Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Mommie Dearest by Karina Longworth

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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 future generations.

Faye Dunaway and Mara Hobel in Mommie Dearest

Faye Dunaway and Mara Hobel in Mommie Dearest

Faye Dunaway and Diana Scarwid in Mommie Dearest

Faye Dunaway and Diana Scarwid in Mommie Dearest

Show notes:

Every episode this season will draw from the following books about, and/or based on conversations with, Joan Crawford:

Not The Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, a Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler

Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography by Lawrence Quirk and William Schoell

Conversations with Joan Crawford by Roy Newquist

Sources specific to this episode:

Looking for Gatsby by Faye Dunaway and Betsy Sharkey

The Mommie Dearest Diary: Carol Ann Tells All by Rutanya Alda (special thanks to Brad Simpson for sending this to me)

“Christina Explains 'Mommie'”, Susan King, Los Angeles Times, March 30, 1998

“Dunaway Does Crawford”, Peter Lester, People Magazine, October 05, 1981

“Abused Crawford Child Sees Sad Holidays for Some Kids”, Patricia McCormack, Reading Eagle, December 28, 1981

“Christina Crawford Redefined Herself After Devastating Stroke Recovery”, Cynthia Taggart, The Spokesman, April 27, 1994  

“Visiting Mommie Dearest At Home”, Roger Ebert, rogerebert.com, May 31, 1981

“Dunaway Dearest”, David-Elijah Nahmod, The Bay Area Reporter, May 9, 2013

“Christina Crawford Has No Sympathy For Faye Dunaway”, Michael Musto, villagevoice.com, May  3, 2013

This episode was edited by Sam Dingman, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Bette Davis and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? by Karina Longworth

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford publicity shot for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford publicity shot for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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.

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford on set for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford on set for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 

Show notes:

Every episode this season will draw from the following books about, and/or based on conversations with, Joan Crawford:

Not The Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, a Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler

Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography by Lawrence Quirk and William Schoell

Conversations with Joan Crawford by Roy Newquist

Sources specific to this episode:

The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: Bette Davis - A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler

Whatever Happened to Robert Aldrich?: His Life and His Films by Alain Silver and James Ursini

This episode was edited by Sam Dingman, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: The Middle Years (Mildred Pierce to Johnny Guitar) by Karina Longworth

Joan Crawford and Ann Blyth in Mildred Pierce, 1945

Joan Crawford and Ann Blyth in Mildred Pierce, 1945

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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 making personal art within the commercial industry of Hollywood.

Show notes:

Every episode this season will draw from the following books about, and/or based on conversations with, Joan Crawford:

Not The Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, a Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler

Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography by Lawrence Quirk and William Schoell

Conversations with Joan Crawford by Roy Newquist

Sources specific to this episode:

Nicholas Ray: The Glorious Failure of an American Director by Nicholas Ray

This episode was edited by Sam Dingman, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Clark Gable, Franchot Tone and Barbara Payton by Karina Longworth

Joan Crawford and Clark Gable, Chained, 1934

Joan Crawford and Clark Gable, Chained, 1934

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

By the mid-1930s, Joan Crawford was very, very famous, and negotiating both an affair to 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 Franchot Tone after Joan Crawford — particularly, the strange love triangle he entered into in the 1950s, with a gorgeous but self-destructive starlet Barbara Payton at its center.

Joan Crawford and Franchot Tone

Joan Crawford and Franchot Tone

Show notes:

Every episode this season will draw from the following books about, and/or based on conversations with, Joan Crawford:

Not The Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, a Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler

Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography by Lawrence Quirk and William Schoell

Conversations with Joan Crawford by Roy Newquist

Sources specific to this episode:

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye: The Barbara Payton Story by John O’Dowd

A Woman’s View by Jeanine Basinger

This episode includes clips from the movie The Women (1939) 

This episode was edited by Sam Dingman, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

 

Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: The Flapper and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. by Karina Longworth

Joan Crawford, Our Dancing Daughters, 1928 

Joan Crawford, Our Dancing Daughters, 1928 

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Joan Crawford’s early years in Hollywood were like -- well, like 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 gum-snapping dame with the bad reputation would soon rise far above her well-born husband, cranking out a string of indelible performances in pre-code talkies before hitting an early career peak in the Best Picture-winning Grand Hotel.

