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.
Hi! :-) I was going to ping you but I thought you were on vacation, LOL!
Old English nursery rhymes---ones your Mom read to you--- were often used to parody royal and political events and people of the day---a seemingly innocent vehicle to quickly spread subversive messages at a time when direct criticism or dissent was punishable by death. The first really important English rhyme dates back to the fourteenth century, was passed quickly from one person to another, and led to an English revolution.
Joining subversive groups that advance the overthrow of the US government by any means available, aid and abet people like the rosenbergs.
Like the guy driving the getaway car for the bank robbers----he doesn't pull a gun and take the money, but his actions enable the robbery.
The Freedom of Information Act on the VERONA Project proves all of these perps were either spies or active and knowing participants in Soviet-sponsored acts and initiatives against the USA. The myth that the Hollywood Ten were just dupes is proved an utter lie by the declassified VERONA documents. This is old news, by the way and readily available on a number of sites for your ease of confirmation.
They were not passively leftist individuals but traitors who were knowingly participating in a scheme to hand the USA to her enemies. They got off easy.
"Mary, Mary, quite contrary..."
Again, *all* of the people the Senate and House turned up and questioned were implicated because of VERONA.
Richard Nixon once called Joseph McCarthy a "great patriot whose accomplishments will not be known for a hundred years" and John F. Kennedy is attributed with having stormed out of an event where McCarthy was called a traitor. Both men were collegues of McCarthy's and both were briefed in on VERONA and, like McCarthy, both could not discuss the highly classified proof that would have vindicated McCarthy as the patriot that he was.
Having read the declassified aspects of VERONA I can only come to the conclusion that no innocent people were brought before the Senate or the House.
Communism was then and is now an ongoing threat and the left has demonized people who point out Communists to further their own evil goals.
I am leaving on vacation in a day...so you were almost right. :-)
See, that's my point. If you are not charged then how can you be guilty in this scenario. I think he took a principalled stand about government overstepping its bounds and paid for it...something that would be applauded here if it were a different issue.
Is there such a thing as contempt of Congress? I think so. He wasn't guilty of communism, just contempt of Congress, is that not right?
There was no crime for which he was initially cited, but if he was slandered falsely, why not speak up? Congress has a right to investigate if they suspect something If no one cooperated Congress would be powerless. Thus, they have power to cite for contempt of Congress.
Well, it's nice to know I was at least almost right for once, LOL! :-) BTW, speaking of Hollywood, is there anything good on TCM tonight?
Like it is very fashionable to be apart of the CPUSA during a time of war who redirects monies to MoveOn.org that worked with George Soros to influence our elections with voter fraud.
Blue box on the left takes you to MoveOn.org. Labeled http://moveon.org/wmdpledge Weapons of Mass Destruction Pledge.
I'm on all of their mailing lists. They don't adhere to a belief, they are AntiAmerican and want a Socialist country. Overthrowing a government is not a belief, it is a Traitorist Movement.
Ohh! going someplace nice? I want stories when you are back!
Barely watched the show but when I did I couldn't stand the GRandpa. He was an arrogant type. Guess he played himself.
Correct: the legal charge against the Hollywood Ten was contempt of Congress.
What time period was this movement not a problem?
I meant pre 1953 or so. Even maintream best selling writers like Sinclair Lewis, Theodore Dreiser and John Steinbeck would be openly socialist if not communist back then. It was just more accepted in the wake of the Depression and before Soviet atrocities were known. And after they were known even a flat out Commie like Woody Guthrie stopped supporting the U.S.S.R.