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October 16, 2019
This season, we explore the most controversial film in the history of Disney Animation. With the launch of Disney Plus, the company's entire library could be made available for streaming. The one film promised to remain locked away is "Song of the South," the 1946 animation/live-action hybrid set on a post-Civil War plantation.  What is "Song of the South?" Why did Disney make it even amidst protests? And why have they held the actual film from release for the past thirty-plus years, while finding other ways to profit off of it? Join us, won’t you? As we uncover this hidden film in the Disney vault. New episodes of “You Must Remember This” will be released every Tuesday.
January 29, 2019
Ramon Novarro was a Mexican actor and singer whose stardom at MGM in the 1920s and 30s was not impeded by his offscreen life as a gay man. In Hollywood Babylon, Anger focuses only on Novarro’s grisly murder in 1968 -- which outed Novarro to a public that had largely forgotten him--and needlessly embellishes a crime scene that was already pretty horrible. Today, in our final episode of Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon, we will explore the life which Anger left out of Hollywood Babylon, and correct that book’s version of Novarro’s death.
January 22, 2019
In part two of our two-parter on the demise of the biggest and most pernicious tabloid of the 1950s, we’ll explore what happened after the magazine’s claim that redheaded star Maureen O’Hara was caught having sex at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. O’Hara positioned herself the “Joan of Arc” of Hollywood, single-handedly defending a cowardly industry against the existential threat posed by Confidential. As we’ll see, this is one story where the Kenneth Anger version is more credible than the version related by one of the subjects.
January 15, 2019
Over two episodes, we will explore Hollywood Babylon’s coverage of Confidential Magazine and the two celebrities who testified against the scandal rag in the 1957 trial that helped end what Anger rightfully refers to as its “reign of terror.” We’ll begin with Dorothy Dandridge, the first black actress to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. Dandridge’s testimony against Confidential reveals the publication’s racist agenda, as well as the double standards that governed her real private and public lives.
January 8, 2019
Jewish gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel is frequently credited with corrupting Hollywood’s unions and “inventing” Las Vegas. Siegel did have movie star friends, but the true story of his involvement with the Flamingo casino is also the story of a much bigger movieland player: Hollywood Reporter founder/publisher/columnist Billy Wilkerson.
December 25, 2018
The bisexuality of Marlene Dietrich was not exactly a secret in 1930s Hollywood -- in fact, her ambiguous sexuality was part of her on-screen brand. But there is some debate as to who Dietrich counted among her lovers, and which of her fellow stars participated in what has been called the “sewing circle” of female intimacy. Anger alleges that Dietrich had a “passionate affair” with Claudette Colbert, an Oscar-winning actress with an extremely heteronormative persona. We’ll explore what was going on in Dietrich’s life and career around the time when this affair could have taken place, and then delve into Colbert’s image as a very different kind of on-screen sex symbol, and her complicated off-screen personal life.
December 18, 2018
Mexican actress Lupe Velez was the victim of one of Anger’s cruelest invented stories. His fabrication of her manner of death lays bare a vicious racism in addition to Hollywood Babylon’s usual sexism. Today we will sort out the fact of Velez’s life from Anger’s fiction and consider the star of the Mexican Spitfire series as a comedienne ahead of her time.
December 11, 2018
In 1936, actress Mary Astor (who had not yet made her most famous film, The Maltese Falcon) and her husband went to court to fight for custody of their four year-old daughter. The trail made international news thanks to both sides’ use of Astor’s diary, in which she had recorded details of her affair with playwright George S. Kaufman. How much did Astor truly reveal in her diary, and what role did the scandal play in her life and career?
December 4, 2018
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.
November 20, 2018
This Italian pin-up, along with Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot, was emblematic of a brand of post-war European sexuality that America happily imported. But the Hollywood career of  “La Lollo” was delayed, thanks to Howard Hughes, whose obsession with Lollobrigida led him to keep her virtually imprisoned in a Los Angeles hotel and sign her to a contract that essentially made it impossible for her to work for any other U.S. producer.
November 13, 2018
The Seduced, Episode 5
November 6, 2018
The Seduced, Episode 4
October 30, 2018
The child of a silent film actress, Dvorak was so determined to be a star that at first, she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
October 23, 2018
Seduction begins at an MGM sponsored orgy at the Ambassador Hotel, as told through the eyes of one of the attendees, a young female screenwriter named Frederica Sagor. Sagor would go on to pen one of the frankest memoirs of 1920s Hollywood, revealing the systematic sexual exploitation of women in the film industry by men like Marshall Neilan--one of Howard Hughes’ early mentors. Frederica’s story also details how tough it was for a woman to hold on to power behind the scenes in the film industry as Hollywood evolved.
