Hollywood blacklist

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This article is about political blacklists in the 1940s and 1950s. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_0

For the 1950 short documentary film about this, see The Hollywood Ten. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_1

For the survey of unproduced screenplays, see Black List (survey). Hollywood blacklist_sentence_2

The Hollywood blacklist was the colloquial term for what was in actuality a broader entertainment industry blacklist put in effect in the mid-20th century in the United States during the early years of the Cold War. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_3

The blacklist involved the practice of denying employment to entertainment industry professionals believed to be or to have been Communists or sympathizers. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_4

Not just actors, but screenwriters, directors, musicians, and other American entertainment professionals were barred from work by the studios. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_5

This was usually done on the basis of their membership, alleged membership in, or even just sympathy with the Communist Party USA, or on the basis of their refusal to assist Congressional investigations into the party's activities. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_6

Even during the period of its strictest enforcement, from the late 1940s through to the late 1950s, the blacklist was rarely made explicit or verifiable, but it quickly and directly damaged or ended the careers and income of scores of individuals working in the film industry. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_7

Hollywood Ten Hollywood blacklist_section_0

The first systematic Hollywood blacklist was instituted on November 25, 1947, the day after ten writers and directors were cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Hollywood blacklist_sentence_8

These personalities were subpoenaed to appear before HUAC in October. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_9

The contempt citation included a criminal charge, which led to a highly publicized trial and an eventual conviction with a maximum of one year in jail in addition to a $1,000 fine. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_10

The Congressional action prompted a group of studio executives, acting under the aegis of the Association of Motion Picture Producers, to fire the artists – the so-called Hollywood Ten – and made what has become known as the Waldorf Statement. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_11

It was announced via a news release after the major producers met at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and it included a condemnation of the personalities involved, effectively ostracizing those named from the industry. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_12

These producers instituted a compulsory oaths of loyalty from among its employees with the threat of a blacklist. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_13

Blacklist Hollywood blacklist_section_1

On June 22, 1950, a pamphlet entitled Red Channels was published. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_14

Focused on the field of broadcasting, it identified 151 entertainment industry professionals in the context of "Red Fascists and their sympathizers". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_15

Soon, most of those named, along with a host of other artists, were barred from employment in most of the entertainment field. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_16

The blacklist lasted until 1960, when Dalton Trumbo, a Communist Party member from 1943 to 1948 and member of the Hollywood Ten, was credited as the screenwriter of the film Exodus (1960), and publicly acknowledged by actor Kirk Douglas for writing the screenplay for Spartacus (also 1960). Hollywood blacklist_sentence_17

Many of those blacklisted, however, were still barred from work in their professions for years afterward. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_18

History Hollywood blacklist_section_2

Background Hollywood blacklist_section_3

The Hollywood blacklist was rooted in events of the 1930s and the early 1940s, encompassing the height of the Great Depression and World War II. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_19

Two major film industry strikes during the 1930s increased tensions between the Hollywood producers and the unions, particularly the Screen Writers Guild. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_20

The Communist Party USA (CPUSA) lost substantial support after the Moscow show trials of 1936–1938 and the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_21

The U.S. government began turning its attention to the possible links between Hollywood and the party during this period. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_22

Under then-chairman Martin Dies, Jr., the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) released a report in 1938 claiming that communism was pervasive in Hollywood. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_23

Two years later, Dies privately took testimony from a former Communist Party member, John L. Leech, who named forty-two movie industry professionals as Communists. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_24

After Leech repeated his charges in supposed confidence to a Los Angeles grand jury, many of the names were reported in the press, including those of stars Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Katharine Hepburn, Melvyn Douglas and Fredric March, among other Hollywood figures. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_25

Dies said he would "clear" all those who co-operated by meeting with him in what he called "executive session". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_26

Within two weeks of the grand jury leak, all those on the list except for actress Jean Muir had met with the HUAC chairman. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_27

Dies "cleared" everyone except actor Lionel Stander, who was fired by the movie studio, Republic Pictures, where he was under contract. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_28

In 1941, producer Walt Disney took out an ad in Variety, the industry trade magazine, declaring his conviction that "Communist agitation" was behind a cartoonists and animators' strike. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_29

According to historians Larry Ceplair and Steven Englund, "In actuality, the strike had resulted from Disney's overbearing paternalism, high-handedness, and insensitivity." Hollywood blacklist_sentence_30

