - and this affair turned out to be Landis’ last....

97: Carole Landis (Dead Blondes Part 5)
Carole Landis was a gifted comedienne, a decent singer, and - once she dyed her natural brown hair blonde - perhaps the most luminous beauty in movies of the early 1940s. Plus, she was one of the most dedicated USO performers of WWII, and her elopement with an Air Force pilot on her travels became the inspiration for a book, movie and long running tabloid narrative. But then Landis fell into an affair with Rex Harrison - and this affair turned out to be Landis’ last....

96: Veronica Lake (Dead Blondes Part 4)
Veronica Lake had the most famous hairdo of the 1940s, if not the twentieth century. Her star turn in Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels and her noir pairings with Alan Ladd made her Paramount’s biggest wartime draw behind Hope and Crosby, but behind the scenes, Lake was a loner with a drinking problem who didn’t give an F about Hollywood etiquette. Bankrupt and without a studio contract, in the early 1950s she consciously quit movies. She claimed she left Hollywood to save her own life - so how did she en...


96: Veronica Lake (Dead Blondes Part 4)
Veronica Lake had the most famous hairdo of the 1940s, if not the twentieth century. Her star turn in Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels and her noir pairings with Alan Ladd made her Paramount’s biggest wartime draw behind Hope and Crosby, but behind the scenes, Lake was a loner with a drinking problem who didn’t give an F about Hollywood etiquette. Bankrupt and without a studio contract, in the early 1950s she consciously quit movies. She claimed she left Hollywood to save her own life - so how did she en...

95: Jean Harlow Flashback (Dead Blondes Part 3)
Jean Harlow was the top blonde of the 1930s, and even though she didn’t survive the decade - she died in 1937 at the age of 26 - she’d inspire a generation of would-be platinum-haired bombshell stars. Today we revisit our 2015 episode on Harlow, to set the stage for the relentless forward march of Dead Blondes through the Twentieth Century....

95: Jean Harlow Flashback (Dead Blondes Part 3)
Jean Harlow was the top blonde of the 1930s, and even though she didn’t survive the decade - she died in 1937 at the age of 26 - she’d inspire a generation of would-be platinum-haired bombshell stars. Today we revisit our 2015 episode on Harlow, to set the stage for the relentless forward march of Dead Blondes through the Twentieth Century....


94: Thelma Todd (Dead Blondes Part 2)
Thelma Todd - a curvaceous white-blonde who predated Jean Harlow - was a sparkling comedienne who began in the silent era and flourished in the talkies, both holding her own opposite the Marx Brothers and playing straight woman in one of cinema’s first all-girl comedy teams. She was also an early celebrity entrepreneur, opening a hopping restaurant/bar with her name above the door. But today, Thelma is best remembered for her shocking 1935 death, which was deemed an accident but still sparks conspiracy theo...

94: Thelma Todd (Dead Blondes Part 2)
Thelma Todd - a curvaceous white-blonde who predated Jean Harlow - was a sparkling comedienne who began in the silent era and flourished in the talkies, both holding her own opposite the Marx Brothers and playing straight woman in one of cinema’s first all-girl comedy teams. She was also an early celebrity entrepreneur, opening a hopping restaurant/bar with her name above the door. But today, Thelma is best remembered for her shocking 1935 death, which was deemed an accident but still sparks conspiracy theo...

93: Peg Entwistle (Dead Blondes Part 1)
This season we’re going to explore the stories of 11 blonde actresses who died unusual, untimely or otherwise notable deaths - deaths which, in various ways, have outshined these actress’ lives. Today we’ll explain why we’re doing this, and will tell the story of Peg Entwistle - idol of Bette Davis, successful stage star turned movie aspirant, and one of the first Hollywood blondes who became more famous in death than in life.This episode contains selections from the album Industry, by Unheard Music Concept...


93: Peg Entwistle (Dead Blondes Part 1)
This season we’re going to explore the stories of 11 blonde actresses who died unusual, untimely or otherwise notable deaths - deaths which, in various ways, have outshined these actress’ lives. Today we’ll explain why we’re doing this, and will tell the story of Peg Entwistle - idol of Bette Davis, successful stage star turned movie aspirant, and one of the first Hollywood blondes who became more famous in death than in life.This episode contains selections from the album Industry, by Unheard Music Concept...

92: Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Mommie Dearest
The year after Joan Crawford died, her estranged, adopted daughter Christina published a tell-all, accusing her late mother of having been an abusive monster when the cameras weren’t around. Three years later, Mommie Dearest became a movie, starring the only actress of the “new Hollywood” who Joan herself had commended, Faye Dunaway. The disastrous production of that film revealed how much had changed in Hollywood since Joan’s heyday, and the finished film did much to mutate Joan’s persona in the minds of f...

92: Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Mommie Dearest
The year after Joan Crawford died, her estranged, adopted daughter Christina published a tell-all, accusing her late mother of having been an abusive monster when the cameras weren’t around. Three years later, Mommie Dearest became a movie, starring the only actress of the “new Hollywood” who Joan herself had commended, Faye Dunaway. The disastrous production of that film revealed how much had changed in Hollywood since Joan’s heyday, and the finished film did much to mutate Joan’s persona in the minds of f...


91: Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Bette Davis, "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?," and Crawford’s last years
Robert Aldrich’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?  has done more to define later generation’s ideas about who Crawford was than perhaps any other movie that she was actually in. Unfortunately, most of those ideas center around Crawford’s supposed feud with co-star Bette Davis, which began as a marketing ploy and turned into something quasi-real - or, at least as real as certain celebrity “feuds” of today....

91: Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Bette Davis, "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?," and Crawford’s last years
Robert Aldrich’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?  has done more to define later generation’s ideas about who Crawford was than perhaps any other movie that she was actually in. Unfortunately, most of those ideas center around Crawford’s supposed feud with co-star Bette Davis, which began as a marketing ploy and turned into something quasi-real - or, at least as real as certain celebrity “feuds” of today....

90: Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: The Middle Years (Mildred Pierce to Johnny Guitar)
Joan Crawford struggled through what she called her “middle years,” the period during her 40s before she remade herself from aging, slumping MGM deadweight into a fleet, journeywoman powerhouse who starred in some of the most interesting films about adult womanhood of the 1940s and 1950s. That revival began with Mildred Pierce (for which Crawford won her only Oscar), and included a number of films, such as Daisy Kenyon and Johnny Guitar, directed by men who would later be upheld as auteurs, subversively mak...


