The taps flowed a bit more freely in the halcyon days of Hollywood - before all the drunken accidents, before Errol Flynn got the Warner Bros. studio lot bar shut down, and before people realized all the terrible things alcohol could do to their bodies and lives.
The Golden Age of Hollywood ran from the 1920s through the 1950s, when the studio system finally collapsed under its own weight (and antitrust laws). During that glamorous and often inebriated time, the studios' contract players were given free rein to do basically whatever they wanted - as long as it could be quietly swept under the rug by a studio fixer. The old actors drank a lot at swanky parties every night, they drank when they were on set, and they drank when they drove.
Our standards for alcoholism have shifted over the years, and many folks that contemporary society would deem alcoholics would just have be seen as fun in eras past. There are, however, some true superstars that stand out even amongst the pantheon of Old Hollywood drunks. This article recounts the hedonistic lives those Golden Era stars lived and serves as a cautionary tale for all those who wish to avoid similar fates.