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Friday, June 24, 2011

98

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Lana Turner, Sweater Girl Gone Bad

Lana Turner never looks the same. I’ve seen her in hundreds of pictures and dozens of films, and each time she looks like a slightly different person. Turner was a chameleon, a Hollywood-made confection, a liar, a victim, and a real-life femme fatale, party to one of the most infamous — and tragic — Hollywood scandals. Her image combined sex appeal and vulnerability, both imbued with a sense of danger. At the height of her career, Turner seemed a beautiful yet wounded animal, ready to lash out.

Turner’s story was sordid from the start. She was born in Wallace, Idaho, which might not mean anything to you, but as one of the 5223 users of the internet who grew up in Idaho, I can tell you that it can mean ONLY BAD THINGS. Now Wallace = meth heads, bad teeth, and lots of venison stew; in the 1920s it meant all of those things, only exchange “bathtub liquor” for “old RV meth” (sorry Northern Idaho friends, but the truthiness hurts).

Her father was a miner and a ne’er do well, and when Turner was six — that is to say, when she was just old enough to get a real good dose of Idaho in her — the entire family moved to San Francisco. Her father was killed at the end of a card game gone wrong, and Turner’s mother hauled her to Los Angeles, where Turner was shuffled from the house of one friend to another. As Turner later put it, “I was a scullery maid, a cheap Cinderella with no hope of a pumpkin.”

Until, that is, she was discovered by Hollywood at the age of 16. As her publicity team sold it, an agent spotted her sitting at Schwab’s Pharmacy in Los Angeles wearing a tight sweater, daintily licking an ice cream cone, and asked her if she’d like to be in pictures, to which she replied “I’ll have to ask my mother.” The story was a fiction — in actuality, Hollywood Reporter editor Willie Wilkerson spotted her at the downmarket Top Hat Cafe, where she was skipping school and probably eating a chicken fried steak.

But the story, however bullshit infused, helped reinforce the notion that stardom was accessible to anyone — even anonymous girls in sweaters at the ice cream shop.

And in the beginning, Turner’s image was all about this sweater. In her first major film, They Won’t Forget, she played an oversexed schoolgirl, which Turner later described as “A Thing” who “wore a tight sweater and her breasts bounced as she walked . . . a tight skirt and her buttocks bounced . . . She moved sinuously, undulating fore and aft . . . She was the motive for the entire picture . . . the girl who got raped."

WHOA. Um, do you think I could get Lana Turner to read that to me? Wouldn’t that be hot? Especially if she stopped before the last part?

Turner’s undulation incited strong audience reaction, and pin-ups of Turner began to circulate. She was crowned “The Sweater Girl,” which, at least for me, brings to mind images of Norwegians in thick, musty nordic sweaters, but this was a different type of sweater. It was short sleeved, tight on the breasts, and kinda looked like it had been shrunk in the wash — the sexy sweater.

Its sexiness stems not from the garment itself, but from suggestion — a body bursting to get out yet still contained and, as such, safe. The sexy sweater became a primary means of conveying sex, modeled by Turner, Jane Russell, and other busty stars of the era. As the visible thong was to the early 2000s, so the tight sweater was to the early '40s.

The role helped earn Turner a contract at MGM, where she would stay for the next 20 years. In 1938, a contract with MGM meant musicals, playing Clark Gable’s love interest, and the services of the studio’s Fixers. She dyed her hair blonde (we’re talking Gwen Stefani blonde, not Cameron Diaz blonde) and through a series of roles in films aimed at teens, she became popular with the college boys, which is another way of saying she took the Megan Fox route to stardom. The studio sold her as All-American and wholesome, and her roles, youth, and blondness all seemed to match.

But in 1940 she began compromising that image. Instead of a nice courtship with, say, Andy Hardy or Mickey Rooney, Turner went on a date with Artie Shaw, the most popular big band leader of the era and a man 11 years her senior, and up and got married. Like THAT NIGHT, at the point when most of us are trying to decide if letting a guy buy another Gin & Tonic is going to require a make-out sesh as quid pro quo.