90: Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: The Middle Years (Mildred Pierce to Johnny Guitar)
Joan Crawford struggled through what she called her “middle years,” the period during her 40s before she remade herself from aging, slumping MGM deadweight into a fleet, journeywoman powerhouse who starred in some of the most interesting films about adult womanhood of the 1940s and 1950s. That revival began with Mildred Pierce (for which Crawford won her only Oscar), and included a number of films, such as Daisy Kenyon and Johnny Guitar, directed by men who would later be upheld as auteurs, subversively mak...

89: Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Clark Gable, Franchot Tone and Barbara Payton
By the mid-1930s, Joan Crawford was very, very famous, and negotiating both an affair with Clark Gable (her most frequent co-star and the only male star of her stature), and a new marriage to Franchot Tone, who, like Joan’s first husband, was an actor who was not quite on her level of stardom. Crawford’s marriage to Tone would span the back half of the decade, as Crawford’s stardom peaked, and then began its first decline. Today we’ll talk about that, and then we’ll tell a story about what happened to Franc...

89: Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Clark Gable, Franchot Tone and Barbara Payton
By the mid-1930s, Joan Crawford was very, very famous, and negotiating both an affair with Clark Gable (her most frequent co-star and the only male star of her stature), and a new marriage to Franchot Tone, who, like Joan’s first husband, was an actor who was not quite on her level of stardom. Crawford’s marriage to Tone would span the back half of the decade, as Crawford’s stardom peaked, and then began its first decline. Today we’ll talk about that, and then we’ll tell a story about what happened to Franc...


88: Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Douglas Fairbanks Jr. / Our Dancing Daughters to Grand Hotel
Joan Crawford’s early years in Hollywood were like - well, a pre-code Joan Crawford movie: a highly ambitious beauty of low birth does what she has to do (whatever she has to do) to transform herself into a well-respected glamour gal at the top of the food chain. Her romance with Douglas Fairbanks Jr - the scion of the actor/producer who had been considered the King of Hollywood since the early days of the feature film - began almost simultaneous to Crawford’s breakout hit, Our Dancing Daughters. But the gu...

88: Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Douglas Fairbanks Jr. / Our Dancing Daughters to Grand Hotel
Joan Crawford’s early years in Hollywood were like - well, a pre-code Joan Crawford movie: a highly ambitious beauty of low birth does what she has to do (whatever she has to do) to transform herself into a well-respected glamour gal at the top of the food chain. Her romance with Douglas Fairbanks Jr - the scion of the actor/producer who had been considered the King of Hollywood since the early days of the feature film - began almost simultaneous to Crawford’s breakout hit, Our Dancing Daughters. But the gu...

87: Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Douglas Fairbanks / Lucille LeSueur Goes to Hollywood
In order to understand Joan Crawford’s rise to fame, we have to talk about what Joan - born Lucille LeSueur, and called “Billie Cassin” for much of her childhood - was like before she got to Hollywood, and what Hollywood was like before she got there. To accomplish the latter, we’ll focus on Douglas Fairbanks: top action star of the silent era, the definition of Hollywood royalty, and the father of Crawford’s first husband....


87: Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Douglas Fairbanks / Lucille LeSueur Goes to Hollywood
In order to understand Joan Crawford’s rise to fame, we have to talk about what Joan - born Lucille LeSueur, and called “Billie Cassin” for much of her childhood - was like before she got to Hollywood, and what Hollywood was like before she got there. To accomplish the latter, we’ll focus on Douglas Fairbanks: top action star of the silent era, the definition of Hollywood royalty, and the father of Crawford’s first husband....

86: The Blacklist Part 16: Kirk Douglas, Dalton Trumbo, and Otto Preminger (Breaking the Blacklist, Part 2)
How did the Blacklist come to an end? If you ask Kirk Douglas, the end began with his hiring of Dalton Trumbo to write Spartacus -- or, rather Douglas flaunting of that hiring. Otto Preminger, who hired Trumbo to write Exodus, might see it differently. In truth, the end of the blacklist was a process that took over a decade, and couldn’t have happened without actions taken by Charlie Chaplin, Gary Cooper, director Joseph Losey, and president John F. Kennedy. We'll talk about the connection between the end o...

86: The Blacklist Part 16: Kirk Douglas, Dalton Trumbo, and Otto Preminger (Breaking the Blacklist, Part 2)
How did the Blacklist come to an end? If you ask Kirk Douglas, the end began with his hiring of Dalton Trumbo to write Spartacus -- or, rather Douglas flaunting of that hiring. Otto Preminger, who hired Trumbo to write Exodus, might see it differently. In truth, the end of the blacklist was a process that took over a decade, and couldn’t have happened without actions taken by Charlie Chaplin, Gary Cooper, director Joseph Losey, and president John F. Kennedy. We'll talk about the connection between the end o...


85: The Blacklist Part 15: Frank Sinatra and Albert Maltz (Breaking The Blacklist, Part 1)
In the first of two episodes about major stars attempting to end the Blacklist, we’ll look at Frank Sinatra’s efforts to hire Hollywood Ten member Albert Maltz. Timing got in the way of Sinatra’s good intentions: this was the exact moment when Sinatra had become the coolest middle-aged man in America as “chairman of the board” of the newly-formed Vegas act now known as the Rat Pack. It was also the moment when Sinatra thought he was on the verge of acquiring real political power through his proximity to pre...

85: The Blacklist Part 15: Frank Sinatra and Albert Maltz (Breaking The Blacklist, Part 1)
In the first of two episodes about major stars attempting to end the Blacklist, we’ll look at Frank Sinatra’s efforts to hire Hollywood Ten member Albert Maltz. Timing got in the way of Sinatra’s good intentions: this was the exact moment when Sinatra had become the coolest middle-aged man in America as “chairman of the board” of the newly-formed Vegas act now known as the Rat Pack. It was also the moment when Sinatra thought he was on the verge of acquiring real political power through his proximity to pre...

Blacklist Flashback: Frank Sinatra through 1945
Before our episode on Frank Sinatra’s attempt to end the blacklist, we’re going to flashback to an episode from April 2015, on Sinatra’s rise to fame and his experiences during World War II.  In the early 1940s, shortly after skyrocketing to fame as a heartthrob crooner, Sinatra was perceived, and from some corners pilloried, as a draft dodger. Today we’ll talk about how Sinatra acquired that reputation, how it impacted his early career, and the early success which, as we’ll see next week, faded, and became...


