​​​The Joan Crawford Chronicle 

1961​​


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Early January: Joan travels to Buenos Aries, Argentina.

January 8: Joan and the twins unveil a plaque honoring Alfred Steele at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

January 8 (#2): Joan appears as a mystery contestant on the television game show "What's My Line?" Following her reveal, Joan introduces her daughters Cathy and Cindy to the audience and the show's panel.​​ Joan's appearance was previously recorded at the CBS Studio, located at 254 West 54th Street in New York City.
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January 10: Joan and daughters Cathy and Cindy attend the premiere of Shipstads and Johnson's "Ice Follies of 1961" at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

January 12: Joan guest stars on the CBS television show "Zane Grey Theater,"​ episode "One Must Die."

January 12 (#2): Joan co-hosts a cocktail party with actress Helen Hayes at the Commodore Hotel in New York City. The cocktail party is to ​benefit the New York Shakespeare Festival, which is slated for April.

Early February: Screen Gems producer William Doizer approves a new half-hour series called “The Joan Crawford Show” in which Joan will play an savvy attorney named Ellen Fox. The series has a projected premiere date for fall 1961, but is ultimately canceled. 

February 4: An intermediate estate accounting discloses Alfred Steele's estate as insolvent, even though he left a gross estate of $607,128.​​ ​The intermediate accounting depicts that the principal asset of Steele's estate is $383,000, which is being held in escrow by Pepsi-Cola due to a stockholder's lawsuit.
     ​In a September 22, 1955 agreement, Steele was granted stock options in the company, which the stock holder's suit maintained should be declared null and void as a "gift" that wasted the company's assets.

     The major claims against Alfred Steele's estate are as follows:
  • $93,500 tax claim by the federal government.​
  • $21,000 tax claim by the state of New York.
  • $21,750 claim by Steele's ex-wife, Lillian Steele.
  • ​$16,150 by Steele's son, "Sunny." 
  • ​$97,534 claim by Joan for a loan she made to Steele prior to his death.

​​February 12: Joan's first grandchild, Janit, is born. Janit is the first born child of Joan's son, Christopher, and his first wife, Nancy.

March: Joan and Barbara Stanwyck are both contenders for the role of "Jo Courtney" in the film  "Walk On The Wild Side." Barbara Stanwyck is later cast to portray the role. 

Mid-March​: Joan vacations in southern Florida.

March 23: Joan's friend, Frances Spingold, hosts a birthday party for Joan in the backyard of her palatial house in Palm Beach, Florida.

April: Joan asks Billy Wilder to change the main character in his film "One, Two, Three" from a Coke-Cola salesman to a Pepsi-Cola salesman. Wilder declines, however, the last shot in the film is of James Cagney's character holding a Pepsi-Cola bottle; the shot is reportedly inspired by Joan's request.

Early April: Joan attends a performance of "Advise And Consent" at the Cort theater in New York City.​​

April 14: Joan's daughter, Christina, appears on the television show "Here's Hollywood." ​During her appearance, Christina discusses her plans for her career, and recalls her memories of growing up in Hollywood.

April 23: Joan serves as chairwoman for the second annual “Evening With Shakespeare” dinner and entertainment program; its purpose is to benefit the New York “Shakespeare Festival.” The dinner is held at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, and is attended by over 600 guests. (Other dates offered for this event are May 7th or 8th, however, April 23 is the correct date)

April 29: Joan attends Variety Club’s “Tents International” event at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. ​Other guests include Gloria de Haven and Danny Kaye.

May 3: Joan attends Pepsi-Cola's annual stockholder's meeting in Wilmington, Delaware. Joan travels to the meeting by train, accompanied by Pepsi-Cola president Herbert L. Barnet.

May 26: Joan leaves New York City to spend the weekend in the small village of Westhampton Beach.

May 30: The U.S. Tax Court denies Joan’s appeal of a September 21st, 1960 court judgement that she did not suffer a $30,561 “loss” when she was unable to successfully sell a script she bought from Warner Bros in 1950. The court said in its ruling that Joan “did not suffer a deductible loss.” At the time of the appeal Joan still owns the Speers script “A Teacher’s Story” and “considers it good."
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June: Hall Bartlett contacts Joan regarding his script for "The Caretakers." Joan would ultimately be hired for the film, with filming taking place in June 1962.​

June: Joan attends a party at Earl Blackwell's apartment in honor of Noel Coward. Joan brings her personally-prepared meatloaf for the party's buffet. Other guests include; Eva Gabor, Mary Stevens, Linda Christian, Vala Byfield and Gloria Swanson.​​​

June 2: Joan travels to Europe to attend several Pepsi-Cola bottling plant dedications.​​

Early June: Joan attends the dedication ceremonies for Pepsi-Cola plants in Geneva and Lausanne, Switzerland.​​

Early ​June:
Joan spends a weekend in Paris, France.


