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The Motion Picture Industry in 1940-1941 - Prologue: January 1940, The 1940 Consent Decree, Labor Pains

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The American cinema in early 1940 was a study in paradox, with Hollywood in the full flowering of its “golden age” while the industry foundered economically and was beset by crises both at home and abroad. In terms of filmmaking achievements, Hollywood was just coming off what many considered its best year ever—a view underscored in January 1940 when several top holiday pictures went into widespread release. Those late-1939 releases included MR .SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON , THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME , DRUMS A LONG THE MOHAWK , DESTRY RIDES AGAIN , and GONE WITH THE WIND . The most significant of these, without question, was G ONE WITH THE W IND , an industry phenomenon of the first order and striking evidence of the movie industry’s paradoxical state.

Released in late December 1939, GONE WITH THE WIND was an immediate hit of such magnitude that it redefined what one trade paper termed “how big and how important a motion picture can be.” 1 David O. Selznick’s massive Civil War epic was certainly the “biggest” production in Hollywood annals: a $4.25 million, 220-minute, star-laden Technicolor spectacle far beyond the scale of even the “prestige pictures” of the era. GONE WITH THE WIND proved to be the biggest of commercial hits as well. In that era, a $5 million box-office gross was considered exceptional; over the previous decade, only Disney’s SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937) had surpassed that mark. In January 1940, GONE WITH THE WIND averaged roughly $1 million per week while playing in fewer than 500 of the nation’s 17,500 theaters.

Despite the runaway success of GONE WITH THE WIND , the overall economic state of the industry in early 1940 was shaky at best. Box-office receipts for January were down about 5 percent compared with January 1939, and in fact the studios’ combined profits during that halcyon 1939-1940 period were well below their net income in 1936 and 1937, when Hollywood’s Depression-era recovery first took hold. The studios had responded to that earlier economic upturn by increasing both the quality and quantity of their productions in the late 1930s, a strategy which now seemed somewhat ill advised. As Variety’s Roy Chartier noted in January 1940, many leading exhibitors felt that Hollywood’s high-end pictures, "regardless of how fine they are, have gone entirely out of proportion to the potentialities of the market as it stands today. " 3 Interestingly enough, GONE WITH THE WIND was the exception that proved the rule; that single picture accounted for over one-half of Hollywood’s net profits in 1940.

The glut of “quality” pictures indicated not only a misfired market strategy but the gradual erosion of studio control over the filmmaking process as well. While the studios still ruled the industry at large, they were forced to contend with the growing power and leverage of independent filmmakers and top freelance talent, who tended to specialize in prestige-level production. The status of major independent producers like Selznick, Walt Disney, and Sam Goldwyn signaled this trend, as did the steadily increasing clout of top stars and filmmakers. The producer-director Frank Capra in January 1940, for example, had recently ended a decade-long relationship with Columbia Pictures after completing MR .SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON and was negotiating a one-picture deal with Warner Bros. for MEET JOHN DOE (1941). RKO, meanwhile, was trying to rein in its recently signed multitalented prodigy, twenty-five-year-old Orson Welles. In January 1940, the studio announced that it was shelving the boy wonder’s first project, a film adaptation of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, owing to projected cost overruns, and that Welles would begin work (as producer-director-writer-actor) on another project, “John Citizen, U.S.A.”—released in 1941 and retitled CITIZEN KANE . And Hollywood’s con-summate independent filmmaker, the producer-director-writer-star Charlie Chaplin, was shooting “Chaplin #6” in January 1940 at his personal production facility on La Brea Avenue under the usual shroud of secrecy—although it was widely known to be a comic biography of Adolf Hitler.

Another clear display of individual clout among Hollywood’s creative community in January 1940 involved Katharine Hepburn. The actress had fled Hollywood for the Broadway stage in 1938, having been dubbed “box-office poison” by leading exhibitors, and had starred in a stage hit, The Philadelphia Story . Hepburn had the foresight to purchase the screen rights to Philip Barry’s hit play, and now she was back in Hollywood, auctioning both the presold story property and her own renewed star status to the highest bidder. As of January 1940, both Warners and MGM were still in the running; Hepburn would decide on MGM.

