Committee for the First Amendment

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The Committee for the First Amendment was an action group formed in September 1947 by actors in support of the Hollywood Ten during the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee(HUAC). It was founded by screenwriter Philip Dunne, actress Myrna Loy, and film directors John Huston and William Wyler.

Other members included Lauren Bacall,[1] Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart,[1] Jules Buck, Dorothy Dandridge, Bette Davis, Melvyn Douglas, Henry Fonda, John Garfield,[1] Judy Garland, Ira Gershwin,[1] June Havoc, Sterling Hayden, Paul Henreid, Katharine Hepburn, Lena Horne, Marsha Hunt, John Huston,[1] Danny Kaye,[1] Gene Kelly,[1] Evelyn Keyes, Groucho Marx, Burgess Meredith, Vincente Minnelli, Edward G. Robinson, Robert Ryan, Frank Sinatra, Kay Thompson, Billy Wilder, and Jane Wyatt.[1]

On October 27, 1947, the group flew to Washington, D.C. to protest HUAC hearings. Their involvement was ineffective, and membership in this group came to be regarded with suspicion.[2] Ira Gershwin, for one, was called before the California anti-Communist Tenney Committee and asked to explain his participation.[3]

The committee's Hollywood Fights Back broadcasts on ABC Radio Network were two 30-minute programs that took place October 27 and November 2, 1947, during which committee members voice their opposition to the HUAC hearings.[4]

Bogart, Garfield, and Robinson later wrote articles stating that they were "duped" into supporting the Hollywood Ten (both Garfield and Robinson were later blacklisted). The March 1948 issue of Photoplay included an article by Bogart, entitled "I'm No Communist".[5] In this article, he claimed that he and other members of the Committee did not realize that some of the Hollywood Ten actually were communists.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Enid Nemy, "Lauren Bacall Dies at 89; in a Bygone Hollywood, She Purred Every Word" (obituary), New York Times, Aug. 12, 2014.
  2. ^ City of nets: a portrait of Hollywood in the 1940s By Otto Friedrich, page 380
  3. ^ Gershwin: with a new critical discography By Edward Jablonski, page 350
  4. ^ Smith, Ronald L (2010). Horror Stars on Radio: The Broadcast Histories of 29 Chilling Hollywood Voices. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-7864-5729-8. 
  5. ^ "I'm No Communist", Photoplay (March 1948)