Most people you like after a few cocktails turn out to be weird, assholes, drunks, or boring, and Shaw was pretty much just an asshole. They fought, Turner got supposedly pregnant, he denied the baby was his, she had an abortion, and they divorced — all within four months.

MGM’s publicity department rolled with the punches, inflecting Turner’s All-American image with touches of “passion” and impulse. The studio moved her from JV to Varsity, casting her in four films with Clark Gable, who, as all good Hairpinners know, skeezed on all MGM stars, especially impulsive ones with nice sweater boobs.

There’s no proof that anything happened between them, but it was a publicity department’s dream. Lots of coded language in the fan magazines, a steamy picture on the cover of Life, a huge desire to see their chemistry onscreen, but no actual mess to clean up. That’s when gossip does its best work — when it makes you buy the products in which the stars appear, not just the magazines in which the gossip appears.

Turner married again on impulse, only turns out Asshole #2 wasn’t actually divorced from his first wife. The marriage was annulled, the non-husband attempted suicide, Turner found out she was pregnant, and they remarried “for the sake of the baby.” This baby, Cheryl Crane, will become VERY IMPORTANT to the story in about 500 words. At the time, however, the baby added a bit of maternal ordinariness to Turner’s image, until, naturally, she divorced the guy. As my academic super-crush Richard Dyer explains, the structuring tension of Turner’s image was beginning to coalesce: “what she touches turns bad, but is that because she is bad or because she is irresistibly attracted to the bad?”

This tension was further elaborated in 1946, when Turner convinced the studio to cast her as the femme fatale in The Postman Always Rings Twice. The film was what we now call a film noir, but at the time was just a movie based on a hard-boiled crime novel, with a plot that hinges on the effect of a beautiful, damaged, and desperate woman on a susceptible man.

Watch this clip; it will tell you all you need to know. No seriously, watch it right now, even on mute — I promise lipstick and thighs and hamburgers.

I mean, THIS IS IT, right? Like there’s no need for another seduction scene ever? And the high-waisted white shorts and the knotted crop top ... does Urban Outfitters carry those in my size? Can someone teach me how to make my towel topknot look like that? Do I need to live in the South, seduce some guy who comes to the diner owned by my old boring husband, and get him to kill said husband?

The film was a smash, and the first to prove that Turner could actually act (kinda like when Tom Cruise was in Born on the Fourth of July, a memory now shrouded by too much couchjumping, thumbs-upping, and Joey/Katie Holmes-lobotomizing) and reinforced her image as a woman with the potential for malice.

Over the next decade, Turner married and divorced, married and divorced, first to a millionaire, second to actor Lex “Tarzan” Barker. She dated dozens of men in between, and the rumor was that she, like that goody-two-shoes Grace Kelly, truly loved sex. As one MGM executive explained, “Lana had the morals and attitudes of a man ... If she saw a muscular stage hand with tight pants and she liked him, she’d invite him into her dressing room.”

[UM, IS IT JUST ME, OR ARE YOU LIKING THIS GIRL MORE AND MORE?]

In order to explain Turner’s rapidly accumulating ex-husbands, MGM did something genius. They admitted that Turner’s “origin” story — that her father was a stand-up guy, that she grew up in a happy home — had been fabricated for publicity, and that she was, in fact, the damaged product of a broken home. In a time when pop-Freudian concepts of psychology were increasingly popular, it was easy to explain Turner’s mistakes, both at love and in life, through her relationship with her abusive father, who was equally inclined towards “badness.” (Publicity departments and fan magazines manufactured similar explanation stories for dozens of misbehaving stars, most notably Marilyn Monroe. The overarching idea: You like sex because you were poor.)

By 1956, the trouble Turner caused at MGM had begun to outweigh her value, and the studio opted not to renew her contract. Which isn't to say that Turner was out of work: she made Peyton Place, a film so melodramatic and soapy it’s like Gossip Girl times Desperate Housewives to the everything-Nicholas Sparks-has-ever-done power.

