Dead Blondes Opening Montage Credits by Karina Longworth

1. Annex - Monroe, Marilyn_120.jpg

Last season our Dead Blondes opening montage included audio clips from various films and actresses, most** of which were featured throughout the series. Because so many listeners requested it, here is a list of the intro clip sources. For a full list of films referenced in the Dead Blondes series, or any other episodes in the archive, please check out the You Must Remember This Film Club. Asterisked clips were included in the Peg Entwistle: Dead Blondes Part 1 intro montage. All of the other Dead Blondes episodes had a shortened version. 

**There's a clip from Lilith in the Dead Blondes intro, but there wasn’t a Jean Seberg episode. Why? A few weeks into planning last season I realized there was a blonde that I hadn't originally planned to include who needed to be included. At the same time I had an idea for a future season in which I could cover Seberg in depth. So, there will be lots of Jean Seberg... next season.


“Where are you going? To Hollywood...Hollywood?” I Wake Up Screaming (1941) Carole Landis

"You come here for excitement?" Lilith (1964) Jean Seberg

“I’m better than a Human Woman.” Galaxina (1980) Dorothy Stratten

* “Why do you look at me that way?” I Married a Witch (1942) Veronica Lake

6. Veronica-lake-i-married-a-witch-490x640.jpg

* “It was me they were interested in. Some people think I'm a very attractive girl. You didn't create that. I'm no Frankenstein, you know... I wonder.”  I Wake Up Screaming (1941) Carole Landis

* “It’s men like you who have made me the way I am.” Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) Marilyn Monroe

Annex - Monroe, Marilyn (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)_17.jpg

“Would you rather I be a brunette?" "My dress! Do you like it? I don't know, it's just a shock to see you dressed." I Married a Witch (1942) Veronica Lake

"I'm so alone, I’m so alone." Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) Barbara Payton

300435515e6cdd71fd34e11c9158b869.jpg

Dorothy Stratten (Dead Blondes Episode 13) by Karina Longworth

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

 

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. After filming They All Laughed Dorothy planned to leave Snider and Playboy for life with Bogdanovich -- but her husband had other ideas. 

 

Sources:

The documentary mentioned at the end of this episode is One Day Since Yesterday, directed by Bill Teck. The link above goes to the DVD on Amazon, but it's also available on Netflix and iTunes.

While I was doing the research for this episode, I was able to view many of the images of Dorothy that appeared in Playboy via a tumblr that has since been taken down. Many of these images are still viewable via Pinterest

Other sources:

"The Passions of Peter Bogdanovich", People, January 23, 1989

"The Death of a Playmate", Village Voice, November 5, 1980

"Hugh Hefner: Blows Against The Empire," Rolling Stone, March 27, 1986

"Peter Bogdanovich Doesn't Live Here Anymore," LA Weekly, March 27, 2002

SLIPPERY AS THE DICKENS: PETER BOGDANOVICH ON "THEY ALL LAUGHED", RogerEbert.com

"Behind the Scenes of the Last Picture Show," Entertainment Weekly, September 21, 1990

"Out to Lunch With Peter Bogdanovich," Vanity Fair, March 2014

"Director Bogdanovich Declares Bankruptcy" Los Angeles Times, June 4, 1997

"Peter Bogdanovich's Star Crossed Days," Washington Post, September 25, 1984

Credits:

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.

 

Barbara Loden (Dead Blondes Episode 12) by Karina Longworth

s_95478_1436715961_tumblr_nrbym5htpe1rce5tlo1_500.jpg

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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 write, direct and star in a groundbreaking independent movie of her own.

Author Arthur Miller, Barbara Loden and Jason Robards Jr.,  After the Fall, 1964

Author Arthur Miller, Barbara Loden and Jason Robards Jr.,  After the Fall, 1964

Barbara Loden and Elia Kazan, 1969

Barbara Loden and Elia Kazan, 1969

Barbara Loden, writer-director-star of Wanda

Barbara Loden, writer-director-star of Wanda

Show notes:

Sources:

I wrote about the restoration of Wanda for the LA Weekly in 2011. Though I did additional research for this episode, I incorporated some text and research from that earlier piece here.

