Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

This was supposed to be Christopher Trumbo’s book. He (and his two sisters, Nikola and Mitzi) knew Dalton Trumbo best. They experienced the blacklist period—their father’s inquisition by the Committee on Un- American Activities, his imprisonment, the family’s sojourn in Mexico...

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1. Under the Western Skies

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pp. 11-31

No region of the United States is more American than the West. It is no accident that one of the most enduring movie genres in history is the western. Thus, for someone like Dalton Trumbo, who was born...

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2. Baking Bread and Writing in Los Angeles

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pp. 32-52

According to the 1920 census, Los Angeles had become the tenth largest city in the United States (population 576,623). (In stark contrast, the population of Grand Junction was 8,665, and the population of Boulder was 11,066.) Ten years later, Los Angeles would be the fifth-largest...

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3. Playing the Studio Game and Organizing Guilds

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pp. 53-70

On June 1, 1934, Trumbo was hired by Warner Bros. to read and analyze novels, plays, and stories, at a salary of $27.50 a week. At that time, the Warners “ran the most economical and efficient studio in Hollywood.” Not only did the studio’s profits climb steadily during the...

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4. Marriage and Johnny Got His Gun

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pp. 71-96

Trumbo later said that 1938 “was probably the best year of my life.”1 He could just as easily have added 1939 and called it the best two years, because it was during that time that he married Cleo Fincher; they conceived their first child, Nikola; his play...

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5. From B Films to A Films

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pp. 97-109

Happily married, busy renovating the ranch, awaiting the birth of a second child (Christopher, born in 1940), and the recipient of a prestigious literary prize, Trumbo became exceedingly prolific and successful as a screenwriter. Although he seemed to be doing nothing but writing...

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6. Money, Politics, and War

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pp. 110-131

By the spring of 1940, Trumbo had become very active politically. On April 6 he spoke at a Peace Crusade meeting at the Olympic Auditorium, where he accused the current administration of following the same path as its predecessor in 1916–1917, using loans and material...

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7. Into the Communist Party

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pp. 132-158

Of course, Trumbo did not think of communism as a religion, but he was regularly derisive about the party’s church-like aspects. Albert Maltz once heard Trumbo say, during an interview, that belonging to the Communist Party was like belonging to the PTA. An appalled Maltz...

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8. Trumbo's Antifascist Persuasion

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pp. 159-184

Between 1944 and 1946, Trumbo was more politically engaged than he had been at any time in the past. Fearing that his hoped-for democratic peace was being swamped by a wave of neofascist activity and deafened by a chorus of war talk, he spoke and wrote in a wide variety of forums...

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9. The 1947 Hearings of the Committee on Un-American Activities

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pp. 185-210

One of the great mysteries that confronts anyone who studies the history of the early domestic cold war is how the small- and narrowminded members of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (1947–1951) succeeded in imposing their rigid and humiliating version...

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10. Blacklisted, Indicted, Convicted

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pp. 211-232

The Hollywood Ten constituted a group of relatively unknown men who had achieved notoriety in an unanticipated and unwanted manner. For three years, they shared an interest that was strong enough to overcome their differences, but each man dealt with the aftermath of the hearings...

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11. The Time of the Toad

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pp. 233-253

Shortly after his trial, Trumbo turned down, perhaps “rashly,” he wrote to Charles Katz, “another black market venture.” He explained, “I see no profit in putting in time and whatever talent I have on such projects, when I feel that my big gamble and my main chance lie in the play...

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12. Incarceration and Drift

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pp. 254-269

On June 7, 1950, Trumbo and Lawson flew to New York City. They attended several farewell parties and a rally at Madison Square Garden sponsored by the New York Civil Rights Congress. More than a thousand people came to Penn Station to watch them board a night train to...

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13. Oh, Oh, Mexico

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pp. 270-298

According to Jean Butler, the decision to leave the United States emanated from fear: Hugo feared he was about to be subpoenaed by the Committee on Un-American Activities, and Trumbo feared he might be subpoenaed again, asked the same questions, and indicted on a brand-new...

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14. Negotiating the Black Market, Working with the King Brothers

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pp. 299-313

Trumbo returned from Mexico an angry man, his anger stoked by the effect the blacklist was having on him and his friends. For the most part, he effectively and productively channeled that anger: he wrote pamphlets and articles and delivered speeches criticizing the domestic cold...

