1 Episode results for "Brendan Whelan"
136: Yvonne De Carlo
"Another episode of this podcast dedicated exploring the secrets and forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century, I'm your host Karina Longworth. And today, we bring you another story from the seduced a miniseries related to my new book seduction sex lies and stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood. Today's episode concerns actress who Hughes successfully wound, but whose romantic resume would become so varied and eventful that Hughes would wouldn't necessarily be the highlight. Yvonne decarlo worked steadily in mostly b and genre movies for over forty years. Only reaching her biggest triumphs on television and on Broadway. She is probably the only person who has been a subject on this podcast whose story includes the mentor ship of both Billy wilder and Stephen Sondheim, and who is still most famous for playing and undid house. Join us won't you for part five of the seduced. Yvonne decarlo. Born Peggy Middleton in Vancouver, Canada, the future. Yvonne decarlo was raised by a single mother. Marie and marines mother and sister after an incident in which a naked male border broke into Yvonne's bedroom in the middle of the night and peed on the little girl. Marie used to take her daughter with her on dates telling the young girl to sleep in the back seat of the car while Marie and her man of the moment went to bar. At Murray's insistence from a very young age. Yvonne, study dance every day after school as a result. By the time. Yvonne was tween. She had exhausted. The available dance training in Vancouver. So Maria decided to take her daughter to Los Angeles mother and daughter would hop back and forth across the border several times over the next few years by the fall of nineteen thirty eight sixteen year old Yvonne was enrolled at Hollywood high school and beginning to do some modeling. She came in second place in the miss Venice beauty contest and won a twenty five dollar prize about five hundred in two thousand eighteen dollars. And what Yvonne described as a small fortune at the tail end of the depression when she and her mother were living on a single diner waitress. His salary. She also earned a chance. To addition for Earl Carroll's, a nightclub in the heart of Hollywood. But once at the audition, she was informed that she would be required to show her upper assets to Mr. Carol himself when the teenager who was pretending to be several years older than she was in order to legally work asked why it would be necessary to go topless in an audition for a job as a non topless dancer. She was informed. It's Mr. Carol's policy to take a look to make sure nobody's cheating. If you know what? I mean. Yvonne refused to show her assets. And she and her mother went across the street to another nightclub the Florentine gardens where they only require that. She show her legs before agreeing to give her a tryout that Night Live on stage in front of a paying crowd. The idea was a success. And no one asked her age. She started in the back chorus line and with hard work moved up to the front chorus line. And then started earning special featured dances like one where she cast off a series of Schiff on veils until she was nearly naked only to be carried off by a man in gorilla suit all was going swimmingly until the department of immigration discover that she was working on expired tourist visa and gave Yvonne twenty four hours to return to Canada. But the manager of the Florentine gardens stuck his neck out for von and vouched for her with the immigration board to arrange a long term work visa, so soon the teenager was back performing sexy dances to songs like bolero in front of nightclub crowds sprinkled with celebrities such as French show tone Burgess Meredith and Orson Welles. Wells asked her out to dinner and Yvonne accepted. But instead he took her to his house and chased her around his art collection until he got the hint, Yvonne was virgin wells called a cab to take her home during this period. She also met Anthony Quinn who told her he wanted her to stand on a literal pedestal, quote where I can wash you hour after hour and she met sterling Hayden to whom Yvonne seriously considered losing her virginity. But Hayden advised waits for the right guy. She was ready to make Jimmy Stewart the right guy, but at the end of their first dinner date, she was embarrassed to invite him into the tiny apartment. She shared with her mother. They didn't have another date and the right guy soon came along, and he wasn't famous Yvonne later recalled I was so fed up with my virginity that I was glad to be rid of it. Clarinetist and bandleader Artie Shaw who also took a liking to Yvonne wasn't the right guy. He would prove to be definite, Mr. wrong who would go through wives as fast as reads, but Shah, according to Yvonne was merely a supportive friend to her a very, supportive friend. He told her he would pay her a salary for one month, if she quit her nightclub job and dedicated herself to trying to break into movies. Yvonne took the offer. And before the month was out. She did land her first film role a one line walk on. And that was it with no other rules coming in. She was forced to go back to nightclub dancing. But slowly bit parts started to filter in in the summer of nineteen forty two just bef-. Four. She