Blacklist Flashback: Frank Sinatra through 1945
Before our episode on Frank Sinatra’s attempt to end the blacklist, we’re going to flashback to an episode from April 2015, on Sinatra’s rise to fame and his experiences during World War II.  In the early 1940s, shortly after skyrocketing to fame as a heartthrob crooner, Sinatra was perceived, and from some corners pilloried, as a draft dodger. Today we’ll talk about how Sinatra acquired that reputation, how it impacted his early career, and the early success which, as we’ll see next week, faded, and became...

84: The Blacklist Part 14: After the Fall: Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller considered Elia Kazan a close friend and collaborator, but when Kazan named names to HUAC, Miller broke with him and wrote The Crucible, a parable about anti-communist hysteria set amidst the Salem Witch Trials. But despite the committee’s sensitivity to criticism, HUAC didn’t subpoena Miller until he became engaged to Marilyn Monroe, then the biggest star and sex symbol of her day. Miller and Kazan would remain estranged for a decade, until the latter directed a play written by the former whi...

84: The Blacklist Part 14: After the Fall: Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller considered Elia Kazan a close friend and collaborator, but when Kazan named names to HUAC, Miller broke with him and wrote The Crucible, a parable about anti-communist hysteria set amidst the Salem Witch Trials. But despite the committee’s sensitivity to criticism, HUAC didn’t subpoena Miller until he became engaged to Marilyn Monroe, then the biggest star and sex symbol of her day. Miller and Kazan would remain estranged for a decade, until the latter directed a play written by the former whi...


83: The Blacklist Part 13: On the Waterfront: Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan introduced audiences to Warren Beatty, James Dean and Marlon Brando. His films of the 1950s -- including A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, and East of Eden -- comprise perhaps the most impressive body of work of an American director of the decade. But Kazan, who was briefly a Communist in the 1930s, likely would not have been able to make many of those films had he not named names to HUAC in 1952. This episode is brought to you by Slack. Visit Slack.com/REMEMBER, Create a new team and ...

83: The Blacklist Part 13: On the Waterfront: Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan introduced audiences to Warren Beatty, James Dean and Marlon Brando. His films of the 1950s -- including A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, and East of Eden -- comprise perhaps the most impressive body of work of an American director of the decade. But Kazan, who was briefly a Communist in the 1930s, likely would not have been able to make many of those films had he not named names to HUAC in 1952. This episode is brought to you by Slack. Visit Slack.com/REMEMBER, Create a new team and ...

82: The Blacklist Part 12: Stormy Weather: Lena Horne + Paul Robeson
Horne's last years at MGM overlapped with the first HUAC hearings. Horne, an outspoken proponent of equal rights, who from the beginning of her career had associated with leftists and “agitators,” got caught up in the anti-communist insanity. One of those agitators was Paul Robeson, a singer, actor and political firebrand who was a mentor and friend to Horne. But once the red panic began to heat up, that friendship became problematic for Lena, and like so many others, she was forced to choose between her ca...


82: The Blacklist Part 12: Stormy Weather: Lena Horne + Paul Robeson
Horne's last years at MGM overlapped with the first HUAC hearings. Horne, an outspoken proponent of equal rights, who from the beginning of her career had associated with leftists and “agitators,” got caught up in the anti-communist insanity. One of those agitators was Paul Robeson, a singer, actor and political firebrand who was a mentor and friend to Horne. But once the red panic began to heat up, that friendship became problematic for Lena, and like so many others, she was forced to choose between her ca...

Blacklist Flashback: Lena Horne During WWII
Stunning singer/actress Lena Horne was the first black performer to be given the full glamour girl star-making treatment. But as the years went on and her studio failed to make much use of her, Horne started feeling like a token — and she wasn’t wrong. Today we’ll detail Horne’s experiences rising through the ranks of the black nightclub world to MGM, where she remained under contract through the 1940s, and found herself competing with Ava Gardner for parts. Next week, we’ll talk about Horne’s post-MGM care...

Blacklist Flashback: Lena Horne During WWII
Stunning singer/actress Lena Horne was the first black performer to be given the full glamour girl star-making treatment. But as the years went on and her studio failed to make much use of her, Horne started feeling like a token — and she wasn’t wrong. Today we’ll detail Horne’s experiences rising through the ranks of the black nightclub world to MGM, where she remained under contract through the 1940s, and found herself competing with Ava Gardner for parts. Next week, we’ll talk about Horne’s post-MGM care...


81: The Blacklist Part 11: Born Yesterday: Judy Holliday
Judy Holliday won an Oscar for her first starring film role, and of her eight major film roles between 1950 and 1960, four were in films now considered classics. She was one star who was subpoenaed to testify about her ties to Communism who was fully supported by her studio and subsequently wasn’t blacklisted from movies. Holliday’s career was short-lived nonetheless, in part because she represented a highly idiosyncratic, working-class, urban, Jewish authenticity in a time when conformity was being peddled...

81: The Blacklist Part 11: Born Yesterday: Judy Holliday
Judy Holliday won an Oscar for her first starring film role, and of her eight major film roles between 1950 and 1960, four were in films now considered classics. She was one star who was subpoenaed to testify about her ties to Communism who was fully supported by her studio and subsequently wasn’t blacklisted from movies. Holliday’s career was short-lived nonetheless, in part because she represented a highly idiosyncratic, working-class, urban, Jewish authenticity in a time when conformity was being peddled...

80: The Blacklist Part 10: Salt of the Earth: Howard Hughes + Paul Jarrico
Today we explore one of the more troubling aspects of Howard Hughes’ legacy: the firm hand he played in enforcing the blacklisting of Hollywood workers, both as the head and owner of RKO Pictures, and as a powerful rich guy whose influence went as high as the U.S. Congress. This episode also tells the story of Paul Jarrico, the first screenwriter to be taken to court by a studio (RKO) over the question of his firing during the blacklist period. In partnership with the also-blacklisted writer Michael Wilson ...


80: The Blacklist Part 10: Salt of the Earth: Howard Hughes + Paul Jarrico
Today we explore one of the more troubling aspects of Howard Hughes’ legacy: the firm hand he played in enforcing the blacklisting of Hollywood workers, both as the head and owner of RKO Pictures, and as a powerful rich guy whose influence went as high as the U.S. Congress. This episode also tells the story of Paul Jarrico, the first screenwriter to be taken to court by a studio (RKO) over the question of his firing during the blacklist period. In partnership with the also-blacklisted writer Michael Wilson ...

