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You Must Remember This

Author: Karina Longworth

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You Must Remember This is a storytelling podcast exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. It’s the brainchild and passion project of Karina Longworth (founder of, former film critic for LA Weekly), who writes, narrates, records and edits each episode. It is a heavily-researched work of creative nonfiction: navigating through conflicting reports, mythology, and institutionalized spin, Karina tries to sort out what really happened behind the films, stars and scandals of the 20th century.

184 Episodes
During an era in which Hollywood and Washington are shakily aligned in the witch hunting of actual and reputed socialists, Louella struggles to maintain her position as cheerleader for the status quo, while Hedda grabs a torch and tries to burn it all down, using celebrity gossip to further the racist, xenophobic interests of the FBI. There’s also a new competitor in town, who at once subversively spoke to and for Hollywood’s gay community, while also deflecting attention from his own sexuality by attacking others. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Louella’s daughter, Harriet Parsons, became a groundbreaking female film producer at a moment in history in which virtually all mainstream filmmakers were male. She was also a lesbian, at a time when being openly gay was unacceptable in Hollywood -- and, in much of America, illegal. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
World War II begins to reveal the gulf between Louella’s conservative but essentially business-minded politics, and Hedda Hopper’s virulent right-wing fervor. These differences — and the glee with which Hopper would destroy lives to shore up political power and further her ideology — come through loud and clear in the stories of two controversies: the casting of Gone with the Wind, and the paternity trial of Charlie Chaplin. Meanwhile, Louella shows her devotion to Hearst by using her power to cripple Citizen Kane. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In 1938, washed-up actress Hedda Hopper is installed as a movie gossip columnist with the express purpose of puncturing the success of Louella and Hearst. But Hedda quickly establishes a voice of her own, revolutionary for its insistence on making movie gossip political. Once friends, Louella and Hedda become bitter rivals, egged on in their feud by a third party who sees Hedda as an ally in right-wing conservatism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In 1923, Louella Parsons signed a contract with William Randolph Hearst for nationwide syndication of the first major Hollywood gossip column. Parsons quickly built a brand based on protecting (and whitewashing) Hollywood’s interests, as well as Hearst’s, relentlessly promoting — and spying on — Hearst’s mistress, Marion Davies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Both Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper worked for papers created by charismatic barons whose publications were nakedly corrupt, totally biased -- and absolutely mainstream. Once we get a feel for this media climate, we’ll trace Louella’s early years of struggle and reinvention on the road to her pioneering bylines, and, finally, her role in canonizing The Birth of a Nation -- the most viciously racist Hollywood blockbuster of all time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
You Must Remember This presents an exclusive first listen of the audio trailer for Mank, a David Fincher film about the screenwriter of Citizen Kane, coming to Netflix on December 4. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Polly Platt’s unfinished memoir ends abruptly in 1995. What were the remaining 16 years of her life like? Using interviews with those who knew her, we’ll explore how her career in Hollywood came to an end, and the tragic circumstances of her death. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Polly Platt's collaboration with James L. Brooks hits choppy waters with I’ll Do Anything, which at one point was a musical with songs by Prince, but became one of the most notoriously misbegotten productions of the 1990s. Polly recaptures her indie roots by shepherding the directorial debut of Wes Anderson. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In the mid-to-late 80s, Polly Platt worked on a number of films that defined and reflected that decade’s ideas about female power. With an Oscar nomination under her belt, Polly starts trying in earnest to direct. She ends her career as a production designer with The Witches of Eastwick, a star-studded special-effects extravaganza. Inspired by Polly, Brooks creates the character played by Holly Hunter in Broadcast News, infusing the film with Polly’s single-minded professional determination. Riding high on having guided Brooks through two consecutive, blockbuster Oscar nominees, Polly becomes a production executive at Brooks's Gracie Films, where she produces Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Polly’s third marriage falls apart, and she enters more than one destructive affair. During these tumultuous times, Polly establishes a new collaboration with a male writer-director, James L. Brooks, and together the two turn another Larry McMurtry novel into a classic film: Terms of Endearment. Once again, while working on this film about a combative mother-daughter relationship, Polly finds that art and life are intertwined. Polly’s own story starts showing up in other people’s movies, including Irreconcilable Differences -- starring Ryan O’Neal as a version of Peter Bogdanovich. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In an attempt to save her family, Polly transitions to screenwriting and producing, basing the prostitution drama Pretty Baby, starring a pre-teen Brooke Shields, on her own daughter. Polly finds herself increasingly overcome by alcoholism, while dealing with Shields’s own alcoholic mother. Polly’s already-difficult relationship with her two daughters is made much more complicated by the murder of Peter’s girlfriend, Dorothy Stratten, and Bogdanovich’s subsequent emotional collapse. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
