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.
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 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.