People like gossip – especially when it involves Hollywood’s rich and famous. “You Must Remember This” is a creative nonfiction podcast steering through the secrets and overlooked histories of Hollywood in the 20th century. Started in 2014, Karina Longworth’s podcast provides an inside look at the film industry, juicy celebrity scandals, and headline-worthy gossip, making sure these tales aren’t ones to forget.
The podcast looks at a mythologized era where the celeb-fueled media industry was just beginning. Each episode researches an individual or a story. Longworth delves into all accounts of the events, both facts and rumors, to link the narrative. Reporting on the bizarre life of Charles Manson and his affiliates in L.A. to fact-checking the TV series Hollywood Babylon, each episode is filled with info you’ve possibly never heard before.
The newest season, titled “Gossip Girls,” profiles the lives of gossip columnists Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper. It explores their power in Hollywood and the often-questionable editorial strategies they used. We learn that these journalists were frenemies who feuded at length. They both played a role in protecting celebrities’ interests by leaving out certain stories from headlines and drawing attention to ones that were less salacious. Their editorials relied on audiences having limited knowledge about how movies were made and what the stars were like in real life.
Magnate William Randolph Hearst is included in many of this season’s episodes. He is credited with pioneering info-tainment, or sensationalized yellow journalism. This form of journalism sells current events to lure readers. Parsons spent the majority of her career working for Hearst and started the first major Hollywood gossip column. Parsons and Hopper saw public opinion as an important territory to be conquered, and knew they could have a hand in doing so with their editorials.
Longworth’s interest in and reflections on Parsons and Hopper’s stories are mirrored in a major theme of the whole series. The episodes observe how Hollywood’s stories have been released, manipulated, and distorted through the media and consumed by the public’s eye.
New episodes are released weekly.