Will Hays

Mae West (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 12) by Karina Longworth

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Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

Today we begin part two of our season, Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon. 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 and somewhat slower descent back to earth. Featuring special guest Natasha Lyonne!

SHOW NOTES:  

Sources:

Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Anger

Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It by Mae West

Becoming Mae West by Emily Wortis Leider

She Always Knew How: Mae West, a Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler

Hollywood's Censor: Joseph I. Breen and the Production Code Administration by Thomas Doherty

The Dame in the Kimono: Hollywood, Censorship, and the Production Code by Leonard J. Leff


Music:

The music used in this episode, with the exception of the intro and outro, was sourced from royalty-free music libraries and licensed music collections. The intro includes a clip from the film Casablanca. The outro song this week is “I’m No Angel” by Mae West.

Excerpts from the following songs were used throughout the episode:

One Two Three 4 - Peter Sandberg

One Two Three 5 - Peter Sandberg

My Simple Thing 2 - Peter Sandberg

Up We Go 4 - Peter Sandberg

Yellow Leaves 5 - Peter Sandberg

Eventually Maybe - Oakwood Station

Say It Is So - Magnus Ringblom Quartet

In The Lounge 02 - Lars Olvmyr

In The Lounge 05 - Lars Olvmyr

City Fashion 3 - Björn Skogsberg

Tomorrow I'll Be Gone - Franz Gordon

Corny Local Restaurants 2 - Magnus Ringblom

Goofy Moments 3 - Magnus Ringblom

Sophisticated Gentlemen 2 - Magnus Ringblom

Bachelor On The Move 4 - Martin Landh

Thieves Adventures 21 - Magnus Ringblom

Club Noir 2 - John Åhlin

Mae West and Grant in  I'm No Angel  (1933)

Mae West and Grant in I'm No Angel (1933)

Credits:

This episode was written, narrated and produced by Karina Longworth.

Editor: Cameron Drews.

Research and production assistant: Lindsey D. Schoenholtz.

Social media assistant: Brendan Whalen.

Logo design: Teddy Blanks.

Mae West, shot by Diane Arbus, c. 1965

Mae West, shot by Diane Arbus, c. 1965

Will Hays and "Pre-Code" Hollywood (Fake News: Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 7) by Karina Longworth

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Listen, download this episode, or find on iTunes.

Who was Will Hays, and how did he come to put his name on the censorship “Code” that would shape the content of movies more than any other single force from the early 1930s into the 1960s? How much power did Hays really have in 1920s Hollywood, how corrupt was he, and why did it take a decade before the Hays Code was fully enforced?

SHOW NOTES:  

Sources:

This episode is a response to, and includes a brief excerpt from, Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Anger.

The Memoirs of Will H. Hays by Will H. Hays

Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann

Go West Young Women! by Hillary Hallett

Hollywood's Censor: Joseph I. Breen and the Production Code Administration by Thomas Doherty

Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s by Frederick Lewis Allen

“Will Hays, First Film Czar, Dies; Former G. O. P. Leader Was 74; Arbiter of Hollywood's Morals 23 Years Was Postmaster General Under Harding” By The Associated Press, March 8,1954, New York Times

“Will H. Hays and the Motion Picture Industry 1919-1922: by Gerald S. Schatz, from The Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 3, September 1961, pp. 316-329

“Will H. Hays Gets Divorce in Indiana; Court Awards Custody of Son to Motion Picture Official in Uncontested Suit.” New York Times, June 22, 1929

“Mrs. Will H. Hays Dies; Widow of Former 'Czar' of Movie Industry Was 84” New York Times, August 30, 1960

“The Letters That Warren G. Harding’s Family Didn’t Want You to See” by By Jordan Michael Smith, New York Times, July 7, 2014

“Pictures More Realistic” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 31, 1930

“Morals and the Movies” The News Leader, April 28, 1930

“America’s Horniest President Warren G. Harding might have been a useless leader, but he sure could craft a sex scandal” By Jordan Michael Smith, August 16, 2015

William Hays (center) shaking hands, c. 1920's

William Hays (center) shaking hands, c. 1920's

Music:

Original music was composed for this episode by Evan Viola. Most of the rest of the music used in this episode, with the exception of the intro and outro, was sourced from royalty-free music libraries and licensed music collections. The intro includes a clip from the film Casablanca. The outro song this week is “Chinese Bakery” by The Auteurs.

Excerpts from the following songs were used throughout the episode:

he Smoke Room - Gunnar Johnsen  
My Simple Thing 2  - Peter Sandberg
The Hipcat Swagger 3 - Martin Landh
Mississippi Ramble 1 - Martin Gauffin
Sophisticated Gentlemen 3 - Magnus Ringblom
Loser - Anders Ekengren
Club Noir 4 - John Ahlin
March Militaire - Franz Schubert
Cluedo - Hakan Eriksson
Black and White Memories 3 - Martin Hall
War March 1 - Peter Sandberg
O Come All Ye Faithful - Traditional

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Credits:

Our special guest this week is Gideon Yago.

This episode was written, narrated and produced by Karina Longworth.

Editors: Sam Dingman and Jacob Smith.

Research and production assistant: Lindsey D. Schoenholtz.

Social media assistant: Brendan Whalen.

Logo design: Teddy Blanks.

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