Episode 24. People with nerves should never go into the movies, and people without nerve can’t.

I loved recording this chapter, it’s got Hollywood history, everlasting friendship, and of course some very strange goings-on…

There we sat, the mogul’s daughter turned academic, the copywriter turned designer, the semi-profane raconteur turned show runner, the pragmatist turned legal advocate, and me; the nanny turned studio executive. It was late, the conversation was flowing, the scent of night-blooming vines hung in the air. There were altogether too many candles glowing on the coffee table amid bowls of almonds and dusky purple grapes. Darla, having had four glasses of wine already, raised her glass and said, “I love you all, lads. I really do.” Agreement all around and eyes shining, Darla continued. “You know, a long time ago this place was so much, so much more, more,” she struggled for the word, “informal. The big money hadn’t moved in, or the big bosses. The silent era, to have been here then— Ya know, Mary Pickford, America’s Sweetheart? She was a fecking pioneer. Women wrote most of the movies, the biggest director around was a woman. Everyone chipped in and helped each other. Frances Marion, the woman who came up with the narrative screenplay, wrote over 300 of ‘em, won two Oscars, she came out here to be an actress. But instead she started writing scenarios, little outlines for that director I was tellin’ you about, Lois Weber. She met Mary Pickford on set in 1914, they couldn’t have been much older than twenty, and watch out, friends for life. They changed how movies were made — how stories were told. Yeah. Most of the writers were women, all the editors were women, they produced, they directed. I ask ya, what the hell happened? That was 80-81 years ago, what the hell happened?”

Subscribe to Podcast