Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Red Decade and More

Writing in City Journal, Harry Stein examines the turbulent career of Eugene Lyons and others who sought to expose the nature of Stalin's regime. An excerpt:

Another figure who makes a brief appearance in The Red Decade is screenwriter Morrie Ryskind, and his example speaks to the influence that his leftist foes would continue to wield years after The Red Decade’s publication—even during the blacklist years of the late 1940s and early 1950s. One of the industry’s most successful writers, he had numerous credits, running from the Marx Brothers’ Animal Crackers and A Night at the Opera to My Man Godfrey and Stage Door. Ryskind broke ranks in 1947 by testifying in open session about Communist influence in the film industry. “In the twelve years prior to my testimony,” he’d write in his memoir, I Shot an Elephant in My Pajamas, “I was consistently one of the ten highest paid writers in Hollywood. I turned down, on the average, at least three assignments for every one I accepted, and I feel safe in saying I was welcome at every studio in town. After I testified against The Hollywood Ten, I was never again to receive one single offer from any studio.”

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