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Simone Simon Collection

the beautiful French film star debuted in Hollywood films as well as radio.

3 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 1 hours, 55 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
3 Audio CDs

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Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2020 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

Simone Simon 1942During the Golden Age of the great American Automobile, enthusiasts used to gather to bad-mouth what they considered “temperamental foreign jobs”. Modern day fans of BMW, Audi, VW, Subaru or Toyota would be shocked to realize that anything on four wheels that was not designed and built in America was intrinsically inferior. Oh sure, there were a few European sports models that had an undeniable sex appeal, but they would require the constant attention of a specialized mechanic to stay on the road.

The big Hollywood movie studios were far from immune to troubles with “temperamental foreign jobs”. There were plenty of European beauties who could lend an exotic air of mystery to a picture, provided they had enough of a grasp of English to understand the director. However, there were also examples of pretty girls whom talent scouts would bring to these shores with no real assurance that they could fit into the studio system.

Simone Simon was born near Marseille, France, 1910. Her childhood was one of near-constant movement as the family followed her French Jewish engineer father from job to job. For a few years, he supervised a graphite mine in Madagascar, but she also spent time in Budapest, Turin, and Berlin. By 1931, Simone was ready to settle in Paris but had not decided whether she wanted to be a singer, a model, a fashion designer or a sculptor. She decided upon acting after being spotted in a café by director Victor Tourjansky (a sort of Parisian Lana Turner moment). Her film debut was in Le chanteur inconnu (The Unknown Singer, 1931), and she soon became one of the most successful actresses in French cinema. Her appearance in Lac aux dames (Ladies Lake, 1934) caught the attention of Darryl F. Zanuck who offered her a lucrative contract and brought Simone to Hollywood.

Normally, studios would allow foreign actresses several months of classes to improve their English and to assimilate into Hollywood and American culture, but Simone was ordered to the set after just a few weeks of English tutoring. Even so, the studio had a hard time deciding what to do with her. She was scheduled to make her American debut in A Message to Garcia (1936). The producers were unsure about an untried French girl playing a Spanish girl, and the part was given to Rita Hayworth at the last minute. Simon SimoneShe was to play the female lead in Under Two Flags (1936) but was pulled from the picture after two weeks of shooting. The official reason was due to illness, but it has also been reported that Zanuck was not satisfied with what he saw in the daily rushes, and that director Frank Lloyd found Simone impossible to work with. Miss Simon later confessed to being difficult, but insisted that it was the result of a conversation with Marlene Dietrich who told her “a star is only as important as she makes herself out to be.”

She was, in fact, in poor health, and had decided to return to France when she was assigned to Girls’ Dormitory (1936). Again, her co-stars found her difficult to work with, and star Ruth Chatterton complained at all the attention Simone was receiving. For her part, Simone stated that the studio brass was watching her every move. Girls’ Dormitory was expected to be one of the year’s big hits, but it pretty much fizzled at the box office.

The studio soon placed her in the romantic comedy Ladies in Love (1936). For this project, Simone had to share billing with Janet Gaynor, Loretta Young, and Constance Bennett. In an effort to avoid trouble, she hired an assistant to do her off-screen talking. This may have prevented any unwanted headlines caused by her behavior, but it probably did little to endear her to her co-stars. Her next film was a 1937 remake of the silent film Seventh Heaven (1927) co-starring James Stewart, which flopped. She was assigned to Suez (1938) but the project was delayed and she finally returned to France, and the studio was willing to let her go.

In France, her bad publicity from America made it hard for her to find work, but eventually she was cast in Renoir’s La Bete Humaine (1938, The Human Beast) and followed up with Love Cavalcade (1940). By this time, the War was about to envelope France, and Miss Simon decided to make her escape and try her luck again in Hollywood.

Simon Simone The Cat PeopleThis time, she signed with RKO. She was immediately cast as one of the Devil’s assistants in the popular The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941). RKO, however, was still trying to avoid bankruptcy after the fiasco of Citizen Kane (1941, it is strange to imagine that one of the most important films of all time nearly ruined the studio that made it) so quickly made and released a series of low-budget horror films to recoup their losses. One of these was the cult classic Cat People (1942). Although the premise of the film is more than a little campy, a race of people who turn into cats when they are sexually aroused, Simone brought enough pathos to the role that it has become a classic. She also appeared in the sequel, Curse of the Cat People (1942), which was less well done.

While filming Cat People, Simone was watched by the FBI because of her relationship with Dusko Popov, who was apparently a Serbian lawyer. Although Popov had trained in the legal profession in Germany, he was, in fact, a spy. Because of his international business contacts, the Abwehr had contacted him to gather information. Since Popov knew and hated the Nazis, he reported the contact to the passport control officer at the British consulate who advised him to provide information to the Germans but to also work for the British as a double agent.

Whether Popov and by association Simone Simon, were, in fact, threats to the security of the United States is debatable. He was, after all, working for our British Allies. There are indications that J. Edgar Hoover simply disliked Popov and objected to his flamboyant playboy lifestyle. Popov was a good friend of another flamboyant spy, Ian Fleming, and is thought to be one of the inspirations for James Bond. Popov claimed that when Fleming needed advice, he would call his Belgrade apartment, phone number 26-007, thereby giving Bond his code number.

Simone returned to France after the War and made a few more film. She never married or had children (although she was involved in a number of affairs) and died quietly on February 22, 2005.

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2020 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:

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  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.

    3 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 1 hours, 55 min
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    Click here to see disc contents

      3 shows - total playtime 1 hours 55 minutes
      1. Fifth Row Center 400204 Model Princess.mp3
      2. Inner Sanctum 450515 Black Art.mp3
      3. Texaco Star Theater 411203 48 How Clean Is My Alley.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!

    3 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 1 hours, 55 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents

      3 shows - total playtime 1 hours 55 minutes
      1. Fifth Row Center 400204 Model Princess.mp3
      2. Inner Sanctum 450515 Black Art.mp3
      3. Texaco Star Theater 411203 48 How Clean Is My Alley.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players

    3 recordings on 3 Audio CDs
    total playtime 1 hours, 55 min

    Simone Simon Disc A001

    1. Fifth Row Center 400204 Model Princess

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    Simone Simon Disc A002

    1. Texaco Star Theater 411203 48 How Clean Is My Alley

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    Simone Simon Disc A003

    1. Inner Sanctum 450515 Black Art

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
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