Blacklist Flashback: Howard Hughes + Jane Russell
In advance of next week’s episode dealing with Howard Hughes’ role in the blacklist, we revisit our October 2014 episode on Hughes’ relationship with Jane Russell, his wartime efforts to balance his aviation and moviemaking businesses, and his shaky run as head of RKO Pictures. Also: Ava Gardner gets violent, Hughes’ 15 year-old muse, and how Russell’s boobs did what the Spruce Goose couldn’t.This episode is brought to you by Smith and Noble. Contact Smith & Noble today for 25% off on your window treatments...

Blacklist Flashback: Howard Hughes + Jane Russell
In advance of next week’s episode dealing with Howard Hughes’ role in the blacklist, we revisit our October 2014 episode on Hughes’ relationship with Jane Russell, his wartime efforts to balance his aviation and moviemaking businesses, and his shaky run as head of RKO Pictures. Also: Ava Gardner gets violent, Hughes’ 15 year-old muse, and how Russell’s boobs did what the Spruce Goose couldn’t.This episode is brought to you by Smith and Noble. Contact Smith & Noble today for 25% off on your window treatments...


79: The Blacklist Part 9: She: Richard Nixon + Helen Gahagan Douglas
The wife of actor Melvyn Douglas (Ninotchka, Being There), Helen Gahagan Douglas transformed herself from a Broadway and opera star into an exciting new politician in the days of FDR. A persistent, nagging voice of conscience in Congress during the time of HUAC and nuclear panic, Douglas’ political career came to an end amidst irresponsible allegations that she was a Communist supporter -- many of which were leveled at her by her opponent in the 1950 Senate race, Richard Nixon. This episode is brought to yo...

79: The Blacklist Part 9: She: Richard Nixon + Helen Gahagan Douglas
The wife of actor Melvyn Douglas (Ninotchka, Being There), Helen Gahagan Douglas transformed herself from a Broadway and opera star into an exciting new politician in the days of FDR. A persistent, nagging voice of conscience in Congress during the time of HUAC and nuclear panic, Douglas’ political career came to an end amidst irresponsible allegations that she was a Communist supporter -- many of which were leveled at her by her opponent in the 1950 Senate race, Richard Nixon. This episode is brought to yo...

78: The Blacklist Part 8: Storm Warning: Ronald Reagan, the FBI and HUAC
The post-war Communist witch hunt had a big impact on Ronald Reagan’s evolution from movie actor to politician, and from Democrat to Republican. And Ronald Reagan had a major personal impact on the witch hunt’s manifestation in Hollywood, the Blacklist. This episode will trace the years in which Reagan was primarily known as a movie and TV star, and explore his two marriages to actresses, his testimony to HUAC, his behind-the-scenes work as an informer to the FBI, his late-career incarnation as bridge betwe...


78: The Blacklist Part 8: Storm Warning: Ronald Reagan, the FBI and HUAC
The post-war Communist witch hunt had a big impact on Ronald Reagan’s evolution from movie actor to politician, and from Democrat to Republican. And Ronald Reagan had a major personal impact on the witch hunt’s manifestation in Hollywood, the Blacklist. This episode will trace the years in which Reagan was primarily known as a movie and TV star, and explore his two marriages to actresses, his testimony to HUAC, his behind-the-scenes work as an informer to the FBI, his late-career incarnation as bridge betwe...

77: The Blacklist Part 7: Monsieur Verdoux: Charlie Chaplin's Road to Hollywood Exile
Picking up where last week’s episode left off, we’ll catch up with Chaplin’s post-The Great Dictator activism, talk about Chaplin’s savage satirical follow-up, Monsieur Verdoux, and explain the witch hunt that ended with him forced to leave his adopted home, and Hollywood career, behind.This episode is brought to you by Audible.com, who has more than 180,000 audiobooks and spoken-word audio products. Get a free audiobook of your choice at audible.com/REMEMBER.This episode is also brought to you by Blue Apro...

77: The Blacklist Part 7: Monsieur Verdoux: Charlie Chaplin's Road to Hollywood Exile
Picking up where last week’s episode left off, we’ll catch up with Chaplin’s post-The Great Dictator activism, talk about Chaplin’s savage satirical follow-up, Monsieur Verdoux, and explain the witch hunt that ended with him forced to leave his adopted home, and Hollywood career, behind.This episode is brought to you by Audible.com, who has more than 180,000 audiobooks and spoken-word audio products. Get a free audiobook of your choice at audible.com/REMEMBER.This episode is also brought to you by Blue Apro...


Blacklist Flashback: Charlie Chaplin During World War II
In 1922, Charlie Chaplin was one of the most beloved men in the world. In 1952, after over a decade of being publicly shamed, he was essentially manipulated into self-deportation. What happened in between? We’ll explain over two episodes, beginning with this flashback to an episode that originally ran in March 2015, detailing Chaplin’s politics, his fascination with Adolf Hitler, the making and release of The Great Dictator, and the sex scandal that gave J. Edgar Hoover an opening to persecute Chaplin.This ...

Blacklist Flashback: Charlie Chaplin During World War II
In 1922, Charlie Chaplin was one of the most beloved men in the world. In 1952, after over a decade of being publicly shamed, he was essentially manipulated into self-deportation. What happened in between? We’ll explain over two episodes, beginning with this flashback to an episode that originally ran in March 2015, detailing Chaplin’s politics, his fascination with Adolf Hitler, the making and release of The Great Dictator, and the sex scandal that gave J. Edgar Hoover an opening to persecute Chaplin.This ...

76: The Blacklist Part 6: He Ran All The Way: John Garfield
John Garfield was Brando before Brando -- a Method-style actor who repped the New York working class while becoming a major sex symbol in film noir and World War II films. Garfield was not a Communist; most of his friends -- and his wife -- were, but they mostly thought “Julie” was well meaning but not a serious political animal. HUAC disagreed, and in the early 1950s, Garfield became the biggest star to be blacklisted.This episode is brought to you by Squarespace. Start your free trial site today at Square...


76: The Blacklist Part 6: He Ran All The Way: John Garfield
John Garfield was Brando before Brando -- a Method-style actor who repped the New York working class while becoming a major sex symbol in film noir and World War II films. Garfield was not a Communist; most of his friends -- and his wife -- were, but they mostly thought “Julie” was well meaning but not a serious political animal. HUAC disagreed, and in the early 1950s, Garfield became the biggest star to be blacklisted.This episode is brought to you by Squarespace. Start your free trial site today at Square...

