Episode One: The House Un-American Activities Committee opens its stormy hearings into Communist influence in Hollywood, in October, 1947. Ten leftist screenwriters denounce the investigation and are sentenced to jail for contempt. Gordon Kahn, a well-known enemy of HUAC, escapes a similar fate when the Committee suspends it hearings before calling him to testify. Blacklisted and under FBI surveillance, Kahn sells his Beverly Hills house and moves his family to Studio City. As fear of criticizing the Committee spreads through Hollywood, Kahn fights publicly for the freedom of "The Hollywood Ten."
This program is part of a series of six half-hour dramas about one of the darkest periods for the First Amendment in American history: the Hollywood blacklist. Gordon Kahn's son, Tony Kahn, produced the series. It is available in its an entirety under the title Blacklisted.
©1997 Tony Kahn Productions
"A remarkable story of a son's unrelenting search for his father and his ability to turn that search into art." (The Boston Globe)
I got each episode separately instead of the whole thing which is also available, and which I would recommend. Gordon Kahn, Tony???s father was a Communist. But that???s not what is important to this story. What made HUAC and the blacklisting of Communists and their families so truly ???un-American, was that often the charges were used to condemn people whose parents or relatives or friends might have believed in an unpopular political belief at one time or another. It also became a way to discredit people you didn???t like; once labeled as a Communist your career was basically ruined regardless of whether you continued to hold those views and regardless of why you adopted them in the first place. During the depression, it was a commonly held belief that capitalism was dead and a new form of economic system was needed. There were not a lot of choices and many people joined the Communist Party aeeing it as an economic alternative. In some ways one could find a similarity to the situation today, a plutocracy with an increasingly large spread between the haves and have-nots (we now approach the status of banana republic.) The Tea-party is the reaction this time because Communism has been tried and discredited. The Tea-party is still an over-reaction to a failure of capitalism, but their solution is the hyper-capitalism of Ayn Rand (although some economists, including now perhaps Alan Greenspan, would suggest it has failed also.) Both represent an extreme alternative as a solution to economic depression. This show is a nice introduction to a political system run amuck in reaction to an economic collapse. As with most political reactions, it was hijacked and used by individuals for their own political purposes instead of focusing on those few individuals who were actively engaged in espionage. It was the conflation of communism as a political system with Communism as an economic one.
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