70th Anniversary Commemoration of The Hollywood Blacklist
Un-American: A Reenactment of The HUAC Hearings
With Susan Sarandon, Jamie Cromwell, Mike Farrell & Others
Friday, October 27th
Program Starts at 7:00 PM ~ Doors Open at 6:30 PM
The Writers Guild Theater
135 S. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills 90211
Blacklist Event is Now Offering Seats.
To Get Tickets Go To:
Questions Email Ed Rampell at: email@example.com
On Friday evening, October 27, 2017 at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, Blacklist survivors, relatives of persecuted artists & contemporary progressive talents including, on a schedule permitting basis, Susan Sarandon, Jamie Cromwell, Mike Farrell & via video Harry Belafonte and Lee Grant, will reenact the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings that launched the Hollywood Blacklist. This is the exact 70th anniversary of the start of the Hollywood Ten's HUAC testimony on October 27, 1947, which launched the Hollywood Blacklist and later McCarthyism.
This was one of the most unjust, repressive eras in American history, enforcing censorship and trampling on constitutional rights. Suspected of being "subversives," artists and filmmakers were subpoenaed to testify before Congress. If the talents refused to inform about their political activities and associations - and on others - to HUAC they were blacklisted.
For members of the Hollywood Ten like screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Spartacus) and some other "unfriendly witnesses", such as Dashiell Hammett (author of The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man detective stories), this meant prison and/or fines. For hundreds more actors, writers, directors, etc., who refused to "name names" and be informers, this meant being banished from working in the movie industry. Today, the news media is told to "shut up and listen" by a new repressive regime in Washington that calls the press "fake news," "the enemy of the people" and "opposition party." The president advocates expanding libel laws while the attorney general cracks down on leakers. Amidst this growing climate of First Amendment intimidation, Trump scolds Hamilton's cast, the president's supporters disrupt Shakespeare in the Park's Julius Caesar and so on. AG Jeff Sessions' Justice Department has demanded info regarding the 1.3 million people who visited an anti-Trump website. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights recently said: "To call these news organizations 'fake' does tremendous damage and to refer to individual journalists in this way, I have to ask the question is this not an incitement for others to attack journalists?" The White House Press Secretary called ESPN co-host Jemele Hill's denunciation of Trump as "a white supremacist" on her private Twitter account a "fireable offense." Trump likewise urged NFL owners to fire football players who exercise their First Amendment rights. And lest we forget, Sen. Joe McCarthy and Trump both had the same lawyer - Roy Cohn.
Hollywood Fights Back - Again!
The goal of our HUAC hearings reenactment is to remind Americans about another despotic era in U.S. history when free speech rights were trampled on by HUAC and McCarthyism - so it never happens again. In 1947, when Washington began cracking the whip in Tinseltown, artists such as directors John Huston and William Wyler formed the Committee for the First Amendment to resist. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Marsha Hunt and other talents flew from Los Angeles to the nation's capital to witness the Hollywood Ten hearings. They also produced two coast-to-coast radio programs called Hollywood Fights Back, featuring Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Bogie, Danny Kaye, Lucille Ball, Burt Lancaster, Artie Shaw, Edward G. Robinson, etc., opposing HUAC and advocating free speech. Now, Hollywood is fighting back again against government suppression of freedom of speech, along with other First Amendment defenders. The Hollywood Blacklist survivors, relatives of blacklisted artists and today's progressive talents will read aloud testimony of the Hollywood Ten and other Blacklisted filmmakers, such as Trumbo, Ring Lardner, Bertolt Brecht, Lillian Hellman and Paul Robeson, who were subpoenaed to testify before HUAC. On-the-record statements by Committee members; written statements which "unfriendly witnesses" were forbidden from reading during the HUAC inquisitions will finally be read aloud in public; and other Blacklist-related texts such as Red Channels, The Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television will be read at this live event, which plans to include a reception.
The title of the October 27th commemoration at the Writers Guild Theater is: "Un-American: A Reenactment of the HUAC Hearings." It will be filmed for possible release (on terms and in platforms yet to be determined). The Writers Guild Foundation is a co-sponsor of the Commemoration & is presenting a Hollywood Blacklist-themed exhibition to be displayed in the lobby/reception area of the Writers Guild Theater.
Contemporary artists who have agreed on a schedule permitting basis to read HUAC testimony, et al, at the live event include: New York-based Harry Belafonte will read Paul Robeson's HUAC testimony and Oscar winner Lee Grant will both participate via videos specially prepared for the event. Ed Asner, Jamie Cromwell (his father, director John Cromwell, was blacklisted), Rosario Dawson, Susan Sarandon, Mike Farrell, Andrea Marcovicci (Woody Allen's girlfriend in The Front) plan to be among the readers.
So are KPFK's Jerry Quickley, American-Iranian actor/comedian Maz Jobrani, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Robert Schenkkan, director Jeremy Kagan and Michael Nouri. Artists Rise Up Los Angeles is also helping, as is the Art of Acting Studio.
Blacklist survivors and family members who have agreed on a schedule permitting basis to read HUAC testimony at the live event include:
Marsha Hunt, who flew to Washington to observe & oppose the 1947 Congressional inquisition with Bogie & Bacall as part of Hollywood's "Committee for the First Amendment" - has agreed to participate at this live reenactment taking place shortly after she turns 100. Screenwriter Norma Barzman will read Edward Dmytryk's testimony wherein the director informed on the Barzmans to HUAC.
