Manson Fever? (Interview With You Must Remember This Podcast Karina Longworth)

Some of the Manson girls heading into court.

Some of the Manson girls heading into court.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Manson murders/Sharon Tate case.  This August will mark 46 years since the gruesome murders.  Lately it seems that there are references to Charles Manson or the murders everywhere.  Lifetime just confirmed they will be creating a movie based on the Manson Girls for their channel.  NBC has recently renewed their new show “Aquarius” for a 2nd season.  Most interesting to me, however is the ongoing series one of my favorite podcasts is featuring.

"The Family"

“The Family”

Some of the girls from "The Family" dumpster diving.

Some of the girls from “The Family” dumpster diving.

Susan Atkins, one of the convicted murderers in the Tate/La Bianca murders.

Susan Atkins, one of the convicted murderers in the Tate/La Bianca murders.

The victims.

The victims.

You Must Remember This” is a podcast “exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of 20th Century Hollywood.”  Host Karina Longworth writes, edits, and narrates the podcast.

Recently, “YMRT” began a new series called “Charles Manson’s Hollywood.”  There are 6 episodes in the series so far and I have to say I’ve been constantly surprised about what I didn’t know, even after studying the Manson murders for years.  Karina dives deep into the background of the people, history, and of course the events.  If you have any interest in the murders, I would suggest you start listening from part I on, then revisit some of the other episodes on “old” Hollywood.

I was lucky enough to interview Karina about her podcast a few months ago.  She graciously answered my questions about her fabulous podcast…

YMRT Host Karina Longworth

YMRT Host Karina Longworth

K.D.//First of all, let me just say that I’m insanely jealous that you have the time to research, write, edit, record, and edit such a fabulous podcast. I know you were previously working as a film journalist (among other things), so how did you transition into creating the podcast? Why did you choose to do a podcast on Hollywood’s first century?

K.L.//The podcast began about a year after I quit trying to be a full-time journalist. I quit a job in film criticism in January 2013, mostly for my mental health and a little bit for my physical health. In the spring of 2014, I was freelancing as a writer a little and teaching a graduate course at a university, and I was feeling creatively and intellectually frustrated. I decided I needed an outlet through which to explore my interest in diving really deep into research about old Hollywood. I didn’t know if there was room for a new blog about old Hollywood, but as a podcast lister I had confidence that there was room for a new podcast.

K.D.//There are so many episodes that I’m obsessed with, but have to admit my favorite as of right now is the one about Frances Farmer “(The Printing of) The Legend of Frances Farmer” (episode 4). Why do you think the general public don’t know much about Ms. Farmer? Which episode is your favorite and why?

K.L.//Most of Frances Farmer’s films are difficult to find on DVD and are almost never shown on TV. Also, a lot of them, although interesting as a showcase for her and her talents, are not very good films. That’s definitely one of my favorite episodes of the podcasts. I like all of the episodes in which we have special guests, such as the Rita Hayworth/Orson Welles episode, the Walt Disney episode, the Marlon Brando episode. The one I personally find most emotional is the Carole Lombard episode. The one I’m most proud of as something I made is the Lena Horne episode, which took twice as long as the usual episode to produce thanks to all of the archival audio.

K.D.//I recently listened to your One Year Anniversary episode. Happy Anniversary! You talked a little about the work that goes into making an episode of the podcast. Can you tell me again about your process, and how you come up with topics for the episodes?

K.L.//I have a long list of my own ideas which I’ve been compiling for over a year, and listeners submit their ideas on our forum (http://www.vidiocy.com/you-must-remember-this-forum/). I like to plan series of episodes because it makes me feel organized, so every few months I’ll go through my list and the forums and try to figure out ways in which different ideas can be combined around central themes to form series. Once I have a plan for a few months, I’m constantly reading for about two or three episodes at a time. Once I’ve read everything I can read about a specific topic, writing that episode takes two to three days. Then I record and edit in about two days. 

K.D.//Do you think your podcast appeals to a certain demographic? I’m a bit biased to finding learning about the women of “Old Hollywood” more interesting than the men. You don’t have as many episodes featuring men as you do the starlets. Do you find yourself more drawn to the women? Which Old Hollywood actress to you identify with most and why?

K.L.//Actually, I feel like the podcast has a wider appeal than I had previously imagined it would. More than anything else, I like to tell stories that my audience will be surprised by. Unfortunately most histories of Hollywood, like most histories of any kind, are stories about Great Men written by men. I do like to try to balance those scales a bit. I don’t know that I identify with any actress in particular. I’m interested in general in what it would be like to be a woman in that place and at that time. 

K.D.//Where do you see the podcast going in the next year? Do you have any plans to feature certain people or stories? Can you give us a sneak peek? I’d love to see episodes on the Fatty Arbuckle scandal, Joan Crawford tales, and anything Hitchcock. :-)

K.L.//You should contribute those ideas to our forum, if you haven’t already! I have three series planned that I think will take the podcast through the rest of the year. I’m not going to tell you exactly what they are, but the first will begin in late May and it will tell stories that take place in and around Los Angeles in the late 1960s. A year from now I would like for the podcast to be reaching more people, first and foremost. 

Thanks to Karina for agreeing to be interviewed.  If you haven’t listened to her podcast, please head over and check it out, and of course let me know what you think!  Have a great Thursday!

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