Show notes:

Every episode this season will draw from the following books about, and/or based on conversations with, Joan Crawford:

Not The Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, a Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler

Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography by Lawrence Quirk and William Schoell

Conversations with Joan Crawford by Roy Newquist

Sources specific to this episode:

His Picture in the Papers: A Speculation on Celebrity in America Based on the Life of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. by Richard Schickel

The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks by Tracey Goessel

A Woman’s View by Jeanine Basinger

The episode includes audio excerpt from Possessed, taken from this fan montage:  

And also a clip from the movie Grand Hotel, taken from here:

The moonlight singing scene in Untamed mentioned in the episode is viewable here:

This episode was edited by Sam Dingman, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Douglas Fairbanks / Lucille LeSueur Goes to Hollywood by Karina Longworth

Joan Crawford, 1920's

Joan Crawford, 1920's

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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.

Lucille LeSueur

Lucille LeSueur

Joan Crawford, 1926

Joan Crawford, 1926

Show notes:

Every episode this season will draw from the following books about, and/or based on conversations with, Joan Crawford:

Not The Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, a Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler

Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography by Lawrence Quirk and William Schoell

Conversations with Joan Crawford by Roy Newquist

Other books referenced in this episode:

The Shocking Miss Pilgrim by Frederica Sagor Maas

His Picture in the Papers: A Speculation on Celebrity in America Based on the Life of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. by Richard Schickel

The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks by Tracey Goessel

Joan Crawford: Hollywood Martyr by David Bret

Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford by Donald Spoto

Are the Stars Out Tonight? The Story of the Famous Ambassador and Cocoanut Grove, “Hollywood’s Hotel” by Margaret Tante Burk

The big winners from this list are The Shocking Miss Pilgrim and The First King of Hollywood -- the latter being probably the only silent film star biography on the market to correctly use the term “bromance.” Both books are highly recommended.

This episode was edited by Sam Dingman, written and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

 

Kirk Douglas, Dalton Trumbo, and Otto Preminger (Breaking the Blacklist, Part 2) by Karina Longworth

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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, amongst others, Charlie Chaplin, director Joseph Losey, members of the Academy's Board of Governors and president John F. Kennedy. We'll talk about the connection between the end of the blacklist and the weakening of the production code, and what both had to do with the slow dissolution of the studio system amidst the rise of independent producers and a younger generation of audiences. Finally, we’ll discuss how those who had been blacklisted struggled to move on.

Show notes:
Here is a list of published sources that the entire season draws from:

The Red and the Blacklist: An Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate by Norma Barzman

Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical by Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo

Trumbo: A biography of the Oscar-winning screenwriter who broke the Hollywood blacklist by Bruce Cook

When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics by Donald T. Critchlow

Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten by Edward Dmytryk

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich

Hollywood Radical, Or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist by Bernard Gordon

I Said Yes to Everything by Lee Grant

Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War by J. Hoberman

Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky

West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein

The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60 by Larry Ceplair


Sources specific to this episode:

Kirk Douglas, I Am Spartacus: Making a Film, Breaking The Blacklist

Kirk Douglas, The Ragman’s Son

Howard Fast, Being Red

Jeffrey P. Smith, “‘A Good Business Proposition’: Dalton Trumbo, Spartacus, and the End of the Blacklist,” The Velvet Light Trap – A Critical Journal of Film and Television, Spring 1989.

John Meroney and Sean Coons, “How Kirk Douglas Overstated His Own Role in Breaking the Hollywood Blacklist,” The Atlantic, July 5, 2012.

