Hollywood’s Golden Age, from the 20’s to the late thirties, was a dream factory.
And glamour was the dream that was sold in every frame of every film. Studios tightly controlled the image of the stars they groomed and promoted, presenting them as glittering jewels, untouched and unsullied by the daily concerns of ordinary life.
When Mickey Rooney informed MGM chief L.B. Mayer that he was going to marry a young starlet named Ava Gardner, Mayer’s anger was incandescent. Rooney was destroying the Andy Hardy brand. Never mind that Rooney was notorious for partying with high-priced call girls, Mayer understood that the carefully cultivated image of a clean living American boy was the reality for millions of movie fans.
Fans imagined their favorite stars as immaculate beings from heaven. And nothing could more quickly dispel this fantasy than the reality of a star with all too human parents.
Here are a few photos the studios did not want the public to see.