While the increasing authority of top talent was a matter of some concern for the Hollywood studio powers in early 1940, the industry faced even greater threats from various outside forces and from external industry developments. The most serious, of course, involved the outbreak of war in Europe in late 1939, which threatened Hollywood’s crucial overseas trade. In January, the war’s impact on foreign markets, particularly in Europe, was still uncertain. After the Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939 and ensuing declarations of war on Germany by both England and France, there had been very little active warfare. Thus, an eerie calm pervaded the Continent, and the Hollywood studios had no real conception of how the war in Europe would affect their foreign trade. Nor was there any clear indication of whether the war-related U.S. defense buildup, just under way in early 1940, would affect the film industry. As Chartier described the situation in January 1940: “The war, and any boom resulting from that industrially in this country, might mean generally renewed vitality in theater receipts. It also might mean nothing and, so far, it hasn’t except in a very isolated way through stepped up grosses where production has spurted, notably steel centers.”

While war conditions intensified both at home and abroad in early 1940, so did the growing discord between Hollywood and the U.S. government. When Congress reconvened in January, Hollywood suffered a series of verbal assaults on Capitol Hill. Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana, an avowed isolationist, publicly chastised Hollywood for pro-war and pro-military propaganda and promised to propose legislation restricting any overtly interventionist films. Hollywood was accused of a different brand of propaganda by Congressman Martin Dies of Texas, who in his opening address to the House requested additional funding for his investigation of “un-American activities” in the United States. Dies singled out Hollywood in his January 1940 address, suggesting that the movie industry, and particularly its labor unions and talent guilds, was rife with subversives and Communists. And organized labor suffered a setback in January when a federal grand jury indicted Willie Bioff, the Hollywood-based chief of the industry’s dominant labor organization, the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE), in a major racketeering and bribery scandal.

Yet another congressional assault came from Senator Matthew Neely of West Virginia, an outspoken critic of motion picture trade practices. In past years, Neely had sponsored bills against the block booking of pictures, a practice by which the studios forced exhibitors to take a studio’s entire annual output, sight unseen, in order to get the more desirable A-class pictures. Neely’s anti-block-booking bills had passed the Senate in 1938 and again in 1939, only to fail in the House. 8 Neely vowed in January 1940 to reintroduce that legislation and to sponsor additional bills outlawing double features and, on a more serious note, prohibiting studios from owning theater chains.

This threat of theater “divorcement” already had been posed by another and considerably more potent governmental force: the antitrust division of the Department of Justice. In 1938, the Justice Department filed an antitrust suit against the major Hollywood studios—the so-called Paramount case, named for the first defendant cited—which challenged the studios’ ownership of theaters and various other trade practices as well. The studios had managed to keep the Justice Department at bay until January 1940, when the senior federal judge John C. Knox set a trial date of 1 May.

The announcement of a trial date in the Paramount case sent shock waves through the industry, initiating a decade-long succession of legal proceedings—hearings and trials, appeals and reversals, and eventually a series of Supreme Court rulings late in the decade. The government’s antitrust campaign was in many ways the single defining industry event of the 1940s, striking at the very essence of the Hollywood studio system and bringing about the wholesale transformation of the American movie industry.

The 1940 Consent Decree

The studios’ initial response to the Paramount suit was rather cavalier, just as it had been to other challenges to their hegemony. As the Motion Picture Herald described the situation, “Time was, back in the summer of 1938, and for many months following, when many a motion picture corporate executive, and many a motion picture corporate counsel, held the opinion—never expressed publicly—that the United States Government’s ‘key’ antitrust case to divorce production-distribution from exhibition, break up the ‘talent pool’ in Hollywood, and otherwise refabricate most of the industry’s pattern, never would reach trial.” 32 But the government pressed on; the Wall Street Journal predicted in January 1939 that the studios’ “high, wide and handsome days are coming to a close,” and that “henceforth there will be increasing control and regulation” of the industry.

Ensuing events in early 1939 certainly bore out that prediction. In January, the studios submitted (via the MPPDA) a sixteen-point proposal outlining a new trade agreement, which within days was rejected by the theater owners. In February, Thurman Arnold told the Economic Society of New York that the Justice Department’s primary goal was “absolute divorcement of production and distribution from exhibition” and he even broached the possibility of cinema as a “government regulated monopoly.” 34 That same month, the Supreme Court handed down its first post-New Deal decision related to the movie industry, citing the Big Eight and two large unaffiliated circuits for attempting to fix prices and to prohibit double billing of top product in subsequent-run theaters. 35 This decision was a severe setback and a worrisome signal for the Hollywood powers. In the words of a Variety editorial, the decision “unwinds much of the complicated industry texture which had developed in the past decade,” and seriously threatened both the “large affiliated and independently owned theater circuits, now in control of first-run exhibition.”

