The Rise of the Windsor Dynasty Richard J. Garfunkel September 10, 2022

Windsor Castle was originally built by William the Conqueror in the decade after the Norman Conquest of 1066. William established a defensive ring of motte and bailey castles around London; each was a day’s march – about 20 miles– from the City and from the next castle, allowing for easy reinforcements in a crisis. Windsor Castle, one of this ring of fortifications, was strategically important because of its proximity to both the River Thames, a key medieval route into London, and Windsor Forest, a royal hunting preserve previously used by the Saxon kings

Windsor is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The Windsor family lived in Berkshire, at Windsor Castle. Interestingly, “The Stanwell family claim descent from Walter Fitz-Other (fl. 1087), who held that manor at the time of Domesday Book and was warder of Windsor Castle, whence he derived the name Windsor This was not the only time a family would assume the name of the castle as in 1917, the present Royal family would do the same.

How Did the Royal Family Become the Windsor’s?

The Hanoverians ruled Britain from 1714 through basically through 1837. After the end of the Commonwealth, which ceased in 1659, with the death of Oliver Cromwell’s son Richard, there was a restoration of the Stuart Kings: Charles II and James II. The Stuart Dynasty ended badly in 1688 after the Glorious Revolution. William of Orange had invaded Britain over the continuing conflict, regarding not only succession, but the religious politics regarding the attempted restoration of Catholicism. The attempt to restore the Catholic Church to religious primacy was actuated by the arrest and trial of the Archbishop of Canterbury and six of his Bishops. When they were acquitted, James II attempted to flee Britain, was captured and forced off the throne. He later died in 1701.

His removal brought on the era of the Dutch Reign with the dual monarchy of William and Mary (1689-94) and eventually that of their unmarried daughter Anne (1702-1714). In between, there was the short reign of Mary II another Stuart. With her death brought on the end of the Stuart Line and the three Georges from Hanover, Germany.

The sons of George III were, according to the Duke of Wellington, were “millstones around the neck of any government that can be imagined.” George III lived to age 81 and died blind and deaf on January 29, 1820. Before his death, he had been rumored to be delusional or insane. His eldest son, George Augustus Frederick, was known of the “Prince of Pleasure,” and became the Regent while his father, George III was incapacitated.

His title was conferred by the Regency Act on February 5, 1811. Subject to certain limitations for a period, the prince regent was able to exercise the full powers of the King. The precedent of the Regency Crisis of 1788 (from which George III recovered before it was necessary to appoint a regent) was followed. The Prince of Wales continued as regent until his father’s death in 1820, when he became George IV. This period would be later known as “The Regency,” a period of style, clothing, architecture, excessive spending, and debt. The Regent never deprived himself anything. He fell in love in 1784 with a Roman Catholic widow, Maria Fitzherbert and married her.

Though the ceremony was illegal, and the Prince disclaimed it, the affair shocked the public and infuriated his father George III. Eventually, he was forced to marry Princess Caroline of Brunswick and his private life went from bad to worse. Their relationship was impossible and in fact, he despised her. Eventually, after two weeks she left him for Italy. When the King George III finally died in 1820, she returned to claim her rights as Queen. After divorce proceedings and the efforts of Parliament to deprive her of any claims, the Privy Council decreed that she had no rights to her title. Amazingly, she died two weeks later, and the problem was resolved. George IV never remarried, had no children, but a number of mistresses. Over the next years, his health deteriorated along with his grotesque bulk. In 1830, he suffered a number of strokes and died. Most of his subjects would have agreed with Horace Walpole’s (The youngest son of the first British Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Oxford,) view was that “he was a bad son, a bad husband, a bad father, a bad subject, a bad monarch and a bad friend.”

