Hollywood, California is the motion picture capital of the world.

Speech Relevance[edit]

Hollywood had an influence on Reagan's 'Encroaching Control' and 1957 Eureka College Commencement speeches due to his experiences as an actor and the head of the Screen Actor's Guild.

From 'Encroaching Control':

But a few years ago, a funny thing happened to us on the way to the theater. For the first time, we ran into ugly reality face-to-face. While we were blissfully going along in our make believe world, on direct orders of the International communist party, hardcore professional party organizers had infiltrated our industry, had worked quietly to create cells in some of our guilds and unions and communist front organizations which had deceived many of our people into supporting their apparently worthwhile causes. The aim of this communist infiltration was to subvert our screens to the dissemination of communist propaganda only after they had gained economic control of our industry. Now whether you agree with our boy-meets-girl plot in some of our motion pictures, in the finest traditions of private enterprise, in a single generation the motion picture industry of Hollywood has captured 70% of the playing time of all the screens of the world. And all over the world, people have looked beyond our plots and they've seen American freedom, they've seen the way we dress, the things we do, the streets filled with automobiles, the shop windows with the things we could buy, the food on our tables. The communists, more than a decade ago, about 12 or 13 years ago, decided to shortcut this gradual encroaching program and they took advantage of a jurisdictional dispute between two unions. And then overnight, we saw violence in our streets, mass pickets outside our studio gates, most of them provided by Harry Bridges' maritime union. We saw homes bombed, automobiles overturned, threats of acid in the face of our performers. The immediate goal was to close the motion picture industry and get us so discouraged with our own guilds and unions that we would see their dissolution and then fall for the idea of one huge, vertical union of motion picture workers from top-to-bottom and, curiously enough, we would get our charter from that same Harry Bridges. Well, we fought back and we fought well.

According to the PBS documentary, Experience: Ronald Reagan, the specified threat of 'acid in the face' was one that was actually directed at Reagan himself. This is corroborated by Peter Schweizer's 2002 book Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism. An excerpt from the book, published in the Washington Post in November of 2002 relates when the threat was made:

Filming began on Night Unto Night at a dreary beach house just up the coast from Hollywood. Reagan was the lead in a story about a widow who believed her dead husband was communicating with her. The picture costarred Viveca Lindfors, an accomplished stage actress from Sweden.

After one take of a beach scene, Reagan was summoned to the telephone. When he picked up the receiver, a voice he didn't recognize threatened to see to it that he never made films again. If he continued to oppose the CSU strike, the caller said, "a squad" would disfigure his face with acid.

From the Eureka College Commencement:

In a phase of this struggle not widely known, some of us came toe to toe with this enemy this evil force in our own community in Hollywood, and make no mistake about it, this is an evil force. Don't be deceived because you are not hearing the sound of gunfire, because even so you are fighting for your lives. And you're fighting against the best organized and the most capable enemy of freedom and of right and decency that has ever been abroad in the world. Some years ago, back in the thirties, a man who was apparently just a technician came to Hollywood to take a job in our industry, an industry whose commerce is in tinsel and colored lights and make-believe. He went to work in the studios, and there were few to know he came to our town on direct orders from the Kremlin. When he quietly left our town a few years later the cells had been formed and planted in virtually all of our organizations, our guilds and unions. The framework for the Communist front organizations had been established.

It was some time later, under the guise of a jurisdictional strike involving a dispute between two unions, that we saw war come to Hollywood. Suddenly there were 5,000 tin-hatted, club- carrying pickets outside the studio gates. We saw some of our people caught by these hired henchmen; we saw them open car doors and put their arms across them and break them until they hung straight down the side of the car, and then these tin-hatted men would send our people on into the studio. We saw our so- called glamour girls, who certainly had to be conscious of what a scar on the face or a broken nose could mean career-wise going through those picket lines day after day without complaint. Nor did they falter when they found the bus which they used for transportation to and from work in flames from a bomb that had been thrown into it just before their arrival. Two blocks from the studio everyone would get down on hands and knees on the floor to avoid the bricks and stones coming through the windows. And the 5,000 pickets out there in their tin hats weren't even motion picture workers. They were maritime workers from the water-front-members of Mr. Harry Bridges' union.

We won our fight in Hollywood, cleared them out after seven long months in which even homes were broken, months in which many of us carried arms that were granted us by the police, and in which policemen lived in our homes, guarding our children at night. And what of the quiet film technician who had left our town before the fighting started? Well, in 1951 he turned up on the Monterey Peninsula where he was involved in a union price-fixing conspiracy. Two years ago he appeared on the New York waterfront where he was Harry Bridges' right hand man in an attempt to establish a liaison between the New York and West Coast waterfront workers. And a few months ago he was mentioned in the speech of a U.S. Congresswoman who was thanking him for his help in framing labor legislation. He is a registered lobbyist in Washington for Harry Bridges.

Unfortunately, there is little to go on to gain any historic perspective. The unnamed technician can't be tracked down, nor can the Congresswoman that thanked him, though the list of Congresswoman from that time period is rather short. The union dispute mentioned appears to have been between the Theatrical Stage Employees and Motion Picture Machine Operators (IATSE) and the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU). The CSU was being supported by members of the communist Party and communist unions, including Bridges, who had worked with Herbert Sorrell (head of the CSU) in Oakland years before. The violence mentioned could be a reference to October 5, 1945, also known as Hollywood Black Friday, on which tempers flared outside the Warner Brothers studio gate. Up to 1000 people on both sides (studio officials, replacement workers, police and striking union members) clashed.

Source Links[edit]

Women of the 86th Congress

Hollywood Strikes, the Right Strikes Back

Washington Post, November 25, 2002 Excerpt from Reagan's War