turned twenty Yvonne was signed to a contract at paramount. She paid her dues playing mostly background roles and posing for pinup and publicity photos hanging around the lot attempting to gain purchase as a contract starlets. Yvonne began a relationship with Billy wilder it didn't last long and the great writer director didn't cast her in any of his films, but decarlo would nonetheless call him the first big love of my life. He would also introduce her to Ernst Lubitsch who became a close platonic friend. But these friendships didn't lead to job security. Eventually, Yvonne was informed that exotic types like her were no longer in fashion and paramount was dropping her car. Contract. Exotic types never went out of fashion over the hill at universal a decade and a half had passed. Since Dracula had given that studio both a defining John rea- horror and business model franchises and formula to rally around. More than ever the house that car Leme Lee had built kept afloat by cranking out low cost John r- films. They began the nineteen forties by trying to make lawn. Cheney junior happen and updates of the nineteen thirties horror formula, like the wolf man and son of Dracula and they began looking for ways to adapt this type of formulaic production to others genres in nineteen forty two independent producer, Walter Wayne. Jer made the by graphical aviation adventure eagle squadron the first of fourteen films that he'd produced from within the auspices of universal eagles squadron, which waner was able to produce relatively cheaply by taking advantage of Universal's contract players and other resources was enormously profitable. And. Danger followed it up with another picture at the studio Arabian nights, which was Universal's first film shot in three strip technicolor Arabian nights. Invented a new universal formula, the exotic read mildly racist romance. This wasn't really new in fact, one of wagers earlier successes had been the Hetty Lamar vehicle algae RDS itself. A remake of the French film. Pepe lem Oko, which was still innovative within Hollywood in that it relied on a foreign location largely unfamiliar to American audiences to add for sewn to a fairly conventional love story. But Arabian nights and other wager and wagers style films. That would follow it universal would make all jeers look like causa Blanco. To put it more. Simply Arabian nights. Was crude lurid and mostly memorable for codifying? What became a news genre? At universal described simply by wager as tits and sand. The female star of Arabian nights was Maria. Montas a Dominican actress who universal had decided to promote as their answer to exotic glamour girls like Lamar or Rita Hayworth who with her flaming red technicolor, ready hair. Montas resembled Arabian nights made Montas a big enough star. They universal began looking for younger actresses whom they could groom to make cheaper versions of the kinds of movies Mont has starred in Yvonne was brought onto the universal lot to do a screen test to play a wolf girl in one of these movies as she was passing through the universal offices into her meeting with the casting director she walked past Walter Wayne. Jer wager thought Yvonne resembled his wife actress Joan Bennett who's transformation. From blonde to a Noir. Ready brunette Wehner had overseen the head of casting. Universal told Yvonne that waner was looking for the star of his next film. But he needed a beauty who could sing dance and act. I can handle that Yvonne said so she was given her second screen test of the day thanked for her time and sent home. But Wayne's your liked the test and ordered another one after that Yvonne was told that universal wanted to sign her to an entry level contract to make sure she was available should Wayne decide to cast her knowing universal. This was probably a ploy to get her cheap. They were able to get an actress who would appear in most scenes of an epic technicolor adventure film, and in some of those scenes dance while more than. In half naked for barely more than the price of an extra. Yvonne didn't find out she had the part until she walked out of her apartment and tripped over a newspaper containing an article announcing that she had been cast as Sallemi and that Wayne jer hedge dubbed her the most beautiful girl in the world. In her auto biography decarlo calls Salome where she danced a satire and admits that while shooting she was so green. She didn't realize that the film was intended to be a comedy, but to call Saleh may or salami as it's pronounced in the movie, a satire is probably to give it too much credits. At the very least it makes the mistake of intellectual Leising, a very silly film that seems to have nothing on its mind other than spectacle to my is it's sort of the nineteen forty five version of a porno spoof of a blockbuster mainstream movie with dance scenes veteran tirelessly about imagining decarlo naked substituting for hardcore pornography, and instead of spoofing one movie it spoofs multiple genre. Says pillaging elements of civil war movies westerns and universal exotica in its pastiche. Yvonne plays a heady Lamar esque, Austrian ballet dancer who becomes involved with an American newspaper. Reporter turned spy and together they travel from Vienna to the US Yvonne's adventures continue across the continent with stops for scantily clad dancing. The