Skip to comments.Hollywood-1947-2004: The Way They Were - The Way They Are
Posted on 08/23/2004 10:07:59 AM PDT by FlyLow
The Hollywood Elite has long been a class among themselves. From the earliest days of the film industry, actors and actresses, writers and directors were Hollywood royalty. They brought scores of people to the theaters, made their studio bosses rich, were feted around town, lived in fabulous homes, were rich beyond all their dreams, and surrounded by sycophants who would tend to their every wish.
The majority of, yesteryear's Hollywood stars, are Liberal by nature and had the same propensity for outrageous behavior that many of today's stars engage in. The difference back then was the bosses' insistence that stars sign morals contracts, conduct themselves appropriately in public and employed PR crisis management squads to squelch a nasty story before it ever made the newspaper.
Whatever went on behind closed doors, the outside world would see none of it. And most certainly, political activism was frowned upon as expressed at the time by Samuel Goldwyn, "If you want to send a message, call Western Union."
This leads us to ponder, what's the real story behind today's dominance of Liberalism in Hollywood?
On its face, one could conclude quite easily, based on historical facts and reference that the moral turpitude rampant in the Hollywood community together with their virulent insistence that they will never again be forced to live their lives of decadence in a closet that leads them to embrace a progressive ideology and today's Democratic Party.
But where does the hate come from? Looking deeper, Hollywood's overwhelming hatred for conservatives, conservatism, President Bush and his Administration can be traced back to the McCarthy Era of the 1950s.
The intersection between politics and Hollywood and the war against conservatives can be traced back to House Un-American Activities Committee in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
The government was deeply concerned with the new threat of communism as posed by the Soviet Union post World War II. The beginnings of the Cold War saw infiltrations of communists in areas of American government (the State Department), enterprise (Hollywood), and individuals (the Rosenbergs), among others.
The American communists of the early Cold War were not just members of a party; their organizations were controlled by the Soviets, some were spying on American citizens, infiltrating labor unions, and injecting communist propaganda in films. History has since proven true, many of the allegations of the committees and the Congress investigating the communist threat at the time. Discussions of Joseph McCarthy's self-destruction and overreaching will have to wait for another day.
The first round of hearings in 1947 called "friendly" witnesses from the film industry. Walt Disney, Louis B. Mayer, representing the studio heads, and stars such as Gary Cooper, Robert Taylor, Robert Montgomery, and Ronald Reagan, representing actors, all appeared, and testified willingly about what they knew about communists within the entertainment industry.
The second round of the 1947 hearings called "unfriendly" witnesses thought to be communists and resulted in the infamous Hollywood Ten, one director and nine writers who refused to answer any questions about their membership in the Communist Party. They were cited for contempt of Congress and after all appeals were exhausted, jailed for up to a year.
Now here's where things get interesting. Two days after the conclusion of hearings, the various studio heads got together and decided to suspend the "Hollywood Ten" without pay. They then issued a statement that declared, "We, will not knowingly employ a Communist or a member of any party or group which advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States by force, or by any illegal or unconstitutional method."
That statement, and that statement alone, started the ten year long, unofficial Hollywood Blacklist. Between 1947 and 1951, the Hollywood Ten were the only artists subjected to this studio imposed blacklist.
In 1951, the hearings returned to focus anew on Hollywood. During a period of three years, the committee compiled a list of 324 current and former workers in the entertainment industry suspected of communist ties. Of those, 212 were currently working in the industry. During this set of hearings, whether you answered questions or not, whether you denounced communism or not, you were blacklisted unless you "named names."
Elia Kazan, the famed and infamous director, was one of the few during this period to name names. He was celebrated by the right, and reviled by the Left, up until the day he died in 2003. In 1999, when the Academy of Motion Pictures decided it was time to heal old wounds and give him an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement, over half of the audience of Hollywood glitterati sat on their downs in solidarity with the Left and the communists who lost their jobs to the Blacklist.
Again and with emphasis, no government entity blacklisted anyone and no conservative bogeyman fired anyone. The convicting of the Hollywood Ten for contempt of Congress was the extent of the government's actions as it relates to punishment for communist activities within Hollywood.
The Hollywood Blacklist was initiated and maintained by the studio heads and executives. For all the outrage directed at the government and the "traitors" who named names, where was the outrage at the studios?
Did the outraged, in consolidation with their comrades who had been blacklisted quit their jobs at the studios enforcing the blacklist? Well, of course not.
