Sunday, December 14, 2008

Win the Joan Crawford Tonner Doll

CONTEST: Announcing the first doll released from the Joan Crawford Tonner Doll Collection - Mad About the Hat! This limited edition masterpiece can be yours for free! World renowned doll manufacture Tonner Doll has brought Joan Crawford back to life in a series of detailed and glamorous dolls honoring the Academy Award winning actress. To win the Mad About the Hat doll, simply just answer the five Crawford related questions below and email your entry at the link below.

#1 - What three films did Joan Crawford get a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for?

#2 - Name three different Academy Award winning actors that costarred with Joan in her film career.

#3 - Name three films director George Cukor directed featuring Joan Crawford.

#4 - What were the first and last full feature talking motion picture films in Joan Crawford's career.

#5 - Over Joan's lengthy career she teamed up with several other actresses. Name three actresses that she costarred with that were considered as her rivals and/or nemesis's.

Submit your entry with answers at the email address below. One entry per email address. The winner will be announced on New Years Day, January 1st 2009. Good Luck!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Joan Crawford 1925 - Timeline / Photos

Above: A very rare photo of Joan Crawford circa 1924/1925 where she signed her name "Billie."

I find the early years of Joan Crawford's life to be the most fascinating and mysterious. There are so many unanswered things about Joan's youth that do make researching her quite interesting. When she came to MGM in January
1925, she looked nothing like the "Joan Crawford" many remember today. She was still going by the name Billie Cassin in many circles but her stage name was her birth name, Lucille LeSueur. Many know the story already... In 1924, Lucille (Joan) was dancing in shows and making decent money in New York City. She loved to dance and she was doing just that, but as 1925 approached young Lucille was tired of dancing in clubs trying to make ends meet and competing with prettier girls. Lucille was ready to pack it all up and leave the dancing world for a while when she heard that an MGM talent scout, Harry Rapf, was going to be in New York looking for young talent for the newly opened Culver City MGM film studios. Lucille was granted a screen test but failed miserably, but her early determination that the world would eventually see, came out and she fought for a second screen test.

Above: Lucille LeSueur in J.J. Schubert's The Passing Show of 1924 as "Ms. Labor Day" in the shows production.

Lucille didn't immediately hear back from MGM and the holidays were growing near. Feeling defeated, Lucille heads back home to Kansas City three days before Christmas to be with her family and then "companion" Ray Sterling. Lucille was about to receive the biggest Christmas present she had ever received! On Christmas Day, Lucille received a telegram from Nils Granlund on behalf of MGM saying:

"You are put under a five-year contract starting at seventy-five dollars a week. Leave immediaely for Culver City, California. Contact MGM Kansas City offcie for travel expenses."

Above: A very young looking Joan Crawford in 1925.

Lucille was on her way to a new chapter in her life as she kissed her family goodbye she got on the train to Los Angeles, California on January 1, 1925. Lucille arrived in Los Angeles on January 3rd 1925 to be greeted by Larry Barbier an MGM publicity guy. Overjoyed, frightened, nervous a young Lucille probably talked his ear off as she was eventually dropped off at the Hotel Washington.

Above: One of the many cheesecake photo shoots Joan did in 1925.

During Lucille's first couple months at MGM she did the typical things a budding starlet would do. She posed for cheesecake photos, mingled with other upcoming hopefuls and doubled for established stars at MGM. Lucille's first film appearance was in Lady of the Night posing as a body double for one of MGM's biggest stars at the time, Norma Shearer. Lucille only appeared in the film for a brief moment when Norma is faced with her twin in the back seat of a car. You get a glimpse of a young Lucille's profile. The movie was released on February 23, 1925 and Lucille was uncredited for her minor part. Lucille's second film appearance was in Proud Flesh on April 27,1925 starring Eleanor Boardman. Lucille's first and only picture to be billed under her birth name was in Pretty Ladies released on July 15th 1925 starring ZaZu Pitts.

Above: Lucille LeSueur revealing her new name, Joan Crawford.

It was March 1925 and Lucille had just turned nineteen years old and the studio was not sure what to do with her. Studio head, Louis B. Mayer, was not fond of her name he thought it sounded too much like a 'sewer' and the studio launched a name contest to rename the upcoming actress. Originally Joan Arden was chosen for Lucille but there were more than one submission for that name. Finally, on August 18th 1925, Lucille was christened with the new name Joan Crawford! Joan was still given bit parts and uncredited in The Merry Widow released on August 26, 1925 starring John Gilbert and Joan also appeared in The Midshipman released on October 4, 1925 starring heartthrob Ramon Novarro.

Above: MGM files showing Joan's registration and photo in 1925 compared to a diva photograph of Joan from 1933 showing her metamorphosis.

