Blacklists  contain the names of people that have been placed on individual lists and that have been singled out in order to be punished or denied employment. Organizations are not exempt from these lists. Sometimes a person can be blacklisted for simply disagreeing with their employer. Some can be blacklisted for having a different political or social
viewpoint. When someone is blacklisted they are no longer able to seek a
job or any type of employment in that particular field. Just how legal
is this and what will be revealed by Stanley Dyrector in his open and
honest interviews and conversations with so many that have endured this
fate? Is this legal? In some cases yes and others you might think view
it as discrimination. Just where did this begin and how do people wind
up on these lists?

Merchants can add someone to these list by
denying him or her credit especially if someone has declared bankruptcy.
These lists are made public and the person faces more than just simple
embarrassment. Imagine having your image permanently tarnished? These lists are used to determine whether someone is denied the right to
belong to social clubs, dine in a particular restaurant, act in a play,
and go to a store and many other places. Some as you will learn when you
read this book are blacklisted for what others have stated as illegal
activities. Companies can be blacklisted too. A strong comparison can be
when many of us block private calls from our home phones or refuse to
answer calls listed as restricted. Some of us even block specific
callers or numbers from our phones. There are many reasons why someone is blacklisted. Let’s start with the first conversation in this book and learn more.

The author brilliantly introduces the reader to ten
writers, movies stars, Hollywood figures and others that were
blacklisted. He begins with three shows that focus on four specific
people as we hear their voices, their stories and understand what they
endured we also hear several audience members voice their opinions and
dissension. The people who were focused on during this period by
McCarthy were suspected and these people readily do admit to having ties
to the Communist Party. Hollywood was hit hard as many actors,
screenwriters, directors and producers were blacklisted. He begins with
The Hollywood Blacklist Part 1 with guest Jean Rouverol, Bernard Gordon, Oliver Crawford and Robert Lees each presenting the reasons why they were blacklisted but first sharing their back-stories and what led them to join the Communist Party and their experiences on the black list.
The first ten to be black listed were called The Hollywood Ten and refused
to cooperate with the investigation that was forged against them
invoking their First Amendment. Some were successful where others were
not. The Waldorf Statement issued by Hollywood executives would change the dynamics greatly as these ten were fired. Eight sent to prison for one year and the other two six months. Compared to the Salem Witch
trials this time period and what you are about to learn from reading
their stories was equally as volatile. Added in the author shares
information before we begin our journey into the past with these artists
about a pamphlet called Red Channels, which focused on broadcasting. In
this pamphlet 151 members of this industry were named and referred to
as “ Red Fascists and their sympathizers.” The United States government
concerned itself with finding links between Hollywood and the Communist
party. They created The House Committee on Un-American Activities or
HUAC, which released a report in 1938 stating that communism, was strong
in Hollywood. More than 42 movie professionals were named as communists
including Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and Fredric March. Much of this
information is related to readers in the Introduction. The blacklist
began in 1946. William R. Wilkerson founder and publisher of The
Hollywood Reporter published Trade View a column titled: A Vote For Joe
Stalin in it naming many sympathizers dubbing this list Billy’s
Blacklist. What happens as a result you will be surprised as his son
apologized for the paper’s role in the blacklist article and stating
that his father’s reasons were revenge when his own ambitions did not
pan out to own his own studio.

Robert Lees story continues on
pages 22-23 as the author and Robert share how and why he was
blacklisted and his experience. Sterling Hayden named him. On the stand
for quite some time he left knowing that he was blacklisted and working
in the industry was over and jobs would not come his way. The Hollywood
Ten were find by the Committee and sent to jail. He took the Fifth and
the First Amendment. Forced to cooperate by the producers they had no
choice but if blacklisted he and the others knew they could no longer
work. The sad part is that the committee did not punish them as Robert
states “the industry did.” So, how did he survive quite compelling. He
went into something entirely different and then many writers realized
they could work if they changed their names. Actors could not do it
because they would be recognized. He change had four names. His story
continues and he relates what happened to Fred Rinaldo his partner and
then we find out more about Bernard Gordon and his involvement with 55
Days At Peking and then we hear more from Oliver Crawford.
So many
amazing actors and writers were fired and the impact on so many lives
changed the complexion of the time period. The government went after
them and the end result you will read in this book as you hear every
voice and you understand their experiences, their reasons as each one is
interviewed, questioned and allowed to voice their side of a very sad