Other sources:

Elia Kazan, A Life by Elia Kazan

Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Leger

Elia Kazan: The Cinema of an American Outsider by Brian Neve

The Mommie Dearest Diary: Carol Ann Tells All by Rutanya Alda

“Conversation on Wanda by Barbara Loden” by Marguerite Duras and Elia Kazan

“The Lonely Female Taxi Driver: Barbara Loden's Wanda” by Jacqueline Valencia

Barbara Loden clippings files, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Credits:

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.

Grace Kelly (Dead Blondes Episode 11) by Karina Longworth

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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 away from Hollywood and Kelly’s very specific spin on blonde sexuality.

Show notes:

Sources:

High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly by Donald Spoto

Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto

Grace Kelly: The Secret Life of a Princess by James Spada

Credits:

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.

Barbara Payton (Dead Blondes Episode 10) by Karina Longworth

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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.

908829efba3305821e2b537a32dd6c9f.jpg
Barbara Payton entering California Hospital to see Franchot Tone after his fight with Tom Neal, 1951, Photo Courtesy of Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection/Los Angeles Public Library

Barbara Payton entering California Hospital to see Franchot Tone after his fight with Tom Neal, 1951, Photo Courtesy of Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection/Los Angeles Public Library

i-am-not-ashamed.jpg

Show notes:

I wrote our first episode on Barbara Payton, during the Joan Crawford series, while I was living in London, and I couldn’t get my hands on an actual copy of I Am Not Ashamed, Payton’s ghostwritten autobiography. Shortly after I returned to Los Angeles, I found a copy at Larry Edmunds Bookshop on Hollywood Boulevard -- apparently it was re-released, in the US at least, in paperback shortly before I made the original episode. So though this was originally intended to be a re-run, this episode is now more new than old.

Sources:

I Am Not Ashamed by Barbara Payton

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye by John O’Dowd

Notes From the Unashamed by Kim Morgan, Sunset Gun 

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 4.28.27 PM.png

Jayne Mansfield (Dead Blondes Episode 9) by Karina Longworth

Mansfield, Jayne (Kiss Them for Me)_01.jpg

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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, experiment with LSD, cheerfully align herself with Satanism for the photo op, and much more.

Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield, 1957

Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield, 1957

Jayne Mansfield in The Girl Can't Help It (1956) 

Jayne Mansfield in The Girl Can't Help It (1956) 

Anton Lavey and Jayne Mansfield, 1966

Anton Lavey and Jayne Mansfield, 1966

Marilyn Monroe: The End (Dead Blondes Episode 8) by Karina Longworth

Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern, 1962

Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern, 1962

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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.

Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot, 1959

Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot, 1959

Credits:

This episode was edited by Sam Dingman, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Special guest appearance by Rian Johnson as John Huston. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Marilyn Monroe's death bed, 1962 

Marilyn Monroe's death bed, 1962 

Marilyn Monroe: The Persona (Dead Blondes Episode 7) by Karina Longworth

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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, looking specifically at the ways in which 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 Prince and the Showgirl.

Marilyn Monroe in How to Marry a Millionaire 

Marilyn Monroe in How to Marry a Millionaire 

Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch 

Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch 

Marilyn Monroe: The Beginning (Dead Blondes Flashback) by Karina Longworth

Listen or download this episode, or find on iTunes.

Today we begin the first of three episodes on the most iconic dead blonde of them all, Marilyn Monroe. We’ll start by revisiting our episode on Marilyn from our series on stars during World War II, in which we traced the former Norma Jeane 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.

This episode originally debuted in February 2015. The original show notes for this episode can be found here

Marilyn in 1946.

Marilyn in 1946.

