Welcome to the Q & A with Casey LaLonde

Past chats with our guests.

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MissGoddess
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Re: Welcome to the Q & A with Casey LaLonde

Post by MissGoddess »

Thank you so much for taking the time to repost your answer...I really do appreciate it,
as I appreciate all your efforts to give people a fairer portrait of your Grandmother.

I love that you called her "JoJo", that's adorable. Believe it or not, what you write
of your times with her brings her more to flesh-and-blood life to me than anything else.

What you wrote about Joan's reading habits reminds me of similar things I've heard about Gable.
No doubt they understood each other well and could relax in each other's company.

I look forward to your continued participation here, we're very fortunate to have
you as a member and guest.

"Happy thoughts..."

April

P.S. I found this interview with Joan on YouTube...she looks and sounds great.
I love her poise and humor. I hope you enjoy:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npQdk5qyxx8[/youtube]
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
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caseylalonde
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Re: Welcome to the Q & A with Casey LaLonde

Post by caseylalonde »

Good evening JackFavell!

I plan to be online late tonight, so keep the questions coming! With the moderators’ permission, any questions that get posted after I logoff tonight will be answered tomorrow. The only thing on my agenda tomorrow is watching the Penn State / Kent State football game around noon, so I will have plenty of time to finish up any last minute questions.

I am so pleased that my Q&A here has sparked interest in you and others watching more Joan films! The greatest regret of any artist or actor is to have their work forgotten. With classic Hollywood fans like us around, the work of even the most obscure silent film star is sure to stay around for a long time.

Charlotte Chandler has a great quote from King Vidor regarding Our Dancing Daughters. “Vidor thought that Our Dancing Daughters was just like its main character, “Dangerous Diana. She was a good girl, pretending to be a bad girl.” Joan said that, “This was the perfect role for me. That’s what I was, a dancing daughter.”

Charlotte Chandler puts forth the idea that Our Dancing Daughters, along with Grand Hotel, The Women, Mildred Pierce and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? were all major turning points in Joan’s career. Joan became a bona fide movie star after Our Dancing Daughters.

Joan is quoted as having loved every minute of filming Our Dancing Daughters and she enjoyed working with Anita Page and Dorothy Sebastian. Joan playing the good girl and Anita playing the bad girl. The on-screen chemistry worked and a classic film was born.

Joan had a handful of favorite directors. George Cukor, Edmund Goulding and Clarence Brown and Michael Curtiz. She is quoted as saying that through her career, the director didn’t deserve much credit. She goes on to say that the only ones who really helped or influence her were the four directors mentioned here. Most of all was George Cukor, who directed Joan in The Women, Susan and God and A Woman’s Face. Cukor did a fabulous job of bringing out my grandmother’s incredible dramatic range in A Woman’s Face. I highly recommend the film to anyone interested in seeing possibly the best dramatic work Joan has ever done.

During her years at Metro especially, Joan had little direct impact on the choice of directors or actors. It was the studio system and she was a contract player, no matter how much money she made. It was not until her work at Warner Bros. and beyond did she finally get some leverage or latitude to help choose directors and actors on films she was starring. However, with that latitude saw the beginnings of the end of the venerable Hollywood studio system.

You said it, Joan’s favorite leading male lead was Clark Gable. Their decades long off-screen romance made for some incredible on-screen chemistry. As for other favorites, I will give you a short list. Melvyn Douglas, Franchot Tone, Robert Taylor, Robert Montgomery, Nils Asther. As for co-starring ladies, I would offer three off hand, Eve Arden, Ann Blyth and Roz Russell. Both Eve and Ann were Mildred Pierce costars. The three of them worked very well together on the film and were life-long friends. Roz Russell, of course, in The Women. Roz and Joan were life-long friends as well, dedicated to each other right until the end of Joan’s life.

Of course, there were the co-stars in which Joan starred once or twice, including Garbo, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Jack Palance, Cliff Robertson and Ian Hunter.

As for Daisy Kenyon, Joan was again split on the end product. She had great esteem and loved working with the legendary Otto Preminger, but found the material and script to be rather clichéd. She is quoted as saying, “The usual triangle helped out by two very handsome young men (Henry Fonda and Dana Andrews). It came off. Sort of.” She is also quoted as saying that, “Daisy Kenyon wasn’t a great movie, but I think it was a good one.” Furthermore, “I had wanted to do it primarily because of the opportunity to work with Otto Preminger. He’d done Laura just a few years earlier and I wanted to work with all of the good and great directors I possibly could. I always wanted to continue to learn.”

I personally enjoy Daisy Kenyon. Henry Fonda’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder issues from World War II are played to great effect.

I definitely plan to continue posting and enjoying the wonderful conversation here at The Oasis!

