Daily working Llfe of an MGM contract player in the 40s?
February 16, 2016 8:14 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for resources and sources on daily life for an average MGM contract player in 1940s - what an average working day looked like -- ideally focusing on mundane details like hours worked, how did you get there, union rules, where you entered and left, where you could and couldn't go etc. The more workaday the better. I've allready gone through Charles Brackett's diaries and halfway through MGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot ( which is good for physical locations so far), but its not as focused on the physical operations as I'd like.
posted by The Whelk to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The podcast You Must Remember This just completed a 15-part series on the history of MGM. While it's not as granular as what you're looking for, it's helpful with regard to the contract status of the people covered.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:35 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

This doesn't exactly fit your use case, but it may contain some helpful material - for example, there is a description of a particular union issue amongst the extras in Sun Valley Serenade: Robert Parrish, Growing up in Hollywood

I can't remember if he was ever a contract performer, though. I have a feeling he went from child actor to extra to director. And the book is very raconteur-style. But you may find that some details in the book are helpful to your study.
posted by tel3path at 10:00 AM on February 16, 2016

Have you thought about contacting SAG to see if they have an in-house historian? Sounds like they might be able to help with this.
posted by Dr. Wu at 11:04 AM on February 16, 2016

One source would be biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs from stars who started as contract players. Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, etc.
posted by SemiSalt at 11:49 AM on February 16, 2016

I have also had good luck with biographies, especially smaller stars.

These are also worth checking out, as they offer some day-to-day insights. Get them from the library if you can -- it's been a while since I really dove into the subject matter, so these might be less helpful than I recall:

Basinger, Jeanine: The Star Machine
Crivello, Kirk: Fallen Angels: The Lives and Untimely Deaths of Fourteen Hollywood Beauties.
Parish, James Robert and Ronald L. Bowers: The MGM Stock Company: The Golden Era.
Wallace, David: Hollywoodland: Rich and Lively History About Hollywood's Grandest Era.
posted by maxsparber at 12:44 PM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Does a search for oral history contract "mgm" turn up anything useful?
posted by kristi at 9:54 AM on February 19, 2016

Hey! So far The Hollywood Story by Joel Finer is giving me the nuts and bolts I was looking for.
posted by The Whelk at 9:25 AM on March 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

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