Wednesday,24 October, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1378, (25 -31 January 2018)
Wednesday,24 October, 2018
Issue 1378, (25 -31 January 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Who created Hollywood?

Home of the most recognised film industry in the world, Hollywood is now a hustle and a bustle over the much awaited award season. It started early in the month with the Golden Globe awards where the best of the best expect a pat on the back and a rise in salary.

Most likely the prizes from the different film guilds and syndicates will be handed from one Jew to another Jew.

It is not exactly news that the Hollywood population is pre-dominantly Jewish. Although it is estimated at 60 per cent, the truth far exceeds this figure.

Four-thousand years of hatred of the Jews followed them through the ages and around the world all the way to the New World.

For 1,700 years (250 CE-1948 CE) they experienced expulsions from various countries in Europe, averaging 21 years, from England, France, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Bohemia, Moravia and 72 other countries.

During the early years the Jews remained behind the camera, but actors in front of the camera were either Anglo-Saxon or at least assumed such names in order to be acceptable to the viewing public.

In 1790 there were 1,500 Jews in America. In 2010 there were 5,425,000 Jews in America. The figure is probably higher by now, but it was a long, tedious and painful journey. Defying bias, humiliation and discrimination, there they found a comfortable, secure home. Most prosperous of all was Hollywood, a small area just outside Los Angeles, California, bought in 1853 by H J Whitney, known as “Father of California”.

He stumbled on the unique name while spending his honeymoon. From top of the hill, looking at the valley, along came a Chinese in a wagon carrying wood. The man got out of the wagon and bowed. Whitney asked: “What are you doing here?” the man replied: “I holly wood”, meaning “hauling” wood. Whitney found a name for his new land purchase. “Holly”, for England, and “Wood”, for his Scottish origin. Whitney had already started 100 towns across America.

By 1870 Hollywood became a thriving agricultural community. From New Jersey moved the few filmmakers to the land of sunshine early in the 20th century.

That is when the legend of Hollywood began.

The men who created Hollywood were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, who arrived in the 1830s, mostly from Germany, and as they say, “were not too Jewish”. They had dropped the basic tenets of traditional Judaism, repudiating the dress, diet and purification traditions, or they were enlightened “seculars” who had dropped Judaism altogether.

They called themselves “Reform Jews” and did not support the Zionist movement or the foundation of Israel. By 1914 they were a total of 2.5 million.

They worked hard and long, distinguishing themselves in many fields. They assimilated in the American culture and created the American dream. It took those Eastern European Yiddish- speaking Jews to create the lasting image of what America is in the eyes of the world, through their movies. They made movies that were patriotic, flag-waving, idealistic, and the screen “became the mass culture mirror that Americans like to hold up” — all that was best in America. Of course they were still Jews and knew the taste of the ticket buyers.

They made excellent films extolling the virtues of their new-found land, such as The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) about US servicemen adjusting to Main Street USA life, after WWII. A quintessentially American drama, it won seven Oscars, was directed by a Jew, William Wyler and produced by another Jew, Samuel Goldwyn, whose real name is Goldfish.

Bent on total financial success, Christian-sounding names guaranteed box-office success as the stigma against Jews was alive and well then.

Producers, directors and studio moguls divorced their wives to marry young Christian starlets, adopting an Anglo-Saxon name was the task de jour. Thus Isadore Demsky became Kirk Douglas, Bernie Schwartz became Tony Curtis, Tula Finklea is known as Cyd Charisse and Larry King sounds better than Larry Zinger. The list is endless.

That was then. Now, Jews flaunt their Judaism, name, menorah, yarmulke, or head cap, etc. Within half a century the world turned upside down, especially in Hollywood. It is still owned by Jews but now they do not care who knows it.

Credit must be given to those pioneers who made Hollywood the most successful cultural enterprise of all time and the most potent message of American life and values. How do we know America — through the movies. We never stop to ponder, who made those movies.

One of the greatest films in movie history, a timeless saga of the American Civil War is the adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s beloved book Gone With the Wind, was produced by David O Selznick, a Jew, married to Louis B Mayer’s daughter, a Jew, working with movie-mogul Irving Thalberg, a Jew, giving us the “ultimate vision of romantic America”. Moreover, Leslie Howard (born Leslie Steiner), a Jew, portrayed Ashley Wilkes, the bedrock image of what a perfect Southern gentleman is supposed to be.

Yes, Hollywood is run by Jews, owned by Jews, controlled by Jews, so what? Known as Tinsel-town, because of its glittering image, it is the centre of the film industry worldwide.

And as we look forward to watching all those award shows, and all those Jews taking home trophies, let us not forget that the films industry, unlike the tobacco-industry, will not kill you.

 


“Hollywood is a Jewish feast, a Gentile tragedy.”
F Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)

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