Lately, I've been reading even more books than usual about a period that's always fascinated me; namely, the late 40s and early 50s, the time of the Hollywood blacklist. It was the time of what liberals labeled witch hunts. A funny thing, though, is that the hunting of witches is not such a bad thing if you've got a coven of them causing trouble.
Which is exactly what the Communists were doing in the 30s, 40s and 50s. And while I don't think the idiots in Hollywood were anywhere near as dangerous as the Reds in the State Department or at Los Alamos, they could be counted on to do what they could to further the Soviet's agenda, even if it was only to tithe America's sworn enemy.
Even back when I was a Democrat, it always annoyed me that liberals -- even those who weren't Reds and did not believe that Joseph Stalin walked on water -- insisted that there was nothing on earth more contemptible than an ex-Communist who named names. Who will ever forget unrepentant Stalinists like writer-director Abe Polonsky picketing the 1999Academy Awards when 90-year-old Elia Kazan received an Oscar celebrating a movie career that had seen him direct the likes of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," "Gentlemen's Agreement," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "East of Eden" and "On the Waterfront," while inside the auditorium such sophomoric lefties as Ed Harris, Amy Madigan and Nick Nolte, openly showed their contempt for the man?
The fact is that long before the Reds got it in the neck for pledging allegiance to the Soviet Union, conservatives were persona non grata at many of the studios. In the 60s, I met and interviewed Morrie Ryskind. For those of you unfamiliar with the name, he had shared in the Pulitzer Prize for "Of Thee I Sing," had been Oscar-nominated for "Stage Door" and "My Man Godfrey," and had also written "Penny Serenade" and a slew of Marx Brothers movies, including "Animal Crackers" and "A Night at the Opera."
The fact of the matter is that Hollywood's bottom feeders have no objection to naming names. It's only when they're the names of Communists that there's a problem. Had Kazan named fascists or, better yet, card-carrying Republicans, the motion picture community would have erected a statue of the man at the corner of Hollywood and Vine, and, for good measure, changed the name of its award from Oscar to Elia.