Inspired by Disney, California State Senator Jack Tenney, chairman of the state legislature's Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities, launched an investigation of "Reds in movies". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_31

The probe fell flat, and was mocked in several Variety headlines. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_32

The subsequent wartime alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union brought the CPUSA newfound credibility. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_33

During the war, membership in the party reached a peak of 50,000. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_34

As World War II drew to a close, perceptions changed again, with communism increasingly becoming a focus of American fears and hatred. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_35

In 1945, Gerald L. K. Smith, founder of the neofascist America First Party, began giving speeches in Los Angeles assailing the "alien minded Russian Jews in Hollywood". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_36

Mississippi congressman John E. Rankin, a member of HUAC, held a press conference to declare that "one of the most dangerous plots ever instigated for the overthrow of this Government has its headquarters in Hollywood ... the greatest hotbed of subversive activities in the United States". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_37

Rankin promised, "We're on the trail of the tarantula now". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_38

Reports of Soviet repression in Eastern and Central Europe in the war's aftermath added more fuel to what became known as the "Second Red Scare". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_39

The growth of conservative political influence and the Republican triumph in the 1946 Congressional elections, which saw the party take control of both the House and Senate, led to a major revival of institutional anticommunist activity, publicly spearheaded by HUAC. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_40

The following year, the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (MPA), a political action group cofounded by Walt Disney, issued a pamphlet advising producers on the avoidance of "subtle communistic touches" in their films. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_41

Its counsel revolved around a list of ideological prohibitions, such as "Don't smear the free-enterprise system ... Don't smear industrialists ... Don't smear wealth ... Don't smear the profit motive ... Don't deify the 'common man' ... Don't glorify the collective". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_42

The blacklist begins (1946–1947) Hollywood blacklist_section_4

On July 29, 1946, William R. Wilkerson, publisher and founder of The Hollywood Reporter, published a "TradeView" column entitled "A Vote For Joe Stalin". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_43

It named as Communist sympathizers Dalton Trumbo, Maurice Rapf, Lester Cole, Howard Koch, Harold Buchman, John Wexley, Ring Lardner Jr., Harold Salemson, Henry Meyers, Theodore Strauss, and John Howard Lawson. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_44

In August and September 1946, Wilkerson published other columns containing names of numerous purported Communists and sympathizers. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_45

They became known as "Billy's List" and "Billy's Blacklist". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_46

In 1962, when Wilkerson died, his THR obituary stated he had "named names, pseudonyms and card numbers and was widely credited with being chiefly responsible for preventing communists from becoming entrenched in Hollywood production – something that foreign film unions have been unable to do." Hollywood blacklist_sentence_47

In a 65th-anniversary article in 2012, Wilkerson's son apologized for the paper's role in the blacklist, stating that his father was motivated by revenge for his own thwarted ambition to own a studio. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_48

In October 1947, drawing upon the list named in The Hollywood Reporter, the House Un-American Activities Committee subpoenaed a number of persons working in the Hollywood film industry to testify at hearings. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_49

The committee had declared its intention to investigate whether Communist agents and sympathizers had been planting propaganda in American films. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_50

The hearings began with appearances by Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan, then president of the Screen Actors Guild. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_51

Disney testified that the threat of Communists in the film industry was a serious one, and named specific people who had worked for him as probable Communists. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_52

Reagan testified that a small clique within his union was using "communist-like tactics" in attempting to steer union policy, but that he did not know if those (unnamed) members were communists or not, and that in any case he thought the union had them under control. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_53

(Later his first wife, actress Jane Wyman, stated in her biography written with Joe Morella that Reagan's allegations against friends and colleagues led to tension in their marriage, eventually resulting in their divorce.) Hollywood blacklist_sentence_54

Actor Adolphe Menjou declared: "I am a witch hunter if the witches are Communists. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_55

I am a Red-baiter. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_56

I would like to see them all back in Russia." Hollywood blacklist_sentence_57

In contrast, other leading Hollywood figures, including director John Huston and actors Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland and Danny Kaye, organized the Committee for the First Amendment to protest the government's targeting of the film industry. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_58

Members of the committee, such as Sterling Hayden, assured Bogart that they were not Communists. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_59