By March 1939, over thirty antitrust lawsuits had been filed against the majors in federal, state, and local courts, and the Senate’s Interstate Commerce Committee had resumed hearings on the Neely anti-block-booking bill in the Senate. 37 The majors responded by offering to stop forcing shorts on exhibitors (which Variety termed “a sop to the Government monopoly suit”), and by proposing yet another draft of revised trade practices to theater owners—which again was rejected. 38 The government, meanwhile, increased the pressure in May by bringing another antitrust suit against several large unaffiliated circuits as well as attaching a partial “bill of particulars” to the New York suit, citing Paramount for forty-three specific offenses. 39 In June, another MPPDA proposal was rejected by Allied, and Variety signaled a Justice Department ultimatum under a front-page banner headline: “Divorcement or Else, Says D.C.” 40 In late summer, the Senate again passed the Neely bill, sending it on to the House; that it was not expected to pass did little to assuage the growing concerns among Hollywood’s major studio powers.

This general pattern of lobbying, negotiating, and political maneuvering continued, both in the press and behind the scenes. In January 1940, the Film Daily Year Book listed the war in Europe as the number-one news story of the past year, followed by the   trade reforms, the Neely bill, and antitrust litigation; Variety named the federal antitrust suit as “No. 1 on the list of current nightmares” for the industry. 41 Once the trial date was set (eventually it was moved from May to June), the majors began negotiating directly with the Justice Department. Meanwhile, the MPPDA president, Will Hays, working behind the scenes, even made overtures to Roosevelt himself. 42 Neely, despite the continued reluctance in the House to pass his anti-block-booking bill, submitted a bill to the Senate in April demanding complete theater divorcement; Thurman Arnold supported the bill in Senate testimony.

Clearly the government’s antitrust campaign was gaining steam, and the Hollywood powers—and their armies of attorneys—worked furiously to reach a satisfactory com-promise. The case did finally go to trial on 6 June, only to be immediately adjourned by Judge Henry W. Goddard, with the attorney general’s approval, to allow further settlement explorations. 44 That adjournment was the first of thirteen trial postponements over the next four and a half months as the Justice Department and the Big Five hammered out a consent decree. Signing such a decree was, for the studios, a submission of a no-contest plea and an implicit admission of guilt, as well as an effort to rectify the situation. The key points of the 1940 consent decree, signed on 29 October 1940, were: block booking would continue, but in blocks no larger than five films; trade shows would be held regularly to provide exhibitors with advance screenings; forcing of shorts and newsreels was banned; and the majors could not expand their holdings without federal approval. An arbitration board was set up to settle disputes involving clearance and the like. And the issue of divorcement was tabled for three years, left by the Justice Department and the court to hang like the sword of Damocles over the majors’ heads.

Two points should be underscored here. One was that the independent exhibitors, on whose behalf the antitrust suit had been filed, had begun protesting the consent decree as soon as drafts of the document began circulating in the summer. The independents’ main concern was the blocks-of-five compromise, which they argued would do little to stop the blocking of weak pictures together with more desirable ones and thus would allow the present abuses to continue. Moreover, the trade shows would cause additional expense and hassle for the independent exhibitors. A more favorable plan, Allied suggested, was to continue the policy of buying a full season’s program, sight unseen, but with more liberal cancellation allowances—letting exhibitors cancel up to 20 percent of a seasonal block. 46 In fact, Allied’s Northwest office sponsored just such a bill in Minnesota immediately after the decree was signed. The bill passed both houses in early 1941, causing severe problems for all involved, including Minnesota exhibitors who grew desperate for product when the Big Five refused to deal with them on the terms dictated by the legislation.

The second point relates to the Little Three and the so-called escape clause in the 1940 consent decree. Because UA, Universal, and Columbia did not own theaters, they considered themselves exempt from the government’s antitrust charges. (UA sold its pictures individually, while Universal and Columbia relied heavily on block booking.) Still, Justice pressed its suit against the Little Three; the consent decree included a clause stipulating that if the government’s case against the Little Three had not been resolved as of 1 June 1942, then the entire consent decree was void and the Big Eight could resume their earlier trade practices.