October 16, 2018
We’ll begin the season by talking about the complicated, intermingled romantic and professional relationships of Howard’s uncle, Rupert Hughes, who paved the way for his nephew as a Hollywood figure known for his colorful history with women.
September 11, 2018
We’ll close this half of our Hollywood Babylon season with one of that book’s most famously distorted stories: the tale of “It” Girl Clara Bow’s supposed nymphomania and alleged “tackling” of the entire USC football team.
September 4, 2018
Rudolph Valentino was Hollywood’s first “latin lover.” His shocking death at the age of 31 was attributed to side effects from an appendectomy, but Hollywood Babylon forwards theories that Valentino may have actually been poisoned
August 28, 2018
Thomas Ince was one of early Hollywood’s most pioneering producers—in fact, some credit him for popularizing “producer” as a job title and for codifying what it meant to do the job, as well as helping to develop the Western as a genre.
August 21, 2018
The Kim Kardashian of her day, Peggy Hopkins Joyce was famous for being rich and famous—and for her marriages and involvements with rich and famous men, including Charlie Chaplin.
August 14, 2018
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?
August 7, 2018
According to Hollywood Babylon, actor Wallace Reid —a morphine addict who died in an asylum at the age of 31—was the first sacrificial lamb of the post-sandal era
July 31, 2018
A frequent co-star of Roscoe Arbuckle’s, Mabel Normand was the definitive female screen comedienne of her generation.
July 24, 2018
The killing of director William Desmond Taylor was the third in a trifecta of scandals which, over the course of about a year and a half, painted such a sordid a picture of the movie colony as a hotbed of sin
July 17, 2018
At a boozy party over Labor Day weekend 1921, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, silent Hollywood’s superstar plus-size comedian, followed sometime actress Virginia Rappe into a hotel room.
July 10, 2018
The first Hollywood scandal to attract international attention was the death-by-poison of Olive Thomas, the twenty-five-year old star of au courant Hollywood hit The Flapper.
July 3, 2018
This season will interrogate Kenneth Anger’s controversial and influential gossip collection, Hollywood Babylon. Is this cult classic a needed subversive attack on Hollywood’s false idols, or a dangerous work of “fake news”?
November 21, 2017
Where Bela Lugosi lived his last decade in sad obscurity, Boris Karloff worked until the very end of his life, even as his body began to fall apart.
November 14, 2017
Forgotten by Hollywood, struggling with morphine addiction and a dependency on alcohol, at the end of his life Bela Lugosi was welcomed into a rag tag bunch of micro-budget movie-making freaks led by Edward D. Wood Jr.
November 7, 2017
Lugosi and Karloff, the two stars made by Universal’s monster movies, made eight films together.
October 31, 2017
After twenty years as a journeyman actor/laborer, Boris Karloff became an instant superstar as the Monster in Frankenstein (1931).
October 24, 2017
With Dracula (1931), Bela Lugosi instantly became the first horror star of sound cinema.
October 17, 2017
Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff were two middle-aged, foreign, struggling actors who became huge stars thanks to Dracula and Frankenstein, the first two of a trend of monster movie hits released by Universal Studios during the 1930s.
August 22, 2017
Jean Seberg, now plagued with mental illness and alcoholism, comes to a tragic end in Paris. Jane Fonda reinvents herself, once again, for the 80s.
August 15, 2017
Jean buries her child in Iowa, and then returns to Paris in a fragile mental state. Back in the States, Jane subsumes her passion for activism into her new marriage to Tom Hayden, and works to get her movie career back on track.
August 8, 2017
After shooting a film with a much-changed Jean-Luc Godard, Jane Fonda travels to Vietnam, where she naively participates in a stunt that would leave her branded “Hanoi Jane” for decades.
August 1, 2017
On the heels of making her biggest Hollywood movies in years, Jean Seberg becomes involved with two black radicals, one a cousin of Malcolm X who spouted violent, anti-white rhetoric, the other a leader of the Black Panthers.
July 25, 2017
Having coaxed Jane into participating in an open marriage, Roger Vadim began casting her in films as a male fantasy of female sexual liberation.
July 18, 2017
Having left her husband to be the mistress of Romain Gary, Jean secretly gave birth to a son, and then made the movie that she thought would prove herself as an actress once and for all.
July 11, 2017
Jean takes a chance on a French film critic turned first-time director, and Jane gets her own invitation to come make a movie in Paris.
July 4, 2017
Jean Seberg makes her first two films for tyrannical director Otto Preminger. Meanwhile, Jane Fonda moves to New York, joins the Actors Studio, and tries to define herself.
June 27, 2017
Introducing our new series, “Jean and Jane,” exploring the parallel lives of Jane Fonda and Jean Seberg.
