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The atmosphere here has improved enormously since the [U.S.USSR ] meeting at the summit [Geneva, July 1955]. . . . Personally I’m finding it increasingly easy to make a living again, and I also find time to fight the good fight for a lasting peace and a people’s democracy. Not, however, by making decent films. That is my one great frustration. —Paul Jarrico, 1956 The year 1954 was the height of the domestic cold war. Public opinion polls registered overwhelmingly anti-Communist sentiments,1 and Congress enacted the Communist Control Act, which effectively stripped the party of most of its due process rights.2 Though the Senate condemned Senator Joseph McCarthy in early December, one month later, it unanimously approved a resolution stating, “The Communist Party of the United States is recognized to be a part of the international Communist conspiracy against the United States and all the democratic forms of government. It is the sense of the Senate that its appropriate committees should continue diligently and vigorously to investigate, expose, and combat this conspiracy and all subversive elements and persons connected therewith.”3 As we have seen, the full weight of this anti-Communist apparatus had been employed against the makers of Salt of the Earth. Jarrico, back in Los Angeles, now felt its weight on him as an individual . He immediately began to seek work on the black market using the pseudonym “Peter Achilles.” He wrote to a prospective 8 The Black Market and Khrushchev’s Speech, 1954–58 agent, “As you know, I’m blacklisted. But if you know anyone who wants a $2000 a week writer at a considerable discount, on either a movie or a TV script, let me know.”4 Few did. Jarrico had earned thirteen Academy credits between 1937 and 1949. He would not receive another credit until 1969. He had earned $28,500 on average per year in the decade prior to the blacklist (1941–51); he would earn $14,000 total between 1952 and 1957. Jarrico noted that the black market for scripts went through several phases: At first, it was really so far under the table that it was under the floor. I mean by that that if a producer discovered he’d bought something by a blacklisted writer, sold to him under another name or through a front, the chances were very real that the deal would be broken. . . . That was the earliest stage. That was the early fifties, or for the . . . Hollywood Ten, the late forties. But by the mid-fifties, by the time I really began to depend on the black market, producers were beginning to look the other way. I’d say by the late fifties, they were even courting blacklisted writers, still insisting, though, that they work under phony names or through fronts. It was very complicated. There were as many stories as there were black market deals.5 In the summer of 1954, Jarrico and Adrian Scott spent two days writing a speculative treatment for an episode of the television show Lassie, but it was rejected. Jarrico was then approached by the newly blacklisted Frank Tarloff, who had written a screen story that would be fronted and produced by Edward Lewis.6 Tarloff offered Jarrico one-third of his 50 percent interest in the project. They decided to title it Malvourneen (The Stud with a Delicate Ear), after an Irish song, “Kathleen Malvourneen.” It involved a bachelor in a small Irish village who loved three women. They had big hopes for it and worked on it steadily for the rest of the year. But Lewis was unable to get it made. Jarrico also worked on developing a speculative original by Michael Wilson (The Flying Carpet). Ostensibly about a music teacher who teaches the children of U.S. oil workers based in a Middle Eastern country, the story was actually a critical commentary on international oil dealings. Jarrico also tried to work with Sylvia on two projects. The first, “The Loser,” was a half-hour television script about rehabilitating criminals in prison and restoring them to a use160 BLACKLIST ful place in society, for which the Jarricos received $750. The second, about delinquent girls in a reform school, was offered to them by Dalton Trumbo and Adrian Scott. Scott would be the associate producer , the Jarricos would write the treatment, and Trumbo would write the script. The Jarricos based their treatment on the precept that “there are no bad girls—there are only bad circumstances...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813173009
Related ISBN
9780813124537
MARC Record
OCLC
182624495
Pages
352
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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