George IV’s only legitimate child Charlotte, died in childbirth in 1817, thirteen years before his death in 1830. There were no younger Hanoverians left in direct line to the throne. His second brother, William, Duke of Clarence, abandoned his mistress of twenty years and the mother of his ten children. After several rebuffs he was accepted by Amelia Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, a minor German principality. Though there was rapid births, two daughters died in infancy and there were still born twins, there were never any heirs. The third brother, Edward, Duke of Kent, gave up his French mistress of 25 years and married Victoria of Leiningen. In 1819 they had a daughter, the future Queen Victoria, The fourth brother was Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, was an unpleasant, sexual pervert, already married to a German princess, who was rumored to have murdered her two previous husbands. With all the other siblings, there was no other available heir. Thus, with the death of George IV and the succession of his 75 year old brother, William, the reputation of the monarchy was at a low ebb, and he did little to revive it. There were many struggles with Parliament, the question of a Reform Bill and the problems in Ireland. He dismissed the Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, the last time a monarch was able to do that act, and Robert Peel, became Prime Minister. Peel found he couldn’t govern without a coalition, and William was reluctantly forced reappoint Melbourne. Aside from his gruff and blunt manner, he was regarded with a certain amount of affection, though combined, at times, with a lack of respect, bordering on contempt. He died in 1837 after a bout of pneumonia. The British crown went to his niece Victoria, and the crown of Hanover, barred to women by Salic Law, went to his brother, Ernest Duke of Cumberland.

As Victoria succeeded to the throne, which had been occupied by the three German Kings, known in the words of Sir Sidney Lea, “An imbecile, a profligate, and a buffoon!” Meanwhile, she had been brought up in a cloistered atmosphere by her controlling mother, the Duchess of Kent, who was under total influence of Sir John Conroy, the Comptroller of the Household. Her mother assumed that she would serve as Regent for her young daughter, who she saw as a pliant tool in their hands. Victoria had a strong sense of what she wanted, and was able to break away from her mother’s control and domination. After a period of leaning on dominant men, she met and married, at age 20, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, another German. He was bright, innovative, and he guided her skillfully until his death from typhoid in 1861. She entered a prolonged period of mourning as she retreated to her homes in Balmoral. Windsor and Osborn. She would remain out of sight for years, until her Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli was able to convince Parliament, against great opposition, to make her Empress of India in 1876. Eventually, in 1887, she celebrated her Golden Jubilee, regained a great deal of popularity and that popularity grew until her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

She had become a great symbol for Britain, and had rescued the monarchy from the disasters of the Hanoverians and her own retreat from the face of her people. When she died in old age in 1901, there was a definite sense of loss and the end of an era. Her daughter lamented of an England without the Queen’s presence.

It was in 1901, the line of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (itself a cadet branch of the House of Wettin) succeeded the House of Hanover to the British monarchy, with the accession of King Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. In 1917, the name of the British royal house was changed from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the English Windsor because of anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom during the First World War.

Victoria’s son, who would become Edward VII, was born Albert Edward. As the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cornwall, among his numerous titles, was known as Bertie to his family. He was trained by tutors from the age of three to be intellectually disciplined. He married Princess Alexandra of Denmark at age of 22. Victoria never expected much of her son, and she may have been correct. He lived a profligate life and was cited often in divorce proceedings. He was helped by his wife’s “blind” eye to his numerous dalliances. In fact, he had an insatiable appetite for wine, women, song, gluttony and gambling. When he became King, in 1901, after a very long wait until the age 60, he had been given few royal responsibilities .As King, his conduct didn’t improve, it may have worsened. But, he actually was quite popular, and after the austere period of the Victorian Age, his lifestyle and the wealth of Britain opened up a new era, called the Edwardian Age, He had high marks for his ability to influence foreign diplomacy. But his lifestyle caught up with him and after a series of heart attacks, he died on May 6, 1910, only nine years into his reign.

George V was the second son of Edward VII. His older brother Albert was groomed for the crown, but died of pneumonia in 1892. George not only took his older brother’s place, but his fiancée, May of Teck, known later as Queen Mary. After he had become king, following the death of his father Edward VII, the country was in the midst of a dual crisis regarding the limiting of the power of the House of Lords, and a very critical Home Rule Bill. After the war with Germany broke out in 1914, he became a great symbol of patriotism with his visits to the front and his curtailing of royal expenses. Generally, for a quiet and unassuming man, he remained popular, and highly admired. He certainly was not an intellect or terribly educated. His reign was plagued with post WWI problems, a general strike in 1926, and the onset of the Great Depression. During World War, George V declared the following:

Now, therefore, We, out of Our Royal Will and Authority, do hereby declare and announce that as from the date of this Our Royal Proclamation Our House and Family shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that all the descendants in the male line of Our said Grandmother Queen Victoria who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry or may have married, shall bear the said Name of Windsor….

