Hunk du Jour
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Steve Hayes regales us each week with his dishy, funny, and informative classic movie recommendations as the Tired Old Queen at the Movies!


Joan Crawford with her "kept boy" Gig Young in Torch Song - Hunk du Jour

Pictured: Joan Crawford with her "kept boy" Gig Young in Torch Song

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Joan Crawford managed to accumulate a huge number of HUNKS both on and off screen, during her tenures at both MGM and Warner Brothers, not to mention her freelance years in the late 50's and 60's.

Joan Crawford in Torch Song - Hunk du Jour

Pictured: Joan Crawford in Torch Song

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During her years as the number one box office star at MGM, her leading men included Clark Gable. He was merely a supporting player when they first worked together, but within a year, because of the electricity of their teaming on and off screen, ended up sharing top billing. Gable was making his reputation as a "He-man", usually playing gangsters who pushed around and made love to the leading ladies of the lot; Garbo, Norma Shearer, Marion Davies and Jean Harlow. But it was his pairing with Crawford and Harlow that made him a sensation. Of screen, he was on his second marriage to a wealthy, much older woman. This fact seemed to justify his reputation as the stud of the soundstages. There were persistent rumors for years that he sold his favors to powerful gay directors and casting people in order to further his early career. Although Crawford was attracted to Clark Gable, she was also intimidated by his popularity and stardom.

Joan Crawford with her "kept boy" Gig Young in Torch Song - Hunk du Jour

Pictured: Joan Crawford with her "kept boy" Gig Young in Torch Song

Enlarge Photo

Joan had worked too hard to let a man have top billing off the screen as well as on. She tended towards intellectuals with a pedigree of some sort like her first two husbands Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Franchot Tone. By the forties and now in her forties, Joan was more confident of the enormity of her stardom and more apt to take liberties with the men who hung around the sets. Joan had a voracious sexual appetite and wasn't averse to taking any man away from his date if he caught her eye.

Olivia deHavilland once lost an escort to Joan, when she requested he drive her home. "He came back later." Said Olivia. "Much later!"

John Garfield, with whom she co-starred in Humoresque, certainly wasn't averse to her charms. Joan knew of his reputation with the ladies and knew that when sparks ignite off-screen they can then translate on screen as well. The first time Garfield met her, she held out her hand to be introduced and he reached over and "tweaked" her nipple. She jumped back, then smiled and said; "I think Mr. Garfield and I are going to get along just fine."

In his autobiography, Kirk Douglas described how after a first date, Joan walked through the front door, slipped out of her dress, laid on the staircase and demanded that he take here there and then. He said she had an amazing body for a woman her age, but the worst breath he'd ever encountered.

Joan Crawford with Clark Gable - Posessed - Hunk du Jour

Pictured: Joan Crawford with Clark Gable - Posessed

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During the time she made Torch Song, she was having a torrid love affair with Yul Brynner , who was appearing on Broadway in The King and I and simultaneously carrying on with Marlene Dietrich or anyone else who would service him in his dressing room.

Handsome Jeff Chandler took Joan "for a spin" as well, when they made Female On the Beach in 1955. Hollywood wives often had to turn a blind eye whenever their husbands worked with Crawford. If their spouses didn't return home until the wee hours, with lipstick on their collars, or elsewhere, they often chalked it up as an occupational hazard.

In many of her films, handsome hunks surrounded Joan. They often seemed more decorative than anything else. This was Hollywood's not so subtle way of implying they were gay. In Humoresque, wealthy socialite Helen Wright , played by Crawford, invites virtuoso violinist John Garfield to play at her cocktail party. While she listens, she's surrounded by bevy of beautiful young hunks, all of whom seem eager to light her cigarettes and get her drinks, but somehow, not really that eager to come on romantically. Probably because it's apparent she'd eat them alive.

Joan Crawford with John Garfield - Humoresque - Hunk du Jour

Pictured: Joan Crawford with John Garfield - Humoresque

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In Torch Song, Gig Young, who specialized in playing playboys or the second male lead, acts more like Joan's handsome, alcoholic, gay companion, who's not really interested in anything other than being pretty, witty, available and drowning himself in her liquor and money. She admires him like a possession, pets him like a puppy and scolds him for signing her name to checks on his nights out with other "people." At one point she even describes him as "Completely useless...but beautiful." She orders him to get the "usual gang" together for a party. The party turns out to be a room full of hunks who are obviously more interested in each other than they are in their hostess. All the while, they are being serenaded by the prettiest, most effeminate piano player this side of Liberace.

A relaxed moment on the set of Humoresque. Joan spent a lot of time on John's lap, both on and off the set. - Hunk du Jour

Pictured: A relaxed moment on the set of Humoresque. Joan spent a lot of time on John's lap, both on and off the set.

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In Berserk, one of her later films in the horror genre, Joan is wooed by the huge and hunkie Ty Hardin...now there's a catchy name... playing a doomed aerialist in Joan's circus, where a bizarre series of murders has taken place. Blonde, built, well over six feet and tall to boot, the shirtless Hardin towers over Joan, who at nearly sixty, smokes seductively, tosses her enormous 60's hairpiece provocatively around her shoulders and urges him not to fall in love with her, because her first love is the circus. Now that's acting!

Joan with Johnny, wearing her trademark ankle strap shoes that were famously nicknamed the "Joan Crawford F*ck Me Later Pumps" - Hunk du Jour

Pictured: Joan with Johnny, wearing her trademark ankle strap shoes that were famously nicknamed the "Joan Crawford F*ck Me Later Pumps"

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Joan Crawford with John Garfield - Humoresque - Hunk du Jour

Pictured: Joan Crawford with John Garfield - Humoresque

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