During the hearings, a local Washington paper reported that Hayden was a Communist. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_60

After returning to Hollywood, Bogart shouted at Danny Kaye, "You fuckers sold me out." Hollywood blacklist_sentence_61

The group came under attack as being naive or foolish. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_62

Under pressure from his studio, Warner Bros., to distance himself from the Hollywood Ten, Bogart negotiated a statement that did not denounce the committee, but said that his trip was "ill-advised, even foolish". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_63

Billy Wilder told the group that "we oughta fold". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_64

Many of the film industry professionals in whom HUAC had expressed interest were alleged to have been members of the Communist Party USA. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_65

Of the 43 people put on the witness list, 19 declared that they would not give evidence. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_66

Eleven of these 19 were called before the committee. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_67

Members of the Committee for the First Amendment flew to Washington ahead of this climactic phase of the hearing, which commenced on Monday, October 27. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_68

Of the eleven "unfriendly witnesses", one, émigré playwright Bertolt Brecht, ultimately chose to answer the committee's questions (following which he left the country). Hollywood blacklist_sentence_69

The other ten refused, citing their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_70

Included among the questions they refused to answer was one now generally rendered as "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_71

The Committee formally accused these ten of contempt of Congress, and began criminal proceedings against them in the full House of Representatives. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_72

In light of the "Hollywood Ten"'s defiance of HUAC – in addition to refusing to testify, many had tried to read statements decrying the committee's investigation as unconstitutional – political pressure mounted on the film industry to demonstrate its "anti-subversive" bona fides. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_73

Late in the hearings, Eric Johnston, president of the Association of Motion Picture Producers (AMPP) (and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)), declared to the committee that he would never "employ any proven or admitted Communist because they are just a disruptive force, and I don't want them around". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_74

On November 17, the Screen Actors Guild voted to make its officers swear a pledge asserting each was not a Communist. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_75

The following week, on November 24, the House of Representatives voted 346 to 17 to approve citations against the Hollywood Ten for contempt of Congress. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_76

The next day, following a meeting of film industry executives at New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel, AMPP President Johnston issued a press release that is today referred to as the Waldorf Statement. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_77

Their statement said that the ten would be fired or suspended without pay and not re-employed until they were cleared of contempt charges and had sworn that they were not Communists. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_78

The first Hollywood blacklist was in effect. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_79

The list grows (1948–1950) Hollywood blacklist_section_5

The HUAC hearings failed to turn up any evidence that Hollywood was secretly disseminating Communist propaganda, but the industry was nonetheless transformed. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_80

The fallout from the inquiry was a factor in the decision by Floyd Odlum, the primary owner of RKO Pictures, to leave the industry. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_81

As a result, the studio passed into the hands of Howard Hughes. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_82

Within weeks of taking over in May 1948, Hughes fired most of RKO's employees and virtually shut the studio down for six months as he had the political sympathies of the rest investigated. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_83

Then, just as RKO swung back into production, Hughes made the decision to settle a long-standing federal antitrust suit against the industry's Big Five studios. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_84

This was one of the crucial steps in the collapse of the studio system that had governed Hollywood for a quarter-century. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_85

In early 1948, all of the Hollywood Ten were convicted of contempt. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_86

Following a series of unsuccessful appeals, the cases arrived before the Supreme Court; among the submissions filed in defense of the ten was an amicus curiae brief signed by 204 Hollywood professionals. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_87

After the court denied review, the Hollywood Ten began serving one-year prison sentences in 1950. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_88

One of the Ten, screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, stated in the documentary film Hollywood On Trial (1976): Hollywood blacklist_sentence_89

In September 1950, one of the Ten, director Edward Dmytryk, publicly announced that he had once been a Communist and was prepared to give evidence against others who had been as well. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_90

He was released early from jail; following his 1951 HUAC appearance, in which he described his brief membership in the party and named names, his career recovered. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_91

The others remained silent and most were unable to obtain work in the American film and television industry for many years. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_92

Adrian Scott, who had produced four of Dmytryk's films – Murder, My Sweet; Cornered; So Well Remembered; and Crossfire – was one of those named by his former friend. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_93

Scott's next screen credit did not come until 1972 and he never produced another feature film. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_94

