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Hedda Hopper's Hollywood


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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations Acknowledgments Introduction: "Malice in Wonderland" Escape from Altoona 1 The Making of a Celebrity Gossip A Columnist Is Born Gilding Hollywood's "Golden Age" Publicity and Right-Wing Politics2 Readers, Respondents, and Fans Crafting Columns, Creating Community Civil Liberties in Times of War Chasing Charlie Chaplin3 Hopper's Wars Prewar Isolationist to Cold Warrior Civil Liberties in Times of War Chasing Charlie Chaplin4 Cold War Americanism, Hopper Style Selling Americanism Fighting the "Un-Americans"5 Blacklisting Hollywood "Reds" Establishing the Hollywood Blacklist Hedda's Black (and Gray) List Enforcement Efforts6 Representing Race in the Face of Civil RIghts An Oscar for Uncle Remus In Defense of Mammy Presenting Poitier7 "Family Togetherness" in Fifties Hollywood Hopper's "Home Life and Good Citizenship" The Sinatra Situation The Liz-Debbie-Eddie Incident8 Taking on "Hollywood Babylon" A Career's End Reporting on a Fading Hollywood System From Old to New RightConclusion: Movies, Politics, and Narratives of NostalgiaNotesIndexAbout the Author

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The roaring history of the famed gossip columnist's grip on America's popular and political culture

About the Author

Jennifer Frost is senior lecturer in history at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and the author of An Interracial Movement of the Poor Community Organizing and the New Left in the 1960s, published by NYU Press.


"A major contribution to our understanding the political importance of gossip. During the 20th century, few gossip columnists had more influence in shaping the ways in which millions of Americans thought about film and politics than this sharp-tongued conservative loyalist. Jennifer Frost reveals the role Hopper played in furthering the power of the Hollywood Right and undercutting that of the emerging Hollywood Left. She offers us an important glimpse into the power of gossip to influence popular thinking about race, class, gender and politics in America." Steven J. Ross, University of Southern California, and author of Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics "In this fascinating book, Jennifer Frost shows how the famous Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper combined celebrity gossip with the promotion of Right-wing politics. In the process, Frost offers a welcome corrective to the notion of an always liberal Hollywood, and reveals how apparently private tittle-tattle can become a public political force." Linda Gordon, New York University "Jennifer Frost reveals how important celebrity gossip was to the film industry in the l930's and l940's. But she also reveals the central place that Hollywood and Hedda Hopper played in advancing anti-Communist politics as well as laying the foundation for the culture wars that have pervaded national life ever since. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in postwar politics and American culture." - Lary May, author of The Big Tomorrow, Hollywood and the Politics of the American Way "In a study of the gossip industry, the reader expects stories of 'Mad-Hatter Hopper' and her connections with the FBI and HUAC. The surprises come with insights into a Hollywood not generally covered in standard histories: Hopper's Anglophobic response to casting Vivian Leigh in Gone with the Wind, her support of Lew Ayres as a WWII conscientious objector, and her campaign for a special Oscar for African American actor James Baskett who played Uncle Remus in Song of the South. A valuable contribution to American cultural history!" Janet Staiger, author of Media Reception Studies

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