Tom Kelley's nude Marilyn photos, 1949 

Tom Kelley's nude Marilyn photos, 1949 

Carole Landis (Dead Blondes Episode 5) by Karina Longworth

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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.

Carole Landis with World War II troops 

Carole Landis with World War II troops 

Show notes:

Sources specific to this episode:

Carole Landis: A Most Beautiful Girl, by Eric Gans

Fatal Charm: The Life of Rex Harrison, by Alexander Walker

Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley, by Jeffrey Spivak

Lovely Me: The Life of Jacqueline Susann, by Barbara Seaman

This is the issue of TIME Magazine mentioned in the intro.

The book containing the claims about Pat DeCicco’s violent involvement in Carole Landis’ changed nose is Carole Landis: A Tragic Life In Hollywood by EJ Fleming. Other than citing this one specious claim, I did not use this book as a source precisely because Fleming has a tendency to phrase conjecture as though it is fact. 

Credits:

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.

Rex Harrison and Carole Landis

Rex Harrison and Carole Landis

Veronica Lake (Dead Blondes Episode 4) by Karina Longworth

Veronica Lake by George Hurrell, c. 1942 

Veronica Lake by George Hurrell, c. 1942 

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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 end up dead at 50?

Veronica Lake, publicity shot for I Wanted Wings, 1941.

Veronica Lake, publicity shot for I Wanted Wings, 1941.

Show notes:

Sources specific to this episode:

In researching this podcast, I always try to approach my sources with due skepticism, and in choosing details to include in these episodes, I’m very careful to note facts that are disputed or reported differently by different sources. If I have any doubt about whether or not an incident really occurred, I’m either transparent about my doubt, or I just won’t include it in the episode. In the case of Veronica Lake, there are only two books available to use as biographical sources: there’s Lake’s autobiography, Veronica, which was ghost-written and authorized by a woman who was penniless and whose life was dominated by the alcoholism that would soon kill her; and a book called Peekaboo by Jeff Lenberg, which uses as a main source Veronica’s mother, with whom she had an extremely combative relationship. This latter book, at least in the edition I purchased, is rife with typographical errors, and is also without footnotes or a section on sources. If I were to recommend either of these books, I would have to go with Veronica; unfortunately it is out of print, the copies on the open market are quite expensive, and it seems that the two copies once held by the Los Angeles Public Library system have gone missing.

It would be a stretch to call it a "source," but my understanding of the psychiatric landscape and the potential life of treatment awaiting the mentally ill in the mid-20th century was informed by Luke Dittrich's riveting Patient H. M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets.

Other sources:

Between Flops by James Curtis

“How to get Brie Larson’s Veronica Lake Hair” by Kathryn Romeyn, The Hollywood Reporter, January 9, 2017

“The Sad Tragic Fate Of Veronica Lake” by Dick Siegel, National Enquirer, January 22, 2015

“Working Toward Veronica Lake” by Laura Holson, New York Times, January 7, 2009

“Lake: To Work . . . and to Live” by Bill Gale, New York Times, August 24, 1969

“Spoonful of Ashes Inspires Town to Recall the Veronica Lake Look” by By Corey Kilgannon and Janon Fisher, New York Times, October 17, 2004

Veronica Lake Biography, Turner Classic Movies, TCM.com

Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich 

Credits:

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.

Veronica Lake at Paramount Studios, early 1970's 

Veronica Lake at Paramount Studios, early 1970's 

Jean Harlow (Dead Blondes Flashback) by Karina Longworth

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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.

This episode originally debuted in October 2015. The original show notes for this episode can be found here

Thelma Todd (Dead Blondes Episode 2) by Karina Longworth

Thelma Todd, c. 1930s 

Thelma Todd, c. 1930s 

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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 theories that it was really murder.