Some of those blacklisted continued to write for Hollywood or the broadcasting industry surreptitiously, using pseudonyms or the names of friends who posed as the actual writers (those who allowed their names to be used in this fashion were called "fronts"). Hollywood blacklist_sentence_95

Of the 204 who signed the amicus brief, 84 were themselves blacklisted. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_96

There was a more general chilling effect: Humphrey Bogart, who had been one of the most prominent members of the Committee for the First Amendment, felt compelled to write an article for Photoplay magazine denying he was a Communist sympathizer. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_97

The Tenney Committee, which had continued its state-level investigations, summoned songwriter Ira Gershwin to testify about his participation in the committee. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_98

A number of non-governmental organizations participated in enforcing and expanding the blacklist; in particular, the American Legion, the conservative war veterans' group, was instrumental in pressuring the entertainment industry to exclude communists and their sympathizers. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_99

In 1949, the Americanism Division of the Legion issued its own blacklist – a roster of 128 people whom it claimed were participants in the "Communist Conspiracy". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_100

Among the names on the Legion's list was that of the playwright Lillian Hellman. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_101

Hellman had written or contributed to the screenplays of approximately ten motion pictures up to that point; she was not employed again by a Hollywood studio until 1966. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_102

Another influential group was American Business Consultants Inc., founded in 1947. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_103

In the subscription information for its weekly publication Counterattack, "The Newsletter of Facts to Combat Communism", it declared that it was run by "a group of former FBI men. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_104

It has no affiliation whatsoever with any government agency." Hollywood blacklist_sentence_105

Notwithstanding that claim, it seems the editors of Counterattack had direct access to the files of both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and HUAC; the results of that access became widely apparent with the June 1950 publication of Red Channels. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_106

This Counterattack spinoff listed 151 people in entertainment and broadcast journalism, along with records of their involvement in what the pamphlet meant to be taken as Communist or pro-Communist activities. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_107

A few of those named, such as Hellman, were already being denied employment in the motion picture, TV, and radio fields; the publication of Red Channels meant that scores more were placed on the blacklist. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_108

That year, CBS instituted a loyalty oath which it required of all its employees. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_109

Jean Muir was the first performer to lose employment because of a listing in Red Channels. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_110

In 1950, Muir was named as a Communist sympathizer in the pamphlet, and was immediately removed from the cast of the television sitcom The Aldrich Family, in which she had been cast as Mrs. Aldrich. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_111

NBC had received between 20 and 30 phone calls protesting her being in the show. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_112

General Foods, the sponsor, said that it would not sponsor programs in which "controversial persons" were featured. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_113

Though the company later received thousands of calls protesting the decision, it was not reversed. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_114

HUAC returns (1951–1952) Hollywood blacklist_section_6

In 1951, with the U.S. Congress now under Democratic control, HUAC launched a second investigation of Hollywood and Communism. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_115

As actor Larry Parks said when called before the panel, Hollywood blacklist_sentence_116

Parks ultimately testified, becoming, however reluctantly, a "friendly witness", and found himself blacklisted, nonetheless. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_117

In fact, the legal tactics of those refusing to testify had changed by this time; instead of relying on the First Amendment, they invoked the Fifth Amendment's shield against self-incrimination (although, as before, Communist Party membership was not illegal). Hollywood blacklist_sentence_118

While this usually allowed a witness to avoid "naming names" without being indicted for contempt of Congress, "taking the Fifth" before HUAC guaranteed one's membership on the industry blacklist. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_119

Historians at times distinguish between the relatively official blacklist – the names of those who (a) were called by HUAC and, in whatever manner, refused to co-operate and/or (b) were identified as Communists in the hearings – and the so-called graylist – those others who were denied work because of their political or personal affiliations, real or imagined; the consequences, however, were largely the same. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_120

The graylist also refers more specifically to those who were denied work by the major studios, but could still find jobs on Poverty Row: Composer Elmer Bernstein, for instance, was called by HUAC when it was discovered that he had written some music reviews for a Communist newspaper. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_121

After he refused to name names, pointing out that he had never attended a Communist Party meeting, he found himself composing music for movies such as Cat Women of the Moon. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_122

Like Parks and Dmytryk, others also co-operated with the committee. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_123

Some friendly witnesses gave broadly damaging testimony with less apparent reluctance, most prominently director Elia Kazan and screenwriter Budd Schulberg. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_124