reason for the movie to exist is not any kind of social or cultural commentary, but the fetishistic photographed image of the gorgeous and balaclava competent decarlo as naked as the censorship board of nineteen forty five would allow writhing writhing, right? Salom aware. She danced got terrible reviews. But it made a profit. Of course, it was a movie Howard Hughes. Loved he probably wondered why he himself had made it. As we explore in this podcast often. The most compelling remarkable stories are the ones about real people and events that's one of the reasons streaming these fascinating courses from the great courses. Plus is so wonderful. You can learn about different people time periods and cultures from award winning experts who are so knowledgeable and passionate one of my favorite courses is America in the gilded age and progressive era. This course, explores American social and political history from the end of the civil war through the nineteen twenties. This course is really fascinating and the lecturer Edward T O Donald PHD does a really great job of putting the facts into context in a way that successful. But not condescending, I think of this course, as a kind of pre. Equal for the research and storytelling. We've done on a number of seasons of this podcast from the blacklist to Jean and Jane to this season, the seduced in which were telling a lot of stories about people primarily women whose relative success or lack thereof in Hollywood. How did a lot to do with how social forces intersected with power structures, and how commercial forces intersected with creative impulses to that end, some lectures, you might find particularly interesting our number six big business democracy for sale number twelve morals and manners. Middleclass cya team number sixteen. No, more corsets, the new woman, and of course, number nine popular culture, jazz modern arts and movie. The great courses plus offers unlimited access to stream thousands of lectures. Explore any topic that interests you history, literature, even had a practice, mindfulness or take better photos watch and listen anytime anywhere from the great courses plus app. I know you're going to love the great courses plus two. And now is the perfect time to get started. For a limited time only, my listeners get their first month for free, but to get this special free month offer you need to sign up through my special. You are L sign up. Now at the great courses, plus dot com slash remember. That's the great courses plus dot com slash remember. Howard Hughes met Yvonne decarlo on the tail end of year long journey away from Los Angeles to even call it a journey is to be quite charitable to a bizarre series of events in may nineteen forty four on a test flight of his custom built Sikorsky s forty three c plane Hughes had crashed into Nevada's lake Mead and two men had died in the accident was head had the wreck of the plane removed from lake need and rebuilt. A few months later Hughes told Joe patrolling who supervised the rebuilding that he wanted to take the secorski on a trip petralli asked where they were going Hugh said Las Vegas. What he's did not tell petrole was that they would be gone for months during that period. Hughes would be completely a wall out of touch with the numerous women. He had been involved with and totally hands off on all of his businesses, including his movie production company. For the first few months Hughes and petrole bounced between Vegas Reno and Palm Springs each week. We'd move on. And all this time. We kept nine hotel rooms and six rental cards, but trolley recalled Howard gave me orders not to talk to anybody about where we were or what we were doing. In between trips Hughes would remain alone in his hotel room. Around Christmas Hughes pulled a disappearing act within his disappearing act. No, one put trolley included knew where he was for more than a month when he resurfaced in Vegas where petrole had been waiting for him Hughes told him to get the plane ready. They flew to Shreveport, Louisiana. The site of caddo parish where Howard Hughes senior had launched his oil drill bit business. They checked into a hotel and around nine pm Hughes wandered out and found a deli and bought a bag of cupcakes and a bottle of milk one of his favorite meals. According to a trolley. It started to rain and Hughes stood under the awning of a gas station to eat his dinner and wait out. The storm a policeman cruised by a man in a cheap suit with a few days beard growth and assumed he was a bum. The cop asked Hughes who he was and what he was doing there. The cop did not believe him when he said he was Howard Hughes and Hughes didn't carry an ID. If you are Howard Hughes the cop oust have you got any money Hughes reached into his pocket and pulled out a crumpled five hundred dollar Bill. The cop arrested him for vagrancy. Eventually the manager of a local Hughes tool. Plant was pulled out of bed and brought down to the station to identify the boss Hughes was like oh. You got them country. Policemen. Howard swore at the police chief on his way out the door. Hughes finally returned to public life in New York City in late summer by September. His name was in the gospel columns as the new escort of Yvonne decarlo after the release of Sallemi and the filming of her follow up frontier girl decarlo return to her hometown