Love is a Racket is going to air on TCM on Thursday, June 9th at 8:15am PST.
Oh Turner Classic Movies! As if I needed another reason to love you. The schedule for their annual Summer Under the Stars month, in which an actor is featured each day in August, had been posted and the 9th is all about Ann Dvorak. That’s right, there is actually going to be 24 hours of Ann Dvorak films being broadcast. The last time I remember TCM giving so much love to Ann was back in the fall of 1997, and even then it was maybe six or seven movies that were shown. This time around, they will be airing sixteen of Ann’s films.
There will be some old friends, like Scarface, Three on a Match, and G Men, along with seldom aired Warner Archive titles like Side Streets, Stranger in Town, and I Was an American Spy. I am especially excited for a few films that are neither available on DVD, nor recently shown, including Sweet Music, Massacre, Gentlemen Are Born, and Friends of Mr. Sweeney.
This will come one week after what would have been Ann’s 100th birthday, and I cannot think of a more appropriate tribute to her. As the day gets closer, I will post more in depth info about the films being shown. In the meantime, the full schedule for the entire month can be found here.
I am still writing on the subway to and from work, and still making good progress. I have written about 32,000 words of the first “rough, rough” draft which takes me up through the end of 1936 and the end of Ann’s tenure at Warner Bros. Even though I still am following the mantra of “just write it,” I had to take a bit of time to go over my documentation for her 1936 court case against the studio, just because I found myself at a loss to write about it without trying to understand exactly what happened. Now that I have gotten passed her legal issues and into her career as a freelancer, the pace is picking up once again.
At this point, I have been digging into the life and career of Ann Dvorak for around 10 years and I have come to find that the research never will completely end. In the past two months I spoke with a niece of Ann’s third husband, Nicholas Wade, who provided some fascinating insight into her retirement years and confirmed some unfortunate suspicions I had about that time period. I also exchanged emails with a gent whose mother knew Ann during her M-G-M chorus girl days and shared a couple of wonderful stories that had me doing a happy dance when I read them.
I can remember back in 2002 whining to my friend, Laura Wagner, about how I just needed to write the damn book and be done with it. Her constant reply was always, “What’s your rush? You’re the only one writing Ann’s story, so take your time and do it right.” Those have turned out to be wise words, because if I had banged out the book back then, it would have been pretty thin and probably not much more than a “films of” type thing. Because I followed Laura’s advice, I now know way more about Ann Dvorak than I ever dreamed of, and a lot of that info has come to light over the past four or five years, and keeps coming.
Still, there will come a time when the book will finally be written and I will have to finally let it go. Until that happens, I will continue to be amazed by the new things I find out about Ann on a regular basis.