Previewing “The Harlot City?: Prostitution in Hollywood, 1920-1940”

Olive Clark Day in court (1931)
Olive Clark Day in court, September 15, 1931. Photo used by permission: Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection; http://www.lapl.org

Although not in print quite yet, you can get a preview of my forthcoming article, “The Harlot City?: Prostitution in Hollywood, 1920-1940,” in the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies by listening to an interview-style podcast the journal’s editor, Benjamin Frasier, did with me this summer.  In the podcast, we discuss the concerns of Los Angeles reformers about the sexual dangers allegedly facing the thousands of young women flocking to Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s for an opportunity to break into the film industry; the contrasting depiction of these young women in Hollywood novels; and the way the tension in those contrasting images played out in newspaper coverage of a prostitution case involving Olive Clark Day–a woman who ran a call-girl operation out of Hollywood that catered to the desire of wealthy clients wanting young and seemingly “innocent” girls.  A bonus topic in the interview that doesn’t appear in the article is a discussion of the 1937 Academy Award-winning film, A Star is Born.  Enjoy!

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