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Donald T. Critchlow

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It seems that everyone in Hollywood is on the political Left. “Seems” is the operative word here, because there are actually Republicans in pictures, at least according to this website. (NB: I have no idea whether the folks who created this list know what they’re talking about, so beware.) Nonetheless, it’s pretty certain that most–the vast majority?– of Hollywood-types are on the Left.

But it wasn’t always so, as Donald T. Critchlow shows in his fascinating book When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2013). There was a time–the 1940s and 1950s–when Conservatives were an important and very vocal faction in Hollywood. This group emerged out of opposition to the New Deal and found their issue in anti-Communism. They were, truth be told, never terribly numerous. But they made up for their small numbers by their political savvy and, ultimately, their ability to produce skillful, viable political candidates. One of them, of course, was Ronald Reagan, who proved to be very skillful and very viable indeed. It’s a remarkable and largely forgotten story. Listen in.

This interview is brought to you by Cambridge University Press.

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