Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Pg. 99: Thomas Doherty's "Show Trial"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Show Trial: Hollywood, HUAC, and the Birth of the Blacklist by Thomas Doherty.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1947, the Cold War came to Hollywood. Over nine tumultuous days in October, the House Un-American Activities Committee held a notorious round of hearings into alleged Communist subversion in the movie industry. The blowback was profound: the major studios pledged to never again employ a known Communist or unrepentant fellow traveler. The declaration marked the onset of the blacklist era, a time when political allegiances, real or suspected, determined employment opportunities in the entertainment industry. Hundreds of artists were shown the door—or had it shut in their faces.

In Show Trial, Thomas Doherty takes us behind the scenes at the first full-on media-political spectacle of the postwar era, a courtroom drama starring glamorous actors, colorful moguls, on-the-make congressmen, high-priced lawyers, single-minded investigators, and recalcitrant screenwriters, all recorded by newsreel cameras and broadcast over radio. Doherty explores the deep background to the hearings and details the theatrical elements of a proceeding that bridged the realms of entertainment and politics. He tells the story of the Hollywood Ten and the other witnesses, friendly and unfriendly, who testified; tracks the flight path of the Committee for the First Amendment, the delegation from Hollywood that descended on Washington to protest the hearings; and chronicles the implementation of the postwar blacklist. Show Trial is a rich, character-driven inquiry into how the HUAC hearings ignited the anti-Communist crackdown in Hollywood, providing a gripping new cultural history of one of the most influential events of the postwar era.
Learn more about Show Trial at the Columbia University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939.

The Page 99 Test: Show Trial.

--Marshal Zeringue