And, most importantly, she started dating a mobster.

Johnny Stompanato was a decorated ex-Marine, a well-known clothes horse, the former bodyguard of Mob kingpin Mickey Cohen, and “the Adonis of the Underworld.” (Thanks for that one, Los Angeles Times.) He and Turner began associating at some point in 1957, and, while the details are hazy, it’s clear that Stompanto followed Turner to Europe where she was filming Another Time, Another Place. She and Stompanato then absconded to a private villa in Acapulco (how very Jen Aniston of you, Lana) and, after two months, made a very public return to the United States, greeting Turner’s daughter while looking very tan and very Sopranos.

Of course, Turner denied that she and Stompanato were involved. “There is definitely no romantic interest between us,” she declared, as they had obviously spent the last two months playing Gin Rummy and talking about feelings. Back stateside, the “non-relationship” quickly turned sour. Turner and Mr. Stomps-a-lot were constantly fighting, apparently because she refused to take him to the upcoming Academy Awards. (Can you imagine? That’d be like Jennifer Aniston taking The Situation to The Golden Globes. I. WOULD. DIE. and go to gossip heaven.)

Turner tried to jettison Stompanato, he refused, and on April 4th, the fighting escalated in Turner’s bedroom. According to later testimony, Stompanato threaten to cut, disfigure, and maim Turner. The 14-year-old Crane, fearing for her mother’s safety, grabbed a 10-inch kitchen knife and stabbed Stompanato in the stomach. He collapsed, Crane fled to her room, and Turner called her mother, who called the police. Stompanato was pronounced dead on arrival.

A shit-storm obviously ensued. There was a giant mobster dead on Turner’s pink carpet, Crane was sent to juvie, the mob was pissed, and Turner had no studio publicity team to help clean up the mess.

The weeks to come featured a series of accusations and denials: one day, Turner claims she had never encouraged Stompanado’s affections and he was essentially obsessed with her; the next, the police reveal that a photo of Turner was found on Stompanado’s person, inscribed in Turner’s hand with

Para Juanita, mi amor y mi vida – Lanita.

OH NO SHE DIDN’T!!!

But it totally gets better: Not only did Turner paint “Juanita” as a stage-five clinger, but the chief of police told the papers that Stompanado was “a gigolo type,” and, further, that “this gigolo type of behavior is not unusual. They’re always beating their women.”

OH FUCK NO HE DIDN'T!!!

Mickey Cohen was pissed. He came forth with dozens of love letters, taken from Stompanado’s house, in which Turner addressed her “Juanita” as “My Dearest Darling Love,” “Honey Pot,” and “Daddy Darling.”

All of this back-and-forth made front page news across the country, culminating in a coroner’s inquest to determine whether the killing was justifiable homicide. Turner’s testimony was a tour de force and, naturally, recounted at length:

As she answered the questions....she stared down at her twisting hands or out over the heads of the spectators — as though mumbling the details of an incredible nightmare ....The actress closed her eyes, touched at her face and continued. ‘He grabbed me by the arms and started shaking me and cursing me very badly, and saying that, as he had told me before, no matter what I did, how I tried to get away, he would never leave me, that if he said jump, I would jump; if he said hop, I would hop, and I would have to do anything and everything he told me or he’d cut my face or cripple me....’

.....Miss Turner closed her eyes again for a moment blinking and tears forming there. ‘And if...when it went beyond that, he would kill me and my daughter and my mother. He said no matter what, he would get me where it would hurt the most — and that would be my daughter and mother.

Seriously, HIGH DRAMZ!

It was, as many a journalist put it, the performance of Turner’s life. Coincidentally, Peyton Place, in which Turner’s character also takes a dramatic turn on the witness stand, was still very much in theaters. Turner’s textual and extra-textual lives were converging, and suddenly the film, up to then a modest success, become a phenomenon.

