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.
Introducing our new series, “Jean and Jane,” exploring the parallel lives of Jane Fonda and Jean Seberg.
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.
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.
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?
How did Marilyn Monroe become the most iconic blonde of the 1950s, if not the century?
Today we begin the first of three episodes on the most iconic dead blonde of them all, Marilyn Monroe.
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.
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.
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.
Joan Crawford’s early years in Hollywood were like - well, a pre-code Joan Crawford movie.
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.
How did the Blacklist come to an end?
Sinatra's attempts to hire Hollywood 10 member Albert Maltz, plus his rocky relationship with JFK.
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.
A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, and East of Eden were made possible because their director named names.
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.
The one star who was subpoenaed to testify about her ties to Communism who was fully supported by her studio.
The first screenwriter to be taken to court by a studio over his blacklist firing.
From a Broadway and opera star to an exciting politician in the days of FDR.
From movie actor to politician, from Democrat to Republican.
The witch hunt that forced him to leave his adopted home, and Hollywood career, behind.
In 1922, Charlie Chaplin was one of the most beloved men in the world.
The biggest star to ever be blacklisted.
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.
With their career futures uncertain, the trio collaborated on the most difficult film any of them would ever make.
In 1947, HUAC subpoenaed dozens of Hollywood workers to come to Washington and testify to the presence of Communists in the film industry.
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
MGM's children: Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland
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...
Hollywood's first great, tragic love affair.
The indie master of vaudeville sells out.
The real couple behind Hollywood's greatest film.
The rise of the most powerful man in Hollywood.
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...
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...
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.
Over the course of a single weekend, half a dozen hippies massacred seven people. This episode includes disturbing details about very violent crimes.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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...
Today we're tracing Charles Manson's life from his birth to a teenage con artist, through multiple stints in reform schools and prisons, and finally to San Francisco circa 1967, where Manson began to try out his guru act on the local hippie kids.
This season, You Must Remember This will explore the murders committed in the summer of 1969 by followers of Charles Manson. Today, we’ll talk about what was going on in the show business capital that made Manson seem like a relatively normal guy.
Van Johnson was MGM’s big, all-american heartthrob during World War II, an one of the most reliably bankable stars in Hollywood, on and off, for over a decade. Off-screen, he was an introvert with a mysterious personal life.
No actor on movie screens in the 1940s embodied American patriotism and unpretentious masculinity better than John Wayne. But Wayne didn’t have the defining experience of most adult American men of the 1940s — Wayne didn’t enlist to...
Frank Sinatra's rise to fame coincided almost exactly with the run up to and fighting of World War II. Unlike so many young men, famous or otherwise, Sinatra didn't enlist, and the controversy over whether or not he was a draft dodger hung over his head.
You Must Remember This turns one year old this month, and to celebrate, Karina takes questions from listeners. Topics range from book recommendations to the blacklist to baseball to Karina’s abandoned, unfinished novel.
Bob Hope is remembered as the 20th century celebrity most devoted to entertaining the troops. Bing Crosby, Hope’s partner on seven Road to… films, sang the song that became an unlikely alternate national anthem during World War II.
Charlie Chaplin’s most successful (and controversial) film was The Great Dictator, a vicious satire of Adolf Hitler. We’ll explore the connections between the two men, and explain why most of Hollywood tried to stop the film from being made.
Errol Flynn arrived in Hollywood in 1934 and almost immediately became a massive star, his swashbuckler-persona propelling many of the decades biggest action hits. But his dashing good looks and life-of-the-party personality masked a shady past.
She was the raven-haired beauty whose lily white persona was forged by supporting roles in Gone With the Wind and several Errol Flynn swashbucklers. He was the real-life swashbuckler whose directorial debut, The Maltese Falcon, was an enormous success.
Today’s episode tells the secret, forgotten, and highly disputed story of the making of Marilyn Monroe, arguably the most potent Hollywood sex symbol of all time.
Stunning singer/actress Lena Horne was the first black performer to be given the full glamour girl star-making treatment. But as the years went on and her studio failed to make much use of her, Horne started feeling like a token — and she...
One of the most glamorous stars of the 1930s -- and also one of the first androgynous sex symbols -- Marlene Dietrich was a German actress turned major Hollywood star, one who essentially became the USO's female Bob Hope.
The Citizen Kane boy wonder's second wife was the former Margarita Cansino -- a dancer-turned-actress whose Hispanic heritage Hollywood went to great lengths to obscure.
The luminous star of a number of key film noirs and melodramas of the 1940s, Gene Tierney's personal life was highly dramatic and heartbreakingly tragic.
The queen of screwball comedies married the king of Hollywood in 1939, but Lombard's 1942 death in a plane crash on the way home from a trip to sell war bonds drove Gable into a physical and emotional breakdown, and eventually the Army.
In the first installment of 'Star Wars' (about the experiences of stars during wartime, not Chewbacca or Mos Eisley), Karina Longworth looks at Bette Davis and the Hollywood Canteen.
In this episode, we’ll explore what really happened to Bruce and Brandon Lee, and discuss how an extraordinarily talented artist went from a victim of Hollywood’s racism to one of the industry’s biggest moneymakers long after his death.
Part Two of Mia Farrow in the 1960s traces Mia’s flight to India, studying transcendental meditation with the Beatles, the movies Secret Ceremony and John and Mary, her affair with Andre Previn, and the impact it had on Previn's wife, Dory.
Before Mia Farrow was an outspoken activist, devoted mother to 14 children, and the famously jilted partner of Woody Allen, she was … a lot of other things. Today in the first of a two parter, we’ll begin to explore Mia Farrow’s...
There have been four Hollywood films made under the name and/or with the basic story of A Star is Born. The most reviled version is the one starring Barbra Streisand, made in 1976 and produced by Barbra’s hair dresser-turned-boyfriend Jon Peters.
Our long-running series on the women in the life of the infamous aviator/filmmaker continues with a look at Hughes’ professional and personal relationship with Jane Russell, which began in 1940 when Hughes randomly pulled a photograph of the 19...
Theda Bara might be the most significant celebrity pioneer whose movies you’ve never seen. She was the movie industry’s first sex symbol; the first femme fatale; and she might have been America’s first homegrown goth.
When Humphrey Bogart died, Lauren Bacall was just 32 years old. This is the story of how Bacall spent the remaining 57 years of her life, and her lifelong struggle to find a balance between being Mrs. So-and-So, and being Lauren Bacall.