Thelma Todd and Buster Keaton in Speak Easily (1932) 

Thelma Todd and Buster Keaton in Speak Easily (1932) 

Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Café, c. 1930's, Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library Images  

Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Café, c. 1930's, Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library Images  

Show notes:

Sources specific to this episode:

With so much misinformation and speculation surrounding Todd’s death, it seemed ultra-important to approach my research for this episode with a critical eye. I ended up using as my main source William Donati’s The Life and Death of Thelma Todd. I was previously a fan of Donati’s biography of Ida Lupino, and his book on Todd seems to me to be the most objective analysis of the facts, with the least amount of speculation and hysteria. As noted in the episode, his informed ability to knock down the Lucky Luciano theory is particularly useful.

Garage where Thelma Todd Died, 1935, Herald-Examiner Collection, Los Angeles Public Library Images 

Garage where Thelma Todd Died, 1935, Herald-Examiner Collection, Los Angeles Public Library Images 

Other sources include:

A Blog For Thelma Todd includes many photos, scanned articles, links and information about Todd and theories about her death.

“Murder Of `30s Starlet Thelma Todd No Longer Mystery” by Frank Sanello, Chicago Tribune, May 05, 1991

“A Mystery Revisited, A building that figured in the unsolved death of actress Thelma Todd is for sale” by Robert W. Welkos, Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2002

“A Blonde in Babylon: The Death of Thelma Todd” by Benjamin Welton, Crime Magazine, Feb 10, 2014

Gloria Vanderbilt’s books The Rainbow Comes and the Rainbow Goes and It Seemed Important at the Time contain the most substantial observations of Pat DeCicco and his reputation that I’ve found. My understanding of DeCicco relationship to and work for Howard Hughes stems from my research for my book, particularly depositions and testimony given by DeCicco himself and his cousin, Albert Cubby Broccoli, in 1978 and 1983 as part of the long-running legal battles to determine control of Hughes’ estate. These documents were observed by me in the Texas State Archives in Austin.

Outro song: “She’s Not Dead” by The London Suede

Credits: 

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.

a36430e0f4244709f79fc557a6d30202.jpg

Peg Entwistle (Dead Blondes Episode 1) by Karina Longworth

Peg Entwistle, c. 1932, Collection of Bruce Torrence

Peg Entwistle, c. 1932, Collection of Bruce Torrence

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

This season we’re going to explore the stories of eleven 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.

Peg Entwistle, Everett Collection/REX

Peg Entwistle, Everett Collection/REX

Hollywoodland Sign, c. 1920s, Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection

Hollywoodland Sign, c. 1920s, Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection

b27b025c8981f19790c0047af5b58e77.jpg

Show notes: 

The key source for this episode was the book Peg Entwistle and the Hollywood Sign Suicide by James Zeruk Jr., an excellently written and well-researched fleshing out of Entwistle’s life story in contrast to and in conversation with her legend.

As part of the book I’m writing about Howard Hughes and the women in his life, I came across RKO’s memos about Katharine Hepburn’s casting in Bill of Divorcement -- and Selznick’s order that Cukor screen test Peg Entwistle -- at the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library. For the same project, I’ve done a great deal of research on the texture of early Hollywood (the city, and then the film colony), much of which hasn’t ended up in my book draft, but some of which I’ve used in this episode. Some recommended sources include The Story of Hollywood: An Illustrated History by Gregory P. Williams; The Parade’s Gone by Kevin Brownlow; Lois Weber in Early Hollywood by Shelley Stamp; Material Dreams: Southern California through the 1920s by Kevin Starr; and Go West Young Women: The Rise of Early Hollywood by Hilary Hallet.

Here is a music video for Dory Previn’s song inspired by Peg, “Mary C. Brown and the Hollywood Sign,” which features an actress (who looks nothing like Peg) acting out Peg’s approach to the sign:

This is the image in Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon labeled “Peg Entwistle”:

This episode contains selections from the album Industry, by Unheard Music Concepts. Used in accordance with Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Credits:

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: Mommie Dearest by Karina Longworth

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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 

Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

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.