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15. From the Communist Party to the New Left

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pp. 314-326

While he was hard at work on the black market, Trumbo had little time to participate in political activities. He later said he had a “fear of activism” because every time he spoke, the sponsoring organization was attacked by anti-Communists.1 Nevertheless, he made a few speeches...

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16. Blacklist and Black-Market Politics

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pp. 327-336

Trumbo’s reflections on communism coincided with his efforts to closely supervise the blacklist and the black market. As a result, his thoughts evolved about the nature of informants and the role of informing in the maintenance of the blacklist. He went to great lengths to instruct other...

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17. Using and Revealing Robert Rich

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pp. 337-366

The burden of his black-market work and his feeling of frustration that the blacklist showed no signs of ending led Trumbo to, in his words, “totally revolt against the sense of martyrdom that lay so heavily over all of us. Nobody likes a martyr. They’re a living reproach to have...

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18. Spartacus

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pp. 367-394

The “Spartacus” project was Trumbo’s finest hour as a screenwriter and as an agent of historical change. But, Christopher said, “it was an awful push and pull, a tremendous struggle, and it was not just because of the personal antagonisms. It was simply a whole bunch of things getting...

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19. Exodus and the Credit Announcements

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pp. 395-412

Trumbo met producer-director Otto Preminger in November 1958, and they agreed that Trumbo would adapt two novels for the screen: Pierre Boulle’s The Other Side of the Coin and Ugo Pierro’s The Camp Followers. A contract for the first project was signed on May 1, 1959...

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20. Back on the Screen

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pp. 413-434

Trumbo did not feel triumphant, and he had no time for bitter reflections. He remained starkly realistic about what lay ahead, and he continued to tread very carefully through the minefield of the blacklist and...

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21. Hawaii and The Sandpiper

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pp. 435-453

After getting out from under Bunny Lake, Trumbo looked to the future with some optimism. He wrote to Michael Wilson that, at age fifty-five, he was probably in the midst of his “last big whirl” as a screenwriter, and he intended to reap as much money as he could from it. His contract...

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22. The Fixer and the Laurel Award

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pp. 454-485

When Trumbo returned from Rome, he and Cleo moved to a house on St. Ives Drive, a very narrow street off Sunset Plaza, in West Hollywood. The exterior of the house, as seen from the street, looked plain. “It is hard to get a grip on it from the outside,” Mitzi said, “but it went...

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23. Johnny Got His Gun--The Movie: Preproduction

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pp. 486-504

Trumbo had never lost interest in Johnny. It was his master work, and he delighted in the reprints and the recurring interest shown by new generations of young people. His efforts to make a movie based on the book and his ideas about both the book and the film provide glimpses...

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24. Johnny Got His Gun--The Movie: Principal Photography and Editing

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pp. 505-516

Shooting began on July 2, 1970, a few days sooner than anyone wanted, because Donald Sutherland had only two days off between two other films (Alex in Wonderland had just wrapped, and he was leaving for New York to shoot Klute). “We shot for a week,” Campbell remembered...

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25. Johnny Got His Gun--The Movie: Distribution and Exhibition

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pp. 517-531

The distribution decision proved to be a contentious one, mainly because the Investors wanted to sign with a distributor that would pay enough money up front to allow them to recoup their investment immediately, while Trumbo and Campbell were more concerned with finding...

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26. The Final Years

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pp. 532-562

Trumbo emerged from the Johnny production in dire financial straits. In August 1971 he turned to the King brothers for help. They arranged a $5,000 loan from Union Bank, for which Trumbo pledged 2,400 shares of King International Corporation.1 Three months later he wrote...

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27. Postmortem

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pp. 563-582

Mitzi and her daughter, Samantha, had moved back to the St. Ives house in the spring of 1973. During the next three years, she recalled:
My father talked to me about his assets, detailing them and reassuring himself and me that, after his death, Cleo would be...

Acknowledgments

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pp. 583-584

Appendix

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pp. 585-588

Chronology

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pp. 589-594

Notes

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pp. 595-676

Index

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pp. 677-708