A Star Was Born

Stardom. Love. Censorship.

Listen back to the new original series and meet the cast!

Part One:

In 1931, Warner Bros. star Cleo Longe tops the box office in pictures where she gets away with it: no strings sex or sending men to the morgue. One night at a party, she meets Richard Tulliver, a new contract player who is cast as the juvenile in her next production. Cleo coaches him through the part and suggests a new name for his screen billing.

Part Two:

Cleo finds a story for her next picture from an unlikely source. From the ground up, she builds the plot, takes a chance on a new screenwriter, casts the picture, and presents creative opportunities for her crew. Meanwhile, Cleo’s romance with Tully takes a serious turn.

Part Three:

Despite her success, Cleo discovers that having script approval in her contract is meaningless once the Production Code is enforced. Under the new rules, Cleo must argue over every page and justify her artistic choices to men who don’t care about the integrity of woman’s pictures. At the same time, Tully’s star rises.

A Star Was Born is a Sass Mouth Dames production written and directed by Megan McGurk.

Art design by Mot Collins.

Sound editing and special effects by Thomas O’Mahony

Meet the cast:

Clara Higgins plays box office star Cleo Longe. Clara is an Irish artist and writer perhaps better known as her pseudonym Mot Collins. Under this moniker, she creates illustrations, zines, and tattoos. Mot is interested in subversive expressions of femininity, sexuality, occultism, and comedy. She is highly influenced by pulp and punk culture. She can be found on Twitter as @heavydutywoman and @motcollinsart on Instagram.

Danny Reid plays actor Rick Tully. Danny is a librarian who lives in Western Germany with his yappy dog, adorable children, and perfectly splendid wife. He spent most of his adult life working in videostores and movie theaters, watching any movie he could get his hands on, eventually writing about old Hollywood at pre-code.com. He is also fond of potatoes. Danny is @PreCodeDotCom on Twitter and Instagram

Jeanne Sutton plays hair and makeup artist Babe Dempsey. Jeanne is a former journalist and occasional writer who has been published in Banshee, IMAGE, STELLAR and The Gloss. Her favourite movie scene is Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea sitting on that stoop in The More the Merrier. She publishes a newsletter and is @jeannedesutun on Instagram.

Olympia Kiriakou plays press agent Phyllis Blake.

Dr. Olympia Kiriakou is a film historian based in south Florida. Her research focuses on stardom, gender, and genre in classical Hollywood cinema, as well as contemporary fan cultures. She is
the author of Becoming Carole Lombard: Stardom, Comedy, and Legacy, an exploration of the star persona and career of the late star. Her work has also been published in Transformative Works and Cultures, Journal of Fandom Studies, In Media Res, and Film Matters. She has a website and is @thescrewballgrl on Twitter.

You can find Olympia’s book here: Becoming Carole Lombard

M. Shawn plays starlet Maxine Raymond. M. is a former television news producer, a writer, a researcher, an accidental homemaker, and a full-time Jean Harlow fan.  After a year in quarantine, her blood type is banana bread, and if people were allowed to be fictional characters in a past life, she’d be Blondie Johnson.

Peter Bryant plays agent/manager Hank Webber. Peter’s interest in classic Hollywood started—later in life than he would have liked—with the discovery of Preston Sturges comedies. This soon led to the Astaire-Rogers and Busby Berkeley musicals and much more. His latest avocation is writing about the career of Ida Lupino at his blog Let Yourself Go … To Old Hollywood and is @pmbryant on Twitter and @pmbryant_oldhollywood on Instagram

Matt Harris plays film director Carter Hilary. Matt is a Joan Crawford superfan and talented TV news archivist who lives in London. You can find Matt on Twitter (@Glamorous_Matt)

Megan McGurk plays wardrobe woman Edel Geary. Megan carries a torch for studio era woman’s pictures. She is the host of Sass Mouth Dames podcast and film club. In the past year, she has written and directed four original radio plays set in the 1930s (Salon Devine, Mannequins, Stenographers, and A Star Was Born). Megan is on Twitter @MeganMcGurk and @SassMouthDames and sometimes remembers to use Instagram @sassmouthdames

Thomas O’Mahony is a London based Irish Podcast Producer who specialises in storytelling and audio design. He hosts a tattoo history show called Beneath the Skin, and is passionate about how we can use audio to tell new and innovative stories. 
You can find Thomas on all social media @gotitatguineys or contact him for business related inquiries at thomasomahony.media

Tom’s podcast is here

Stenographers

A gold locket and a poorly written letter are clues to find a missing stenographer

Stenographers is an original podcast drama series set in Hollywood during December 1934.

