On last’s night’s episode of Feud, Joan Crawford essentially signed the death warrant to her career by backing out of Hush..Hush… Sweet Charlotte. If you’re a movie buff, you know that she still had the god-awful Trog to do, an episode of Night Gallery, and and ham-fisted turn on her daughter’s soap opera The Secret Storm – but really, it was over. Dunzo. The final nail in her coffin was this party that she threw at the Rainbow Room in 1974 for her old friend Rosalind Russell (of Auntie Mame and Gypsy fame). A glittering handful of Golden Age notables showed up – including Joan Bennet, Henry Fonda, Peggy Lee, Butterfly McQueen (from Gone with the Wind!!) – as well, as Catwoman Julie Newmar, a sexy young Prince Egon von Furstenburg, and party staple Sylvia Miles.
Legend has it that when Joan saw unflattering pictures of herself in the paper the next day, she said “If that’s how I look, then they won’t see me anymore” – and immediately withdrew from the public eye, cancelled all public appearances, and declined to be interviewed thereafter.
Do watch the video, below, though – captured for the early, early days of cable TV by a VERY young New York socialite/PR whizkid R Couri Hay. It’s a real time capsule of the last of what once was, and a precursor of both cable news and red carpet culture. (And as one of the commenters points out, Sylvia Miles flitting back and forth, not wanting to appear on cable TV but doing everything she can to get noticed, is a riot!)
Thanks to SissyDude for unearthing this fascinating bit of Old Hollywood lore.