Hey, I still have a blog! Time flies, and it’s been a year since I last posted here. As the semester winds down, perhaps I’ll have more time to write something/anything for this blog. For now, I think I’ll try to revive the old-style blogging practice I had twenty years ago — just some small notes on things I’ve been watching, playing, listening to, or reading.
I’ll start with something I’ve been listening to. Lately, I’ve been walking in from the parking garage to my office on Grounds, to get a little more exercise and because I’m still avoiding crowded public spaces like busses. I’ve taken to listening to podcasts again after a long time of ignoring them, and have been catching up on many years’ worth of Karina Longworth’s You Must Remember This podcast.
You Must Remember This is a lot of fun — it’s a loose and sometimes trashy history of “Hollywood’s first century,” and her approach has been eclectic and fun. The current series is about sex in 1960s-1990s cinema, I’ve listened to some of her series on Polly Platt, and some of her series on Dean Martin/Sammy Davis, Jr. In the past week, I listened to all of the episodes about Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff from back in 2017, and liked it quite a bit.
A few irritating elements aside — beyond Longworth’s stilted and overly-precious delivery (which I’m getting used to), we get some celebrity impressions (Taran Killam, Patton Oswalt, Longworth’s husband Rian Johnson) — I found this a fascinating and compelling listen. It covers everything from Lugosi’s early career in Hungarian silent cinema to his love affair with Clara Bow (!? I had no idea); covering Karloff’s early support and organization for the Screen Actor’s Guild through his final works (my favorites) from the 1960s, including The Raven, Black Sabbath, and Targets. It’s a sympathetic portrayal of both of these actors throughout, and was enlightening — the scope of this series covered the 1920s-early 1970s, and as such, Longworth give us a nice summary of some major industrial trends (the rise of Universal Horror, RKO horror, but also the genesis of production companies like American International Pictures).
So, if you haven’t listened to this podcast before, give it a shot. If you’re an old-time listener of her podcast, let me know which other series you like! Alternately, let me know what other Hollywood history podcasts are out there that I should listen to!