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I’ve had a rich political life, a rich professional life, and a rich personal life. They’ve intersected each other in kaleidoscopic ways. I’m almost ready to try to capture its richness in some memoirs. . . . There will be no false modesty. I did some good things; also some foolish things. Ego is as fundamental as sex, and is expressed in as many curious ways. —Paul Jarrico, 1984 When one thinks of the motion picture blacklist, one of the first names that should come to mind is Paul Jarrico. No individual fought against it on so many fronts and for so long. And yet his name does not resonate with this generation. But to the more than one thousand people who gathered at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the headquarters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on the night of October 27, 1997, Jarrico represented an era of American history. That night, on the fiftieth anniversary of the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings that engendered the blacklist, the Screen Actors Guild, the Screen Directors Guild, the Writers Guild of America, west, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists sponsored the program “Hollywood Remembers the Blacklist.” It culminated with the current presidents of the four guilds delivering speeches of apology for their organizations ’ complicity with the blacklist mechanism. Ring Lardner Jr., the last surviving member of the Hollywood Ten, and Jarrico came onto the stage to accept the apologies. Following a lengthy standing PREFACE ovation, Jarrico told the audience that patriotism had a contradictory history in the United States: “Our brutal history defines patriotism as ‘My country right or wrong.’ Our noble history defines it as ‘My country: Right the wrong.’ Right the wrong. It may take another 50 years, but we shall overcome. The good guys will win.”1 Though Jarrico was, from 1937 to 1951, a successful screenwriter, with many credits and a high weekly salary, he was not on the A list of blacklisted screenwriters. And when the blacklist began to weaken, Jarrico found himself stuck in Europe, unable to regain the footing he had lost in Hollywood. But Jarrico’s life, thoroughly documented by the huge archive he so carefully amassed, offers an excellent lens through which to view the radical and mainstream political cultures of the United States during the twentieth century and, in particular, the relationship between a dedicated Marxist and the Hollywood motion picture industry. Though one may disagree with his political ideas and his interpretations of world events, one will not find in his long career of political activism an evil or immoral act. Two of the people who knew him best, Sylvia Gussin Jarrico (his first wife) and Lia Benedetti Jarrico (his third wife), have been invaluable resources. Sylvia Jarrico has been a constant source of information for twenty-five years, and Lia Jarrico gave me full access to Jarrico’s archive and has spoken to me at length about him. I dedicate this book to them and to my wife, Christine Holmgren, who read the entire manuscript, provided a host of helpful suggestions and comments, and made my life away from the word processor an ongoing joy. Becca Wilson, Jarrico’s niece, provided me with a treasure trove of documents that her father (and Jarrico’s brother-in-law), screenwriter Michael Wilson, and others wrote for Hollywood Communist Party discussions. These documents illustrate some of the key cultural concerns of Hollywood Marxists. I would also like to express my appreciation for the assistance provided to me by several archivists and librarians. First and foremost , I am deeply grateful to the staff at the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills, California. They have been consistently helpful and courteous . I am especially grateful to Howard Prouty, Jennie Romero, and Barbara Hall. In addition, I wish to thank Ned Comstock (Cinemaviii PREFACE Television Library, University of Southern California, Los Angeles), Lauren Buisson (Arts Library Special Collections, University of California, Los Angeles), Susan Berry (Silver City Museum, Silver City, New Mexico), Pat Leonard (Miller Library Special Collections, Western New Mexico University, Silver City), and Dorinda Hartmann (Film and Photo Archive, Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison). I also wish to thank the staff of the UCLA Oral History Program; Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library; and the regents of the University of California for permission to reprint significant excerpts from Jarrico...


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