of Vancouver to play the big fish performing cabaret act at a theatre that had booked her before she was famous Howard Hughes definitely had a type in the nineteen forties. And Yvonne was it raven. Haired heavily limited is prominent cheek bones, creating chiseled lines that pointed to a pillow e but unsmiling mouth Hughes had seen may and had taken note of her costume in it which had few. Featured a skimpy bra top over miles of bare midriff Hughes flew up to Canada, just to meet her. Decarlo was inbetween sets when Johnny Meyer approached her. Johnny Meyer was one of Hughes's key personal aides Hughes had hired him away from a job as a publicist at Warner Brothers where his duties were said to mainly consist of procuring women for Errol Flynn to have sex with Meyer introduced himself to avant and said, Mr Hughes would like to meet you Yvonne, wasn't sure who Mr Hughes was. But she said fine. As the thirty nine year old Hughes approached twenty two year old decarlo observed that he looked lanky underfed and remarkably sad she thought. Wow. This would be a terrific boyfriend for my aunt the day after Hughes end decarlo met in a move that was extremely unusual for the flying millionaire. He agreed to meet the family with whom the actress was staying in Vancouver within the first week of their acquaintance, though, they were rarely alone together as von put it with somehow managed to consummate a relationship, and it wasn't bad. It might have been on the clinical side. But that was the way with Howard Hughes. What he did was count. Curated to please Hughes apparently liked to watch Yvonne bay admiring her in the tub. He. He would say there's nothing quite so appealing on a woman as a nice set of level ears. That man boobs. Toward the end of Hughes's nearly year long sojourn away from Los Angeles. He had been out flying with decarlo when he decided to stop and call in for his messages they landed and Howard when inside the airport telling Yvonne he would be back in five minutes. He was gone a lot longer than that. And Yvonne snuck out of the plane to see what was going on. She found him as she remembered later Yellen on the phone saying, you just don't give a damn you. Don't give a damn and I thought once that she scrambled back to the plane. And when he finally returned Hughes asked, Yvonne, are you serious about me? She found out later that Howard had been talking to Ava Gardner who had been involved with Hughes, but had told him that she was marrying Yvonne's old friend Artie Shaw. Yvonne and Howard returned to Los Angeles together where he moved into the townhouse a luxury hotel not far from the embassador there. She would visit him at night and lounge around his room, which he had filled with advertising mockups for his film via out law. The pair would eat dinner make love and then while Yvonne slept Howard would agonize over the outlaws advertising deep into the night. She noticed that he had what she described as long curling toenails, the nearly wrap themselves around his toes. This struck me as a bit strange. But I struggle it off figuring he must have some well-thought reason for them. Hughes. Yvonne furniture to fill the house. She had recently purchased with her Sallemi salary. He had a dress designed for her which she hated and only wore on dates with him. She believed they were in a serious relationship. And that they would eventually Mary. But Hughes used his prodigious influence over the local media to make sure that their relationship remains secret to anyone outside the bubble in which they moved together. Still quite young and naive. Yvonne. Didn't think this was a big deal until one day when she went out to lunch with Maria Montas and Pat did Chico one of Hughes's right hand men. Montas told her to wake up Hughes was not going to marry her then did Chico of all people added his two cents. Don't you know about all the other girls in his life? Yvonne said, of course, she knew Howard had been involved with other women he talked about Billie dove almost every day. But that was in the past. Did she co and Montas were basically like Linda Darnell 's not in the past? They told her that Hughes was a compulsive liar who kept girls stashed all over town. Early that summer. Yvonne came right out and asked Hughes will we ever be married. He told her unambiguously no shortly after that he had his nearly fatal plane crash. And he and Yvonne didn't see each other for three years after that. Suddenly Yvonne got a call that he wanted to come to her house and talked to her about starring in a film for the studio. He now owned Arcadio he arrived with a script, and they had a long conversation ever vein. He was asked do I look different to you? Poetry. He must have been deeply concerned about his appearance because I had never known him to seek reassurance before Yvonne recalled, Yvonne, lied and said he didn't. But he did as she put it. Hey, looked dreadful like a caricature of his former self he had aged twenty years and become a shell of the man I had known and loved. As we explore in this podcast often. The most compelling remarkable stories are the ones about real people and events that's one of the reasons streaming these fascinating courses from the great courses. Plus is so wonderful. You can learn about different people time periods and cultures from award-winning experts who are