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You Must Remember This: #56: MGM Stories Part 1: Louis B. Mayer vs. Irving Thalberg

11/06/2021

September 15, 2015

Karina Longworth’s award winning and acclaimed podcast series about Hollywood

This season we’re going to tell 15 stories about different people who worked at the same movie studio over the course of five decades, as the movie industry transitioned from silents to sound, into its Golden Era and finally into its television and counter-culture-hastened decline. Established in 1924, MGM was the product of a merger of three early Hollywood entities, but the only person working there who got to have his name in the title was studio chief Louis B. Mayer. For the first dozen years of its existence, Mayer’s influence over the company would be at least matched by that of producer Irving Thalberg, who was perceived as the creative genius to Mayer’s bureaucrat. This episode will trace the rise of MGM through the 1920s and early-mid 30s, covering Mayer’s long-evolving working relationship with Thalberg, the creation of the MGM “star factory” identity and unique power within the community of Hollywood, and the in-fighting which would end with Mayer poised to seize his crown as the most powerful man in Hollywood.


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