To listen in to You Must Remember This head to their website or download directly from ITunes
You Must Remember This is a podcast dedicated to the secret and forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. Speaking to Vanity Fair about the podcast’s inception, creator and host Karina Longworth (a writer and film historian) explained: “As a culture, we can remember certain things about somebody like Marilyn Monroe, but all the details get lost. I wanted to take these myths and these ideas we have about the past of Hollywood and bring in the extra detail that makes it feel more real.” Since 2014 over a hundred episodes have been made, and it’s showing absolutely no signs of running out of fascinating stories to tell.
After initial episodes covered a wide variety of film stars from Judy Garland and Audrey Hepburn to Marlon Brando and Madonna, You Must Remember This began producing series – allowing specific Hollywood stars and eras to be explored in even more depth. Early series themes include ‘Star Wars’, examining what stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Hedy Lamarr, and John Wayne did during times of war; ‘The Blacklist’, about the anti-communist crackdown within the film industry during the 1940s/50s; and ‘MGM Stories’, a deep dive into some of the stars created by, plus the men who controlled, film studio MGM in what has become known as Hollywood’s Golden Age. One of the more recent series, ‘Dead Blondes’, tells the stories of eleven blonde actresses who suffered untimely deaths, including Grace Kelly, Jean Harlow, and of course Marilyn Monroe.
If you enjoyed the TV show Feud: Bette and Joan, which aired on FX and BBC Two during 2017, you’ll be pleased to know that there is an entire series of You Must Remember This entitled ‘Six Degrees of Joan Crawford’. Whereas Feud focused on the later years of Joan’s career, the podcast covers everything from her pre-Hollywood life as Lucille LeSueur and her rise to stardom, all the way to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and the infamous Mommie Dearest. Meanwhile, Bette Davis is the subject of an episode within the ‘Star Wars’ series, which looks at her involvement in the Hollywood Canteen, a club for soldiers that was staffed by film stars.
Other series of the podcast that focuses on the lives of specific stars are ‘Bela and Boris’ and ‘Jean and Jane’. The former revolves around Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff – famous for originating the roles of Dracula and Frankenstein on the big screen – who were similar in many ways but ended up achieving very different levels of success in their careers. The latter takes a look at the parallel lives of Jean Seberg and Jane Fonda. At first glance, a connection between these two actresses may not be obvious, since they never appeared in a film together and one died in 1979 while the other is still living and working today. However, it emerges that they have a lot more in common than meets the eye, having both become prominent social activists in the 1960s/70s which resulted in them being monitored by the FBI and considered threats to American national security.
And finally, if you’re fascinated by true crime, there’s a series about Charles Manson and his links to Hollywood, which go beyond the well-known fact that one his victims was the actress Sharon Tate. Karina Longworth told The Guardian about this particular series: “I thought I was just going to do one episode. Then I realised there was a really interesting story there about Hollywood decline. Manson was one of these characters who comes to California to become famous, but in the late 1960s, when Hollywood was basically falling apart.”
The stories told in You Must Remember This are consistently interesting, and it’s clear that a huge amount of research goes into every series. Also, key to the podcast’s enduring success is Karina’s delivery of the material. She has proven herself to be a master storyteller, managing to get across lots of information in a way that is always engaging, and she benefits from having a voice that is very easy to listen to.