The name had a long association with monarchy in Britain, through the town of Windsor, Berkshire, and Windsor Castle; the link is alluded to in the Round Tower of Windsor Castle being the basis of the badge of the House of Windsor. It was suggested by Arthur Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham. Upon hearing that his cousin had changed the name of the British royal house to Windsor and in reference to Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, German Emperor Wilhelm II remarked jokingly that he planned to see “The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha”.

He had four children, was a stern, unfeeling, distracted and uninvolved parent, as was his wife, Queen Mary. His eldest son, who become Edward VIII, had his own problems. George V was so concerned about his conduct and his shirking of responsibilities that he confessed to a friend, “After I am gone, the boy will ruin himself in twelve months.” But, by 1935, the economy seemed to be improving, he celebrated 25 years on the throne, but his health started to deteriorate from chronic bronchitis. He passed away in January of 1936.

As the monarchy passed to his son Edward, it seemed that his father’s prediction had come true. Edward VIII was a 41 year old bachelor and had been a restless soul, mostly interested in a very fast set and married women. His social proclivities were not covered in the press and he was quite handsome and popular. But, beneath the outward glamour, he was seen, by people who knew him, as lonely and insecure. He had met many women in his years as Prince of Wales, but nothing came close to a suitable marriage. Eventually, he came in contact with the married, and once-divorced American, Wallis Warfield Simpson. Eventually after her 2nd divorce, in October of 1936, he wanted to marry her. A constitutional crisis arose, and since he was head of the Church of England, a marriage to a divorced woman was basically illegal. Thus, the conflict could not be resolved in his favor. He abdicated in 1936 for his brother, George, who was hardly prepared for the role, could not speak well at all, had a horrible speech impediment, but at least had very smart and strong wife. Edward VIII, lived out his life as an exile, spent the war in Bermuda, visited the United States often, and died in 1972. Over the years his reputation has taken a mighty hit, especially regarding his fascist leanings, his visits to the 3rd Reich before the war, and the theories that if Britain was forced to make peace on Nazi Germany’s terms, he would be placed back on the throne.

George VI was a very reluctant king, shy, introspective and the father of two young daughters. In a sense, his eldest daughter Elizabeth was the heir presumptive, assuming Edward VIII had remained king and never had children or her father never had a third child, who was a son. As a young boy he was never strong, had an uneasy relationship with his father and was highly strung. As a child he had developed a stammer. With the help and guidance of his wife, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and a speech therapist Lionel Logue, he eventually mastered his stammer. He had been active in WWI, served in the Navy and the Air Force, and became the first member of the Royal family to obtain a pilot’s license. His reign was dominated with the tensions that led to WWII, the war itself, and the difficult recovery Britain suffered through in post war period. He and his wife Elizabeth tirelessly toured the bombed out areas of London and made a narrow escape when Buckingham Palace was bombed. He announced that he was prepared to die there fighting. The King and Queen became incredibly popular, as with his two daughters.

He certainly was worn down by the war, but the worry didn’t kill him, but, for sure, his incessant smoking led to his lung cancer and death in 1952. Of course, that would lead to his daughter Elizabeth ascending the throne, and the rest is history.

As for the Windsor Dynasty- There have been five British monarchs of the House of Windsor since 1917: George V, Edward VIII, George VI, Elizabeth II, and Charles III.




Love? Love is Bullsh*t, Business and Business: A Lesson from Long Ago! Richard J. Garfunkel October 24, 2022

Long ago, and faraway, back in 1964, in another city and state, I was looking for a summer job. For some reason, and I have no clue why, my cousin, Adrienne Wolman’s husband, Buddy (who passed away a number of years ago at age 95) got me a job working for a construction company, Hughes and Hughes, which was located in Scarsdale, NY. It seems that Buddy had a construction supply company, which leased gas-powered, mobile compressors that supplied power for jack hammers, which bore holes in rock. Thus, I wound up at their key location, Murdock Woods, right off Griffin Road at the border of Scarsdale and Mamaroneck. Murdock Woods is situated right in the middle of the confluence of three very nice golf courses, the world famous Winged Foot, where I caddied in the US Open, in 1959, Bonnie Briar and Quaker Ridge.  By the time I got there, about 50% of the lots had been completed. The houses sold in those long ago days for between $50 and $75,000. The houses have been expanded since that day, it seems, and I just looked up the prices on Zillow and they range from $2.5 to $3 million!