“Kennedy Attends Movie In Capital,” New York Times, Feb. 5, 1961.


Credits:

This episode was narrated and produced by Karina Longworth, and written by Karina Longworth and Matthew Dessem. Our production and research assistant is Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our editor is Henry Molofsky. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Frank Sinatra and Albert Maltz (Breaking the Blacklist, Part 1) by Karina Longworth

Download this episode, or find on SoundCloud or iTunes.

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 presidential candidate John F. Kennedy.

Show notes:

Here is a list of published sources that the entire season draws from:

The Red and the Blacklist: An Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate by Norma Barzman

Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical by Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo

Trumbo: A biography of the Oscar-winning screenwriter who broke the Hollywood blacklist by Bruce Cook

When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics by Donald T. Critchlow

Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten by Edward Dmytryk

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich

Hollywood Radical, Or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist by Bernard Gordon

I Said Yes to Everything by Lee Grant

Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War by J. Hoberman

Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky

West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein

The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60 by Larry Ceplair


Sources specific to this episode:

Sinatra: The Chairman by James Kaplan

Sinatra, From Kennedy Man to Reaganite” by Asawin Seubsaeng, The Daily Beast

FBI Files on Sinatra Detail Links to JFK, Mob Figures” by RONALD J. OSTROW and LISA GETTER, Los Angeles Times, December 9, 1988

Nikita Khrushchev Goes to Hollywood” by Peter Carlson, Smithsonian Magazine, July 2009


Credits:

This episode was narrated, written and produced by Karina Longworth. Our production and research assistant is Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our editor is Henry Molofsky. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Blacklist Flashback: Frank Sinatra through 1945 by Karina Longworth

Download this episode, or find on SoundCloud or iTunes.

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 something that Sinatra struggled to recapture, and couldn’t bear to let go of once he did so.

This episode originally debuted in April 2015. The original show notes for the episode contains sources, soundtrack information and more.

After the Fall: Arthur Miller (Blacklist Episode #14) by Karina Longworth

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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 which, while drawing headlines for its depiction of Monroe, also seemed to parallel their falling out over HUAC.

Show notes:

Here is a list of published sources that the entire season draws from:

The Red and the Blacklist: An Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate by Norma Barzman

Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical by Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo

Trumbo: A biography of the Oscar-winning screenwriter who broke the Hollywood blacklist by Bruce Cook

When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics by Donald T. Critchlow

Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten by Edward Dmytryk

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich

Hollywood Radical, Or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist by Bernard Gordon

I Said Yes to Everything by Lee Grant

Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War by J. Hoberman

Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky

West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein

The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60 by Larry Ceplair


Sources specific to this episode:

Arthur Miller: 1915-1962 by Christopher Bigsby

Elia Kazan: A Life by Elia Kazan

Unfriendly Witnesses: Gender, Theater, and Film in the McCarthy Era by Milly Barranger

After the Fall by Arthur Miller

Timebends by Arthur Miller

Elia Kazan: A Biography by Richard Schickel

Marilyn Monroe: A Biography by Donald Spoto

Arthur Miller, “Ibsen’s Message For Today’s World,” New York Times, Dec. 24, 1950.

Sam Zoloto, “Kazan and Miller Sever Stage Union,” New York Times, July 28, 1952.

Credits:

This episode was narrated, written and produced by Karina Longworth. Our production and research assistant is Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our editor is Henry Molofsky. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

On the Waterfront: Elia Kazan (Blacklist Episode #13) by Karina Longworth

Download this episode, or find on SoundCloud or iTunes.

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.

