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Kiss me, Joan (after you’ve had dental surgery).


As the creator and author of www.postmodernjoan.com I find myself thinking about Joan Crawford almost every day.

This weekend it has been her MOUTH.

If you look at photos of JC from her silent movie days, she is hardly recognizable as the later screen diva, but most can’t put their finger on what’s different. Look closely and you’ll see a thin-lipped, tiny-mouthed Crawford in her earliest works. Those trademark Crystal Allen luscious lips are nowhere to be found.

Here’s the backstory: a couple of years after coming to L.A., Joan had her wisdom teeth extracted. Back then there were no antibiotics, not even Penacillin, so there was a risk of infection after surgery. Well, Joan’s mouth got infected while healing and the bottom half of her face swelled to grotesquely gargantuan proportions.

When the swelling went down — VOILA!! — the famous Crawford mouth was born.

This did wonders for her career since the camera (and especially pre-Panchromatic filmstock) loves large features on a face.

So it goes to show that what could have been a life-scarring event instead led to the height of success. What may seem like a disaster can be a huge benefit in disguise.

So why was I thinking of Joanie’s mouth?

On Friday at the gym, I was using the StairMaster while the unavoidable TV in front of the machines was tuned to CNBC during the last half hour before closing bell on Wall Street. Looking at the numbers decline while stomping on the pedals, I kept muttering to myself, “Joan Crawford’s teeth…Joan Crawford’s teeth…Joan Crawford’s teeth.”

Doug at PostModernJoan

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4 Comments to “Kiss me, Joan (after you’ve had dental surgery).”

  1. Teddy says:

    Dearest Doug, love the little tidbit. Ive heard this somewhere before, but for the life of me i can not remember where… could you perhaps help me out and tell me from which source you got this info? Ive read so much on the lovely miss Crawford through the years that i simply can not remember what i know from where.
    Thnx!

    • Doug says:

      I believe I first read this story in one of Alexander Walker’s books, e.g., JOAN CRAWFORD: THE ULTIMATE STAR. Even if that wasn’t the source, it’s still a highly intelligent book about the actress and the industry.

      • Doug says:

        One other place I believe I read this story was in the book about the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford: THE DIVINE FEUD by Shaun Considine…

        • Elisabeth says:

          Ahw thank you so much Doug! I just reread The Divine Feud and dont remember reading about the surgery, but ive never read that other book so i will definitely have to look that one up :).

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