Blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (1905 – 1976) did not do himself any favors when he wrote the attached essay outlining his sympathies for Stalin's Soviet Union at the expense of the United States. A year later he would find himself in the hot-seat in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee (1938 - 1975) where his non-cooperation landed him eleven months in the hoosegow on contempt of Congress charges.
*Watch Dalton Trumbo Testify Before the House Committee on Un-American Activities*
The years 1947 and 1948 was a rough patch for Hollywood - and journalist James Felton did a favor for all those geeky film historians yet unborn for documenting their myriad travails in the attached article. Aside from a major drop in box-office receipts, the most time consuming inconvenience involved U.S. Representative J. Parnell Thomas (1895 – 1970) and his cursed House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) that threatened to reduce their profits to an even further degree.
Despite the catchy title, Novelist James M. Cain, did not even attempt to answer the question as to how lousy Hollywood was with dirty Reds, however he did spell out that there were enough of them in the industry to bring production to a halt, if they ever cared to do so. Cain's article encourages both the executive class and the pinko-wordsmiths to walk the middle path and keep the cameras rolling.
Click here to read a review of James M. Cain's novel, "The Butterfly".
Here is a short article about the goings-on within the House Committee on Un-American Activities for May, 15, 1947. In that session testimony was given by actors Richard Arlen, Robert Taylor and Adolphe Menjou. Novelist Rupert Hughes took the stand and opined:
"Hollywood is lousy with Communists, some of them making $3,000 to $5,000 weekly, and whom you couldn't get to go to Russia in a million years. They began to take over the Writers Guild in 1937. They've been powerful in Hollywood for years both secretly and openly."
Months after his appearance as a spectator at the House Committee on Un-American Activities, actor Humphrey Bogart wrote this article for the editors of PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE addressing the topic of communist infiltration in the Hollywood film industry:
"In the final analysis, this House Committee probe has had one salutary effect. It has cleared the air by indicating what a minute number of Commies there really are in the film industry. Though headlines may have screamed of the Red menace in the movies, all the wind and the fury actually proved that there's been no Communism injected on American movie screens."
It seems so odd that that the House Un-American Activities Committee that convened to examine the communist influence in the Hollywood motion picture industry lasted only nine days - yet it is one of the most well-known of all the Congressional committees in the history of the republic. That said, we have posted one journalist's summary of all the hearings:
"Former investigations of this kind were mainly concerned with what people had done or not done; this investigation set a precedent by being concerned about what people thought."