Their co-operation in describing the political leanings of their friends and professional associates effectively brought a halt to dozens of careers and compelled a number of artists to depart for Mexico or Europe. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_125

Others were also forced abroad in order to work. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_126

Director Jules Dassin was among the best known of these. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_127

Briefly a Communist, Dassin had left the party in 1939. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_128

He was immediately blacklisted after Edward Dmytryk and fellow filmmaker Frank Tuttle named him to HUAC in 1952. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_129

Dassin left for France, and spent much of his remaining career in Greece. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_130

Scholar Thomas Doherty describes how the HUAC hearings swept onto the blacklist those who had never even been particularly active politically, let alone suspected of being Communists: Hollywood blacklist_sentence_131

When Stander was himself called before HUAC, he began by pledging his full support in the fight against "subversive" activities: Hollywood blacklist_sentence_132

Stander was clearly speaking of the committee itself. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_133

The hunt for subversives extended into every branch of the entertainment industry. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_134

In the field of animation, two studios in particular were affected: United Productions of America (UPA) was purged of a large portion of its staff, while New York-based Tempo was entirely crushed. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_135

HUAC investigations effectively destroyed families. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_136

Screenwriter Richard Collins, after a brief period on the blacklist, became a friendly witness and dumped his wife, actress Dorothy Comingore, who refused to name names. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_137

Divorcing Comingore, Collins took the couple's young son, as well. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_138

The family's story was later dramatized in the film Guilty by Suspicion (1991), in which the character based on Comingore "commits suicide rather than endure a long mental collapse". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_139

In real life, Comingore succumbed to alcoholism and died of a pulmonary disease at the age of fifty-eight. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_140

In the description of historians Paul Buhle and David Wagner, "premature strokes and heart attacks were fairly common [among blacklistees], along with heavy drinking as a form of suicide on the installment plan". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_141

For all that, evidence that Communists were actually using Hollywood films as vehicles for subversion remained hard to come by. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_142

Schulberg reported that the manuscript of his novel What Makes Sammy Run? Hollywood blacklist_sentence_143

(later a screenplay, as well) had been subject to an ideological critique by Hollywood Ten writer John Howard Lawson, whose comments he had solicited. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_144

The significance of such interactions was questionable. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_145

As historian Gerald Horne describes, many Hollywood screenwriters had joined or associated with the local Communist Party chapter because it "offered a collective to a profession that was enmeshed in tremendous isolation at the typewriter. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_146

Their 'Writers' Clinic' had 'an informal "board" of respected screenwriters' – including Lawson and Ring Lardner Jr. – 'who read and commented upon any screenplay submitted to them. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_147

Although their criticism could be plentiful, stinging, and (sometimes) politically dogmatic, the author was entirely free to accept it or reject it as he or she pleased without incurring the slightest "consequence" or sanction.'" Hollywood blacklist_sentence_148

Much of the onscreen evidence of Communist influence uncovered by HUAC was feeble at best. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_149

One witness remembered Stander, while performing in a film, whistling the left-wing "Internationale" as his character waited for an elevator. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_150

"Another noted that screenwriter Lester Cole had inserted lines from a famous pro-Loyalist speech by La Pasionaria about it being 'better to die on your feet than to live on your knees' into a pep talk delivered by a football coach." Hollywood blacklist_sentence_151

Others disagree about how Communists affected the film industry. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_152

The author Kenneth Billingsley, writing in Reason magazine, said that Trumbo wrote in The Daily Worker about films which he said communist influence in Hollywood had prevented from being made: among them were proposed adaptations of Arthur Koestler's anti-totalitarian works Darkness at Noon and The Yogi and the Commissar, which described the rise of communism in Russia. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_153

Authors Ronald and Allis Radosh, writing in Red Star over Hollywood: The Film Colony's Long Romance with the Left, said that Trumbo bragged about how he and other party members stopped anti-communist films from being produced. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_154

Height (1952–1956) Hollywood blacklist_section_7

In 1952, the Screen Writers Guild – which had been founded two decades before by three future members of the Hollywood Ten – authorized the movie studios to "omit from the screen" the names of any individuals who had failed to clear themselves before Congress. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_155

