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[MOVED] You Must Remember This

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.
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[MOVED] You Must Remember This
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Dec 22, 2015

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? 

Dec 15, 2015

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. Taylor capped off the decade by almost dying, winning her first Oscar, and breaking free from MGM to become the highest paid actress up to that time.

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Dec 8, 2015

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 both director Nicholas Ray, and his son, Tony.

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This episode is also brought to you by The Message, a new science fiction podcast from Panoply and GE Podcast Theater. Search for The Message in iTunes.

Dec 1, 2015

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, Turner became embroiled in one of Hollywood history’s most shocking scandals: the murder of Turner’s boyfriend Johnny Stompanato at the hand of her 14 year-old daughter, Cheryl Crane.

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This episode is also brought to you by The Message, a new science fiction podcast from Panoply and GE Podcast Theater. Search for The Message in iTunes.

Nov 24, 2015

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 a tragic echo of Selznick’s own film A Star is Born, as he threw his weight behind turning Jones into a star, Selznick himself lost his footing in Hollywood.

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Nov 17, 2015

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.

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Nov 10, 2015

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 partnership helped to canonize both as important stars. But their personal relationship was complicated by his drinking and his relationships with other women -- including his wife.

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Nov 3, 2015

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: a chronic adulterer with a history of domestic violence, he married his mistress Toni, who went on to have an open, Mannix-endorsed affair with Superman star George Reeves, whose death under mysterious circumstances hung a cloud over Mannix's legacy.

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Oct 27, 2015

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 who grew up together  within MGM’s stable of child stars.

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Oct 20, 2015

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 circumstances — as did Harlow herself, in 1937, at the age of 26. 

Oct 13, 2015

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 wasn’t.

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Oct 6, 2015

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 from his contentious relationship with Mayer, and his increasing alcoholism, while Garbo’s star continued to rise. In 1933, Garbo made it a condition of her MGM contract extension that the studio cast Gilbert as her love interest in Queen Christina. Within three years, Gilbert was dead. Within ten years, Garbo’s career had taken a turn, too.


This episode was sponsored by Audible.com, with over 180,000 audio books and spoken word audio products. For a 30-day trial and FREE audiobook of your choice, go to audible.com/remember.

Sep 29, 2015

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 from his friend Joe Schenck that nothing would change, only to find himself in his new situation demoted from artistic boss to employee of a corporation interested in protecting its investment above all. The lack of agency and ability to personally control the quality of his own work within the confines of Mayer’s studio drove Keaton to alcoholism, which further doomed his tenure at MGM. Keaton’s experience is perhaps the first major example of an indie filmmaker “selling out” to a big studio, only to be swallowed up by the system.

Sep 22, 2015

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. Mayer, the souring of that relationship over MGM’s (mis)use of Davies and Mayer’s effort to block the release of Kane on Hearst’s behalf.

Sep 15, 2015

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 existence, Mayer’s influence over the company would be at least matched by that of producer Irving Thalberg, who was perceived as the creative genius to Mayer’s bureaucrat. This episode will trace the rise of MGM through the 1920s and early-mid 30s, covering Mayer’s long-evolving working relationship with Thalberg, the creation of the MGM “star factory” identity and unique power within the community of Hollywood, and the in-fighting which would end with Mayer poised to seize his crown as the most powerful man in Hollywood.

Aug 11, 2015

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.

Aug 4, 2015

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 Antonioni's attempt to make a Hollywood studio film, Zabriskie Point, starring Hopper's future wife.

Jul 28, 2015

Roman Polanski was in London the night his pregnant wife was murdered in their home. He returned to Los Angeles, devastated, to find himself wanted for questioning in a crime which the LAPD, initially, had no idea how to solve.

Jul 21, 2015

Over the course of a single weekend, half a dozen hippies massacred seven people. This episode includes disturbing details about very violent crimes.

Jul 14, 2015

While trying to launch her own acting career, Sharon Tate fell in love with, and eventually married, Roman Polanski, the hotshot Polish filmmaker who had his first massive American hit in the summer of 1968, Rosemary’s Baby.

Jul 7, 2015

In the first of two episodes about the Manson Family’s most famous victim, we’ll trace actress Sharon Tate’s early years, her romance with celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring, and the on-set affair that changed the course of Tate’s life and career.

Jun 30, 2015

The first person to go to jail for a Charles Manson-associated murder was Bobby Beausoleil, a charismatic would-be rock star who had put in time as a muse to Kenneth Anger -- child actor-turned-occultist experimental filmmaker and author.

Jun 23, 2015

Charles Manson became convinced his best chance at rock stardom was impressing Terry Melcher, a record executive who had made stars out of The Byrds, who was also Doris Day's son and Candice Bergen's boyfriend.

Jun 16, 2015

After wearing out his welcome at Dennis Wilson’s house, Manson moves his family to Spahn Ranch, a dilapidated Western movie set where the cult starts preparing for Helter Skelter, Manson's made-up apocalypse inspired by The Beatles.

Jun 9, 2015

In this episode we’ll talk about Charlie Manson’s arrival in Los Angeles, discuss Dennis Wilson’s life and the role he played in enabling Manson’s rock n’ roll delusions, and explain how The Beach Boys came to record a song written by Charles Manson.

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