All charges against Crane were dismissed, but the months to come were filled with speculation. Was Turner involved with the Mob? Was the star of The Postman Always Rings Twice blaming a murder on a daughter? AND OHHHHHHH SHIT WHAT IF CHERYL KILLED JOHNNY BECAUSE SHE WAS SECRETLY IN LOVE WITH HIM?

Peyton Place earned Turner an Oscar nomination, but her next two films, neither of which exploited details from Turner’s life, were flops. Then, with no contract and few prospects, she took a huge pay cut to appear in Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life. This film is like everything that’s great about Turner and her image to the most lavish and over-the-top degree: over $1 million in costumes, a plot involving a single mother who shirks her duties to become a famous actress, an orchestral score to kick all other orchestral scores' asses, and a teenage daughter who falls in love with the mother’s boyfriend. I WONDER WHERE THEY THOUGHT OF THAT?

Imitation of Life was a hit, even if it was, at the time, panned by critics. (Now all critics want to have Douglas Sirk’s melodramatic German babies, but bygones.) Yet it would be Turner’s last hit: She was nearing 40, and the luster, vulnerability, and threat seemed to have faded. In her final films, she seemed a shell of herself, inhabiting the Turner image but not owning it. Turner married three more times, including, most dismally, to a nightclub hypnotist who absconded with her money, and retreated from the public view.

Turner is remembered for her role in the Stompanato killing, but what amazes me is how exquisitely the event fit within the trajectory of her image and life. It’s as if all of her roles, marriages, and dalliances were leading up to that night and the peak performance on the witness stand that followed. Which is why, for all of the hoopla, Turner could remain a star: It fit seamlessly with her image and, as such, was not scandalous so much as scintillating.

Turner wasn’t pitiable like Judy Garland, wasn’t strong like Joan Crawford, wasn’t childish like Marilyn Monroe. Rather, she was dangerous in a way that few other female stars seem dangerous: She was never aggressive, per se, but she was manipulative — able, through her beauty and sexual appeal, to get others to do what she wanted, on and off the screen.

That sort of power destroys, especially when wielded indiscriminately. In this way, Turner’s contemporary analog might be Britney, another blonde sold as an embodiment of the American Dream. When Britney’s power led to choices that seemed to betray a souring in that Dream, it forced us to reconsider the package we had been sold, why it had been so attractive, and the destructive machinations necessary to make that dream a reality. In the end, both Britney and Turner inhabited and were betrayed by an imitation of life — and that’s the most tragic plot line of all.

Previously: Clark Gable, the Scandal That Wasn't.

Anne Helen Petersen is a Doctor of Celebrity Gossip. No, really. You can find evidence (and other writings) here.



98 Comments / Post A Comment

raised amongst catalogs

Omg, those cheekbones...

shenannies

I LOVE these, scandals are delicious. I've lingered over this one before, and I think something shady was going on with Stompanado and Cheryl.
And forgive me for writing this, but maybe Lana Turner and her appearance in sweaters are the reason we have that vulgar 'sweater meat' phrase? That grosses me out.

raised amongst catalogs

@shenannies In a sweater that tight, your ham spatula is impossible to hide.

shenannies

@vanillawaif I still have no idea what a ham spatula is, and I'm afraid to go to urban dictionary at work.

raised amongst catalogs

@shenannies I don't know what it is either, but there's something satisfying about using it in a sentence. I'm afraid to look it up regardless of my location, if it makes you feel better.

Hot mayonnaise

@shenannies: sweater puppies?

shenannies

@Hot mayonnaise Still gross.

Tragically Ludicrous

@shenannies Sweater boobs? Wait, I think I'm doing this wrong...

amirite

@Hot mayonnaise Ewwwwwwwww.

jams

I was intimidated by whatever animal that is that has such huge, fearsome eyes. bubblegum casting

amuselouche

"oh Lana Turner we love you get up."