75: The Blacklist Part 5: The Strange Love of Barbara Stanwyck: Robert Taylor
Barbara Stanwyck’s first marriage helped to inspire A Star is Born. Her second marriage, to heartthrob Robert Taylor, didn’t make sense in a lot of ways, but the pair were united by their conservative politics. Both joined the blacklist-stoking Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, but only Taylor testified before HUAC. Called to shame MGM for forcing him to star in wartime pro-Soviet film Song of Russia, Taylor would become the only major star to name names. Today we’ll talk abou...

75: The Blacklist Part 5: The Strange Love of Barbara Stanwyck: Robert Taylor
Barbara Stanwyck’s first marriage helped to inspire A Star is Born. Her second marriage, to heartthrob Robert Taylor, didn’t make sense in a lot of ways, but the pair were united by their conservative politics. Both joined the blacklist-stoking Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, but only Taylor testified before HUAC. Called to shame MGM for forcing him to star in wartime pro-Soviet film Song of Russia, Taylor would become the only major star to name names. Today we’ll talk abou...


74: The Blacklist Part 4: The African Queen: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn and John Huston
In the late 1940s, as the country was moving to the right and there was pressure on Hollywood to do the same, Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and John Huston all protested HUAC in ways that damaged their public personas and their ability to work in Hollywood. Hepburn’s outspokenness resulted in headlines branding her a "Red" and, allegedly, audiences stoning her films. Bogart and Huston were prominent members of the Committee For the First Amendment, a group of Hollywood stars who came to Washington to s...

74: The Blacklist Part 4: The African Queen: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn and John Huston
In the late 1940s, as the country was moving to the right and there was pressure on Hollywood to do the same, Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and John Huston all protested HUAC in ways that damaged their public personas and their ability to work in Hollywood. Hepburn’s outspokenness resulted in headlines branding her a "Red" and, allegedly, audiences stoning her films. Bogart and Huston were prominent members of the Committee For the First Amendment, a group of Hollywood stars who came to Washington to s...

Blacklist Flashback: Bogey Before Bacall
Humphrey Bogart was Warner Brothers' most valuable star in 1947, when he, his wife Lauren Bacall, his future African Queen co-star Katharine Hepburn, his friend and frequent director John Huston and many other stars actively protested HUAC. We'll get into that next week. This week, we're flashing back to our episode on Bogart from 2014, describing how the Casablanca star struggled to find his niche in Hollywood during the first part of his film career, the tough guy roles that changed things around, and fin...


Blacklist Flashback: Bogey Before Bacall
Humphrey Bogart was Warner Brothers' most valuable star in 1947, when he, his wife Lauren Bacall, his future African Queen co-star Katharine Hepburn, his friend and frequent director John Huston and many other stars actively protested HUAC. We'll get into that next week. This week, we're flashing back to our episode on Bogart from 2014, describing how the Casablanca star struggled to find his niche in Hollywood during the first part of his film career, the tough guy roles that changed things around, and fin...

73: The Blacklist Part 3: Dorothy Parker
The New Yorker columnist, poet and celebrated Algonquin Roundtable wit spent years in Hollywood, working as a screenwriter in partnership with her second husband, Alan Campbell, and contributing to important films such as the original A Star is Born and Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur. Much to the surprise of many of her closest friends, beginning in the late 1920s Parker became increasingly drawn to socialist causes. Parker’s political calling was merely socially problematic before World War II, when Parker sp...

73: The Blacklist Part 3: Dorothy Parker
The New Yorker columnist, poet and celebrated Algonquin Roundtable wit spent years in Hollywood, working as a screenwriter in partnership with her second husband, Alan Campbell, and contributing to important films such as the original A Star is Born and Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur. Much to the surprise of many of her closest friends, beginning in the late 1920s Parker became increasingly drawn to socialist causes. Parker’s political calling was merely socially problematic before World War II, when Parker sp...


72: The Blacklist Part 2: Crossfire – The Trials of the Hollywood Ten
In 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee subpoenaed dozens of Hollywood workers to come to Washington and testify to the presence of Communists in the film industry. 19 of those who were subpoenaed announced that they wouldn't co-operate with the Committee; of those 19, 10 "unfriendly" witnesses were called to the stand and refused to answer "The $64 Question": "Are you now or have you ever been a Communist?" Those 10 men were subsequently denied employment, imprisoned; afraid of collateral damag...

72: The Blacklist Part 2: Crossfire – The Trials of the Hollywood Ten
In 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee subpoenaed dozens of Hollywood workers to come to Washington and testify to the presence of Communists in the film industry. 19 of those who were subpoenaed announced that they wouldn't co-operate with the Committee; of those 19, 10 "unfriendly" witnesses were called to the stand and refused to answer "The $64 Question": "Are you now or have you ever been a Communist?" Those 10 men were subsequently denied employment, imprisoned; afraid of collateral damag...

71: The Blacklist Part 1: The Prehistory of the Blacklist
This episode will trace the roots of both communism and anti-communism in Hollywood, through the Depression, union struggles and scandals, and World War II. The major characters of the series will be introduced, including members of the Hollywood Ten like Dalton Trumbo and Edward Dmytryk, two Party members who collaborated on a film called Tender Comrade, which starred one of Hollywood's proudest Conservatives, Ginger Rogers. Tender Comrade epitomizes the political evolution that made the Blacklist happen: ...


71: The Blacklist Part 1: The Prehistory of the Blacklist
This episode will trace the roots of both communism and anti-communism in Hollywood, through the Depression, union struggles and scandals, and World War II. The major characters of the series will be introduced, including members of the Hollywood Ten like Dalton Trumbo and Edward Dmytryk, two Party members who collaborated on a film called Tender Comrade, which starred one of Hollywood's proudest Conservatives, Ginger Rogers. Tender Comrade epitomizes the political evolution that made the Blacklist happen: ...

70: MGM Stories Part 15: Mayer’s Downfall
In the 1940s, Louis B. Mayer was the highest paid man in America, one of the first celebrity CEOs and the figurehead of what for most Americans was the most glamorous industry on Earth. In 1951, Mayer was fired from the studio that bore his name. What happened -- to Mayer, and to Movies on the whole -- to hasten the end of the golden era of hollywood?...

