Why did it seem as though the legends of Hollywood had fewer scandals than the Stars of today? It wasn't that they were purer of heart; they were just better at hiding it.
The studios had invested thousands, if not millions in their talent. The seven year contracts that were common in those days gave the studios a serious reason to cover up any improprieties. MGM's "security" force rivaled that of the LAPD itself, offering its stars a 24/7 hotline they could call to get out of any sticky situation.
Eddie Mannix was MGM's prized fixer; he not only knew where Hollywood's deepest, darkest secrets were buried, he most likely was the person burying them. The vast resources at his disposal were there to preserve the public image of MGM's stars and MGM's investments.
After the fall of the Studio System, the reputations of the bigger stars were no longer a major concern of the studios. Hollywood actors were all free agents now and the studios became less willing to assist them when trouble arose. In some cases, they might benefit from a scandal if an actor's asking price had to be lowered. While a wealthy celebrity could fund his or her own coverup, their resources and reach pale in comparison to MGM's during the golden age of Hollywood. Oftentimes even the LAPD and other law enforcement agencies operated as though they were subsidiaries of MGM and the other studios. This protection vanished when the Studio System fell- and not everyone in Hollywood was prepared for it.