so knowledgeable and passionate one of my favorite courses is America in the gilded age and progressive era. This course, explores American social and political history from the end of the civil war through the nineteen twenties. This course is really fascinating and the lecturer Edward T. O Donnell PHD. Does a really great job of putting the facts into context in a way that successful. But not condescending, I think of this course, as a kind of prequel for the research. Storytelling. We've done on a number of seasons of this podcast from the blacklist to Jean and Jane to this season, the seduced in which were telling a lot of stories about people primarily women whose relative success or lack thereof in Hollywood how to do with how social forces intersected with power structures and how commercial forces intersected with creative impulses. Tha that end some lectures, you might find particularly interesting. Our number six big business democracy for sale number twelve morals and manners. Middle-class cya team number sixteen. No more corsets of a new woman, and of course, number nine popular culture, jazz modern arts and movie, the great courses plus offers unlimited. Access to Streep thousands of lectures. Explore any topic that interests you history, literature, even had a practice, mindfulness or take better photos watch and listen anytime anywhere from the great courses plus app. I know you're going to love the great courses plus two. And now is the perfect time to get started. For a limited time only, my listeners get their first month for free, but to get this special free month offer you need to sign up through my special. You are L sign up. Now at the great courses, plus dot com slash remember. That's the great courses plus dot com. Slash remember. After the world wind romance with Hughes had ended Yvonne came down to earth and realized as she put it I was not the world's finest actress she had been cast in Salome for her face and her ability to move her body. But otherwise that performance had been amateurish at best, and she had an improved much since she began taking lessons, and then she got an assist from producer Mark Helen, jer who cast her in a small part in a Burt Lancaster prison film called brute force. D Carlos level of interest in the craft of acting and the priority. She placed on it within the other excitements in her life is perhaps evidenced by the fact that when she writes about brute force in her book instead of talking about the making of the movie, she describes the one night stand. She had with Lancaster on top of a mink coat in the backyard of her house. Decarlo would go on to make some well remembered films from her follow up team up with Lancaster in criss cross to Cecil Beata mills ten commandments which was the highest grossing movie of nineteen fifty six and one of the most successful Hollywood epics of the decade. But from Sallemi on she was basically typecast as scantily clad beauty in genre. And or exotic adventure films. Some of these movies were westerns some took place near or on bodies of water. Sometimes she got to do a stunt or hold a gun once in the technicolor bio pic magic fire. She played the composer Wagner 's wife. But a lot of time the differences were superficial Yvonne herself described one studio assignment buccaneer's girl as the same as all the others except that this time I was a girl instead of a gal. She had gotten her start at universal a studio that ground all of its resources into a formula driven assembly line, and she proved to have a film career that was about as formulaic as it could get she didn't fight too hard against this typecasting. There wasn't much. She could do if she wanted to keep working steadily. But in her off time she pursued her own interests. She developed her singing voice by studying with an opera singer, and she had much romantic adventure her boyfriend's and fiancee's included actor Howard Duff who later became idle Pino's has been in co-star stuntman Jaakko Mahoney who later became Sally fields allegedly abusive stepfather prince Abderrazak palavi of Iran and Rita Hayworth's ex prince Ali Khan, she claimed that every time she got engaged. The ring on her finger felt like a noose. But she did eventually get married to a stunt double named Bob Morgan who she met on the set of a movie called shotgun, which filmed on location in the middle of the desert the cast and crew would party together at the motel where they were all temporarily living and Bob impressed, Yvonne with his signature cocktail a MARTINI mixed with white wine instead of vermouth. They married in November nineteen fifty five and within two years. Yvonne had given birth to two sons as the fifties ended and her age crept toward forty film parts waned and Yvonne kept busy with TV appearances and in a touring nightclub act. Her marriage was troubled and by nineteen sixty three Yvonne was close to filing for divorce. And then Bob got into a horrible accident on the set of how the west was won after performing stunt involving fifteen tons of lumber and a moving train. Bob was accidents knocked onto the rails by the falling would and then run over by the train. He had to have a leg amputated, and the recovery was long painful and difficult. Yvonne dropped everything to support her husband through his ordeal. But eventually the family needed her