Sunday, September 04, 2005

It's not all failed chorines and dancing boys

September 4, 1947

It was a year ago that prosperous dentist Jules Goldsmith, 42, packed up his wife and three kids and moved them to 201 S. Hamel Drive, Beverly Hills. The good DDS wanted to be not dentist to the stars, but a star himself.

And so he burned through the family's savings, returning to Detroit alone several weeks ago, when he saw how dire circumstances had become. His sister's maid found him hanging from a basement beam, with a note that read: "Big mistake in leaving hometown and all my friends. Lack of work all my fault. Motion pictures just a gag. We have good children. Betty should remain on the coast."

Betty and the children were on their way to Detroit at last report.

Suggested reading for starstruck fang-polishers: How to Make it in Hollywood : Second Edition

1 comment:

Larry said...

Hollywood Red
Threat Debated

“Is There Really a Communist Threat in Hollywood?” was debated yesterday in a combined public and radio forum at the Philharmonic Auditorium.

State Sen. Jack Tenney, chairman of the joint legislative committee on un-American activities, and Mrs. Lela Rogers, writer-mother of actress Ginger Rogers, upheld the affirmative. Denial of a Communist threat was presented by Emmet Lavery, president of the Screen Writers Guild, and actor Albert Dekker.

Earlier nine other cinema figures had been asked by the American Broadcasting Co. to debate the affirmative on this “America’s Town Meeting,” but all declined.

+ + +

Among the celebrities declining an invitation to discuss Communists in Hollywood was Hedda Hopper, and her column expands on the number of Red-influenced films in Hollywood and reflects the reasoning of the day.

In addition to the previously mentioned films “Mission to Moscow,” “North Star” and “Song of Russia” attacked as being Red-influenced, Hopper adds:

—“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “Which implied that there were only two honest men among the 96 members of the Senate of the United States.”

—“Meet John Doe,” “In which an American industrialist was represented as possessing his own private uniformed army, which rode through the streets of an American town on motorcycles in military formation, ruthlessly breaking up an orderly assemblage of citizens meeting in a baseball park.

“The official police did nothing about this. The sheriff and other law enforcement officers did nothing. The mayor of the city did nothing. The governor of the state did nothing. The grand jury didn’t investigate or bother to hand down an indictment. If audiences believed that picture, then they believe there are no rights and no protection under the law for American citizens.”

—“The Farmer’s Daughter” “A very amusing comedy but which managed to hold up to ridicule our whole process of free elections by showing a crowd of Americans madly applauding gibberish and double talk at a political rally. Many a person must have left the theater after seeing that picture with his faith in our elective processes shaken.”

—“A Song to Remember,” “The musician Chopin was erroneously shown throughout the picture as a revolutionary. He was not. He was the son of a Polish nobleman and not known to have been interested in the revolution.”

There’s more but it’s too much to quote here. However Hopper’s conclusion resonates today in ways she could never imagine:

“I’d like to ask my readers one question: What recent picture can you recall in which a member of Congress has been presented as an honorable, intelligent, patriotic public servant? In what picture has an industrialist been shown as a straightforward, decent human being?

“There is certainly a Communist threat throughout the world and Hollywood still is a part—a very influential part—of the world, so it can hardly escape.”