Mid-June: Joan travels to Milan, Italy for a week’s stay to attend the dedication ceremony of a new Pepsi-Cola bottling plant.

July: Joan appears in the July edition of "Holiday" magazine (Vol. 30 No. 1) wearing a green gown by designer Scaasi. The photo is from a photo shoot taken in Joan's Fifth Avenue apartment​ earlier in the year.


July: Upon Joan's insistence, filmmaker Robert Aldrich buys the book rights to "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" for $17,500, with Joan and Bette Davis in mind for the lead roles.​​

Early July: Producer William Nichols signs Joan to narrate and host “The Ziegfeld Touch” episode on the “Dupont Show Of The Week.” The episode is scheduled to air on Sunday, November 26th, however, the show's air date is delayed until Sunday, October 28th, 1961. The program was originally slated to be filmed in color, however, is ultimately filmed in black and white.

July 12: Joan returns from Pepsi-Cola business trips in Europe.

Mid-July: Joan accepts an invitation to be a judge at the Miss America Beauty Pageant in September.

September: Robert Aldrich sends Joan the first film draft of "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?"​​

September: Joan attends artist Mortimer Hays' art exhibit, which consists of color photographs of African Art from his collection. The exhibit is held in the ground floor lobby of the Pepsi-Cola building on Park Avenue in New York City.​ The exhibit runs from early September until October 1st.

September 6-8: Joan serves as a judge for the 1962 Miss America Beauty Pageant, held at Convention Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

September 10: "Family Weekly" magazine publishes the article "My Mother's Discipline Helped Me After All!"​ The article is written by Peer J. Oppenheimer, as it was told by Joan's daughter, Christina.

September 12: Joan hosts a special gala preview for artists Margaret and Walter Keane at 798 Madison Avenue. ​​The art collection is open to the public beginning September 13th.​

Mid-September (#1): Joan attends a performance of the musical "Carnival"​​ at the Imperial Theater in New York City. After the show, Joan telephones the show's star, Anna Maria Alberghetti​, to congratulate her on her performance.

Mid-September (#2): Joan's daughter, Christina, films a guest-starring role on the television show "Dr. Kildare." The episode is filmed ​on stage 11 on the MGM studio lot.

September 23-24: Joan auctions silverware and several English and French furniture pieces at the Parke-Bernet Auction Galleries in New York City.

Late-September: Joan vacations for one week in Bermuda.


October: Joan and co-author Jane Kesner Ardmore complete the manuscript of Joan's autobiography "A Portrait of Joan."​​

Early-October: Joan travels to New York City following her one-week vacation in Bermuda.​​


October 2: It’s announced Joan is expected to sign for Robert Aldrich’s film “What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?

October 9: Joan attend the annual meeting of the Pepsi-Cola board.

October 21: Joan travels from New York City to St. Louis, Missouri. ​

October 23: Joan appears on the CBS television game show “I've Got A Secret.”​​

October 25: Joan arrives in New York City.

October 26: Joan attends a Pepsi-Cola board meeting in New York. City.

October 29: Joan appears on the NBC television show “Dupont’s Show of The Week," hosting the episode "The Ziegfeld Touch."

Early November: Joan travels to Los Angeles, California.


Early November: Joan begins discussions with acting coach Jack Manning in regard to opening a chain of "Joan Crawford acting schools," with the project being financed by entertainment-industrialist Ed Lowe.

November 11-12: Joan attends the Pepsi-Cola bottlers convention in San Francisco, California.​​

November 15: Joan travels to New York City from California.​

November 18-19: Joan spends the weekend in the country.​​


November 15 (#2): It’s reported that Twentieth Century Fox producer Jerry Wald originally envisioned a “mature actress” for the female lead role of "Irene Sperry" for the film “Wild In The Country.” Wald reportedly approached Joan, among other actresses, to portray the character before Hope Lange was cast. Wild In The Country” was the first film project of Joan’s daughter, Christina, who has in a minor role in the film.

Late November: Joan hosts an opening for artist Margaret Keane in New York City. During the opening, Margaret Keane unveils her oil painting of Joan.
​​Joan had commissioned Keane to paint the portrait for $7,500.

November 30: Joan travels to South America on a Pepsi-Cola business trip. The trip includes visits to Buenos Aries, Lima, Peru and Bogota, Columbia.

December: Joan appears on the cover of the Argentina magazine "Platea," in a  green dress designed by Canadian fashion designer Arnold Scaasi.

December 22: Joan returns to New York City from Pepsi-Cola trips throughout South America.​​

December 25: Joan spends Christmas with her daughters, Cathy and Cindy, in the Westhampton, New York.

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© All original Joan Crawford research and original text herein is property of Webmaster Bryan Johnson and is copyright protected by the United States Copyright Act of 1976. Copyright © Bryan Johnson

THE CONCLUDING CHAPTER OF CRAWFORD​​​​​