Four major entertainment industry guilds are planning to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the blacklist era with a special event, "Hollywood Remembers The Blacklist." The commemoration will be held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills On Oct. 27.
Presidents of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, and Writers Guild of America West last week issued a joint statement calling the 'blacklist era' an "aberrant chapter of American history" which "seriously impacted the lives of our members and threatened our nation's constitution." The statement said that calling attention to the era's 50th anniversary would help "to assure political despotism will never again be allowed to flourish in our nation."
The commemoration will include film clips, live commentary and dramatic recreations of the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings which were launched on Oct. 27, l947.
A 13-Year Ban
During that infamous time more than 300 performers, directors, and writers were blacklisted from employment in Hollywood because of their connection to the Communist Party, sometimes real, sometimes alleged.
Perhaps the most notable of these writers, dubbed the "Hollywood Ten," were sentenced to prison for refusing to answer the now notorious question pitched by HUAC Chairman J. Parnell Thomas: "Are you now or have you ever been a Communist?" These same writers, and many other players on the Hollywood scene, also refused to cooperate with authorities in indicting others who may or may not have been members of the Communist Party.
The blacklist lasted for 13 years and officially--some might say ritualistically--came to an end with the premiere of the film, "Spartacus,' at moments, a thinly veiled allegory about the heroes of the blacklist era, specifically those men who refused to turn in their friends and colleagues. Actor-producer Kirk Douglas gave screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, one of the "Hollywood Ten," a screenwriting credit for