Over seventy years ago, the United States House of Representatives formed the House Un-American Activities Committee to investigate alleged subversive acts and disloyalty by American citizens and government employees having Communist ties.
Through the machinations of HUAC, those who willingly testified, and the actions of frightened motion picture studios, over 300 people in the entertainment industry lost homes, jobs, and their good names, many never to work in their chosen field again.
As a young actor, Stanley Dyrector heard stories about many blacklisted performers. Later, through his writing career and hosting of a cable television show, he befriended and interviewed several of them, learning their disturbing stories. Dyrector has compiled transcriptions of these interviews into the fascinating and thoughtful book, Shedding Light on the Hollywood Blacklist: Conversations with Participants.
Through Dyrector’s work, history lives again, opening the closet door on the terrible events these people suffered, many of whom had fought defending this country, supporting its troops, or working to better society. Many fled the country to find work, others took menial jobs, while some wrote using fronts.
Dyrector’s inquisitive interviews with people like Abraham Polonsky, Jeff Corey, Marsha Hunt, John Randolph, and many others reveal the heartbreaking struggle these people endured and how they made it through the suffering. They kept their honor and dignity and emerged intact, sadder but wiser.
The writer struggled organizing the book, reliving his guests’ terrible experiences while putting down his own thoughts. The painful memories of the victims offered him so much food for thought.
Dyrector hopes readers never forget this dark period, particularly students and filmmakers. While he has plans for a couple of other books, Dyrector is very proud of this work, which offers the realization that blacklisting could so easily happen again in our politically close-minded times.
Stanley Dyrector’s book, Shedding Light on the Hollywood Blacklist: Conversations with Participants, is available through BearManor Media, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other book sites. He has upcoming book signings at Samuel French on Sunset Boulevard, Skylight Books on Vermont Avenue, and Chevalier Books in Larchmont Village.