April 25, 2017
Our Dead Blondes season concludes with the story of Dorothy Stratten.
April 18, 2017
Barbara Loden won a Tony Award for playing a character based on Marilyn Monroe in Arthur Miller’s After the Fall.
April 11, 2017
Grace Kelly had an apparently charmed life. Was it all as perfect as it seemed?
April 4, 2017
Today, we revisit Barbara Payton’s story: 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.
March 28, 2017
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.
March 21, 2017
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?
March 14, 2017
How did Marilyn Monroe become the most iconic blonde of the 1950s, if not the century?
March 7, 2017
Today we begin the first of three episodes on the most iconic dead blonde of them all, Marilyn Monroe.
February 28, 2017
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.
February 21, 2017
Veronica Lake had the most famous hairdo of the 1940s, if not the twentieth century.
February 14, 2017
Jean Harlow was the top blonde of the 1930s, and even though she didn’t survive the decade, she’d inspire a generation of would-be platinum-haired bombshell stars.
February 7, 2017
Thelma Todd was a sparkling comedienne who began in the silent era and flourished in the talkies, holding her own opposite the Marx Brothers & playing straight woman in one of cinema’s first all-girl comedy teams.
January 31, 2017
This season we’re going to explore the stories of 11 blonde actresses who died unusual, untimely or otherwise notable deaths - which, in various ways, have outshined these actress’ lives.
September 13, 2016
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.
September 6, 2016
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.
August 30, 2016
Joan Crawford struggled through her “middle years,” the period during her 40s before she remade herself from aging, MGM deadweight into a fleet, journeywoman powerhouse.
August 23, 2016
By the mid-1930s, Joan Crawford was very, very famous, and negotiating both an affair with Clark Gable and a new marriage to Franchot Tone.
August 16, 2016
Joan Crawford’s early years in Hollywood were like - well, a pre-code Joan Crawford movie.
August 9, 2016
In order to understand Joan Crawford’s rise to fame, we have to talk about what Joan - born Lucille LeSueur - was like before she got to Hollywood, and what Hollywood was like before she got there.
June 14, 2016
Sinatra's attempts to hire Hollywood 10 member Albert Maltz, plus his rocky relationship with JFK.
June 7, 2016
Sinatra’s rise to fame and his experiences during World War II
May 31, 2016
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.
May 24, 2016
A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, and East of Eden were made possible because their director named names.
May 17, 2016
Horne, 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.
May 10, 2016
Stunning singer/actress Lena Horne was the first black performer to be given the full glamour girl star-making treatment.
May 3, 2016
The one star who was subpoenaed to testify about her ties to Communism who was fully supported by her studio.
April 26, 2016
The first screenwriter to be taken to court by a studio over his blacklist firing.
April 19, 2016
Ava Gardner gets violent, Hughes’ 15 year-old muse, and how Russell’s boobs did what the Spruce Goose couldn’t.
April 12, 2016
From a Broadway and opera star to an exciting politician in the days of FDR.
April 5, 2016
From movie actor to politician, from Democrat to Republican.
March 29, 2016
The witch hunt that forced him to leave his adopted home, and Hollywood career, behind.
March 22, 2016
In 1922, Charlie Chaplin was one of the most beloved men in the world.
March 15, 2016
The biggest star to ever be blacklisted.
March 8, 2016
Barbara Stanwyck’s second marriage, to heartthrob Robert Taylor, didn’t make sense in a lot of ways, but the pair were united by their conservative politics.
March 1, 2016
With their career futures uncertain, the trio collaborated on the most difficult film any of them would ever make.
February 23, 2016
Prepare for next week's Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn and John Huston episode with this look back at Ep 13.
February 16, 2016
Much to the surprise of many of even her closest friends, beginning in the late 1920s the celebrated poet and New Yorker columnist became increasingly drawn to socialist causes.
February 9, 2016
In 1947, HUAC subpoenaed dozens of Hollywood workers to come to Washington and testify to the presence of Communists in the film industry.
February 2, 2016
With America increasingly paranoid that it and the Soviet Union were destined to demolish one another through nuclear war, anyone who had connections to Communism was seen by some as a potential threat to national security.
December 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...
December 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...
December 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...
December 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...
November 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...
November 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...
November 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...
November 3, 2015
The studio fixer who covered up the darker, more scandalous actions of MGM’s biggest names.
October 27, 2015
MGM's children: Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland
October 20, 2015
The archetype of a blonde sex goddess.
October 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...
October 6, 2015
Hollywood's first great, tragic love affair.
September 29, 2015
The indie master of vaudeville sells out.
September 22, 2015
The real couple behind Hollywood's greatest film.
September 15, 2015
The rise of the most powerful man in Hollywood.
August 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...
August 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...
July 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.
July 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.
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