Most people who know me, they are aware of this problem — addiction really. My husband discovered how bad it could get sometimes, and he’s learned to cope. I have a Joan Crawford problem.
I don’t know when it began or why. I don’t even think I had seen many of her movies, but I do remember being a kid walking in to the infamous wire hanger scene as my mom was watching “Mommie Dearest” one night. I sat down totally dumbstruck, “mom, what are you watching!?” and I wanted to know all I could about this crazy woman as possible. Now I know a lot of people say the whole “Mommie Dearest” thing is the embellishments of a bitter daughter, and a lot of people say Joan was no where near the monster she is portrayed to be in the book and movie (even her own 2 youngest daughters), but if you’ve ever read anything Joan has written, you know that it isn’t that far off the mark. There are lots of crazy and eccentric actresses — why Joan for me? I really don’t know. A mix of fascination with her ambition, the quest for perfection, the sense of duty she had to her profession, a long career, and the fact she could hide her crazy in public situations…well, mostly. Perhaps it is because she is so unlike me that I study her in order to understand and be entertained all at once? I don’t have much of an opinion on her acting ability, and she could look a bit odd at times, but dangit, she’s still my Joanie for one reason or another.
I’ve seen all of her movies, I have just about every book on her (and am eyeballing this one right now), I paid way too much for an out-of-print paperback she wrote, I have a cigarette case with a picture of her on it, and I even got myself a Joan Crawford paper doll book!
It’s a good thing I don’t have a collector mentality paired with lots of disposable income, because it would be a lot worse than it is now. Autographed photos? You bet! A Barbie doll made to look like her? Oh man! Personal possesions auctioned off? Gimmeh! But no it hasn’t gotten that bad; I think I’ve kept it under control all things considered. There’s only one movie in my collection: “Humoresque”. Which is really good, and it’s the only movie of hers besides “Rain” my husband actually likes! He won’t allow photos or posters of her anywhere in our apartment, though.
Calling myself an authority on all things Joan might be a tad much, but if there were ever a museum dedicated to her, I’d make a pretty awesome docent. I also take into account her cleaning tips, packing tips, and even some beauty tips! I often ask myself, “what would JC do?” and am not referring to the other JC if you know what I mean. Joan says that if you are about to go out on date the least you can do is douche; it’s the decent and courteous thing to do after all! You see? She’s full of gems!
There are several movies Joan did that are pretty close to her own neurotic, controlling and clean-freak personality. “Torch Song”, “Harriet Craig” and even “Queen Bee”. All of them are terrible but in a wonderful soap opera kind of way. Despite these being good vehicles for fabulous over-the-top drama and entertainment, my dream is to one day do a stage production of “Mommie Dearest” since I know every single line (and often apply them to real life situations!). Maybe with a cast of only 4? I think it could work. Who’s with me? Who wants to fund it? I get to be Faye Dunaway FYI.
Some people watch football or garden. I choose to dedicate my free time to reading about or looking at picture books of Joan Crawford. It’s a thing.