Thanks for the excellent questions!
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JackFavell
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Re: Welcome to the Q & A with Casey LaLonde

Post by JackFavell »

Thanks Casey, for all the information! I appreciate you taking the time to answer so fully.

It has been such an exciting and enjoyable week - it's great to talk to someone so close to Joan, who is also a knowledgeable classic movie fan.

I especially liked your stories of visiting - the part about having leftover chicken in the fridge was lovely and made me feel like I knew her. My grandma always had cold roast chicken waiting for us when we came to visit too.

I look forward to talking to you again!
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movieman1957
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Re: Welcome to the Q & A with Casey LaLonde

Post by movieman1957 »

Casey:

You can certainly answer anything tomorrow if that suits you.

Speaking, certainly for myself and hopefully others, the thought of you being a regular visitor to our site is wonderful and welcome news. We may be a small group but we certainly love our movies.

Enjoy the game.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
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caseylalonde
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Re: Welcome to the Q & A with Casey LaLonde

Post by caseylalonde »

Hi Moira!

My thanks to you, lynn, movieman1957 and klondike for moderating this exciting week of Q&A. It has been a sincere pleasure to be here and I look forward to continuing as a reader and poster of The Oasis.

My grandmother’s friendship with Billy Haines is legendary. Joan met Billy while he was at his zenith in silent films in 1925. Metro had been good to Billy, as he was one of the studio’s biggest stars. Joan is quoted by Charlotte Chandler as saying, “Bill gave me great advice and he escorted me to wonderful places. He enhanced everyone else’s opinion of me, but the most important thing was he enhanced my opinion about me.”

Charlotte goes on to quote Joan, “William Haines was one of the nicest friends of my life, and I hope I was one of his.”

Billy Haines would soon be exiled from Metro due to his love affair with Jimmy Shields. Billy and Jimmy remained a deeply in love couple until Billy’s death in 1973. Jimmy followed a few months later. Joan’s famous quote about Billy Haines and Jimmy Shields was, “They had the most beautiful relationship I’ve ever known.”

However, after Billy’s exit from Metro, he began a lucrative career as an interior decorator, working for many in Hollywood including Joan. Billy became Joan’s go to interior decorator and in addition to being fabulous friends for decades, he redecorated her home frequently.

I think having Joan Crawford as a client and the great word of mouth that accompanies such a recommendation did wonders for Billy’s decorating career. I think as Joan worked with Billy over the years, her sense of style flourished. I am sure she had some innate sense of style, but Billy really brought it out in her.
Given my grandmother’s incredibly strong work ethic and drive for perfection, she would have made CEO at any Fortune 500 company. If she were born in the past fifty years, no doubt she would have shattered the glass ceiling and became a business executive, if she did not choose a life in Hollywood.

As for political leanings, I would say “none of the above.” She was careful not to espouse any political affiliations or leanings. She knew well enough from the guidance of Louis B. Mayer that telling people who she supported politically could lead to alienation of her audience.

Thanks Moira!
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caseylalonde
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Re: Welcome to the Q & A with Casey LaLonde

Post by caseylalonde »

Hi Joe!

Thank you so much for the warm welcome and wonderful questions! I am so pleased we had such a good week of Q&A.

I couldn't agree more, my grandmother was the ultimate star!
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caseylalonde
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Re: Welcome to the Q & A with Casey LaLonde

Post by caseylalonde »

Dear April,
Thank you for the lovely comments. Thank you for the youtube link as well.

The old Mike Douglas and David Frost interviews are incredible to watch. Access to these gems is easy as pie now, thanks to the technology.

Thanks again!
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caseylalonde
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Re: Welcome to the Q & A with Casey LaLonde

Post by caseylalonde »

Thanks to everyone who posted questions this week. I had a great time and look forward to regular reading and posting to the site.

My thanks again to the moderators who made this all possible!

Thanks again and please contact me personally with any other comments or questions after this session ends.
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Birdy
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Re: Welcome to the Q & A with Casey LaLonde

Post by Birdy »

Casey,
I don't think I saw this mentioned anywhere; I was wondering if you knew which were Ms. Crawford's favorite costumers/designers? With that figure, she could wear anything but 30s styles are my favorites and I liked her in a slinky evening gown.
With thanks if you can get back on this one; understanding if you don't.

Birdy
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Welcome to the Q & A with Casey LaLonde

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Thanks Casey for answering all our questions, you've brought Joan to life, the image of the loving Grandma will stay with me.. As you've seen the questions just keep coming and you've been good enough to answer them all. I hope you'll stick around and join in with us from time to time.

Now I want to see Leslie Howard's home movies even more, to see Doug and Joan in the days of their marriage. Do pick up the Fairbanks album, I got it second hand quite cheaply and it was more than worth it's purchase price.

Many thanks once again

Alison
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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