Writer Dalton Trumbo, for instance, one of the Hollywood Ten and still on the blacklist, had received screen credit in 1950 for writing, years earlier, the story on which the screenplay of Columbia Pictures' Emergency Wedding was based. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_156

There was no more of that until the 1960s. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_157

The name of Albert Maltz, who had written the original screenplay for The Robe in the mid-1940s, was nowhere to be seen when the movie was released in 1953. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_158

As William O'Neill describes, pressure was maintained even on those who had ostensibly "cleared" themselves: Hollywood blacklist_sentence_159

The group's efforts dragged many others onto the blacklist: In 1954, "[s]creenwriter Louis Pollock, a man without any known political views or associations, suddenly had his career yanked out from under him because the American Legion confused him with Louis Pollack, a California clothier, who had refused to co-operate with HUAC." Hollywood blacklist_sentence_160

Orson Bean recalled that he had briefly been placed on the blacklist after dating a member of the party, despite his own politics being conservative. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_161

During this same period, a number of influential newspaper columnists covering the entertainment industry, including Walter Winchell, Hedda Hopper, Victor Riesel, Jack O'Brian, and George Sokolsky, regularly offered up names with the suggestion that they should be added to the blacklist. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_162

Actor John Ireland received an out-of-court settlement to end a 1954 lawsuit against the Young & Rubicam advertising agency, which had ordered him dropped from the lead role in a television series it sponsored. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_163

Variety described it as "the first industry admission of what has for some time been an open secret – that the threat of being labeled a political non-conformist, or worse, has been used against show business personalities, and that a screening system is at work determining these [actors'] availabilities for roles". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_164

The Hollywood blacklist had long gone hand in hand with the Red-baiting activities of J. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_165 Edgar Hoover's FBI. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_166

Adversaries of HUAC such as lawyer Bartley Crum, who defended some of the Hollywood Ten in front of the committee in 1947, were labeled as Communist sympathizers or subversives and targeted for investigation themselves. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_167

Throughout the 1950s, the FBI tapped Crum's phones, opened his mail, and placed him under continuous surveillance. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_168

As a result, he lost most of his clients and, unable to cope with the stress of ceaseless harassment, committed suicide in 1959. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_169

Intimidating and dividing the left is now seen as a central purpose of the HUAC hearings. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_170

Fund-raising for once-popular humanitarian efforts became difficult, and despite the sympathies of many in the industry there was little open support in Hollywood for causes such as the Civil Rights Movement and opposition to nuclear weapons testing. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_171

The struggles attending the blacklist were played out metaphorically on the big screen in various ways. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_172

As described by film historian James Chapman, "Carl Foreman, who had refused to testify before the committee, wrote the western High Noon (1952), in which a town marshal (played, ironically, by friendly witness Gary Cooper) finds himself deserted by the good citizens of Hadleyville (read: Hollywood) when a gang of outlaws who had terrorized the town several years earlier (read: HUAC) returns." Hollywood blacklist_sentence_173

Cooper's lawman cleaned up Hadleyville, but Foreman was forced to leave for Europe to find work. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_174

Meanwhile, Kazan and Schulberg collaborated on a movie widely seen as justifying their decision to name names. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_175

On the Waterfront (1954) became one of the most honored films in Hollywood history, winning eight Academy Awards, including Oscars for Best Film, Kazan's direction, and Schulberg's screenplay. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_176

The film featured Lee J. Cobb, one of the best known actors to name names. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_177

Time Out Film Guide argues that the film is "undermined" by its "embarrassing special pleading on behalf of informers". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_178

After his release from prison, Herbert Biberman of the Hollywood Ten directed Salt of the Earth (also 1954), working independently in New Mexico with fellow blacklisted Hollywood professionals – producer Paul Jarrico, writer Michael Wilson, and actors Rosaura Revueltas and Will Geer. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_179

The film, concerning a strike by Mexican-American mine workers, was denounced as Communist propaganda when it was completed in 1953. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_180

Distributors boycotted it, newspapers and radio stations rejected advertisements for it, and the projectionists' union refused to run it. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_181

Nationwide in 1954, only around a dozen theaters exhibited it. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_182

Breaking the blacklist (1957–present) Hollywood blacklist_section_8

Jules Dassin was one of the first to break the blacklist. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_183

Although he was named by Edward Dmytryk and Frank Tuttle in spring 1951, he directed in December 1952 the Broadway Play Two's Company with Bette Davis. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_184