Show notes:

Here is a list of published sources that the entire season draws from:

The Red and the Blacklist: An Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate by Norma Barzman

Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical by Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo

Trumbo: A biography of the Oscar-winning screenwriter who broke the Hollywood blacklist by Bruce Cook

When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics by Donald T. Critchlow

Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten by Edward Dmytryk

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich

Hollywood Radical, Or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist by Bernard Gordon

I Said Yes to Everything by Lee Grant

Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War by J. Hoberman

Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky

West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein

The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60 by Larry Ceplair


Sources specific to this episode:

Elia Kazan: A Life by Elia Kazan

Unfriendly Witnesses: Gender, Theater, and Film in the McCarthy Era by Milly Barranger

Timebends by Arthur Miller

Elia Kazan: A Biography by Richard Schickel

On The Waterfront: The Final Shooting Script by Budd Schulberg

What Makes Sammy Run? By Budd Schulberg

Kazan: The Master Director Discusses His Films by Jeff Young

“Many Refuse to Clap As Kazan Receives Oscar” by Patrick Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, March 22, 1999

“Streetcar Named Betrayal” by Maureen Dowd, New York Times, February 24, 1999

“Karl Malden and Budd Schulberg: Naming Names” by Anthony Giardina, New York Times, December 23, 1999

This episode includes clips from Letter to Elia, directed by Kent Jones and Martin Scorsese, and On The Waterfront, directed by Elia Kazan. Both are available on iTunes.


Credits:

This episode was narrated and produced by Karina Longworth, and written by Karina Longworth and Matthew Dessem. Our production and research assistant is Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our editor is Henry Molofsky. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Lena Horne + Paul Robeson (Blacklist Episode #12) by Karina Longworth

Horne and Paul Robeson look over plans for a June 1946 rally at Madison Square Garden, hosted by the Council on African Affairs.

Download this episode, or find on SoundCloud or iTunes.

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 career and her friendships.  

Lena Horne and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a party Ms. Horne gave in Dr. King's honor in 1963.

Show notes:

Here is a list of published sources that the entire season draws from:

The Red and the Blacklist: An Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate by Norma Barzman

Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical by Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo

Trumbo: A biography of the Oscar-winning screenwriter who broke the Hollywood blacklist by Bruce Cook

When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics by Donald T. Critchlow

Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten by Edward Dmytryk

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich

Hollywood Radical, Or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist by Bernard Gordon

I Said Yes to Everything by Lee Grant

Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War by J. Hoberman

Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky

West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein

The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60 by Larry Ceplair
 

Sources specific to this episode:

The Hornes: An American Family, by Gail Lumet Buckley

The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: An Artist’s Journey, 1898 – 1939 by Paul Robeson Jr.

Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne by James Gavin

Lena by Lena Horne and Richard Schickel

“The Politics of Cafe Society” by David W. Stowe The Journal of American History Vol. 84, No. 4 (Mar., 1998)    

Lena Horne, interviewed by Gene De Alessi, April 12, 1966, Pacifica Radio Archives

Ed Sullivan, “Ed Sullivan’s Little Old New York,” The Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 11, 1951.

“Negroes Won’t Fight Russia, Robeson Says,” Los Angeles Times, Apr. 21, 1949.

Paul Pushkin, “Robeson Pleased With the Soviet Social Scheme,” Baltimore Afro-American, Jan. 19, 1935.

John Meroney, “The Red-Baiting of Lena Horne,” The Atlantic, Aug. 27, 2015,

“Negro Leader Takes Issue With Robeson,” Los Angeles Times, Apr. 21, 1949.
 

This episode includes excerpts from the following:

Clip from Show Boat of Robeson singing "Ol' Man River."

Robeson's post-1938 version of the lyrics:

Lena Horne interviewed on KPFA radio, 1966:

Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music:

Lena Horne talking to Shirley Eder in 1969:

Credits:

This episode was written by Karina Longworth and Matthew Dessem, and edited by Sam Dingman. Our production and research assistant is Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

 

Blacklist Flashback: Lena Horne During WWII by Karina Longworth

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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 career and her struggle to stay off the blacklist.

This episode originally debuted in February 2015

There are several excerpts in this episode from the autobiographical stage show Lena mounted in the early 1980s, “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music.” Some of these excerpts come from a television version of the show that’s been posted on YouTube; others are from the official soundtrack album.