Persecuted artists' family members who have agreed on a schedule permitting basis to read HUAC testimony at the live event include: The granddaughter of blacklisted screenwriter Robert Lees actress Tania Verafield will read her grandfather's HUAC testimony. Actress Ellen Geer will read her father Will Geer's droll HUAC testimony. Illeana Douglas, granddaughter of actor Melvyn Douglas - husband of Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas, who was slandered by former HUAC witch-hunter Richard Nixon during a 1950 Senate race - will participate. Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz will read statements by his granduncle Joseph L. Mankiewicz regarding the Blacklist and the Screen Directors Guild division. Tony Kahn, a Blacklist historian and son of blacklisted screenwriter Gordon Kahn, one of the Hollywood 19, has agreed to participate. Ellen Gordon daughter of blacklisted screenwriter Bernard Gordon will read a statement from her father. Mira Larkin and Adan Faudoa will read the testimony of their grandfather and great-grandfather blacklisted Hollywood Ten screenwriter Albert Maltz. The daughter and grandson of blacklisted producer George Pepper, Margot Pepper and Rafael Pepper-Clarke will participate (on the day Rafael turns 13!).
Writers Guild President Howard A. Rodman will read the passage in Walter Bernstein's (screenwriter of The Front) book about his father, who fronted for Bernstein, and the listing about Bernstein in Red Channels. Becca Wilson will honor her father screenwriter Michael Wilson. Laura Bresler will read the listing in Red Channels about her Great Aunt Minerva Pious. Tom Levitt, whose mother appeared before HUAC, will participate. Lisa Gilford, the daughter of Jack and Madeline Gilford, plans to participate. Nina Huebsch will read the HUAC testimony of her father Edward F. Huebsch.
Bill Jarrico plans to read testimony by his father, blacklisted screenwriter Paul Jarrico. Cable TV commentator Ellen Ratner, the sister of the Center for Constitutional Rights' late President, Michael Ratner, and a cousin of Paul Jarrico, will also read testimony. Daughters of actor Lionel Stander, including Bella Stander, plan to read their father's testimony.
Co-organizer Norma Barzman is a 97-year-old Blacklist Survivor, screenwriter and author who lived in exile with her husband, screenwriter Ben Barzman (Back to Bataan, El Cid). Norma wrote the books The Red and the Blacklist and The End of Romance. Co-organizer Ed Rampell was named after legendary CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow because of his TV exposes of Sen. Joe McCarthy. Rampell majored in cinema at Hunter College, Manhattan and is a film critic/historian who has written extensively about the Blacklist, including in his book Progressive Hollywood, A People's Film History of the United States, The Progressive Magazine, The Forward, New Times LA, AlterNet, Hollywood Progressive, The Nation, etc. Rampell initiated the Blacklist-themed Sept./Oct. 2015 issue of the Writers Guild'sWritten By Magazine, which generated more letters to the editor than any other issue.
Project Liaison Ken Levy was the son-in-law of blacklisted screenwriter Robert Lees (MGM's The Flag Speaks and Robert Benchley shorts, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein) and is a Hollywood Blacklist scholar.
Hollywood Progressive and LA Progressive are media sponsors and our Social Media Experts.
Computer Specialist Dennis Kaye is a saxophonist and band leader.
Blacklist historians/authors Larry Ceplair, Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner are project Historical Advisers. Ceplair co-authored the seminal The Inquisition in Hollywood, The Marxist and the Movies, A Biography of Paul Jarrico, and with Christopher Trumbo Dalton Trumbo, Blacklisted Hollywood Radical. Buhle and Wagner co-wrote Hide in Plain Sight, the Blacklistees in Film & Television, 1950-2002, Radical Hollywood, Blacklisted, The Film Lovers' Guide to the Hollywood Blacklist, A Very Dangerous Citizen, Abraham Lincoln Polonsky & the Hollywood Left and contributed to Tender Comrades.
Be a Free Speech Champion!
Here are ways you can help support the crowd funding campaign for "Un-American: A Reenactment of the HUAC Hearings" and make sure we don't have another Blacklist:
We need to raise the funds in order to be able to stage this live event at the Writers Guild Theater and to film it. We are fundraising to bring out-of-town relatives of blacklisted artists to Los Angeles in order to read at the Commemoration; to cater the event's planned reception; for validated parking at the Writers Guild Theater; for writing and directing the HUAC reenactment; for out-of-town talents to videotape HUAC testimony, et al, to be screened at the event; and more.
Please donate to the 70th Anniversary Hollywood Blacklist Commemoration and/or purchase tickets to attend, books and/or the other perks we are offering to defray the expenses for this historic, one of a kind historic remembrance.
Please reach out to freedom of expression advocates, other members of the Blacklist community and/or contemporary progressive talents you may know to inform them about this event. Please share the campaign on social media.
Please share your enthusiasm for this 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Hollywood Blacklist by urging others to attend and spread the word!
Please contribute to "Un-American: A Reenactment of the HUAC Hearings." Every dollar counts! Please share your passion for this Blacklist Commemoration by encouraging others to contribute!
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California plans to participate.
Your help with raising awareness about this campaign is greatly appreciated! We welcome your support for this 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Hollywood Blacklist to ensure that HUAC, Blacklists and McCarthyism never happen in the land of the free again. As Blacklisted Oscar winner Michael Wilson, whose screen credits include Salt of the Earth, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia and Planet of the Apes said at a Writers Guild speech in 1976: "I feel that unless you remember this dark epoch and understand it, you may be doomed to replay it."