Friday, October 09, 2009

Anecdote of the Week: Joan and the One Man



Every woman tells me there was only the One Man she ever really loved. Joan Crawford told me once that the only man she really loved was the rather dull, middle-aged vice-president of a soda-pop company and when I reminded her she'd said this to me about Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Clark Gable and Greg Bautzer she looked incredulous. Then she said quite simply, "There is always only one though, isn't there?" And told me. It wasn't the vice-president.


--Adela Rogers St. Johns, The Honeycomb


Blogger Larry Aydlette, aka That Little Round-Headed Boy, whom the Siren loves despite his refusal to archive his wonderful blogs, posts a good guess as to Joan's One Man.

31 comments:

Arthur S. said...

The new banner is great!!! Who is it?

There's that line in Joan Crawford's finest film, JOHNNY GUITAR, "When you carry a torch for so long, all you have left are ashes!"

Yojimboen said...

Yes, but...

"Clark isn't much in the sack..."
Carole Lombard to Herman Mankiewicz

"Clark's the worst lay in Hollywood, and amazingly he'll admit that himself..."
Billy Haines to Joan Crawford

The Siren said...

Arthur, that is the beauteous Julie Newmar, whose film credits are sparse (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Maltese Bippie) but I trust no one will complain.

Y., we all have our different priorities...and sometimes people rise to the occasion. (STOP giggling.)

Arthur S. said...

The amazing thing about that still, aside from Ms. Newmar's proud, brazen freedom of her body is the angles. The baseball bats, the hands, the legs form two parallel lines with angles bisecting it on both ends.

Poor Clark Gable...But hey he was Mr. Carole Lombard, so he can't be all bad, can he?

Vanwall said...

Hmm. That was a mouthful.

Trish said...

What chat-worthy nuggets. I found this clip of Julie a couple of weeks ago while looking for "The Pleasure Seekers". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw-Z7Hc31wI&feature=related

Haven't seen that one in years! But I'm struck by how many cool houses James Mason's characters have lived in. There's NXNW, A Star is Born and The Marriage Go-Round.

How is it Gable managed to have so many lovers, when his bad breath was legendary???

DavidEhrenstein said...

I think the "one man" Joan was referring to was herself.

I saw Julie Newmar live on stage as "Stupifyin' Jones" in L''il Abner.

Yes I'm THAT old.

Julie herself is ageless. I often see her scurrying about West Hollywood -- where she's worshipped like the goddess she is.

Entropy's Bitch said...

Good Grief, Siren. Are you a closet Yankee's fan? Regardless, that is a stunning photo.

Karen said...

Mmmmmm.....Julie Newmar. "My Living Doll." (And, David, that's how old I am!)

Gable and Crawford definitely lit up the screen together--but partly it was the time period, don't you think? Aren't most of their pairings early-'30s? Both of them were so dynamic at the time, it's almost inconceivable to think of them not sparking each other to even greater heights.

That quote from Gary Cooper at the other site is lovely. And probably true--Franchot Tone DOES steal Lives of a Bengal Lancer from Coop. Of course, anything's better in that film than watching weak-mouthed RIchard Cromwell. (Oh, here they come--the Cromwell Lovers, ready to string me up! I know it!)

That Little Round-Headed Boy said...

I'm not going to defend Joan too much, but isn't it interesting that the people with the most hateful quotes about her — such as Bette and Sterling Hayden — were world-class pains in the ass themselves?

The Siren said...

Entropy, um, no. I was only dimly aware that the Yankees are still in the hunt. To the extent that I follow baseball at all I am a Mets fan. But as my readers know, all are welcome here. I picked Julie because she represented my sparkier mood of late.

gmoke said...

Yep, looks to be Ms Newmar as Stupefyin' Jones in the movie of "L'il Abner." If memory serves, I also saw it on Broadway. The great Stubby Kaye was also in it, wasn't he?

The Siren said...

Is here where I confess to never liking Lil' Abner?

Trish said...

Ugh! I don't like it either. Was the decline of the studio system responsible for the awfulness that is Lil' Abner? I mean, who ARE the stars of this movie? They didn't exactly light up the screen for years to come (excepting of course for Julie Newmar).

Trish said...

Ugh! I don't like it either. Was the decline of the studio system responsible for the awfulness that is Lil' Abner? I mean, who ARE the stars of this movie? They didn't exactly light up the screen for years to come (excepting of course for Julie Newmar).

The Siren said...

Oh, I don't just mean the movie, although I didn't like it either--I don't dig the comic strip. By the time I got around to reading it Al Capp was pretty notorious and that may have influenced me, but mostly I just didn't find it funny.

All right, so all my comic-fan readers can shoot me now ...

mndean said...

You dissed Richard Cromwell?!? Well, the first time I said in a movie with friends Cromwell was in a clinch with some leading lady, and I yelled "My God! He's prettier than she is!". It got a good laugh. As an actor he seemed neither here nor there, just another leading man. As far as dissing Al Capp, meh. He never did much for me, either.