to make a living. She began taking every nightclub gig. She could get off and having to take her two young sons with her for lack of another childcare option. John Wayne got her cast in his film McLintock which helped her get back on her feet financially. And then Yvonne still needing to take whatever work. She could get in order to feed. All the mouths dependent on her was offered the part that she'd become most famous for. As lily Munster. The munsters was part of a boom of macabre and supernatural themes, sit cones, but all premiered in September nineteen sixty four including the Addams family and bewitched which was the longest lasting of these in its initial run and the Addams family became an iconic movie franchise, but the munsters was initially a big hit. And it's a ritual cast which included Yvonne as the nuclear families, vampire matriarch, and Fred Gwynne as her Frankenstein 's husband became synonymous with their characters fitting considering where Yvonne got her start. The munsters was intentionally modeled after Universal's monster movies of the nineteen thirties which had become Staples of late night TV. But otherwise, the show was basically a spoof on nineteen fifties sitcoms with a few occasional reminders that most of its protagonists were. Dead in this clip, Yvonne's lily confesses to her niece a disturbing secret. She's discovered about her husband. It's a disaster. What's wrong lily? We'll be disgraced ruined wiped off the face of the. Your Herman is overdrawn at the Bank and co hermit. I can't believe it down through history. There's only happened once before in our family when grandpa overdue account at the blood Bank. Uncle say anything about this. No. He's too proud. Why if he found out that we knew he was broke? He never be able to look himself in the face again. Maybe crime could help us out. He's very well off. He was he was, but you know, the expression you can't take it with you. Well grandpa did. Universal produced seventy episodes of the munsters over two seasons, and then canceled the show when ratings dropped against its new competitor Batman, but the sitcom which became a phenomenon in syndication revitalized Yvonne's career and led to new opportunities in straight horror from the power in nineteen sixty eight to eighty schlock like vultures and play dead and in between came career highlight that looks like an outlier amongst the rest of the car those work. But in hindsight is not just the kind of thing that she was preparing for from the beginning. But was clearly tailored specifically for her. Here is Yvonne decarlo in nineteen Eighty-four talking about her triumph of a better decade and a half earlier. I finally made it to Broadway in a brand new sparkling musical cold follies. It was produced by that prince of Othello herald prince and choreographed by Michael Bennett, the genius, of course, line and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the fabulous even sometime I played the part of a former wealthy movie star called Carlotta campy on. And I'm honored to say that Stephen Sondheim wrote a song for me or rather for Carlotta was a volleys girl class of forty six. And since I'm still here. I would like to see it for you. Times times I've seen them all in my. Sometimes sometimes just pretzels Yvonne decarlo was still here until two thousand seven when she died at the age of eighty four. Next week. We will conclude this miniseries with the tail of another exotic beauty whose brief encounter with Howard Hughes would for better or for worse. Become part of her legacy. Join us then won't you? In Dante's bucks. The nine was. Hey, I'm here. On red lines. Freshen was I. Thanks for listening to you must remember. This. Today's episode was written narrated and produced by Corrine along that's me. Our editor is alluvia. Now, our research and production assistant is Lindsay d shown holds our social media. Assistant is Brendan Whelan and our logo was designed by teddy blinks special fakes to our special guest. Noah Siegel who returned to the podcast to play Howard Hughes. For more information about this episode and other episodes, please go to our website, you must remember this podcast dot com. Very will find show notes for every episode with lists of all of our sources and the music used on each episode. And if you go to you must remember this podcast dot com slash said. Duck Shen, you'll find information about how to preorder the book that this season is related to seduction sex lies and stardom in our Hughes's Hollywood written by me. We also have a schedule of events that I'll be doing related to the book which included book signings film, screenings and more. If you like the show, please tell anyone you can any way that you can you can follow us on Twitter at remember this pied, and where on Facebook and Instagram to. What to win a signed copy of my new book? You can I've teamed up with my publisher to fifty listeners chosen at random the chance to win a signed copy of seduction this giveaway is open to US residents. Eighteen years of age and older only rules and regulations apply. To learn more and enter now. Visit our website at you must. Remember this podcast dot com slash seduction. We'll be back next week with another tale from the secret. And or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century join us, then won't you good night.