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March 23, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOAN CRAWFORD!

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Today is Joan Crawford’s birthday! While the year is much-disputed, this great star is generally acknowledged to have been born today in 1904.

Much has been written about actress Joan Crawford over the years–some good, some bad—most of it bad! But I come here on her natal day not to bury Joan, but to praise her!

I’ve dug deep into the movie vault to offer a few rare and seldom-seen photos of Miss Crawford for your enjoyment! I guarantee some rare treats ahead!

On a personal note, I have talked to several folks–both professionals and fans–who were lucky enough to have met Joan.  With her acting colleagues she could be tough as nails–especially with female cast members. But with her fans she was always a marshmallow.

One friend who does ‘extra’ work in Hollywood once saw JC at a fund-raiser. He mustered up enough courage to approach her and ask for an autograph. She was anything but mean when she replied to him ‘”….of course! –and a great big, kiss, too!”

We always hear about Christina, but here's a pic of the rest of the Crawford clan in 1955. The children are 8-year-old twins, Cindy (l) and Cathy, and Christopher, 12. Fifteen year-old Christina was away at school.

We always hear about Christina, but here’s a pic of the rest of the Crawford clan in 1955. The children are 8-year-old twins, Cindy (l) and Cathy, and Christopher, 12. Fifteen year-old Christina was away at school.

Actress Rita Quigley, who played with Joan in Susan and God told me that Joan tested her constantly as they began filming, but later let up on her when she found out she couldn’t bully her young co-star. And she did give Rita some professional advice “She once told me, ‘Rita, don’t ever forget your fans—without them, you’re nothing!'”

Nowadays, the one sentence that follows Joan’s name is usually ‘Mommie Dearest’.  She may not have been a great mother, but she was a great STAR.

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A very 'noir' scene from Joan's greatest triumph, Mildred Pierce. She won a deserved Oscar for her performance in this film, after she was considered washed-up by theater exhibitors and went to Warner Brothers with her tail between her legs. (c) Warner Brothers. That's the great Jack Carson with her.

A very ‘noir’ scene from Joan’s greatest triumph, Mildred Pierce. She won a deserved Oscar for her performance in this film, after she was considered washed-up by exhibitors and went to Warner Brothers with her tail between her legs. (c) Warner Brothers. That’s the great Jack Carson with her.

Another one of Joan's great performances at Warners, Possessed dealt with the then-taboo subject of mental illness. Crawford should have won an Oscar again for her portrayal in this great film. (c) Warner Brothers

Another one of Joan’s great performances at Warners, Possessed dealt with the then-taboo subject of mental illness. Crawford should have won an Oscar again for her portrayal in this great film. (c) Warner Brothers

How does that saying go? Is it 'Life Imitates Art' or 'Art Imitates Life?' In any event, in the film Harriet Craig, Joan plays a wife obsessed with order, cleanliness and possessions. Many would say that Joan was just playing herself. Here's a scene from that film with Crawford and Wendell Corey. This movie was produced by William Dozier, who later went on to fame as the provider of the Batman teleseries in the 1960s. (c) Columbia Pictures

How does that saying go? Is it ‘Life Imitates Art’ or ‘Art Imitates Life?’ In any event, in the film Harriet Craig, Joan plays a wife obsessed with order, cleanliness and possessions. Many would say that Joan was just playing herself. Here’s a scene from that film with Crawford and Wendell Corey. This movie was produced by William Dozier, who later went on to fame as the provider of the Batman teleseries in the 1960s. (c) Columbia Pictures

TORCH SONG is one of Joan's campiest pictures. She sports flaming red Technicolor hair and spouts caustic one-liners with the subtlety of a jackhammer. It's a classic so-bad-it's-good move. BTW, her dancing partner in this still is choreographer Robert Alton. His previous screen appearance was cutting a rug with Greta Garbo----Not too shabby, eh? (c) MGM

TORCH SONG is one of Joan’s campiest pictures. She sports flaming red Technicolor hair and spouts caustic one-liners with the subtlety of a jackhammer. It’s a classic so-bad-it’s-good move. BTW, her dancing partner in this still is choreographer Robert Alton. His previous screen appearance was cutting a rug with Greta Garbo—-Not too shabby, eh? (c) MGM

One of the (many) low-lights in Torch Song, Joans performance in the musical number 'Two Faced Woman' is high camp! She lip-synched to a prerecorded number made for another film; the vocal match to Joan's appearance was glaringly bad. Joan does her best and was a pro throughout this turkey. (c) MGM

One of the (many) low-lights in Torch Song, Joans performance in the musical number ‘Two Faced Woman’ is high camp! She lip-synched to a prerecorded number made for another film; the vocal match to Joan’s appearance was glaringly bad. Joan does her best and was a pro throughout this turkey. (c) MGM

JOAN ON FIRE! This exciting photo is from Joan's western for Republic Studios, Johnny Guitar. Besides being a well-made film, the production was rife with conflict as Joan and co-star Mercedes McCambridge detested each other and fought constantly----just like their characters did in the movie. (c) Republic

JOAN ON FIRE! This exciting photo is from Joan’s western for Republic Studios, Johnny Guitar. Besides being a well-made film, the production was rife with conflict as Joan and co-star Mercedes McCambridge detested each other and fought constantly—-just like their characters did in the movie. (c) Republic

This still from The Best of Everything is notable for many reasons. Joan is locking hands with Diane Brewster, who JC later recommended as her co-star in Straightjacket. Please be sure to note the bottle of Pepsi on the ledge behind them! (c) 20th Century-Fox

This still from The Best of Everything is notable for many reasons. Joan is locking hands with Diane Brewster, who JC later recommended as her co-star in Straightjacket. Please be sure to note the bottle of Pepsi on the ledge behind them! (c) 20th Century-Fox

NIGHT GALLERY was a TV movie that inspired a later popular series. This might be regarded as just one of a number of TV appearances Joan made in the 60s and 70s, were it not directed by neophyte Stephen Spielberg. One wonders who was more intimidated by who? (c) Universal Studios

NIGHT GALLERY was a TV movie that inspired a later popular series. This might be regarded as just one of a number of TV appearances Joan made in the 60s and 70s, were it not directed by neophyte Stephen Spielberg. One wonders who was more intimidated by who? (c) Universal Studios

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