69: MGM Stories Part 14: Elizabeth Taylor, The MGM Years
Elizabeth Taylor grew up on the MGM lot, spending 18 years as what she referred to as “MGM chattel.” The last four years of that 18 year sentence were arguably the most interesting. From 1956-1960, she made a run of really interesting films including Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Butterfield 8, and she met the “love of her life”, Mike Todd, and turned him into her third husband. When Todd died a year later Liz sought comfort in the arms of Todd’s friend - and Debbie Reynolds’ husband — Eddie Fisher. Tayl...


68: MGM Stories Part 13: Gloria Grahame
Gloria Grahame arrived in Hollywood in 1944, after Louis B. Mayer personally plucked her from the New York stage, and changed her name. But Grahame was the rare actress who Mayer didn’t know how to turn into a star. Finally in 1947, Mayer gave up on Grahame and sold her contract to RKO, where she flourished as a femme fatale in film noir. Grahame's career would be marred by her compulsive plastic surgery, her increasingly eccentric on-set behavior, and gossip about her love life, which included marriages to...

67: MGM Stories Part 12: Lana Turner
The legendary "Sweater Girl" was one of MGM’s prized contract players, the epitome of the mid-century sex goddess on-screen and an unlucky-in-love single mom off-screen who would burn through seven husbands and countless affairs. After nearly twenty years as a star not known for her acting prowess, Turner's career suddenly got interesting in the late 1950s, when the hits The Bad and the Beautiful, Peyton Place and Imitation of Life sparked a reappraisal of her talents. In the middle of this renaissance, Tur...

66: MGM Stories Part 11: David O. Selznick Part Two: Jennifer Jones and Robert Walker
In 1941, Selznick signed a young actress named Phylis, who was then married to actor Robert Walker. Selznick renamed Phylis “Jennifer Jones,” and set to work turning her into a star, helping her to earn an Oscar for her first film under her new name. Selznick and Jones also began an affair, and Selznick’s romantic and professional obsession with Jones would result in the destruction of both of their marriages, as well as at least two movies transparently about Selznick’s passion for his star actress. But in...


65: MGM Stories Part 10: David O. Selznick Part One: The Mayers and Gone With the Wind
In 1930, after putting in time at MGM and RKO, Paramount executive David O. Selznick married Irene Mayer, the daughter of L.B. Mayer. Irene’s father would soon thereafter bring Selznick to MGM to fill in for an ailing Irving Thalberg, but MGM was too small for Selznick’s dreams. He started his own independent studio, through which he created the original A Star is Born, the only Hitchcock movie to win Best Picture, and the biggest hit in the history of Hollywood, Gone with the Wind.This episode is brought t...

64: MGM Stories Part 9: Spencer Tracy
When Spencer Tracy signed with MGM, he was a character actor better known for his problem drinking (and very public extramarital affair with Loretta Young) than for his movie hits. But the studio made him a star, and by the time Katharine Hepburn was looking for a male star who could play a prototypical American male opposite her very idiosyncratic persona, Tracy was the obvious choice. Tracy and Hepburn became one of the most legendary Hollywood couples of the century, on-screen and off, and their partners...

63: MGM Stories Part 8: Eddie Mannix
In the new Hollywood satire from the Coen Brothers, Josh Brolin plays a studio "fixer" named Eddie Mannix. The real Eddie Mannix was a New Jersey-born reputed gangster who rose through the ranks at MGM to become the studio's general manager. His position required ensuring that the darker, more scandalous actions of MGM’s biggest names were kept hidden from the public and press at large. While devoting his career to protecting the personal lives of MGM’s employees, Mannix had his own colorful personal life: ...


62: MGM Stories Part 7: MGM's children: Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland
After Irving Thalberg’s death in 1936, Louis B. Mayer doubled down on "family entertainment" at MGM. To support this new wave of content, Mayer started signing younger and younger performers to groom into stars — training them in song and dance, creating a schoolhouse on the MGM lot to comply with state educational requirements, and keeping the kids chaperoned by publicists day and night. This episode will cover the differing experiences of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland -- best friends and screen partners ...

61: MGM Stories Part 6: Jean Harlow
As part of the publicity campaign for his film Hell’s Angels, Howard Hughes made Jean Harlow a star, branding her “The Platinum Blonde.” But after Hell’s Angels, Hughes couldn’t figure out what to do with Harlow, so she ended up signing a contract with MGM, at the urging of Paul Bern, who became Harlow’s new impresario and husband. Despite the fact that Louis B. Mayer had dismissed her as a “floozy”, Harlow had five years of super stardom at MGM. But during that time, Bern died under mysterious circumstance...

60: MGM Stories Part 5: William Haines and Hollywood’s First Openly Gay Marriage
The rare silent star who made a relatively smooth transition to sound films, William “Billy” Haines was one of the top box office stars of the late 1920s-early 1930s. Beginning in 1926, Haines started living with Jimmie Shields, and the two men became one of the most popular couples on the Hollywood social scene, facing little if any homophobia among the industry’s elite. But as times changed and the heat from the censors began to get hotter, MGM began to put pressure on Haines to pretend to be someone he w...


59: MGM Stories Part 4: John Gilbert and Greta Garbo
Rising romantic lead John Gilbert signed with MGM in 1924 and the next year he starred in King Vidor’s The Big Parade, the studio’s biggest hit of the silent era. That same year, Louis B. Mayer brought his new discovery to Hollywood: an enigmatic Swedish actress named Greta Garbo. Garbo and Gilbert starred together in the romantic melodrama Flesh and the Devil, and began a relationship in real-life, which was eagerly exploited by the still-fledgling Hollywood publicity machine. Gilbert’s career suffered fro...

58: MGM Stories Part 3: Buster Keaton’s Biggest Mistake
In 1928, silent comedy star Buster Keaton made what he would later call “the worst mistake of my career”: against the advice of fellow silent comedy auteurs like Charlie Chaplin, he gave up his independent production shingle and signed a contract with MGM. A vaudevillian who got his start working with Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, by the late 1920s Keaton had established himself as a solo writer, director and star who was known for doing his own spectacular but reckless stunts. Keaton joined MGM with a promise f...

57: MGM Stories Part 2: Marion Davies, William Randolph Hearst, and Citizen Kane
Marion Davies is enshrined in memory as the gorgeous but questionably talented mistress of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst -- thanks in part to the depiction of a Davies-esque character in Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. But Davies’ involvement with the much older Hearst both ensured she would have a movie career, and perhaps doomed Davies to ridicule and limited stardom. This episode will explore how Davies and Hearst hooked up, the mutually beneficial working relationship between Hearst and Louis B...