In June 1956, his French film production Rififi opened at the Fine Arts Theater and stayed for 20 weeks. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_185

A key figure in bringing an end to blacklisting was John Henry Faulk. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_186

Host of an afternoon comedy radio show, Faulk was a leftist active in his union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_187

He was scrutinized by AWARE, Inc., one of the private firms that examined individuals for signs of Communist sympathies and "disloyalty". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_188

Marked by the group as unfit, he was fired by CBS Radio. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_189

Almost alone among the many victims of blacklisting, Faulk decided to sue AWARE in 1957. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_190

Though the case dragged through the courts for years, the suit itself was an important symbol of the building resistance to the blacklist. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_191

The initial cracks in the entertainment industry blacklist were evident on television, specifically at CBS. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_192

In 1957, blacklisted actor Norman Lloyd was hired by Alfred Hitchcock as an associate producer for his anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents, then entering its third season on the network. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_193

On November 30, 1958, a live CBS production of Wonderful Town, based on short stories written by then-Communist Ruth McKenney, appeared with the proper writing credit of blacklisted Edward Chodorov, along with his literary partner, Joseph Fields. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_194

The following year, actress Betty Hutton insisted that blacklisted composer Jerry Fielding be hired as musical director for her new series, also on CBS. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_195

The first main break in the Hollywood blacklist followed soon after. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_196

On January 20, 1960, director Otto Preminger publicly announced that Dalton Trumbo, one of the best known members of the Hollywood Ten, was the screenwriter of his forthcoming film Exodus. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_197

Six-and-a-half months later, with Exodus still to debut, The New York Times announced that Universal Pictures would give Trumbo screen credit for his role as writer on Spartacus, a decision now recognized as being largely made by star/producer Kirk Douglas. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_198

On October 6, Spartacus premiered – the first movie to bear Trumbo's name since he had received story credit on Emergency Wedding in 1950. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_199

Since 1947, he had written or co-written approximately seventeen motion pictures without credit. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_200

Exodus followed in December, also bearing Trumbo's name. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_201

The blacklist was now clearly coming to an end, but its effects continue to reverberate even until the present. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_202

John Henry Faulk won his lawsuit in 1962. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_203

With this court decision, the private blacklisters and those who used them were put on notice that they were legally liable for the professional and financial damage they caused. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_204

This helped to bring an end to publications such as Counterattack. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_205

Like Adrian Scott and Lillian Hellman, however, a number of those on the blacklist remained there for an extended period – Lionel Stander, for instance, could not find work in Hollywood until 1965. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_206

Some of those who named names, like Kazan and Schulberg, argued for years after that they had made an ethically proper decision. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_207

Others, like actor Lee J. Cobb and director Michael Gordon, who gave friendly testimony to HUAC after suffering on the blacklist for a time, "concede[d] with remorse that their plan was to name their way back to work". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_208

Others were haunted by the choice they had made. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_209

In 1963, actor Sterling Hayden declared, Hollywood blacklist_sentence_210

Scholars Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner state that Hayden "was widely believed to have drunk himself into a near-suicidal depression decades before his 1986 death". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_211

Into the 21st century, the Writers Guild pursued the correction of screen credits from movies of the 1950s and early 1960s to properly reflect the work of blacklisted writers such as Carl Foreman and Hugo Butler. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_212

On December 19, 2011, the guild, acting on a request for an investigation made by his dying son Christopher Trumbo, announced that Dalton Trumbo would get full credit for his work on the screenplay for the romantic comedy Roman Holiday (1953), almost sixty years after the fact. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_213

The Hollywood Ten and other 1947 blacklistees Hollywood blacklist_section_9

The Hollywood Ten Hollywood blacklist_section_10

The following ten individuals were cited for contempt of Congress and blacklisted after refusing to answer questions about their alleged involvement with the Communist Party: Hollywood blacklist_sentence_214

Hollywood blacklist_unordered_list_0

In late September 1947, HUAC subpoenaed 79 individuals on a claim that they were subversive and the supposition that they injected Communist propaganda into their films. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_215

Although never substantiating this claim, the investigators charged them with contempt of Congress when they refused to answer the questions about their membership in the Screen Writers Guild and Communist Party. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_216

