You Must Remember This, the podcast

YouMustRememberThisI have a new obsession.  If it were a man, my husband would be jealous (or so I would hope.)  All weekend and much of this week so far, I’ve been listening to the You Must Remember This podcast, which is written and voiced by Karina Longworth.  Its tagline is “exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of 20th Century Hollywood.”

Why do I love it?  It’s like eating a bag of potato chips, or a box of candy, but they’re really smart potato chips, and really nutritious candy.  I think I’ve shared here before that on the rare occasions I read history books for pleasure, I read twentieth-century U.S. history.  Longworth’s research and writing are all that, plus celebrity gossip, and more!

But by far, the best thing about You Must Remember This is the clear feminist through-line of Longworth’s analysis of the careers of women artists.  I burned through the entire 12-part series she did last summer on “Charles Manson’s Hollywood” while washing my windows on Sunday afternoon, and this almost made window-washing a pleasure.  This series includes a riveting analysis of Manson Family murder victim Sharon Tate’s short acting career along with a consideration of the not-very-revolutionary aspects of the Sexual Revolution for most women, even (or especially) women in the industry.  Since then I’ve heard her fascinating reconsiderations of the careers of Marion Davies and Mia Farrow.

Longworth is clearly interested in excavating the careers of women who were overshadowed or utterly dominated by the powerful men in their lives–in Tate’s case, Roman Polanski; in Davies’ case, William Randolph Hearst; and in Farrow’s case, Frank Sinatra.  She is also highly alert to the ironies of history, and to the tangle of friendships, romances, and business that characterize the entertainment industry.  What on earth could possibly connect Doris Day and Candace Bergen to the Manson Family murders?  You’ll find out if you listen to “Charles Manson’s Hollywood.”  (WARNING:  you may be exposed to VD by just listening to this series.  Pack a prophylactic dose of penicillin just in case.)

I love your work, Karina Longworth.  It’s a fantastic example of bringing both history and feminism to the public in an accessible and entertaining format.  Check it out.  You’re welcome!

10 thoughts on “You Must Remember This, the podcast

  1. Interesting on the allure of 20th century U.S. history. That’s what I did study, deep into graduate school. It took some major tectonic shifts, both of the tech (the discipline), and of the tonic (me), to dislodge me into something very different, field-wise, that I still do now. I have literally no memory whatsoever now of what I thought then about whether it would have been gratifying to actually *do* that kind of history–beyond the perpetual angst of being a dissertator. I’m not sorry at all for the change of fields, and I virtually never go back and read in that earlier one, even for pleasure. Not really sure why.

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  2. You have to add Woody Allen to Farrow’s life: true, she’s gained a bit of traction over him with the child abuse stuff, but that’s not really how you want to get power, is it? And I was old enough to think that Farrow and Sinatra was creepy. But the men are the story, and people forget her work.

    I’ll add these to my podcasts — though not the ones I use for their soporific qualities!

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  3. Sounds great.
    Let’s see: Terry Melcher (Doris Day’s son) was renting his house on Cielo Drive to Polanski and Tate.
    At the time, Melcher was dating Candace Bergen.
    Ah Historiann, you sweet, innocent child!

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  4. Thank you for bringing this to my attention! I am running out of episodes of Radio Lab, much to my deep chagrin, and have been looking for something new to listen to while I clean the kitchen (or walk the dog, or caulk the bathtub, or mow the lawn).

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    • Inorite??? But you’re on sabbatical, so I’m not feeling particularly sorry for you.

      In my mind, I’m still on sabbatical, and unfortunately there’s a pile of student essays that don’t seem to be grading themselves. What is to be done?

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