Golden Age Hollywood: Had a Dirty Little Secret

Debbie Reynolds played just handled the part that could only be described as epic — and she was depleted. The 19-year-old had been given a role as Kathy Selden, the female lead in Singin’ in the Rain, and she had large shoes to fill. Her accomplice was, as a matter of fact, the extremely prepared, incredibly skilled Gene Kelly, and Reynolds was supposed to match him move toward step.

Reynolds was capable, yet the tiring practice timetable and strain before long started obliterating her wellbeing. At the point when her primary care physician encouraged her to go home for the seven day stretch of work, MGM studio boss Arthur Freed advised her to go to an alternate specialist.

In her 2013 diary, Reynolds reviewed how Freed educated her to get “nutrient shots” from his PCP. “These were perhaps the very ‘nutrients’ that destroyed Judy Garland,”she composed.

Reynolds had quite recently found one of Old Hollywood’s scandalous little tidbits — that medications filled its exemplary movies. Between the 1920s and 1960s, Hollywood studios made a portion of history’s most prominent movies. Be that as it may, they frequently did as such at the expense of their stars’ wellbeing.

In spite of the strain, Reynolds stayed with her own doctor. “My PCP demanded that I stay in bed,” she composed. “That choice might have saved me from a day to day existence on energizers.”

There was no authority strategy of medication use inside Hollywood studios, yet the painstakingly controlled framework that developed celebrities frequently depended on in the background drug use to drive entertainers through unimaginably lengthy days.

Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple on set, around 1946.

CBS through Getty Images

Kid entertainers should be dependent upon severe work regulations that controlled the hours they spent on set; nonetheless, entertainers like Elizabeth Taylor and Shirley Temple reviewed that chiefs and studio heads generally attempted to push the limits of those hours. Seeing children leave a set early shocked Taylor sometime down the road: “We didn’t have that at MGM,”she said. In herautobiography, Temple reviews the whole studio commending her eighteenth birthday celebration — by working her the entire evening.

However Taylor and Temple both traversed their kid fame without drugs, Judy Garland didn’t. She was acquainted with “pep pills” by hermother, who demanded The Wizard of Oz entertainer take them to give a vigorous exhibition. Throughout the long term, as Garland turned into a greater star, she was recommended pills by MGM studio specialists to control both her weight and her energy levels.

“They’d give [me and Mickey Rooney] pills to keep us on our feet long after we were depleted,” Garlandtold biographer Paul Donnelley. “Then, at that point, they’d take us to the studio emergency clinic and take us out with resting pills… then, at that point, following four hours they’d awaken us and give us the energy pills once more so we could work 72 hours straight. A big part of the time we were swinging from the roof however it was a lifestyle for us.”

Judy Garland and her mom
Judy Garland with her mom, Ethel.

Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

For Garland, who found it challenging to manage the tension of being perhaps of MGM’s most noticeable and most diligent star, this routine prompted out and out compulsion and a progression of mental meltdowns. Shedied of a medication glut at age 47.

Different stars, similar to entertainer Joanna Moore, wereprescribed amphetamines or “nutrient shots” to control their weight. Also, for some ladies trapped in the star framework, which requested actual flawlessness and execution, taking pills endorsed by studio specialists didn’t feel discretionary.

“Back then,” Twentieth Century Fox specialist Lee Siegeltold Marilyn Monroe biographer Anthony Summers, “pills were viewed as one more instrument to keep stars working. The specialists were trapped in the center. In the event that one specialist wouldn’t recommend, there was dependably another who might… .everybody was utilizing pills.”

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