When Polly begins her own on-set affair, the double standard of what men can get away with in Hollywood versus what was expected for women would push her to a breaking point. With collaborating with her ex-husband no longer an option, Platt starts attempting to rebuild her career, designing classics such as A Star is Born and Bad News Bears, while also navigating predatory men in power in post-sexual revolution Hollywood. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In the aftermath of The Last Picture Show — and the collapse of her second marriage — Polly finds an unlikely ally, and a new job, in Orson Welles. Anxious to build on her career momentum (and become the first female film art director accepted into her union), Polly agrees to work on Peter’s next two films, What’s Up Doc and Paper Moon – two massive hits which make Peter one of the most famous directors of the decade. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
At Polly’s urging, Peter decides to direct an adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s novel The Last Picture Show. Though credited only as the film’s “designer,” Polly is involved in every creative decision, including casting — and it’s with his pregnant-again wife’s enthusiasm that Bogdanovich casts 20-year-old model Cybill Shepherd as the film’s femme fatale. Though Polly believed she and Peter were “deliriously happy,” Bogdanovich and Shepherd fall in love on the set of the movie, and Polly has to make a decision: to save face and avoid personal humiliation by walking away from the production, or stay and fight for the creative baby that she feels ownership over. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
After the death of her first husband and creative partner, Polly moves to New York, where she swiftly meets and falls in love with Peter Bogdanovich. Together Polly and Peter build a life around the obsessive consumption of Hollywood movies, with Polly acting as Peter’s Jill-of-all-trades support system as he first ingratiates himself with the previous two generations of Hollywood auteurs as a critic/historian, and then makes his way into making his own films. Together, Polly and Peter write and produce Targets, Bogdanovich’s first credited feature, and also collaborate on a documentary about the great director John Ford. By the time Polly gives birth to their first daughter, she believes she and Peter are an indivisible, equal creative partnership — regardless of how credit is distributed in Hollywood. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
We’ll begin with a look at how Polly Platt’s legacy was appraised when she died in 2011. Then we’ll go back in time to tell Polly’s story from the start, beginning with her Revolutionary Road-esque childhood in Europe and America as the neglected daughter of two alcoholics; to her years studying scenic design in environments in which women weren’t welcome; the secret pregnancy that halted her formal education, and the early marriage that took her West and cemented her desire to tell stories through design. Throughout, we’ll talk about how Platt’s experiences, as the product of an American military family of the 1950s—and the daughter of a mother who had been forced to abandon a career for motherhood––shaped her view of gender roles and relations, and her idea of what it meant to be the wife of a important man. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Excited for the new season? We can hardly wait to share the untold story of Polly Platt, the secret weapon behind some of the most highly acclaimed films of the 1970s, '80s and '90s. This audio journey will feature interviews and intimate details about her trailblazing legacy and heartbreaking private life, including excerpts from her own unpublished memoirs dealing with her creative collaborations and relationship with her second husband, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich. The new season premieres May 26. For now, please enjoy a taste of what's to come in this extended preview of episode 1. Actress Maggie Siff is featured as the voice of Polly Platt. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Polly Platt -- producer, writer and Oscar-nominated production designer -- lived an epic Hollywood life. And yet, if you know Platt’s name today, it’s probably because in 1970 her husband and creative collaborator Peter Bogdanovich had an affair with Cybill Shepherd while shooting the film that launched their careers, The Last Picture Show. But Platt was much more than a jilted wife: she was the secret, often invisible-to-the-public weapon behind some of the best films of the 1970s, '80s and '90s. Drawing on Platt’s unpublished memoir, as well as ample interviews and archival research, The Invisible Woman will tell Polly Platt’s incredible story from her perspective, for the first time. New episodes will begin releasing May 26. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In 1983, Vanessa Williams became the first black woman to win Miss America. In 1984, a few weeks from the end of her reign, she was forced to step down when she found out Penthouse was going to publish unauthorized nude images of her in their magazine. Williams went on to have a successful singing career and star in movies, but her career trajectory tells more than the story of a black beauty icon who overcame obstacles to make it in Hollywood. It's a story that echoes the legacies of racism, colorism, tokenism and misogynoir (the misogyny experienced specifically by black women) in 20th century Hollywood and how, as a result, black women — from Williams to Whitney Houston — have had to display exceptional talent to make the case that their images are worth circulating and celebrating as beautiful. This episode was written and performed by Cassie da Costa, an entertainment writer for The Daily Beast. She lives in Ojai, California. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (125)