Bolero

@amuselouche My first thought upon reading this. My second thought: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Pellar

amuselouche

@Bolero I love that he was convicted for hiring a contract killer, when he could just have...hypnotized someone to do it.

Bolero

@amuselouche I know, right?

mgll

@amuselouche Lovelovelove that poem.

Anne Helen Petersen

@mgll I also love the poem -- for those of you unawares, it's by Frank O'Hara; available here: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/400/

gimlet

OH MY GOD YOU GREW UP IN IDAHO TOO? WHERE?!?!?

And so did Lana Turner! I didn't know that! I might have to claim my home state after all.

Anne Helen Petersen

@Riff Randell I DID! In Northern Idaho even, which is what gives me license to talk about Wallace. If I say that my school mascot was the Bengal, does that give you a hint?

gimlet

@Anne Helen Petersen yes indeed! I grew up in the gross southeastern desert-y part of the state, but my parents moved up north to Moscow a couple years back so I know a little about it up there now too.

Anyways, you're right, Wallace is pretty nasty. I mean, let's be real, so is the rest of the state (at least the parts that aren't all forested).

Anne Helen Petersen

@Riff Randell Yes. Basically my favorite Idaho parts all involve forest and not a lot of people. Also McCall.

gimlet

@Anne Helen Petersen Ooh, McCall is gorgeous. The Driggs/Victor area isn't so bad either, as I recall, but it's been a few years since I was back there.

Anyway, you are pretty damn cool and so is Lana Turner. On topic!

Tuna Surprise

@Riff Randell - Southeastern Idaho represent! I am not from Idaho but my mom and ex are both from Bonneville county so for a while it was like a second home. Hell's Half Acre, Pocatello, Fort Hall.
I miss it!

Anne Helen Petersen

@Tuna Surprise Look at us, 3 of the 5223 Idaho internet users representing.....

gimlet

@Tuna Surprise Whoa, crazy! I grew up in Idaho Falls but I wanted to live in Pocatello because they had that awesome waterpark whose name I can't remember now. But it was awesome. It just was.

Tuna Surprise

@Riff Randell - We had our family reunions at Downey Hot Springs (although I don't think that's in Pokey). As a child, Downey was the coolest thing I had ever experienced. Hands down.

shenannies

Anne, have you heard of that Old Hollywood rumor that a starlet and her boyfriend murdered her husband and buried him in the desert?! It's so juicy, and I tried looking for it for you, but I was afraid to google something like 'bury dead husband in desert', and practically beg to be escorted out by building security.

Anne Helen Petersen

@shenannies hrmmmmm.....no? It does sound like the plot of a noir, though.

shenannies

@Anne Helen Petersen Found it!
http://www.crazydaysandnights.net/2009/12/todays-blind-item-old-hollywood.html

LRMG

@shenannies Yeah, this is a Jean Harlow rumor. Though the whole Paul Bern thing is super fishy.

clarkie

So, so good! And you managed to work in a completely legit Britney analogy.

Bittersweet

Lana Turner! I first saw her in the Three Musketeers from the late 40s with Gene Kelly and Van Heflin and she was ridiculous. You think it's going to be all flowers and happy endings (because of Gene Kelly and all) but terrible things happen and main characters get killed...and it's all because of Lana's character, who is beyond beautiful and beyond devious.

Katie Walsh

Obviously I am obsessed with these and I requested Lana Turner on the first one and NOW I HAVE IT! YESSSS.

applestoapples

@Katie Walsh If I had the magical power to request one, it'd be Jean Harlow. She pretty much covers every scandal you could think of.

Katie Walsh

@applestoapples Your request has been logged in the comments! Anne... are you there?

Anne Helen Petersen

@Katie Walsh Oh I'm here, JEAN HARLOW IS COMING FOR YOU

applestoapples

@Anne Helen Petersen YES.

CurlsMcGirlypants

@Anne Helen Petersen When that happens, I am totally walking down to my favorite breakfast joint--Hawlow's Cafe--and noming on the best blueberry pancakes ever while I read all about her sordid affairs. CAN'T WAIT.

