Well fine, as a small part actress, in modern times (and lets face it, supposedly I was an actor back then), I’ve never actually encountered that casting couch moment. I know, what a surprise, not!
However its a well known fact that back in the ‘Golden Age’ of movie making, and before then, the casting couch wasnt only something that was hinted at, it was reality! Back then, its fair to say that more than a few actresses, either trying to get that break, or to move up in the standings got there by more than acting talent alone. Though in truth, on the whole, they were given little choice in the matter, if they wanted to make it. Yes, I wouldnt be totally surprised at some point if Clara Johnson had to go through the routine herself, to get her big chance. I mean, you only have to look at the fact that prior to 1933/34, and her promotion to Goldwyn Girl status, that she’d been around as a humble chorus girl for a while, and then suddenly…hmm? Maybe it was just hard work, who knows, but the cynic in me still wonders, all the same?
Given that the book I read it in, is factually tarnished, many times over, I’m prepared to tread carefully on this, but allegedly Jean Harlow was sought (and not for her movie skills) by high ups in many studios, both male, and indeed, female for other purposes when she first broke through seriously into the movies. True or not, she married 2 ‘senior’ staff at MGM, who werent logical marriage partners for her, but hey, it does seem she had a yearn for older men, so that could be totally wrong assumption, especially as one of them was pretty much proved to be impotent!
But yes, back then, the whole casting couch thing was part of the movie industry, in those less than enlightened times. But if anyone thought it had gone away, oh my, how wrong can you be? In truth, the only question that needs to be asked about the whole Harvey Weinstein thing, is why its taken so long to come out? The answer, my dear, of course, is power. But of course, with anything like that, once one domino falls in the pack, every other domino quickly tumbles over as well. He thought, because of his position, that he could get away with it, but now, finally, thankfully, it has caught up with him.
Is he the only one? I very much doubt it. In truth, I’d be amazed if he was. I suspect a few more will follow now, but we will have to wait and see on that. I think its safe to say that a trans woman actress, fast approaching 60 is not likely to be a casting couch target for anyone lol! Especially given my back wouldnt be up to anything adventurous anyway! But yes, hopefully, now, a number of younger actresses may manage to avoid this fate. But I suspect, there’s always someone, so…
Oh fine, the video. This might sound like its from the 1920’s, but its actually from 1961. Yes, still delightfully ancient for most, but…there were 9 members of the Temperance 7, a play on the term ‘one over the eight’ which definitely wasnt a sign of temperance lol! There was a major revival of the group about 10 years later, which lineup I have featured here in the past. Sadly, the only film I can find of the original lineup singing this, is of pretty poor quality, so lets go with this, which looks like a scene that Clara Johnson, and other chorus girls of that era would be very familiar with!