I found a newspaper from 1969, and in one of the strips (I forget which - Alley Oop, Our Boarding House, who knows but it was one of those old ones), there was an LSD joke in it.

Vanwall said...

Tho banner photo is Julie as Lola, from a stage production of Damn Yankees - she's a brunette as Stupefyin'. Li'l Abner was an acquired taste, but I read it mainly for the hillbilly gals' awesome limning, by the great Frank Frazetta - he did the bods, Capp did the heads. Freaky.

I wonder if Joanie's one man, was one woman?

nycweboy said...

I was always under the impression it was Gable, myself. Joan wasn't particularly coy about who she enjoyed, and there's that famous not bleeped comment she made to Dick Cavett about Gable as well (one word: balls). More than sexual heat, though, I get the impression that they clicked because they understood each other - who they were when the lights were off and the cameras were gone, kids who were deperate for success, did almost anything for it (if you believe rumors about how Gable rose in Hollywood as a young man), and had to live up to larger than life reputations. He consoled himself, after Lombard, with Joan. I think as much as she could, she probably loved him... but he probably knew better than to become her possession. I think the husbands didn't.

That said, I think Joan also really loved Franchot and Doug. The latter taught her class and the former helped her learn how to act... so it can't have been all bad.

Yojimboen said...

JC’s appetites were semi-lengendary. The night she met young Kirk Douglas for the first time, she took him back to her place and, as Douglas recalled it, they didn’t even get past the foyer.

Karen said...

"You dissed Richard Cromwell?!?"

Heh. Oh yes I did, mndean.

Siren, this comics fan has no beef with your lack of Abner interest. It never did anything for me, either--I vastly prefer the MAD Magazine parodies.

mndean said...

I hope you know I was being sarcastic. Anyone dissing Richard Cromwell is okay by me. I'm fairly indifferent to him as an actor.

VP81955 said...

Julie herself is ageless. I often see her scurrying about West Hollywood -- where she's worshipped like the goddess she is

I've not only met Julie Newmar, but interviewed her, and she's a class act -- bright, funny, charming. (That she adores the likes of Lombard and Rita Hayworth is also a plus.)

Julie has her own Web site, where she periodically writes on a variety of topics; it's a fun read; her intelligence complements her beauty. Check it out at http://www.julienewmarwrites.com/

Karen said...

Don't worry, mndean. I'm not snark-impaired.

Trish said...

I loved Franchot Tone's rich playboy in films like Midnight Mary (go Loretta!), and in those with JC, but he rocks in Phantom Lady.

gmoke said...

Al Capp was funny once upon a time. Fearless Fosdick, the Schmoos but that was early on and faded away as he got more and more angry at the 60s©® all rights reserved. It was also beautifully drawn in the day when you could actually see how well or badly comic strips were drawn.

The L'il Abner movie was certainly no great shakes but the play was fun, at least in my dim memory.

MrsHenryWindleVale said...

I'm no great fan of musicalized "Li'l Abner," but ... I *am* a fan of its lyricist, Johnny Mercer. Here's a good example of what he could achieve:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlyOCf_SOUY

(The composer, Gene DePaul, also had is moments, but as far as I'm concerned his peak was in the '40s with "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "I'll Remember April.")

This clip also puts me in mind of Mel Torme's comment, in his book on singing, that the true vocal musician of the original "Guys and Dolls" was Stubby Kaye. He's certainly in fine shape here.

*

And as for talk of Crawford and Gable and their chemistry, I have three syllables in response: "Strange Cargo." (LOVE that film.)

MrsHenryWindleVale said...

That was supposed to read "vocal magician." (ARGGH!)

The Siren said...

Gmoke, I think that's my problem with Capp -- by the time I got around to reading him, all that was left was the bile. That kind of countrified humor is never going to be my thing, but if I had read Lil' Abner in his heyday I probably would have had a reserve of goodwill. Certainly Capp had his very good points. He lost a leg in a childhood accident and during WW II and after, he would visit veterans' hospitals to give amputees a dose of hope. You have to love that.

MrsHWV, you're right, that's a nice song although the staging points up the problems with Lil' Abner as a movie. And Kaye is mugging furiously but his voice is wonderful, he's carrying the song. I do love Stubby and wish he'd made more movies; no one else can touch his "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat." And heavens yes to Johnny Mercer, a thousand times yes.

VP, thanks so much for the Newmar link, I will check it out. For me, her appeal is in how much she loves her own incredible looks. It doesn't come across as conceit. It's more like this sense, in something like Catwoman, that she understands her fabulous beauty as a huge cosmic joke, one that she will never tire of sharing with us. I'm happy to hear that she's a pleasure in person, too.

DavidEhrenstein said...

The first Broadway show I ever saw was Guys and Dolls

with the original cast

in 1951

I was four.

When Stubby Kaye got up in the last act and sang "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat" my life began.

The Siren said...

Broadway used to be warp and woof for the artistic life of this city. I can't say I miss those days because I never knew them, but my jealousy for those who did knows no bounds.