The Best of Everything
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All Encyclopedia text, from A to Z, is copyright © 2004 - 2013 by Stephanie Jones.
The Best of R
Rapf • Nicholas
Rain. United Artists, 1932. Directed by Lewis Milestone, 92 minutes. Joan reprises the "Sadie Thompson" prostitute role made famous on Broadway in 1922 by Jeanne Eagels. Walter Huston co-stars as the bedeviled preacher. Joan disliked herself in this, as did the critics and the public of the time. But a personal note: they all happened to be wrong--Joan's intense and ultimately subtle performance holds up over the years.
Says Joan in CWJC:
...I hope they burn every print of this turkey that's in existence. It was simply awful. I don't understand how a writer like Maxwell Anderson could have turned out such a ghastly script and how Lewis Milestone could have directed it so badly. I don't understand, to this day, how I could have given such an unpardonable bad performance. All my fault, too--Milestone's direction was so feeble I took the bull by the horns and did my own Sadie Thompson. I was wrong every scene of the way.
Rambeau, Marjorie. (7/15/1889 - 7/6/1970) Rambeau began acting on the stage at age 12 and was a Broadway star in the 1910s and '20s. She began making films in 1917 and had a long and varied career as a character actress that lasted until 1957. She appeared as Joan's mother twice: in 1931's Laughing Sinners and again in '53's Torch Song; she was nominated for an Oscar for the latter role. (She was also set to play the mother in '31's This Modern Age, but became ill and was replaced by Pauline Frederick. Joan's hair was dyed blonde in both Sinners and Modern specifically to further the resemblance with Rambeau.)
Reagan, Ronald. See General Electric Theater.
The first four below are in Joan's own words, from My Way of Life:
Meat Loaf: I use two pounds of ground sirloin, a pound of ground veal, and a pound of sausage meat...thoroughly mixed with three eggs, a bottle of A-1, a good lacing of Worcestershire, a lot of seasoned salt, and finely chopped purple onion and green peppers. I hide four hard-boiled eggs inside the loaf and before it goes into the oven I dribble over more A-1 and Worcestershire and seasoned salt so that a crust will form.
My note: I found the below, more exact, meatloaf instructions in 2011 from an online cooking blog, which said the recipe from Joan initially appeared in the Motion Picture Country Home charity cookbook (year not given):
Your shopping list will consist of 2 pounds of ground sirloin, 1 pound of pork sausage, 1 pound of ground veal, eggs, 1 large Bermuda onion, 2 green bell peppers, A1 Steak Sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and Lawry's seasoned salt.
Chop onion and bell peppers into fine pieces. Hard-boil four eggs. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the meats, 3 raw eggs, onion, green peppers, 1 tablespoon of Lawry's seasoned salt, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon of A1. Mix well and shape into a loaf in a large, shallow pan. Peel the hard-boiled eggs and gently place them into the loaf. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Lawry's seasoned salt, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, and 2 teaspoons of A1, creating a crust on top of the loaf. Pour 1 cup of water in the pan (not over the loaf) and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 and cook 30 more minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250 and cook another 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Wilted Spinach Salad: I pour hot bacon grease and vinegar over the spinach leaves until they sag, and then sprinkle crisp bacon on top. You can do this with lettuce or dandelion greens, too.
Salad (best served with fried chicken or baked ham): ...made with kidney beans, purple onions, green peppers, celery, and hot red peppers--all chopped very fine and tossed with vinegar, Tabasco, kosher salt, and black pepper. It should be refrigerated overnight to marinade...
Coleslaw: I must brag...that I'm famous among a small group of regulars for my coleslaw. The basic ingredients are shaved cabbage, green peppers, finely chopped pimiento, and pineapple. Over this goes a dressing of mayonnaise, a liberal amount of both dry mustard and prepared mustard, the juice of six lemons, olive oil, cider vinegar, hot peppers, and a magic mixture of spices and herbs that I buy from a restaurant in Hollywood, the Cock 'n Bull.
The Stars in the Kitchen (1953) cookbook includes this recipe for Joan Crawford's Cheese and Bean Casserole:
Melt in a chafing dish 4 large cups grated American cheese. Stir until melted. Add 5 large cans of kidney beans, already heated, and 1 cup of diced peppers, fresh and uncooked. Add tabasco to taste. Serve extremely hot.
The Frito-Lay company issued a cookbook in 1968 called Betcha can't eat just one... that included a recipe for Joan Crawford Dip:
2 (3 oz. each) pkgs. cream cheese
Soften cream cheese with milk; add sour cream and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and let stand 30 minutes. Serve with FRITOS King-Size corn chips or LAY'S potato chips.
Joan Crawford's Poached Salmon with Mayonnaise-Mustard Sauce
3 pounds fresh salmon
6 cups water
10 peeled pearl onions
1/2 stalk celery, including leaves, chopped
2 sprigs fresh parsley
3 small bay leaves
12 crushed peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups mayonnaise
4 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, cut in wedges
Fresh cut parsley
Field lettuce leaves or watercress
Quartered hard-cooked eggs
DIRECTIONS: To prepare salmon, place lemon slices around salmon and in cavity. Wrap fish in double layer of cheesecloth, secured with string. Set aside. Place water, onions, celery, parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt in a large pot and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes. Place fish in water and simmer slowly for 40 minutes covered, using a rack or heat safe small bowl so fish is not entirely under water. Remove fish to cool slightly. Prepare sauce by combining all ingredients. Arrange salmon on a chilled platter on a bed of lettuce or watercress, surrounded by remaining garnishes if desired. Serve with sauce. Makes 8 servings.
