This post is dedicated to Dylan
I began writing about movie stars and Hollywood history when I was in my early 20's and lived in Hollywood.
At that time my fledgling (and mediocre) literary "talents" left a lot to be desired. Also, it was long before I ever had a computer or access to the Internet. All of my research was painstakingly done at the library and/or with occasional interviews. Not an easy task.
Times have sure changed.
Miraculously, dozens of my articles were published in all kinds of movie magazines - some with legitimate reputations and others that published bubble gum fluff.
My main objective at that time was to write about obscure, long-forgotten movie stars, in a humble attempt to renew interest in them - and introduce them to those who might never have heard of them. Many of my articles were about stars from the silent era such as Ramon Novarro, Theda Bara, Barbara LaMarr, Mary Miles Minter.
One of the stars who particularly fascinated me was Frances Farmer - whose meteoric rise to fame and rapid descent into hell is astounding.
Farmer's film career began in the 1930's and lasted until the early 40's, when a culmination of tragic events in her personal and public life eventually came to a boil and exploded. It began with a DWI arrest and - essentially - ended when her vicious and vindictive mother unfairly had Frances committed to a mental institution.
It's no secret that Frances Farmer was a rebel from the onset. She hated Hollywood and the hypocrisy and shallowness of the film industry - and never concealed her contempt. She quickly made enemies in high places. Her eventual dependence on alcohol and drugs accelerated her reputation for being "difficult".
Hollywood perfect (left)
and after her infamous arrest (right)
Frances Farmer being dragged from her room at the Knickerbocker Hotel on a second arrest warrant in 1943 - for not paying a fine, and also for dislocating the jaw of a Hollywood studio hairdresser.
(I was very familiar with the Knickerbocker Hotel when I lived in Hollywood)
I had never heard of Frances Farmer until I was twenty years old. I happened to find her autobiography, Will There Really Be a Morning?, in a bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard and bought it out of curiosity.
Around that time they began showing some of her films on the late-late show (on a local L.A. TV station). I was immediately mesmerized by her talent and beauty and did my best to find out more about her (which at the time, was extremely difficult to do).
Poet and fellow blogger Dylan shares my enthusiasm for Frances Farmer and was interested in seeing my old (ancient) article about her.
So, I crawled into the cobwebs and dust of the Jon Archives and managed to extract the magazine.
It's the December, 1990 issue of Hollywood:Then and Now
(Meryl Streep is on the cover)
(they misspelled my name on the byline)
It's probably impossible to read here, but I figured I'd post it anyway.