Sixty one years ago today, screenwriter Dalton Trumbo surrendered to U.S. Marshals, charged with contempt of Congress following hearings held by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Trumbo, who'd written scripts for Kitty Foyle and A Guy Named Joe, was among nine other Hollywood writers and directors who refused to name names, or to admit their membership in the Communist Party. (Trumbo was actually a member, which, for many in the 1930s and '40s was a little like belonging to the Sierra Club.)
Tender Comrade: Dalton Trumbo, (r), turning himself in to the Feds on December 12, 1947.
(L.A. Times photo, UCLA Digital Archive)
He would spend 10 months of a one-year jail sentence, but the great
punishment came in the form of being blacklisted in Hollywood. He still
wrote, however, using “fronts” or simply without credit, beginning with the twisted
noir classic, Gun Crazy, through Spartacus, for which his own name finally appeared onscreen, ending his official banishment from the movie industry.
Trumbo and wife Cleo at HUAC hearings, 1947.
(Photo from Dalton Trumbo homepage)