All in all, the majors emerged from the antitrust suit in remarkably good shape. As D. W. Churchill of the New York Times suggested in early October 1940, “From tentative drafts of the consent decree already produced, it appears that the government has   taken a generous attitude toward the peculiar marketing system under which the industry operates, and that the studios will get off a lot easier than they had at first anticipated.” Churchill also criticized the exhibitors for their “desire to share in all of the profits without wanting to assume any of the risks.” But there was no doubt that independent theater owners had been systematically denied a fair share of those profits—as the majors acknowledged when they entered into the decree.

Because the decree was signed after the 1940-1941 season commenced on 1 September 1940, the new selling setup with its blocks-of-five provision did not take effect until the 1941-1942 season. The majors did start holding trade screenings for exhibitors in early 1941, however, and arbitration tribunals also were set up in each of the thirty-one key distribution exchanges to hear complaints. By mid-July, nearly one hundred arbitration cases had been filed, the vast majority of them involving clearance; about half had been resolved, with only eight favoring the complaining exhibitor. 49 Not surprisingly, both the circuits and the independent exhibitors were as unhappy with the arbitration system as they were with the blocks-of-five provision. In December 1941, the MPTOA president, Ed Keykendall, stated that “the consent decree is a mess,” and that “the benefits promised to exhibitors have completely failed to materialize.” 50 A short time later, he wrote a piece for the Film Daily Year Book, suggesting that, for the theater owner, “the problem now is how to get out of the costly blunder without becoming even further involved in litigation and statutory regulation.” 51 In that same volume, Allied’s board chairman and general counsel termed the decree a “lamentable failure,” insisting that theater owners in 1941 suffered “the blackest year in their history.”

The Justice Department shared the exhibitors’ concerns about the effectiveness of the consent decree, and in fact the Justice Department clarified its concerns in a statement issued in January 1942 reviewing the first year of operation under the decree. While “the net result of the decree” was still uncertain, Justice questioned whether continued “discrimination” against the independents “may be remedied by measures short of divorcement.” 53 But any claims regarding the exhibitors’ undue suffering in late 1941 were dubious at best considering the recent box-office surge due to the improving economy and the U.S. government’s massive defense buildup. Indeed, as discussed later in this chapter, the domestic movie marketplace by late 1941 was booming while Hollywood’s overseas markets were imperiled. It was the major studio-distributors who were feeling the squeeze.

Labor Pains

Adding to the chaos and uncertainty of the prewar era was a deepening labor crisis, which involved powerful forces both inside and outside the motion picture industry. In fact, a number of long-simmering labor conflicts reached a boiling point in 1940-1941, signaling not only the severity but also the increasingly political nature of Hollywood’s labor crisis. The conjunction of these conflicts also indicated the inability of the studios—and their trade association and public relations branch, the MPPDA—to manage these crises. Hollywood’s labor conflicts centered on three distinct areas: first, jurisdictional battles for control of the unions and guilds by national labor organizations; second, government prosecution of film industry labor leaders for racketeering; and third, investigations by local and federal authorities into alleged Communist infiltration of Hollywood labor unions.

A catalyst of sorts in each of these conflicts during the prewar era was the official formation of Hollywood’s top talent guilds. The directors’ and writers’ guilds were founded in the mid-1930s, but as of 1939 they still had not signed contracts with the studios (which, in this context, were routinely referred to as the “producers”). 103 The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) won recognition from the producers in 1937, signing a contract that made SAG the sole bargaining agent for all of Hollywood’s actors, from top stars to bit players. 104 The leverage of top stars over the studios proved crucial in winning SAG approval, and in turn the Actors Guild helped win approval for both the Screen Directors Guild (SDG) and the Screen Writers Guild (SWG). Both SDG and SWG sorely needed this support, since both were deemed a greater threat to studio control over filmmaking than SAG and thus both faced much heavier producer resistance to their respective guild agreements.

