While conducting interviews with Joan Crawford fans, yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing Charles Truenski, a long time Joan fan, that resides in Bay Ridge, New York. Charles is a well noted blogger, and is the host of the blog “DJ Buddy Beaver Hausen”, a blog that mainly focuses on an array of different genres of music, but also covers articles on Joan Crawford. In this interview Charles explains that he was introduced to Joan through his grandmother, who was also an ardent follower of Joan. Watching Joan Crawford movies with his grandmother made a lasting impact on Charles, and he decided to go on his own Joan voyage himself. Today Charles remains a devoted Joan supporter, and was more than happy to be interviewed for this blog.
Q: You have been a Joan fan for quite sometime. When did you first discover Joan and what made you become passionate about her?
A: I’ve been a Joan fan since I was a kid. My grandmother was a young mom during the Depression and she loved going to the old movie palaces in those days, so I’ve been told, especially to see strong women stars like Crawford, Davis, Stanwyck, Myrna Loy, Claudette Colbert. But she especially loved Joan because Joan offered her hope for a better tomorrow and because Grandma had also been a flapper in her younger, wilder single days. I think she related to Joan’s tenacity and ability to overcome obstacles on screen. As a kid, she always sat me down beside her on the couch to watch these women’s movies on TV. It was an education I didn’t get in school. especially liked Joan too. She was so beautiful — yet tough — like my grandmother herself.
Q: Joan is an inspiration to many people of all ages. What inspires you most about Joan?
A: Absolutely her grace under pressure while staying strong.
Q: Joan is largely popular among young audiences of today. Many young people are starting to discover Joan and admiring her. What do you think attracts the young audiences to Joan?
A: Joan is timeless. Joan had beauty, poise and talent. You always know a Joan Crawford movie will be a stylish star vehicle but one filled with drama and a very singular type of star power that no one can touch. It could never be imitated nor can it today. It was a representational type of powerhouse acting that ended with Method acting, though even now it influences some of our better actresses from time to time.
Q: Joan has starred in many films and has played many diverse roles and always delivered a fine performance. She could portray many different characters, and whatever role she played she always made that character shine. Even though Joan has appeared in so many successful films, everyone has a favorite Joan movie or a film that remains vivid in their memory. What is your favorite Joan movie?
A: That’s a tough one. Probably “Mildred Pierce,” and I suspect many people would choose that as her best as well.
Q: Joan has so many unforgettable moments, whether it’s in a film, an interview etc, but everybody has their favorite Joan moment. A moment that really shines in their memory. What is your favorite Joan moment?
A: Another tough one! I think I might have to say the scene in “Sudden Fear” and the scene in which Joan’s listening to the recording accidentally left by Jack Palance and Gloria Grahame, who are plotting her demise. Joan learned well from Lon Chaney Jr when she learned to act in silents and it pays off in this silent sequence. What she can express with just her eyes and lips is amazing in a sequence without dialogue.
Q: Joan passed away in May 1977. What was your first reaction upon hearing about her death. How did it affect you?
A: Well, I was very upset, of course, but I think I knew she had been ill. There were, at least, rumors at the time. I always hoped she’d bounce back and do one last great part — even a cameo — in a major after she trifled in Trog. Fantasy: During the ’80s, I thought if she were alive, she’d be hot on “Dynasty” — as Alexis’ mother.
Q: Joan has a huge impact on a lot of people. What impact does Joan have on you?
A: Well, I have to say, when I find myself in times of trouble, I ask “What would JC do?” And I do mean Joan! I’ve yet to slap anyone, however. [laughs]
Q: No matter what decade, Joan always remained the star of her own pictures. Even in her later years when her pictures began to decline, she always made her character highly notable. What is your favorite Joan period. 20′s, 30′s, 40′s, 50′s, 60′s or 70′s?
A: Definitely her arch ’50s period though she really ruled the roost for a very long time and I admire all the different eras of her career.
Q: Every fan has a certain Joan item that they cherish the most. What Joan possession do you most cherish?
A: I think the Conversation with Joan Crawford book by Roy Newquist. My dear, late Mother found a copy for me in a Florida discount book bin. It’s a treasure.
Q: Many people have had the rare opportunity to meet Joan, or others have written to her and have been fortunate enough to attain her autograph. Have you ever had any dealings with Joan. Have you ever sent her a fan letter & she replied, or have you been lucky enough to meet her?
A: I haven’t. But I have an acquaintance, Bill Schoell, who co-wrote the book, Joan Crawford The Essential Biography. He gave me an autographed copy. He and his other half sat with Joan in NYC once for an interview I believe is incorporated in this book. Bill said she was just as gracious and sweet as you might imagine. And flirtatious with her two gay fans and interviewers at her penthouse. She even squeezed Bill’s leg.
Q: If you had to introduce Joan to a young person, what films would you recommend?
A: I do all the time. Both movies titled Possessed, Mildred Pierce, Baby Jane, Rain, The Women, Humoresque, Sudden Fear, Johnny Guitar, Female on the Beach…. I could go on and on.
Q: Joan was a versatile actress. She has portrayed many different characters, and always delivered a fine performance. Some of the roles Joan has played have been heavy, solid roles that really shown her acting ability, roles that not all actresses could play to the same effect as Joan. In which movie do you feel Joan delivers her best performance?
Q: Joan has only won one Oscar, but has been nominated twice, but never won. Which movies do you strongly feel that Joan deserved to win an Oscar for?
A: Humoresque, Sudden Fear and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.
Q: In your own words how would you best describe Joan Crawford?
A: One of a kind. She was a beauty, a talent and a force to be reckoned with and appreciated for an eternity on-screen.
Thank you Charles. It was a pleasure being able to grant this interview with you.
By Crystal Kalyana Crawford.