NormaDesmond

I read this instead of working on yet another celebrity-obsessed piece of video at work. Who can possibly give a crap about Kim Kardashian's "bombshell" status when faced with Lana Turner?!

PS Douglas Sirk makes me roll my eyes and I'm not afraid to admit it.

Princess Gigglyfart

OMG that hamburger/lipstick/thighs clip, I am so glad I clicked!

CurlsMcGirlypants

@Princess Gigglyfart RIGHT?! Before I clicked it, I was like "Pshh, I bet this isn't THAT great of a clip." But dear lord! THAT LOOK. I would have burned the hamburger, too.

kayjay

I am going to read this at least five more times today. AT THE VERY LEAST. This series is pretty much my favorite hairpin thing ever now.

arianna

@kayjay agreed. it is the best thing since F/M/K.

ejcsanfran

"Oh mother. Stop acting!"

Also, I weep (not like eyes-a-bit-misty but tears-streaming-down-my-face/sore-throat/lips-trembling sobbing) every single time I watch the ending of Imitation of Life.

Anne Helen Petersen

@ejcsanfran ME TOO x a million

julia

Every time I read one of these I get sucked into Anne's website. I totally agree with you about ScarJo, Dr. Peterson!

Hot mayonnaise

@julia: Also yes on ScarJo. I always felt a bit creepy liking her better from her (younger) Ghost World/Lost in Translation era, but maybe I'm a bit less of a creep now.

sarah ruth

bravo, more more, etc!

itsureiswindy

you guys should go buy cheryl cranes autobiography for a dollar on abe books!!! also while you are there you should buy little richards biography, the life and times of little richard, which is the best book of all time. little richard talkin bout buttholes and orgies. the best dollar you will ever spend.

melbouc@twitter

@itsureiswindy I'd LOVE a Scandals of Classic Hollywood on Little Richard, personally. But can you do them on people who are still alive?

lagreen

Loooove these posts! Keep up the amazing work and writing, Dr. Peterson! :) And love the comparison to Brit-Brit, too.

iceberg

that ANKLE, in the clip, the perfect little turn of her foot... *dead*

Noelle O'Donnell

This was an awesome post, I didn't know that much about her but it looks like tonight is going to be a Lana Turner movie marathon night!

Anne Helen Petersen

@feverdreams Postman is probably my top rec, but I'd also highly recommend The Bad and the Beautiful from the early '50s. Kirk Douglas's chin dimple in high gear and Hollywood navel-gazing. Really fantastic.

Noelle O'Donnell

@Anne Helen Petersen Thanks! I will definitely add that to the queue.

TyrannosaurusWreck

I LOVE ALL OF THESE SO MUCH. Please never stop writing them.

Tragically Ludicrous

@TyrannosaurusWreck YES. Seconded!

scully

Am I the only one who thinks she looks totally like Beyonce in that turban pic??

LRMG

Dr. Petersen, have you thought of doing some of these stories on silent film stars? They get really really really scandolouso. I'd love to see your take on Mabel Normand.

Anne Helen Petersen

@LRMG I did do one on Clara Bow, but you're right, the Mabel Normand story is totally crazy. Also Arbuckle and Wallace Reid, all in the queue.....

DMcK

@Anne Helen Petersen Oh yes, the Mabel Normand story is AWESOME. And aside from that, she really was a funny and charming comedienne.

Lily Rowan

I'm mostly just making my profile-picture-mandated comment here, but: YES.

becky@twitter

photo of cheryl crane in 2006: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2968492800/nm1273974

sam.i.am

I missed you! I love this series so much. We watched "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" over the weekend and I astonished my boyfriend by telling him all about Robert Mitchum's pot incident. I can't wait for next week's installation.

