Skip to comments.The Truth about the "Hollywood Ten"
Posted on 04/18/2005 10:47:45 AM PDT by Liz
In 1947, the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) began a series of official inquiries into the penetration of the Hollywood film industry by the American Communist Party (CPUSA).
Major public hearings were held in 1947 and 1951, with smaller hearings throughout the mid-1950s. In the course of these inquiries, dozens of friendly Hollywood witnesses denounced hundreds of people as secret members of the Communist Party, while dozens of unfriendly witnesses refused to discuss their politics with the Committee. Those who were either publicly or privately denounced as members of the CPUSA found it almost impossible to get employment in the motion-picture industry for at least for a decade.
The most famous victims of the resulting blacklist were the original group of unfriendly witnesses, known as the Unfriendly Ten or Hollywood Ten. These individualsmostly screenwriters refused to give political information about themselves before HUAC in October 1947.1
The blacklist functioned in part officially, as demonstrated by a joint public announcement of the motion picture firms in November 1947 that henceforth no studio would knowingly employ any member of the Communist Party, or the members of any other group which advocated the overthrow of the United States government by revolution.
The blacklist also operated unofficially, through instruments such as the irresponsible red-baiting newsletter Red Channels, which named whole swaths of people as subversives. This, for example, ruined the career of the left-wing but non-Communist actress Marsha Hunt. 2
The blacklist also often functioned in secret: jobs just dried up. As a result, fixers emerged to get people unofficially pardoned by anti-Communist organizations and film industry managers, therefore making them employable again. One famous fixer was the fiercely anti-Communist actor Ward Bond. 3
Fronts arose as well in the form of people offering scripts ghost-written by blacklisted screenwriters in exchange for official credit for the script and often a cut of the payment. One famous example of such a front was Philip Yordan, himself a quite famous screenwriter. 4
Some film careers were totally destroyed as a result of the blacklist system. For instance, Mickey Knox, the next John Garfield, was a rising star of the late 1940s, turning in a star performance in the great gangster film White Heat (1949). If you have never heard of Mickey Knox, well, that is the point. Many other careers suffered severe setbacks, such as that of actor Howard Da Silva. 5
Actors and directors suffered more severely than screenwriters because they could not act or direct under assumed names, whereas screenwriters could use the front system, which allowed the most talented of them to continue to write. The CPUSA, however, had made its largest inroads in Hollywood among screenwriters, and many screenwriters careers suffered greatly or ended.
It is generally not a good idea to attack professional writers because they tend to write, and to write well, to get in the last word. This has certainly been the case with the blacklist. None of the HUAC committee or staff (which originally included Congressman Richard M. Nixon) has written memorably on the events of 1947 and 1951, let alone on the later, smaller investigations.
A few of those who appeared as friendly witnesses before HUAC, such as directors Edward Dmytryk and Elia Kazan, and actor Sterling Hayden. have written important memoirs, often defending their conduct and sometimes expressing self-doubt. 6
But such figures are far outnumbered by the self-justifying and bitter memoirs of those who were denounced: Norma Barzman; Walter Bernstein; Alvah Bessie; Herbert Biberman; Conrad Bromberg; Lester Cole; Lillian Hellman; Howard Koch; Ring Lardner, Jr. (and now his daughter Kate); Donald Ogden Stewart; Dalton Trumbo; and Ella Winter. 7
The publication of these works, and more fundamentally the cultural shift in Hollywood to domination by a bien peasant Left that started around 1960 and accelerated in the 1970s, has led to the lionization of the Unfriendly Ten as American rebels and martyred non-conformists.
Meanwhile, the anger within the current filmmaking elite at those who originally named names in the 1940s and 1950s has been unremitting. A now unalterable view of what occurred is held by people who have little knowledge of what it actually meant in the 1940s to be a Communist; that is, a Stalinist. Two examples demonstrate the current political situation.
Long read---rest at link.
Joe found a buttload of "witches".. and burned a few before the "witches" burned him..
Its all in Ann Coulters book, "TREASON"..
Washington D.C. is NOW a coven not a government center at all..
Thanks. There's more on Stewart in his FBI file, which identifies him as "one of the principal leaders of the Communist element in the motion picture industry" from 1936 on. About that time he became chairman of the League of American Writers, the American affiliate of the International Union of Revolutionary Writers, a Comintern front.
Something similar happened to Jeff Corey. He and his wife were invited to a political meeting by a friend, were disgusted by the rhetoric they heard, and left after just a few minutes. Years later, someone remembered seeing him there, and he was instantly blacklisted.
"... that henceforth no studio would knowingly employ any member of the Communist Party, or the members of any other group which advocated the overthrow of the United States government by revolution."
I say if Hollywood does not want to hire those who advocate the overthrow of the United States government by revolution, then they should have that right. Don't you agree?
Now, what are you talking about? Holding an unpopular idea? Crimes?
Maybe you're thinking of the Spanish Inquisition, not HUAC?
Joe was not perfect, but he sure was right about the commies and the left. If anything, he just underestimated their penetration and their ruthlessness.
Jow was doing the right thing, but he went about it in the wrong way........the lefty media hastened his destruction.
While they may not be celebrating the Soviet Union these days, the anti-American leftists certainly associate themselves with the idea that they are more well informed and forward thinking.
If he wasn't guilty and had cooperated he wouldn't have been blacklisted. If I was called before Congress, I think I would open my mouth and cooperate.
I suggest that you read "RADICAL HOLLYWOOD" ,by Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner (who are LIBERALS and not right wingers, BTW),to start with and educate yourself. Just because you don't know anything at all about the CRIMES which were committed by American Commies, who worked in Hollywood, doesn't mean that none were committed.
Holy mackrel! Guilty of what? What was he charged with? He was brought up because someone (Robert Taylor) said, "I don't know if he's a commie or not, I just don't like what he says." That's enough? Not for me.
No doubt there were some miscarriages of justice. There always are. On the other hand, the Communists murdered maybe a hundred million people over the course of the twentieth century, not counting their responsibility for numerous wars. Being a Communist was not a harmless hobby.
One's right to work in a particular job or industry sometimes depends on not abusing your position. Thus, I don't think Dan Rather had any right to work in the news business after publicly promoting and defending a forgery for partisan political purposes.
No one could expect to work in Hollywood during the early 1940s if they tried to use movies to support Hitler, and much the same applied in the 1950s to those who supported Stalin.
That's my point. Apparently he wasn't guilty of anything so why not talk? Especially if he's been unfairly maligned.
You're not "charged" with anything when you go before a congressional committee. They just want info. Best to give it to them.
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