Monday, October 09, 2006

Outlaw writers

As Dominic Minghella's Robin Hood begins on BBC One, Dewe Matthews in The Guardian looks back to the 1950s series on ATV, The Adventures Of Robin Hood, that was scripted mostly by American writers who had been blacklisted following the McCarthy hearings.
The ATV version was conceived, written and produced as a means of employing communist scriptwriters who had been blacklisted from the Hollywood studios by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), headed by Senator Joseph McCarthy. For this reason, the scriptwriters wrote under pseudonyms, so the first episode, "The Coming of Robin", for example, is credited to Lawrence McClellan. "McClellan" was really Ring Lardner Jr, a member of the Hollywood Ten who refused to give up the names of communist comrades to the HUAC. (Lardner was hustled out of the Washington hearings in 1947, after he told the committee: "I would answer that, but I couldn't face myself in the morning if I did.")

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