Anne Helen Petersen

@sam.i.am i am thrilled to be of boyfriend-impressing service.

kitten_witawip

http://www.corbisimages.com/stock-photo/rights-managed/BE032224/actress-lana-turner-testifies-at-daughters-trial/?ext=1

ejcsanfran

@kitten_witawip: OMFG, that is amazing.

Anne Helen Petersen

@ejcsanfran OH GOD, SO GOOD. And also EXACTLY how I pictured it.

Tulletilsynet

@Anne Helen Petersen
Wait, courtroom photography in a California coroner's court in 1958? Really? Wow.

Tulletilsynet

@Anne Helen Petersen
PS I have to second all the worshipful prostration going on around here for this series, or ninetysecond it or whatever, but who's counting? -- Also, I have to know, please: who thought up the cute bit of business where Garfield makes her come get the lipstick?

descie

Did anyone else click through to Cheryl Crane's wikipedia page and find this gem:

"Crane was deemed to have been protecting her mother.[3] Stompanato was well-known to have been abusive, extremely jealous of Turner and had previously pointed a gun at actor Sean Connery, her co-star in Another Time, Another Place, only to have Connery take the gun from him, beat him and force him from the movie set."

Oh, Connery.

Bittersweet

@descie: That story just takes my thing for Sean Connery to the next level.

Hello Dolly

You could own Lana Turner! Well, a smaller, doll version. But she's got the turban! And she was created by Jason Wu, so woo!
http://cgi.ebay.com/Lana-Turner-Iconic-Hollywood-Royalty-Jason-Wu-LT001-/310184843671?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4838751997

redheaded&crazy

That whole thing about changing the story from "idyllic childhood" to "abusive father" is really fascinating to me. In fact, this whole MGM producers creating personas for their stars history is so interesting and insane (insanteresting). I mean obviously Hollywood plays a huge role in creating or at least sustaining stereotypes/general ideas about the world, and yet the backstory is that ... it was all just made up!

BucketsOfCool

I was getting really concerned that there wasn't going to be a hamburger in that clip, but SUCCESS.

Charlie

this is the best thing ever i can hardly stand it! also, the similarities between this plot and chandler's long goodbye (1953) are astounding. right down to the shady decorated military man. anyway, YAY for this column!!!

Jennifer Tonti@facebook

Love. This. Feature.

martinipie

@Anne Helen Petersen: I love this feature and just popped over to your blog and had so many moments of OH MY GOD YEAH! about my reception of celebrities/perception of celebrities, especially the icky Leo/Blake deal--you rock, keep doing your thing, thanks for affirming my belief that I want to go for a PhD (though not in celebrity gossip, alas, I think, who knows, the future is inscrutable).

martinipie

@martinipie also: more Fassbender at all times in my current life mantra.

allthecuteshit

confused. lana turner called her boyfriend "juanita"? also the pronoun "her" is used at some point to describe a him... not to be nitpicky, it just adds to the general confusion. there's some gender bending up in this story.

Anne Helen Petersen

@allthecuteshit Yes, I was also confused by the use of 'Juanita,' but that was copied verbatim from the newspaper. Weird, I know.

allthecuteshit

@Anne Helen Petersen oh i reread the sentence with perceived misleading gender identification and realized i'm just dumb.

rj77

"The studio moved her from JV to Varsity, casting her in four films with Clark Gable, who, as all good Hairpinners know, skeezed on all MGM stars, especially impulsive ones with nice sweater boobs." OH I <3 YOU

dg
dg

Loves this series!

Harriet Welch M@facebook

I absolutely love this series. It is halting a term paper with a looming deadline in its tracks, but it is amazing.
Have you thought about The Biograph Girl? Florence Lawrence of silent film fame. Killed herself with ant paste and also managed to invent turn signals? I don't think she's so much of a scandal as a sad sad story.

Da Horsey@facebook

Holy moley this is the juice of last century. Lana was a scary temptress even without seeing her films. But this? Lil Brit has nothing on her. Shoot the bald chick batting a car with an umbrella. So not Lana.

But still, Anne a tightly wound delight. Superb.

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