Screenwriters know about two blacklists--one was the notorious attempt to stop writers and others who were Communists or refused to inform on Communists, or even were suspected of being Communists, from working in Hollywood in the 1950's. I got to know one of the men on that list, Lester Cole, when I was a student. He went to prison for refusing to cooperate with the authorities on an anti-Communist witch hunt. Probably the best-known of the people on the list was Dalton Trumbo, subject of a recent feature film.
Later I got to know two actors, Al and Bea Hammer, who weren't able to work for years because of their leftist beliefs. (None of them believed in the violent overthrow of the US government, by the way.)
A more benign Black List is a list of screenplays that agents and others consider to be the best unproduced screenplays. It has helped these scripts to get attention--and about one-third have been made. Below, Franklin Leonard tells the story of that one.
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