In 1936 newspapers were ablaze with a scandalous child custody trial taking place in Hollywood and starring the actress Mary Astor; the story pushed Hitler and Franco off the front pages. George S. Kaufman, then the most successful playwright on Broadway and a married man to boot, had been Astor's lover. The scandal revolved around Mary's diary, which her ex-husband, Dr. Franklyn Thorpe, had found when they were still together. Mary, he claimed, had not only kept a tally of all her extramarital affairs but graded them-- and he already alerted the press in order to obtain a divorce and get custody of their daughter. Sorel provides all the juicy details of this particular slice of Hollywood Babylon, including Mary's life as a child star, and her teenage love affair with the much older John Barrymore.