Monthly Archives: May 2011

1940s Break up of the Feudal System, I mean Studio System, and the paradoxical end of the Golden Age of Hollywood

Paramount Decisions The Supreme Court’s “Paramount decisions” of the 1940s receive much credit for the breakup of the studio system.  There were other factors.  In 1936, movie star Bette Davis, who had been offered yet another unattractive part by Warner … Continue reading

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1955: Hollywood blacklists and muffles democratic values; movies get worse; public seeks other entertainment …

In the movie industry, by 1955, 106 writers, 36 actors, and 11 directors testified, took the Fifth Amendment and then were blacklisted (Prindle 1988:61).  HUAC and the industry did not stop there.  The persecutions, with the studio executives’ active help, … Continue reading

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1940s-1960s You asked. Hollywood: Both anti-Communists and pro-Communists feared the same totalitarian nightmare.

I believe that those thinking people who feared communism and those thinking people who were sympathetic to communism’s possibilities mostly did (and do) not speak to each others’ concerns.  Those who feared communism considered what in practice Russia and China … Continue reading

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1947 on: HUAC, the Blacklist, above-the-line union wimps, and really Congress should have been investigating Bioff’s ties with organized crime…

HUAC (The House Committee on Un-American Activities) IATSE President George Browne, prior to his arrest, had first invited Martin Dies of what was then called the Dies Committee (and would later be called the House Committee on Un-American Activities or … Continue reading

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1947 Ronald Reagan becomes SAG president and suddenly bats for the other team…

In March of 1947, out of respect for the Screen Actors Guild conflict-of-interest clause, the SAG President, Robert Montgomery, as well as vice-presidents Dick Powell and Franchot Tone resigned because they had production interests in films that could raise questions … Continue reading

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1948 Taft Hartley which strips labor of power, influenced by Hollywood labor struggles and violence

Taft Hartley (1948)             According to a congressman who helped shaped Taft-Hartley, the Hollywood union conflicts were “a very, very important consideration when we were drafting” the legislation.  Film labor historian Gerald Horne writes, “The formulators of the Taft-Hartley legislation…were … Continue reading

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1940s The Conference of Studio Unions–A Democratic Alternative to the IATSE (And why Warner Brothers threw gas grenades at the CSU.)

The Conference of Studio Unions During the 1940s, in the wake of the Bioff-Browne debacle, Herbert Sorrell, who had been active in earlier efforts for democratic unionism, organized below-the-line film workers.  This group included the remnants of Jeff Kibre’s USTG, … Continue reading

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