56: MGM Stories Part 1: Louis B. Mayer vs. Irving Thalberg
This season we're going to tell 15 stories about different people who worked at the same movie studio over the course of five decades, as the movie industry transitioned from silents to sound, into its Golden Era and finally into its television and counter-culture-hastened decline. Established in 1924, MGM was the product of a merger of three early Hollywood entities, but the only person working there who got to have his name in the title was studio chief Louis B. Mayer. For the first dozen years of its exi...

55: Charles Manson’s Hollywood, Part 12: The Manson Family on Trial
The trials of the Manson family became a kind of public theater which a number of current and future filmmakers found themselves caught up in. Joan Didion bought a dress for a Manson girl to wear to court, Dennis Hopper visited Manson in prison, and a young John Waters attended the trial and took inspiration for his legendary film, Pink Flamingos....

54: Charles Manson’s Hollywood, Part 11: Death Valley ’69
After the murders, Manson moved his family to the depths of the California desert. There, even before they were finally apprehended by the law, their utopia started to fall apart. Hollywood was in the process of being changed by Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider, a film shot partially in the same desert where Manson was now hiding. The Family and their flight to Death Valley -- and the impossible dream of the 60s revolution in general -- was soon thereafter unwittingly reflected in Italian filmmaker Michelangelo A...





43: Star Wars Episode XVI: Van Johnson
Van Johnson was MGM’s big, all-american heartthrob during World War II, an one of the most reliably bankable stars in Hollywood, on and off, for over a decade. Off-screen, he was an introvert with a mysterious personal life....

42: Star Wars Episode XV: Why John Wayne Didn’t Sign Up
No actor on movie screens in the 1940s embodied American patriotism and unpretentious masculinity better than John Wayne. But Wayne didn’t have the defining experience of most adult American men of the 1940s — Wayne didn’t enlist to serve in World War II....


41: Star Wars Episode XIV: Frank Sinatra Through 1945
Frank Sinatra's rise to fame coincided almost exactly with the run up to and fighting of World War II. Unlike so many young men, famous or otherwise, Sinatra didn't enlist, and the controversy over whether or not he was a draft dodger hung over his head....

39: Star Wars Episode XIII: Walt Disney
Walt Disney changed Hollywood and brought millions of children and adults boundless joy. And yet, Disney’s legacy is marred by the common perception that he was also a racist, misogynist and anti-semite....


38: Star Wars Episode XII: Bob Hope vs. Bing Crosby
Bob Hope is remembered as the 20th century celebrity most devoted to entertaining the troops. Bing Crosby, Hope’s partner on seven Road to… films, sang the song that became an unlikely alternate national anthem during World War II....

37: Star Wars Episode XI: Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin’s most successful (and controversial) film was The Great Dictator, a vicious satire of Adolf Hitler. We’ll explore the connections between the two men, and explain why most of Hollywood tried to stop the film from being made....

36: Star Wars Episode X: Errol Flynn
Errol Flynn arrived in Hollywood in 1934 and almost immediately became a massive star, his swashbuckler-persona propelling many of the decades biggest action hits. But his dashing good looks and life-of-the-party personality masked a shady past....


33: Star Wars Episode VII: Lena Horne
Stunning singer/actress Lena Horne was the first black performer to be given the full glamour girl star-making treatment. But as the years went on and her studio failed to make much use of her, Horne started feeling like a token — and she wasn’t wrong....


32: Star Wars Episode VI: Marlene Dietrich
One of the most glamorous stars of the 1930s -- and also one of the first androgynous sex symbols -- Marlene Dietrich was a German actress turned major Hollywood star, one who essentially became the USO's female Bob Hope....


29: Star Wars Episode III: Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr was a pioneer in more ways than one, including, but not limited to, scandalous movie sex scenes, radio control technology, breast implants, frivolous lawsuits, and celebrity shoplifting....

28: Star Wars Episode II: Carole Lombard and Clark Gable
The queen of screwball comedies married the king of Hollywood in 1939, but Lombard's 1942 death in a plane crash on the way home from a trip to sell war bonds drove Gable into a physical and emotional breakdown, and eventually the Army....


26: Tales of Celebrity Drunkenness, 2014
In our first annual end-of-year clip show, we'll listen to some of the booziest excerpts from the 25 episodes of You Must Remember This released thus far....

25: The Short Lives of Bruce and Brandon Lee
In this episode, we’ll explore what really happened to Bruce and Brandon Lee, and discuss how an extraordinarily talented artist went from a victim of Hollywood’s racism to one of the industry’s biggest moneymakers long after his death....

24: Mia Farrow in the 1960s, Part Two: Mia & Dory
Part Two of Mia Farrow in the 1960s traces Mia’s flight to India, studying transcendental meditation with the Beatles, the movies Secret Ceremony and John and Mary, her affair with Andre Previn, and the impact it had on Previn's wife, Dory....


23: Mia Farrow in the 1960s, Part One: Mia & Frank
Before Mia Farrow was an outspoken activist, devoted mother to 14 children, and the famously jilted partner of Woody Allen, she was … a lot of other things. Today in the first of a two parter, we’ll begin to explore Mia Farrow’s life and career from 1960-1970....

22: Audrey Hepburn: Sex, Style, and Sabrina
Audrey Hepburn was the first glamorous actress whose style seemed to be to dress for herself, and not to appeal to men. Today we’re going to talk about a film which sparked this evolution, Sabrina....

21: The Birth of Barbra Streisand’s A Star is Born
There have been four Hollywood films made under the name and/or with the basic story of A Star is Born. The most reviled version is the one starring Barbra Streisand, made in 1976 and produced by Barbra’s hair dresser-turned-boyfriend Jon Peters....


20: Liz
Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift were best friends and co-stars in three films. This episode tracks Taylor's relationship with the troubled Clift, from their first, studio-setup date through his untimely death....

19: Raquel Welch, From Pin-up to Pariah
Raquel Welch, a former cocktail waitress and divorced mother of two, found herself in the odd position of being an old-fashioned sex goddess in the age of flower children and feminism....

18: The Many Loves of Howard Hughes, Chapter 4: Jane Russell
Our long-running series on the women in the life of the infamous aviator/filmmaker continues with a look at Hughes’ professional and personal relationship with Jane Russell, which began in 1940 when Hughes randomly pulled a photograph of the 19 year-old out of a pile, and lasted for most of her film career....