Other audio-video sources used in this episode, not including music:

Lena Horne on the Tonight Show 

Lena Horne on Good Morning America, 1981

Clip from Cabin in the Sky

Jubilee! Episode #89, from Armed Forces Radio Service, July 24, 1944

Born Yesterday: Judy Holliday (The Blacklist Episode #11) by Karina Longworth

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Judy Holliday won an Oscar for her first starring film role (in Born Yesterday) 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 as an equivalent to safety.

Show notes:

Here is a list of published sources that the entire season draws from:

The Red and the Blacklist: An Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate by Norma Barzman

Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical by Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo

Trumbo: A biography of the Oscar-winning screenwriter who broke the Hollywood blacklist by Bruce Cook

When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics by Donald T. Critchlow

Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten by Edward Dmytryk

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich

Hollywood Radical, Or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist by Bernard Gordon

I Said Yes to Everything by Lee Grant

Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War by J. Hoberman

Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky

West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein

The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60 by Larry Ceplair

Sources specific to this episode:

The Un-Americans: Jews, the Blacklist, and Stoolpigeon Culture by Joseph Litvak

Judy Holliday: An Intimate Life Story by Gary Carey

“‘Washington Gone Crazy’: Nativist Son” by David Greenberg

“Judy Holliday’s Urban Working Girl Characters From 1950s Film” by Judith E. Scott

This episode was edited by Henry Molofsky, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Salt of the Earth: Howard Hughes + Paul Jarrico (The Blacklist Episode #10) by Karina Longworth

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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 and director Herbert Biberman, Jarrico made Salt of the Earth, a pro-Union, proto-feminist, Neorealist-influenced independent film which the blacklisting-supporting unions effectively squelched, with the help of the media, politicians, and Hughes. 

Paul Jarrico testifying to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951.

Salt of the Earth (1954)

Show notes:

Here is a list of published sources that the entire season draws from:

The Red and the Blacklist: An Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate by Norma Barzman

Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical by Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo

Trumbo: A biography of the Oscar-winning screenwriter who broke the Hollywood blacklist by Bruce Cook

When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics by Donald T. Critchlow

Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten by Edward Dmytryk

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich

Hollywood Radical, Or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist by Bernard Gordon

I Said Yes to Everything by Lee Grant

Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War by J. Hoberman

Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky

West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein

The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60 by Larry Ceplair

Sources specific to this episode:

Much of the research for this episode stemmed from the book I’m working on about Howard Hughes in Hollywood. I’ve taken two trips to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, which holds nearly 100 boxes of Hughes materials from the office of Dick Hannah, who supervised Hughes’ publicity for the second half of his life. Hughes instructed his press agents to clip every article about him that they could find, as well as published pieces relating to his obsessions, from organized crime and gaming to certain actresses with whom he was once or currently sexually involved, to people he sued or was sued by. Thus, the files include much material on Jarrico, HUAC and Hughes' management of RKO.

Key sources referenced in this episode found at UNLV include:

--Transcript of Hughes’ 1952 American Legion address

--Jimmie Fidler’s November 8, 1951 column “Views From Hollywood,” published in the Valley News

--Coverage of the Hughes/Jarrico trial in The Mirror, Variety and the Los Angeles Examiner

--”Silver City: Who Caused the Trouble?” by Elizabeth Kerby, Frontier, May 1953

--”Reds in the Desert” no byline, Newsweek March 2, 1953

Special thanks also to Hilary Swett at the Writers Guild of America West for pointing me to clippings files and documents in their collection -- a true wealth of information, much which, in the interest of running time, I wasn’t able to include or could only briefly mention in this episode.

Key sources referenced in this episode found at the WGA include:

--Reports from the American Library of Information, and many memos and documents relating to RKO’s subscriptions to their service.