A stenographer disappears after taking a fancy locket from a man she hardly knows. Co-workers in the steno pool try to find her and uncover a network of dangerous men.

Will they find her in time?

Meet the characters:

Terry Nolan (played by Clara Higgins) had planned on teaching literature, but soon learned that colleges weren’t interested in putting women at the front of a lecture hall. She fell back on her secretarial skills and opened the Nolan Executive Stenographers office.

Fiona Clarke (played by Jennifer O’Meara) comes from a family that raised horses. She worked as a stuntwoman in Hollywood, without receiving a contract or compensation when she broke her leg during production. Secretarial work pays the bills.

Margaret O’Donnell (played by Jeanne Sutton) gave up a job teaching at Katharine Gibbs, a prestigious secretarial school, to work for Hunt Stromberg in MGM. The studio grind took its toll, as did the lack of promotion.

Ivy Miller (played by Olympia Kiriakou) joined the U.S. Treasury department because they recruited women as ideal candidates for clerical positions, yet quickly discovered women could not advance beyond the steno pool.

Dolly DePeyster (played by M. Shawn) is a reporter with the L.A. Times. She rents desk space from Terry to get away from the lads in the bullpen, but also because she can’t type and relies on stenographers for meeting column deadlines.

Kay Carroll (played by Megan McGurk) believes every word she reads in fan magazines and romance stories. She wants nice clothes and a home to hang her apron.

Click here for Part One

Click here for Part Two

Click here for Part Three

Stenographers is written and directed by Megan McGurk

Art Design by Clara Higgins

Sound editing and special effects by Dan McAuley

Mannequins

Catch up with a three-part original podcast series about ambitious women in Hollywood.

Set in January 1934, the story opens in a dress shop on Sunset Boulevard. Designer Claire Delahunt has been asked by Frances Goldwyn to apply for a new role as head of the wardrobe department in her husband’s studio. Frances believes Claire will bring glamour to productions, which is sorely lacking, after she witnessed the Goldwyn Girls dressed in nothing but wigs for a scene in Roman Scandals. The only problem is Sam’s first choice is Dmitri Cosmo, a costumer in Monogram Pictures. Backed by her fitter Lois, and mannequins Helen, Gail, and Cash, Claire plans on beating the competition.

Listen back to Mannequins: Part One

Part two opens three days before the screen test. Claire designed twenty costumes for the adaptation of the Broadway show It Pays to Sin. While the ladies take a lunch break, the costumes disappear from the shop. Claire is ready to throw in the towel, until loyal client Lilyan Tashman arrives and offers her wardrobe. Over the years, Lilyan has bought at least one of everything Claire designed. Meanwhile, Helen suggests they find out what Dmitri’s costumes look like for the Goldwyn test. Cash volunteers to pick him up. Lois and Gail help her look the part.

Listen back to Mannequins: Part Two

In the podcast series finale, set the following day, Claire recalls the first time she dressed showgirls for a nightclub act to create a glamorous ensemble for the screen test in Goldwyn’s. Helen and Gail sign up as extras in Monogram to get a look in the wardrobe department. A surprise visitor shakes things up in the dress shop. Lois wears a disguise to sneak on the lot over in Monogram. Will the cloak and dagger spy tactics help Claire win the contract?

Listen back to Mannequins: Part Three

Mannequins is a. Sass Mouth Dames production, written and directed by Megan McGurk.

Starring:

Clara Higgins and Claire Delahunt and Lilyan Tashman

Jennifer O’Meara as Lois Kenny

Jeanne Sutton as Helen Flaherty

Olympia Kiriakou as Gail Lindstrom

M. Shawn as Princess Casimir (Cash)

Megan McGurk as Frances Goldwyn and Miriam Thorndyke

Art design by Clara Higgins

Sound editing and special effects by Dan McAuley

Salon Devine

Do you like stories about women who get what they want?

Listen back to an original podcast series set in a Broadway salon during 1933.

Beauty operators and showgirls make their way through the Depression with wit and style.

Will Mae lose the shop?

Does Polly hit it off with Bennett Cerf?

What happens when Cora thinks a circus party means trapeze artists?

Will Ruby get a studio contract?

Is June’s ‘rafter romance’ going anywhere?

Listen to part one here

Listen to part two here

Listen to part three here

Starring:

Clara Higgins as Mae Devine

Jennifer O’Meara as Polly Trainor

Jeanne Sutton as Cora Smith

Olympia Kiriakou as Ruby Dawn

M. Shawn as June Winter

Megan McGurk as Mimi Stone/Mrs Howard

Salon Devine was written and directed by Megan McGurk

Art Design by Clara Higgins

Sound Editing and Effects by Dan McAuley