Lucille was none to pleased with her new name; she thought it sounded like "Crawfish." Lucille had met another young upcoming star named William Haines on the MGM set and they formed a strong bond almost immediately. It would become a lifelong friendship for the both of them. Haines joked with Lucille on her new name saying, " Be thankful your name's not Cranberry like a turkey, hope you never make one!" Off and running with her new name, Joan ended the year with FOUR movies being released in only a month time frame! Old Clothes released on November 9, 1925 starring Jackie Coogan, The Only Thing released on November 22, 1925 again starring Eleanor Boardman, an uncredited part in The Circle released on December 2, 1925 and ending the year with a her first "hit" film Sally, Irene, and Mary released on December 7, 1925. Joan Crawford was born and a young actress was blooming!

Click here to see several more photos of Joan Crawford from 1925!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mommie Dearesrt - Christna Crawford - The Truth Comes Out

Above: Click the photo above to read the truth about Mommie Dearest.

The book Mommie Dearest released in 1978 was a best seller and raised awareness on the life of a spoiled child growing up in the home of a larger than life movie star. The book was released a year after Joan Crawford died, Christina wanted to make sure "Mommie" couldn't defend herself against Christina's memories, which seem to start at the age of two - a rather impressive memory.

The movie Mommie Dearest came out in 1981 and many were shocked at all the scenes in the film, especially he famous "wire hanger" scene. Guess what? That never happened and Christina says so herself, actually MOST of the film was fiction. Don't take my word for it - Christina is quoted in the article above stating, " A lot of the things in the movie were fictionalized." Really? A lot!! Wow, what a terrible thing to do to someone. Portray your adopted mother, Joan Crawford, on the big screen as a monster when most of those things never actually happened.

Christina Crawford should be prosecuted for that. Shame on you Christina Crawford.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Bride Wore Red 1937

I recently watched The Bride Wore Red with my monthly Joan Crawford movie group. This film was released on October 8th 1937 and was Joan's seventh film with second husband, Franchot Tone. In my opinion this film was the best pairing with her and Franchot Tone. Tone comes off very charming and appealing. Joan was equally charming and I found her to be quite "cute" in this film. She looked very beautiful with her new straight long hairstyle, which was very reminiscent of how she wore her hair in the 1932 film, Grand Hotel.

Above: Director Dorothy Arzner and Joan Crawford on the set of The Bride Wore Red (1937).

The Bride Wore Red was directed by female director, Dorothy Arzner, an openly lesbian director who as one of the only female director's of the time and openly gay. She is credited as "the first true female director." Joan was quoted as saying "she scared the hell out of me." Joan was known to have had sex with both men and women during her lifetime. I don't think Dorothy's sexuality scared Joan as much as Dorothy's very masculine appearance. When Joan was a board member for Pepsi later in her life, she requested Arzner to direct several Pepsi commercials.

The Bride Wore Red also was the film that launched the famous "Box Office Poison" comment that was made about several of the female stars in the late 1930s such as Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn, Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford. The Bride Wore Red was a cookie-cutter formula film that Crawford was accustomed to and this formula was wearing thin with the fans. Crawford did not take the comment, "Box Office Poison," lightly and started to focus her sites and goals on changing the direction of her career. Two years after The Bride Wore Red was released, Joan made a comeback in the blockbuster film The Women as he husband stealing "bitch" Crystal Allen.

Above: Joan Crawford with her second husband, Franchot Tone, in their seventh and last film together, The Bride Wore Red (1937).

Although The Bride Wore Red was not reviewed well by critics, the fans still came out to see Joan and the box office receipts showed that. The film grossed 1.2 million dollars, which equates to close to 19 million dollars today. However, the film cost MGM close to one million dollars to produce, so the studio looked at it as a wash. One of the highlights in the films was designer Adrian and his stunning costume designs. Fashion shows is what most of Joan's films from the 1930s were called. The Bride Wore Red was no different. Joan was featured in many different gowns and dressed but the one that stood out was the famous "red dress" Joan's wears at the finale of the film. The film would have benefited if the ending could have been filmed in color, but color had not been fully introduced yet to filmdom. The famous red dress was used two more times in a catwalk sequence in
The Big Store (1941), and then in it's full glory, thanks to he introduction of color film, in DuBarry was a Lady (1943). The dress still exists today and was most recently shown in 2005 as part of the Fashion Institute of Technology museum show "Glamour: Fashion to Die For."

Above: A modern day photo on display of "the red dress" that was worn by Joan Crawford in The Bride Wore Red (1937).

Overall, The Bride Wore Red is a decent film and a perfect example of a Crawford-formula film from the 1930s. This film is available on VHS, but has not been released on DVD yet. The film is shown often on Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the print looks very clean - I'd predict we see this film in the next Crawford box set.

To see more detailed information, several of photos and trivia about The Bride Wore Red click here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Welcome to the Legendary Joan Crawford Blog! I am pleased to announce this extension of my successful Joan Crawford Website, - this blog will feature films, photos and video clips on the megastar, Joan Crawford, and other related topics! Please feel free to comment and give your thoughts on the biggest and brightest star ever!