--”The Hughes-Jarrico Imbroglio and the Screen Writers’ Guild” by Mary C. McCall, Jr., Frontier, May 1952

--”Jarrico vs. Hughes: A War For Credit That Could Have Ended the Screen Writers’ Guild” By Barbara L. Hall, Written By September-October 2015

Other sources:

The Marxist and the Movies by Larry Ceplair

Salt of the Earth: The Story of a Film by Herbert Biberman

Special thanks to our special guest, Noah Segan, who returned as Howard Hughes.

This episode was edited by Henry Molofsky, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Blacklist Flashback: Howard Hughes + Jane Russell by Karina Longworth

Download this episode, find on SoundCloud or iTunes.

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 gets a teenage girlfriend, and Russell’s boobs manage to do what the Spruce Goose couldn’t.

The original show notes for the episode contains sources, soundtrack information and more.

She: Richard Nixon + Helen Gahagan Douglas (The Blacklist Episode #9) by Karina Longworth

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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 innacurate allegations that she was a Communist supporter -- many of which were leveled at her by her opponent in the 1950 Senate race, Richard Nixon.

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Here is a list of published sources that the entire season draws from:

The Red and the Blacklist: An Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate by Norma Barzman

Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical by Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo

Trumbo: A biography of the Oscar-winning screenwriter who broke the Hollywood blacklist by Bruce Cook

When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics by Donald T. Critchlow

Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten by Edward Dmytryk

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich

Hollywood Radical, Or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist by Bernard Gordon

I Said Yes to Everything by Lee Grant

Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War by J. Hoberman

Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky

West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein

The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60 by Larry Ceplair

Sources specific to this episode:

The Pink Lady: The Many Lives of Helen Gahagan Douglas by Sally Denton

TRICKY DICK AND THE PINK LADY: Richard Nixon vs. Helen Gahagan Douglas, 1950 by Greg Mitchell

For more information on She, check out this incredible article on Screen Deco, which includes details on the film’s colorization under the supervision of Ray Harryhausen.

Special thanks to Craig Keller, who played Melvyn Douglas, and to Craig Mazin, who returned as Louis B. Mayer.

This episode was edited by Henry Molofsky, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Storm Warning: Ronald Reagan, the FBI and HUAC (The Blacklist Episode #8) by Karina Longworth

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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 between Hollywood and corporate America, and more.

Kings Row:

And General Electric Theater

This episode was edited by Henry Molofsky, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Monsieur Verdoux: Charlie Chaplin's Road to Hollywood Exile (The Blacklist Episode #7) by Karina Longworth

Download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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.

Here is a list of published sources that the entire season draws from:

The Red and the Blacklist: An Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate by Norma Barzman

Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical by Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo

Trumbo: A biography of the Oscar-winning screenwriter who broke the Hollywood blacklist by Bruce Cook

When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics by Donald T. Critchlow

Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten by Edward Dmytryk

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich

Hollywood Radical, Or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist by Bernard Gordon

I Said Yes to Everything by Lee Grant

Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War by J. Hoberman

Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky

West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein

The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60 by Larry Ceplair


Sources specific to this episode:

Chaplin's War Trilogy: An Evolving Lens in Three Dark Comedies, 1918-1947 by Wes D. Gehring

My Autobiography by Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin: A Brief Life by Peter Ackroyd

The Gordon File: A Screenwriter Recalls Twenty Years of FBI Surveillance by Bernard Gordon

When Chaplin Became The Enemy” by J. Hoberman, NY Times, June 8, 2008

Booting a Tramp: Charlie Chaplin, the FBI, and the Construction of the Subversive Image in Red Scare America” by John Sbardellati and Tony Shaw

Excerpts from Chaplin’s FBI file can be found on the FBI’s website.

This episode was edited by Henry Molofsky, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Blacklist Flashback: Charlie Chaplin During World War II by Karina Longworth

Download this episode, or find on SoundCloud or iTunes.

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 episode originally debuted in March 2015. The original show notes for the episode contains sources, soundtrack information and more.