Lynn Davidson

I absolutely love this podcast. However,the few times Karina got political she totally lost me. She suffers from Trump Deraingment Syndrome.

May 30th
Reply (1)

HMS Jon Hamm

Omg I love Karina’s Marylin voice... so great

May 23rd

O. R.

Please do an episode about Bobby Gentry

May 15th

Ruth Martin

So delighted to have new episodes!

May 4th

Jamie Longo

half this episode wasn't about the manson's. some of these episodes are good, most are not interesting.

Dec 25th

joanna caston

Interesting podcast ruined by dreadful, silly impressions

Sep 13th

Liz Lander

I love this podcast and have been an avid listener for several years. However I have just listened to episide 138 (Mae West - Hollywood Babylon). I'm sorry but I don't like your robot Kenneth Anger - the pacing and nuances of his voice are very stlited. Please provide jobs for real actors. Otherwuse brilliant work. Thank you.

Jul 11th
Reply (2)


Bagdonavitch is a dick.

Jun 10th

Lisa Jayne

I really enjoy the content of this podcast but why is Karina speaking so slowly? It's very difficult to listen to the story.

Jun 7th

Saralysette Stauffer

can you imagine how much that autograph would be worth?

Jun 6th

Saralysette Stauffer

marilyn monroe is not buried at Hollywood forever. shes buried at Westwood cemetery

Jun 5th


Thank you for saying it! I always thought Lon couldn't act his way out of a wet paper bag. Love his movies though.

May 27th

free smiles

I really don't like how you assert that Manson helped shape the 1970s. No he didn't. He facilitated brutal heinous murders for attention and to assert his power over young psychopaths because he was unable to garner attention through musical ability.

May 11th

Mike Cantrell

Wow...what a reach for most of these outlandish conclusions. I looked at Uncle Remus as the hero of the story....kind of like an Obi-Wan character who was very wise. Not the abused man who escaped reality into a made up world....he was the strong elder who rose above everything with his attitude and love for animals and life. What a depressing episode the way you described everything....

Apr 1st

Jessica Ellen Rowe

That was absolutely brilliant and thoroughly fascinating! Thank you so much!

Mar 8th

Daniel Ace

Excellent story here. Always wondered about her life after Bogart.

Feb 27th

Daniel Ace

Excellent story. Such a classic Hollywood couple.

Feb 26th

Steve Harrison

very underrated podcast.

Feb 14th
Reply (1)


I really loved the old style where Karina narrated the episodes. It was like listening to an old time Hollywood movie or radio show. The new episodes are good but I miss the old narration.

Feb 11th

Leigh Collins

I really enjoy the episodes, but I can only listen on 1.25 speed, otherwise the narrator draws it out so terribly much.

Feb 1st
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