To really understand what Jean, Oliver, Robert and Gordon
endured I listened to the shows aired in 2001 and heard their voices,
their opinions and their intuitive and insightful comments about the
government at that present time, how they survived and where they were
at that time. The author states that his book: “Shedding Light on the
Hollywood Blacklist: Conversations With Participants”.is the result
primarily of transcriptions of my guest interviews’  with blacklisted
screenwriters and actors from my cable television show over a decade
ago, (with the exception of the audio interview I did with actress
Marsha  Hunt, a few months back in 2012). Several of the shows won WAVE
AWARDS for  Excellence in local programming.” He wrote this book in
order for readers to hear what happened to his friends that had been

We then hear the voice of Abe Polonsky and we learn
what films he wrote such as Body and Soul. Listening to the interview,
hearing why his father named him Abraham Lincoln Polonsky and finding
out why he was blacklisted and how he managed to become one of the
highest paid writers in the industry is truly great. He is interview was
compelling and I am going to relate more about the next ones too. He
was an American Film director, screenwriter, and essayist and
blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studios during the McCarthy era.
During these interviews he relates information about the novels that
showcased his career, becoming a Marxist and joining the Communist
Party. He even tells readers about how he participated in union
politics. He created a paper called The Home Front and he signed with
Paramount Pictures. He served in WWII returning to Paramount after his
tour of duty. His first film that he directed was Force of Evil. He was
blacklisted and called “ a dangerous citizen.” To learn more you need to
read his interviews for yourself. His sense of humor will bring smiles
to your face and the courage he shows even more.
Next the author
includes Norma Barzman and Joan Scott and we hear their stories, learn
about Joan and Norma’s careers, their husbands and Adrian Scott’s time
on the blacklist, when he decides to return to face his sentence and
then how they survived. Richard Powell is next and he created some of my
mom’s favorite shows like Topper, Life of Riley and one for the other
Dick Powell. The interviews are extensive and the cast quite varied as
he interviews Robert White/ screenwriter and author along with author
Norma Barzman. Talking to Robert about a book he co-authored titled
Hollywood and the Best of Lost Angeles Alive. He talks about why he
wrote it and many of the stories within the book. The author then talks
to Norma about her novel Rich Dreams and why she was blacklisted. The
story and account is shared on pages 108- 109 along with one about
Marilyn Monroe. The remainder of the book is quite revealing as the
author devotes on complete chapter to Oliver Crawford, Robert Lees why
he became a writer, his work, movies and much more followed by his time
on the blacklist and he lived and survived. Next, Jean Rouverol is heard
and we learn more about writing and her work. The author once again
talks about her life with her blacklisted husband, Hugo Butler and their
friendship with Waldo Salt who was the primary reason they joined the
Communist Party. We learn more about the Freedom of Information Act and
how she and many others obtained their FBI files with the information
that they were allowed to see. Some pages were blacked out. She talked
about the trial, the Fifth Amendment and the end result. The reader is
even enlightened about Hugo’s condition and the drugs he needed to stay
The final chapters are devoted to Bernard Gordon, Jeff Corey
and the interviews conducted in 1999 and 2001. The final two interviews
are John Randolph and Marsha Hunt. John was a great actor and he talks
about his time in the service, being blacklisted and why he could not
work in Hollywood. He did work on Broadway and wrote a book titled
Naming Names and you can guess what the theme of that book was when you
read his interview and learn more about this great actor for yourself.
Marsha Hunt is last and we hear her as the final voice and the final
interview. Asking her about the blacklist she did not want to discuss
it. She talks about Stanley’s book and realizes he discusses where it
all began and how it spread. She even talks about HUAC and then about
McCarthy. Marsha Hunt devoted her time to fighting for civil rights and
working with The March of Dimes and The Red Cross. She wrote a book in
1993 titled The Way We Wore. Flashing back remember that she went to
Washington to support 19 people in order to testify at the U.S. Capital
in 1947. She believed that what was happening was unfair.  Supporting
her friend Anne Shirley and her husband as well as producer Adrian
Scott. She was one of the 151 listed in Red Channels and wrongly accused
of being a communist sympathizer. The rest is really quite compelling
as author Stanley Dyrector takes readers back to a time when freedom of
speech was halted or non-existent some might say and when defending
those that you felt were not guilty would cast guilt upon you. A great
book with outstanding interviews and books that I would love to read and
interviewees if alive  I would love to have on my own radio show. This
is a must read for everyone. As you read each interview you can
literally hear the voice of Stanley and the person being interviewed.
Listen closely: this book gets FIVE GOLD LISTS and so does the forward
by Edward Asner.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

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