What a bunch of hypocrites. Righteous indignation without sacrifice - a typical response from the Hollywood elite, whether yesterday or today.
It would be more accurate to surmise that celebrity moral outrage is limited to things that directly affect them.
Celebrities who are paid enormous sums of money to pretend to be someone else, don't EVER like being told what they can do or not do, how to behave or not behave, or be limited in ANY fashion by ANY boss, for ANY reason.
It was true 50 years ago, it's true today. Back during the days of the studio system, actors, writers, and directors had no power. There were under contracts, did the pictures they were told to do, were paid a weekly salary, got no percentages of the gross, and were told to behave themselves in public. Millions were spent on public relations crisis management, if behind the scenes, an actor was a drunkard or used drugs, or cheated on their spouses, or was gay, to cover it up. Moral clauses were standard. If you didn't clean up your act, you were fired. That was the price you paid to be a star, to live in your mansions and to be adored by the public.
In the 1950s events like the Hollywood blacklist, actors demanding more control over the films they made, their rebellious nature against authority bursting to be set free, and later with the ramp up of the Vietnam War, culminated in the explosion of the late 1960s, that we are still feeling today.
Today, our studio heads are the product of that sixties explosion and the ghosts of the Hollywood Blacklist. The scions of the early days of the film industry are long dead and so are their ideals, their concern for appearances, and their concern for the public they seek to entertain.
No longer concerned with morals clauses, content, families, or patriotism, Hollywood is being run by people still angry about the 50s, conservatives and any attempt to rein them in. They were brought up in the "free love and peace movements" of the 60s and stubbornly vow never to return to the evil 1950s of Ozzie and Harriet, traitors such as Elia Kazan and moralizing puritans.
That, we surmise, is the real reason behind Hollywood's vendetta against President Bush. The Hollywood Elite has finally and completely avenged the "Hollywood Blacklist," their stodgy studio bosses, and the American public who dared to challenge their behavior.
The Left is in control in Hollywood and we are again in a dangerous time. Terrorists have replaced communists, the Left has replaced the Right in Hollywood, and they create product in their own image - not in any of ours. Hollywood's revenge is complete and they are truly laughing all the way to the bank.
Lisa Sarrach is president of Hollywood-Hero (www.hollywood-hero.us), GOPUSA.COM (www.gopusa.com) national columnist and freelance writer focusing on cultural and domestic policy issues. You can contact her at email@example.com.
Well a LOT more of the movie, TV and music stars were openly conservative and Republican prior to the mid-60's, and esp. before the Clintons made them so "mainstream" in 1992 and beyond!
The article has its facts straight, but I think that the consistent phenomenon of H'wood being "Lefty's" - it did not start with HUAC in "47 - is deeper, or more superficial than the author implies. Hollywood, from the beginning, has always had a longer left leg than a right leg.
That's true. Traveling performers, from the time of the Middle Ages on, were always regarded as untrustworthy, fugitive, shiftless, criminal vagabonds. I mean, they were the dregs of society and not even on an equal status with peasants tied to their land or with townspeople with established, skilled trades. At the turn of the last century, so much of theatre life was glamorized and theatre people became much the sought after crowd...sort of like the celebrated and fawned-over royalty of previous times. Royalty fell out of fashion (in many ways) and actors took their place in the attention of the general public. The public created the monster and the actors forever carried the banner of a once marginalized and prosecuted minority who have now become 'empowered'. They will always champion the offbeat, criminal, the outrageous... They are now like spoiled children with no reverence for the cultural substructure of which they are the beneficiaries.
They still are and it will ever be so.
When I was a Lad, I worked on cattle ranches in a Western town that was known for its location of many "B" Western Movies. One evening, the rancher I worked for took us into town to eat and have ice cream. The Mt.------Cafe was actually a bar on one side a cafe on the other, with the bathroom facilities on the bar side. As I went down the hall towards the mens room, a famous "B" actress came stumbling out of the ladies (?) room, wiping puke from her chin, let me by, and began puking again in the hall. She was passed out on the hallway floor, in her own vomit, when I left the mens room.
Obviously, I have never forgotten that experience, or others similar. It was too much reallity for one too young and too innocent to be exposed. The behavior was tolerated. It was expected of the "Movie People", and it brought money to the town. However, my father always thought H'Wood people were scum; "They're all either commies, drunks or some other kind of strangeness, Buck, stay away from 'em!" I always have.
That's why I like Pinocchio (sp??). It portrays actors for what they are. I always point that out to any child I know who watches that movie.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.