The first of these two guilds to win recognition was SDG. A key figure in the effort was the Columbia producer-director Frank Capra, arguably Hollywood’s top filmmaker at the time and a savvy political infighter. Capra was the first president of SDG and also happened to be president of the Motion Picture Academy in 1939 (having won three best-director and three best-picture Oscars in the preceding five years), and he deftly played SDG and the Academy against each other. Capra also won the support of SAG and played the industry’s top stars and directors against the studios. 105 In early 1939, the directors, after threatening to strike and desert the Academy en masse, signed a three-year pact with the producers.

The writers had much more difficulty reaching an agreement, owing to chronic internal conflicts and a lack of leadership, as well as a history of battling the studio brass. SWG had won certification in August 1938 from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to act as bargaining agent for screenwriters, then spent two years haggling with the producers over an agreement. By 1940, writers were the only Hollywood workers Page 32  with no protection or bargaining rights with the studios. The NLRB was highly critical of the producers’ intractable stance, and also of studio efforts to set up a competing union dominated by highly paid contract writers. SWG eventually prevailed, however, signing a six-month pact in 1940 and then a seven-year deal in June 1941. While Variety termed this agreement “a major victory for the scribes,” it was a bitter, hard-won victory. 106 As Leo Rosten observed, “The obstinacy and indiscretion with which the produc ers opposed Hollywood writers in their fight for recognition, basic working conditions, and a code of fair practice, is one of the less flattering commentaries on the men who control movie production.”

With the unionization of top filmmaking talent, the stakes in Hollywood’s ongoing jurisdictional battles rose considerably. In general, these battles over jurisdiction resulted from two factors: the enormous size and complexity of the movie industry, and the fact that Hollywood labor had not organized extensively until the Depression. During the 1930s, in fact, Hollywood had rapidly evolved from essentially an “open shop” to a “union town,” leading Variety to posit in January 1939 that “the major studios are now 100 percent organized.” 108 As David Prindle has noted, "When several unions are attempting to move into an unorganized city, or when technological change creates new and different jobs, jurisdictional strife is inevitable. Because Los Angeles was the least organized large city in America [in the early 1930s], and because the motion picture was using a rapidly evolving technology, Hollywood was a union battleground during those decades [the 1930s and 1940s].

The chief antagonist in these battles was the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE), a labor organization under the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Created in the 1890s on the East Coast as a stage union, IATSE came to dominate the ranks of movie theater employees, particularly through its control of the nations projectionists. This control gave IATSE the power to shut down the entire movie industry and provided tremendous leverage for its successful assault on Hollywood in the 1930s. By decades end, IATSE’s ranks totaled some 40,000 members in 849 studio and exhibitor unions in the United States and Canada, including about 12,000 of Hollywood’s 30,000 workers. In 1939, IATSE began vying for complete control of Hollywood’s labor force, hoping to create “one big union” of motion picture employees.

IATSE faced opposition from three parties. First and foremost were the studios, which had formed an uneasy alliance with IATSE; they recognized its obvious power but were adamantly opposed to the organization of all filmmaking talent into a single labor organization. IATSE also faced opposition from the AFL’s chief national (and international) adversary, the Council of Industrial Organizations (CIO). In the late 1930s, the CIO began an incursion into Hollywood, until then an impregnable AFL stronghold, through the United Studio Technicians Guild (USTG), a group of Hollywood unions which bolted IATSE for CIO affiliation. 111 The third party opposing IATSE’s “one big union” effort was SAG, which, despite its AFL affiliation, had been fiercely independent since its founding in 1933. During its formative years, SAG resisted horizontal affiliation with actors unions in other industries or other parts of the country and maintained a tenuous rapport with the AFL. Since winning official recognition in 1938, SAG was fast becoming Hollywood’s most powerful union, and it openly refused to submit to IATSE jurisdiction.

SAG demonstrated its growing power and influence in the battle between IATSE and the USTG, which escalated rapidly in 1939. By early summer, the USTG had won the support of the major studios, which were always looking for ways to undercut both IATSE’s power and the further consolidation of organized labor. In July, the NLRB set a September date for a certification election to determine whether USTG had sufficient support to be awarded NLRB recognition. In August, SAG announced that it was on the verge of bolting the AFL and joining the CIO. That same month, the government announced that a federal grand jury would be looking into a $100,000 “loan” made two years earlier by the chairman of the board of 20th Century-Fox, Joe Schenck, to IATSE’s Hollywood labor boss, Willie Bioff—a loan which was discovered by detectives hired by SAG. Now on the defensive, IATSE moved to shore up its votes against the USTG in the coming election. In September, the IATSE president, George Browne, signed a “peace treaty” with SAG assuring the guild its autonomy in exchange for AFL allegiance and an endorsement of IATSE. Bioff also began fomenting strike threats at the studios, resulting in a 10 percent pay hike on 25 September for IATSE’s Hollywood members. Not surprisingly, the USTG lost its bid for NLRB certification.