17: Theda Bara, Hollywood’s First Sex Symbol
Theda Bara might be the most significant celebrity pioneer whose movies you’ve never seen. She was the movie industry’s first sex symbol; the first femme fatale; and she might have been America’s first homegrown goth....

16: Marlon Brando 1971-1973
This is the story of how, with two movies shot in 1971, Marlon Brando turned his career around, spent his regained celebrity capital on an act of social activism, and put Hollywood's culture of self-adoration in its place....

15: Madonna, from Sean to Warren, Part Two
In the concluding chapter of a two-part episode about Madonna and movies, we talk about her mutually beneficial professional and personal involvement with Warren Beatty....


14: Bacall, After Bogart
When Humphrey Bogart died, Lauren Bacall was just 32 years old. This is the story of how Bacall spent the remaining 57 years of her life, and her lifelong struggle to find a balance between being Mrs. So-and-So, and being Lauren Bacall....

13: Bogart, Before Bacall
A look at how Humphrey Bogart became Bogey, tracing his journey from blue blood beginnings through years of undistinguished work and outright failure, to his emergence in the early 1940s as a symbol of wartime perseverance....

12: Madonna, from Sean to Warren, Part One
Over the course of two episodes, we will explore the high-cinephile period of Madonna's life and work, roughly bracketed by her relationship with Sean Penn and ending with the dissolution of her rebound affair with Warren Beatty....


11: The Many Loves of Howard Hughes: Katharine Hepburn, 1938
A crossover episode, uniting our two ongoing series, The Many Loves of Howard Hughes and Follies of 1938, focusing on Hughes’ relationship with Katharine Hepburn, which peaked and crashed in 1938. Introduced by Hughes’ close confidant, Cary Grant, Hepburn and Hughes became a celebrity couple in the modern mold: mutually attracted in part based on the fame of the other, they were hounded by paparazzi, their rumored impending nuptials dissected by outsiders until the relationship itself frittered away. By 193...

10: Follies of 1938, Chapter 2: Kay Francis, Pretty Poison
In May 1938, the Independent Theater Owners Association published a full-page paid editorial in The Hollywood Reporter, branding a number of big stars — including Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Katherine Hepburn and others — as “poison at the box office,” and urging the studios to cut their ties to expensive names who no longer had the drawing power they once did at the box office, in part because they symbolized a type of glamour which seemed, in 1938, to be falling out of fashion....

9: The Many Loves of Howard Hughes, Part 2: The Many Loves of Ida Lupino
In this second installment of our ongoing series, The Many Loves of Howard Hughes, we explore the life, loves and work of Ida Lupino. Hughes dated Lupino when she was a teenage starlet; nearly 20 years later, after Lupino had become the only working female feature director in 1940s Hollywood, Hughes signed his ex-girlfriend’s production company to a deal at RKO. Hughes supported Lupino as a director, but also helped to kill off her second marriage. We’ll explore how Ida’s relationship with Hughes, and other...


8: Follies of 1938, Part 1: Hollywood’s Greatest Year
This micro-episode sets up a topic we’ll be exploring throughout the summer: the films, stars and scandals of 1938. By midway through that year, Hollywood was in such a desperate downswing — and so concerned that Americans were losing interest not just in specific movies but in moviegoing as a habit — that the studios banded together to launch a massive PR campaign to convince the public that 1938 was Motion Pictures’ Greatest Year. It wasn’t.This episode was inspired by Hollywood 1938: Motion Pictures' Gre...

7: The Many Loves of Howard Hughes, Chapter 1
The first episode of a multi-part series on the Hollywood romances of Howard Hughes traces Hughes’ arranged marriage at age 18 to Southern society belle Ella Rice; his affairs with silent star Billie Dove and Jean Harlow, who Hughes helped to establish as a sex symbol whose body was used to evoke both money and military might; and his attempt to invent himself as the most powerful independent producer in town, with his directorial debut, Hell’s Angels....

6: Isabella Rossellini in the 1990s
Today we celebrate the 62nd birthday of actress/model/filmmaker Isabella Rossellini. She was born into Hollywood scandal: her mother, Ingrid Bergman, was denounced on the floor of Congress for her adulterous relationship with Isabella’s father, Italian neorealist director Roberto Rossellini. Isabella herself would go on to have romances with Martin Scorsese and David Lynch, finding her signature film role in the latter’s Blue Velvet. But her parentage and romantic relationships are only part of the story. S...


5: The Lives, Deaths and Afterlives of Judy Garland
Today we’re commemorating the life and career of Judy Garland, who died 45 years ago this month. Signed to a studio contract at the age of 13, encouraged to become a pill addict as a teenage MGM contract player, crowned a superstar by The Wizard of Oz at age 17 and married for the first time at 18, Garland lived more than her share of life before reaching legal maturity. But today, we’re going to pay particular attention to the last two decades of her life, the post-MGM years, during which Garland battled t...

4: (The Printing of) the Legend of Frances Farmer
During the last year of his life, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain was obsessed with Frances Farmer, an actress from his hometown of Seattle who died in 1970. Farmer’s beauty and unique screen presence made her a star, but her no-bullshit ballsiness made her a pariah — and a target of the hostile media — in 1930s Hollywood. Farmer’s career went down the tubes in the 1940s when a couple of incidents of inconvenient drunkenness led to her being committed to an insane asylum by her own mother, and given a lobotomy. Or, s...

3: Happy 110th Birthday, Val Lewton
A Very Special Halloween Episode! The writer-producer Val Lewton produced and ghost-wrote 11 films in just three years as head of the horror unit at RKO, many of which — Cat People, I Walked With A Zombie, The Curse of the Cat People, The Body Snatcher — were huge hits, helping to keep the troubled studio afloat in the early 1940s, and becoming influential genre film classics. Lewton died super young, but he crammed an enormous amount of life into his 46 years. Before establishing his unique style of horror...


2: Frank Sinatra in Outer Space
Welcome to the second episode of You Must Remember This, the podcast devoted to exploring the secret and or/forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. Today, we look back to 1979, when — while the music world was full of punk and post-disco coke rock, and the movie world was making the transition from the “New Hollywood” of the ’70s into the blockbuster age — Frank Sinatra recorded Trilogy: Past, Present and Future, a triple album with one disc each devoted to big band standards (“The Past”); covers ...