Thank you for the wonderful retrospective on Betty Gale Russell. This is one of the rarest of the stars of Hollywood past, and it's incredible that she is not understood, remembered, and honored the way she should be. I enjoyed the format of listening to the special guest 'Hollywood historian," Mr. Mark. It was engaging listening to your guest talk about one of the most special people that ever walked the planet. It was very much like a storytime telling about the subject, and that is part of what drew me into the narrative. I also liked the narration towards the end regarding what questions/topics were discussed, with the answer being supplied by Mr. Mark. It directed some of the story towards some things I have wondered about. That being said, the interview was not what I expected it would be, which I thought would be more of a historical perspective of what happened with Gail Russell's life and films. Instead, it went into different things that I have known about, but wondered about her. In short, I learned more about different areas about her than I expected to when I first started this podcast.
That being said, I was very happy with the production and what was talked about. The surprise was that I was shown a deeper level of understanding as to what Ms. Russell was dealing with, by a speaker that has experienced it first hand. To that I must say thank you, and please add my voice of thanks to Mr. Mark. It is also one of support, and admiration that you have taken steps to fight your illness. I'm sure it is a daily struggle, perhaps more difficult some days than others, but I'm very happy and proud of you that it is one you are currently winning. Keep it up, and don't forget about your support, including anonymous ones.
The saddest part of all of this would be Ms. Russell, and the fact that she did not get that support, and she desperately needed it. If there ever was a good reason for a time machine, this may be one of the more noble reasons to build one. The points that seem to be missing from some biographies of hers is not missing here, though. The girl sacrificed everything for her family and a way of life that would support them. She absolutely shouldn't have been an actress, yet she ended up facing terror in a bid to be the breadwinner of her family. It was a noble effort, but one of no choice for her, and pushed her toward an end of tragedy and irony. And in the end she succumbed alone, using the one thing that 'helped' her, all the while not getting real help from those around her that she had one-time provided for. A more tragic script could not have been penned by Shakespeare. This podcast explained more in depth what she must have really been feeling and the catch-22 that consumed her whole.
The only things I would have issue with were in the gossip sections, but I understand the reasons given, and that they are indeed gossip. They mostly seem to be there to highlight just the why reasons as to what made Ms. Russell have such a terrible downward spiral, and that they were made as a point to understand her painful situation. But they are gossip. John Wayne and Gail Russell always denied ever having an affair, and took great pains to do so, all the way to the end. Most likely this was about a spurned wife, a divorce, and selling tickets to hotel rooms where the two of them 'might have been together.' What's the harm in the hotel's staff/family saying they saw canoodling going on? Well, apparently, it did quite a bit of harm. And again, the reason is money. As for Madison being bi; I could not say. Certainly it's everyone's fantasy to be with beautiful people, and certainly everyone will project what they desire that may, or may not have, gone on. But that's not the point here. The point is, perhaps, whatever Mr. Madison preferred, she must have felt abandoned and alone. Hollywood was his lifestyle, and hers was most likely somewhere as a housewife/painter, creating art on a farm or something, out of the spotlight. So opposite goals must have been a big clash for them, and that point was well made and taken. Almost every step of her life seemed to be a big snowball at the top of a mountain, where more snow was piled on the ball to make it heavy, keeping it in place at the top. But in actuality, it seems quite clear what was probably going to happen in the end with the crash that was coming. When going through all of her life, it's like a gut-wrenching car crash that you watch slow motion, and wish about what could have been done to stop it.
At any rate, I would lastly like to say that while information on Ms. Russell is very limited, there are indeed two biographical books on her. They both have strengths and weaknesses, and I would recommend both of them for those interested in Ms. Russell. They are, "Gail Russell A Biography of an Actress," by KC Motsinger, and, "Fallen Star A Biography of Gail Russell," by Stephen Glenn Ochoa. Both are good reads on their own merits, and both have wonderful, rare, candid, pictures of her.
Thank you very much for this interview; it was well done. I especially liked the part where the two of you talked directly to the listener. It was like you were speaking to me, and very special for me. I do not have a problem with alcoholism, but I do have a better understanding on it and what happened to Ms. Russell. I so very do wish things could have been different for her.
July 11, 2019 by KingShaneos on Apple Podcasts