While IATSE prevailed in its battle with the USTG, its problems in Hollywood steadily worsened in 1940-1941. In January 1940, Bioff was indicted for failing to report the $100,000 loan to the IRS. 114 In June, Joe Schenck was indicted on thirty-nine counts ranging from tax fraud and conspiracy to perjury. Schenck was tried in a New York federal court in March 1941, found guilty on two counts, and sentenced to one year in prison. What became evident at his trial was that Schenck, in his capacity as representative of the producers and head of the studios’ labor negotiations committee, had acted as a “bag man” on behalf of his fellow producers, delivering payoffs to IATSE’s Bioff and Browne. Moreover, the $100,000 was simply one installment in a total of over $1 million paid by the studios to avert strikes by IATSE-member unions. 115 In May 1941, Browne and Bioff were indicted by a New York grand jury for extortion. The two were ousted from IATSE in August and were tried and found guilty later that fall. Browne was sentenced to eight years in prison, Bioff to ten.

Thus, after a decade of tremendous success, IATSE’s power quickly eroded while its reputation and credibility, already suspect due to mob ties and strong-arm tactics, were in absolute shreds. Moreover, IATSE faced yet another formidable challenge in 1941 when several renegade IATSE unions formed the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU). Although affiliated with the AFL (as was IATSE), the CSU was a very different organization in two primary ways. First, it comprised mainly preproduction craft unions, versus IATSE’s strength among technical and production-related unions; and second, it was an openly leftist organization, while IATSE was avowedly right-wing. The CSU was led by Herbert Sorrell of the Painters Union, a canny politician and experienced labor militant, who had organized the Cartoonists Guild under his own Painters Union and in 1941 waged a bitter, protracted, and successful strike against Disney.

The Screen Actors Guild, meanwhile, emerged from the USTG fray and the IATSE debacle as, in Prindle’s words, “the strongest and most prestigious labor union in Hollywood.” 118 But SAG ran into trouble of its own in 1940-1941 when it became the focus of allegations of Communist infiltration. Most of these came from Congressman Martin Dies of Texas and his House Committee on Un-American Activities. Since its creation in 1938, the Dies Committee had been taking broad swipes at Hollywood’s labor unions for leftist sympathies. 119 In February 1940, the Dies Committee targeted forty-three stars as having ties to the Communist Party. 120 In August, Dies interviewed a number of stars and other key industry figures in a San Francisco hotel, and afterward he publicly exonerated James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Fredric March, and the writer Philip Dunne. But Dies also reasserted that “numerous actors and screen people” were either Communists or red sympathizers. 121 In that same month of August 1940, a Los Angeles County grand jury began investigations of SAG along similar lines. While that inquiry found nothing, the allegations of Communist infiltration continued and steadily spread to other labor organizations.

In 1941 the Los Angeles County grand jury, the California General Assembly, the Dies Committee, and various other political groups conducted probes for “subversives” and Communists in various studio unions. 122 These efforts also came to naught, resulting in a Variety banner headline in August, “Can’t Make Red Slur Stick.” 123 By then the anti-Communist fever was subsiding, owing mainly to Nazi Germany’s June 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. Thus, a U.S. alliance with the Soviets seemed likely—and did occur with the U.S. entry into the war, at which point the anti-Communist probes ceased altogether. In fact, Hollywood’s labor conflicts all but disappeared in December 1941. Both Sorrell and the newly elected IATSE president, Richard Walsh, made no-strike pledges on behalf of their member unions, promising labor unity and full support of the industry’s war effort. Thus, the Film Daily Year Book noted the “stabilization of labor relations throughout the motion picture industry” in late 1941.

The New Adventures of Heidi [next] [back] The Motion Picture Industry During World War II - Hollywood and Washington, Entertaining the Troops, Foreign Markets, The Antitrust Campaign, Labor

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