The Committee demanded they admit their political beliefs and name names of other Communists. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_217

Nineteen of those refused to co-operate, and due to illnesses, scheduling conflicts, and exhaustion from the chaotic hearings, only 10 appeared before the Committee. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_218

These men became known as the Hollywood Ten. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_219

Belonging to the Communist Party did not constitute a crime, and the Committee's right to investigate these men was questionable in the first place. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_220

These men relied on the First Amendment's right to privacy, freedom of speech, and freedom of thought, but the Committee charged them with contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_221

Later defendants – except Pete Seeger – tried different strategies. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_222

Acknowledging the potential for punishment, the Ten still took bold stands, resisting the authority of HUAC. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_223

They yelled at the Chairman and treated the Committee with open indignation, emanating negativity and discouraging outside public favor and help. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_224

Upon receiving their contempt citations, they believed the Supreme Court would overturn the rulings, which did not turn out to be the case, and as a result, they were convicted of contempt and fined $1,000 each (or, over $10,700 USD in 2016 dollars, when adjusted for inflation), and sentenced to six-months to one-year prison terms. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_225

HUAC did not treat the Ten with respect either, refusing to allow most of them to speak for more than just a few words at a time. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_226

Meanwhile, witnesses who had arranged to co-operate with the Committee (such as the anti-Communist screenwriter Ayn Rand) were allowed to speak at length. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_227

Martin Redish suggests that at this time, the First Amendment's right of free expression in these cases was used to protect the powers of the government accuser(s), instead of the rights of the citizen-victims. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_228

After witnessing the well-publicized ineffectiveness of the Ten's defense strategy, later defendants chose to plead the Fifth Amendment (against self-incrimination), instead. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_229

Public support for the Hollywood Ten wavered, as everyday citizen-observers were never really sure what to make of them. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_230

Some of these men later wrote about their experiences as part of the Ten. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_231

John Howard Lawson, the Ten's unofficial leader, wrote a book attacking Hollywood for appeasing HUAC. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_232

While mostly criticizing the studios for their weakness, Lawson also defends himself/the Ten and criticizes Edward Dmytryk for being the only one to recant and eventually co-operate with HUAC. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_233

In his 1981 autobiography, Hollywood Red, screenwriter Lester Cole stated that all of the Hollywood Ten had been Communist Party USA members at some point. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_234

Other members of the Hollywood Ten, such as Dalton Trumbo and Edward Dmytryk, publicly admitted to being Communists while testifying before the Committee. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_235

When Dmytryk wrote his memoir about this period, he denounced the Ten, and defended his decision to work with HUAC. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_236

He claimed to have left the Communist Party before having been subpoenaed, defining himself as the "odd man out". Hollywood blacklist_sentence_237

He condemns the Ten's legal tactic of defiance, and regrets staying with the group for as long as he did. Hollywood blacklist_sentence_238

Others Hollywood blacklist_section_11

Hollywood blacklist_unordered_list_1

People first blacklisted between January 1948 and June 1950 Hollywood blacklist_section_12

(an asterisk after the entry indicates the person was also listed in Red Channels) Hollywood blacklist_sentence_239

Hollywood blacklist_unordered_list_2

  • Ben Barzman, screenwriterHollywood blacklist_item_2_14
  • Paul Draper, actor and dancer*Hollywood blacklist_item_2_15
  • Sheridan Gibney, screenwriterHollywood blacklist_item_2_16
  • Paul Green, playwright and screenwriterHollywood blacklist_item_2_17
  • Lillian Hellman, playwright and screenwriter*Hollywood blacklist_item_2_18
  • Canada Lee, actorHollywood blacklist_item_2_19
  • Paul Robeson, actor and singerHollywood blacklist_item_2_20
  • Edwin Rolfe, screenwriter and poetHollywood blacklist_item_2_21
  • William Sweets, radio personality*Hollywood blacklist_item_2_22
  • Richard Wright, writerHollywood blacklist_item_2_23

The Red Channels list Hollywood blacklist_section_13

(see, e. g., Schrecker , p. 244; Barnouw , pp. 122–124) Hollywood blacklist_sentence_240

Others first blacklisted after June 1950 Hollywood blacklist_section_14

See also Hollywood blacklist_section_15

Hollywood blacklist_unordered_list_3


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood blacklist.