Class struggle in Hollywood, 1930-1950: moguls, mobsters, stars, Reds, & trade unionists

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University of Texas Press, Feb 15, 2001 - Business & Economics - 331 pages
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As World War II wound down in 1945 and the cold war heated up, the skilled trades that made up the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU) began a tumultuous strike at the major Hollywood studios. This turmoil escalated further when the studios retaliated by locking out CSU in 1946. This labor unrest unleashed a fury of Red-baiting that allowed studio moguls to crush the union and seize control of the production process, with far-reaching consequences.

This engrossing book probes the motives and actions of all the players to reveal the full story of the CSU strike and the resulting lockout of 1946. Gerald Horne draws extensively on primary materials and oral histories to document how limited a "threat" the Communist party actually posed in Hollywood, even as studio moguls successfully used the Red scare to undermine union clout, prevent film stars from supporting labor, and prove the moguls' own patriotism.

Horne also discloses that, unnoticed amid the turmoil, organized crime entrenched itself in management and labor, gaining considerable control over both the "product" and the profits of Hollywood. This research demonstrates that the CSU strike and lockout were a pivotal moment in Hollywood history, with consequences for everything from production values, to the kinds of stories told in films, to permanent shifts in the centers of power.

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Contents

Class versus Class
39
Reds
60
Mobsters and Stars
97
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Gerald Horne is Moores Professor of History and African-American Studies at the University of Houston. His books include "Race Woman: The Lives of Shirley Graham Du Bois" and "Race War!: White Supremacy and the Japanese Attack on the British Empire" (both available from NYU Press).