My note: I found the above recipe in 2011 from a 2007 cooking blog that said the source was "Philip Potempa - cooking section local paper." The same recipe appears, with different wording, in the 2011 book The Dead Celebrity Cookbook, which doesn't give an original source.
Below is from a 1928 Photoplay article entitled, "Soup, Salad and Dessert: They Make or Mar the Meal." Joan contributes recipes for French Banana Salad and Lemon Pie. (Not pictured here from the same page is Eddie Cantor's recipe for "Matzos Kloese.")
And click to read another Photoplay article (Oct. 1935) that also includes "one of Joan's favorite menus for a small dinner party," with recipes for a Fruit Appetizer, Almond Soup, Roast Squab, Wild Rice, Green Peas, and Crepes Suzette.
To the left is a page from an unknown magazine in the mid/late 1930s with a recipe for Joan's Charcoal Broiled Steak and an accompanying sauce. (Click on the picture to read.) Thanks to Shane for sending this one.
And, finally, the below, for Joan's Codfish Cakes and Creamed Egg Sauce. (From a 9/13/71 letter to Mrs. John E. Hammond for inclusion in Hammond's cookbook. Says Joan in the letter: "It is divine for Sunday brunches.")
Religion. (See also Christian Science.) Joan made it known that she preferred not to discuss religion or politics. But in CWJC, she says:
I believe in God, but I don't think He cares a hell of a lot about whether a person is a Catholic, Protestant, Jew, or Moslem, as long as that person has a record rolled up that includes more good marks than bad ones. I think Roz Russell is the best example of a practicing believer; her Catholicism is very strong, but she doesn't impose it on others. Not like Loretta Young and Irene Dunne; those ladies seem to be rehearsing to play the next Virgin Mary. I think faith is wonderful, but when you try to impose it on others, it's irritating and boring. Like those Hari Krishna asses with their shaved heads and funny gowns, or so many of the cults that have come along in the last few years. Have faith, but don't become a hooker, is about all I can say....
...part of me believes in Predestination--you know, someone up there is pulling the strings, whatever will be will be. Yet I know this isn't true because I can look back and realize how many times a decision was totally in my hands; I had to make a choice and nobody Up There was telling me what to do. Besides, I don't think that someone Up There has time to make all our nit-picking decisions for us....We all have regrets--I can't imagine even Hitler without them...But when you consider time and place and circumstance...could any of us have done differently? I guess that's where Predestination comes in. At the time we can only do what we are capable of doing.
Reunion in France. MGM, 1942. Directed by Jules Dassin, 102 minutes. Joan stars as non-Nazi-aware French gadabout "Michele de la Becque" (a character name that surely rivals "Priscilla Crowninshield" and "Lorna Hansen Forbes"...). John Wayne co-stars (in their only film together) as a downed American pilot whom she befriends.
Says Joan in CWJC:
...oh, God. If there is an afterlife, and I am to be punished for my sins, this is one of the pictures they'll make me see over and over again. John Wayne and I both went down for the count, not just because of a silly script, but because we were so mismatched. Get John out of the saddle and you've got trouble. At least I had a nice collection of gowns to wear. (Seriously, by this time I think a bad script intimidated me to the point where I just surrendered. The fight was gone; I let personal problems override professional judgment, and I just swam with the tide. That's a terrible thing to say, but it's true, and now I regret it. I had enough clout to fight back and I didn't do it.)
Revlon's Mirror Theater. Joan appeared on this TV program on 9/19/53 in an episode called "Because I Love Him." See the TV page for a photo and more info.
Robertson, Cliff. Joan's co-star in Autumn Leaves. Says Joan in CWJC: It was an intense and happy working relationship. He's a fine man, and I think he came into his own as an actor on that picture. He had an amazing capacity to learn, a sort of eagerness that's almost out of style now.
Rolling Stones, The. The cover art for the band's 1972 album "Exile on Main Street" features a photo of Joan from Sudden Fear.
Rose-Marie. MGM silent, 1928. Directed by Lucien Hubbard, 70 minutes. Joan plays a French-Canadian mountain gal who must fend off the advances of various men while remaining true to her soldier-of-fortune love (James Murray). The movie was based on a stage operetta that opened 9/2/24 in NYC and ran for 557 performances. It was remade in 1936 with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy and again in 1954 with Ann Blyth and Howard Keel, though here it's done as a drama. Says Joan in CWJC: ...surprisingly good without the music, and I felt uneasy as a French Canadian, but the critics didn't notice.
Russell, Rosalind. Actress, friend o' Joan. Co-starred with Joan in '34's Forsaking All Others and '39's The Women. Joan made her final public appearance when she hosted a party for Russell at NYC's Rainbow Room on September 23, 1974. When Joan saw the photographs taken that evening, she said, "If that's the way I look, I won't be seen anymore." (JCB)
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