But, be that as it may, that is a story for another day. My boss was a fellow named Lee Hall, who must have been around 36 years old. He was a wiry and ruggedly handsome fellow and from Day One, we got along quite well. My basic job was to be a “gofer” for Lee. In other words, if Lee needed something, I would go get it. Often I would drive to places like Mahwah, NJ or Bensonhurst, (Brooklyn), NY to deposit money. They were always transferring money here and there.  I would also pick up plumbing supplies. Sometimes it would be a needed hydrant to connect to the water main or parts for a sink. I would get in my 1957 Chevy and drive into Port Chester, where there was a plumbing supply outlet, next to the old Lifesaver Building, which was on North Main Street and had been built in 1920. (By the way it is still there and is now the home to condos.) Every time I drove down that street, I could smell the Lifesavers.

Life Savers Building is a historic commercial and industrial building located on North Main Street between Horton and Wilkins Avenues at Port Chester, Westchester County, New York. It was built in 1920 and expanded in 1948–1949. It served as a manufacturing facility and headquarters of the Life Savers Candy Company until 1984. It is five stories high and constructed of reinforced concrete, brick, and terra cotta. It features larger-than-life replicas of Life Savers rolls at the foundation line.[2] During its peak period of production in the 1960s, as many as 616 million rolls of Life Savers candy were produced each year in the facility. It was converted into a condominium complex in 1989. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

When I wasn’t running errands, I was working with the roofers, the carpenters, the masons and the demolition folks. I never helped the plumbers or the electricians. These guys were all old, experienced and weather-beaten. They didn’t suffer fools gladly. I just helped where I could, and kept my mouth shut. They sort of left me alone, maybe because I reported to Lee Hall. One thing sticks out glaringly in my mine was carrying up roofing tiles that weighed 67 pounds (each package) apiece on both shoulders. That was exceedingly dumb. Most of the time it was one package. I had quickly learned the folly of my ways.

Speaking of Buddy’s compressors, I actually worked with one of those jack hammers. They weighed at least 100 pounds, and the men who worked them, all had huge frames and big stomachs, and would add “bits” to the end of the main drill as the hole got deeper. Sometimes the extension on the jack hammer drill-bit would reach down 5 or more feet. There was a lot of glacial rock in Westchester that had to be blasted. After the hole was deep enough, the demolition experts would step in and take a stick of dynamite, divide it into quarter pieces, wire each piece, and lower the charges into the drilled hole. Once the charges were set, a back hoe would lift and lower a large, incredibly heavy, iron mesh, blanket on top of the area to contain the blast. It did. But the blast would lift the mesh up a few feet. One never should ever look directly at the blast, for often pebbles do escape and they can be deadly. Once in while one would fly out and break a window 1000 feet away.

Meanwhile, while I was sitting in the office, I picked up the ringing phone. It was a woman who lived in one of the newly occupied houses and wanted to speak to Lee. She was complaining that he had promised for weeks, or maybe months, to fix her driveway. Interestingly, Lee had a way with women, and he called her back and sweet talked her for 10 minutes or so. He said he would get up there as soon as possible. I listened to this interchange and wondered whether he was actually sincere. Right after he got off the phone, he said I’ll tell you a story!

He started to tell me that he had volunteered for the Merchant Marine, during WWII when he was 16, and found his way to Paris after it was liberated in late August of 1944. Sometime later, while in Paris, with tens of thousands of other Allied soldiers and personnel, he went into one of their large bars, which were populated with countless “working” women. Lee happened to sit down next to a very attractive young woman, and within a short time, he was quite enamored with her (on shipboard there are no women) and started to profess his love! Not long after he expressed his emotional interest. She answered, and I quote, “Love is bullsh*t, business is business.” Thus, each time an issue came up with Lee, he said to me, “Remember Paris, Love is bullsh*t, business is business.” I never forgot those sage words.


Problems in America, Debt, the Roots of Poverty, and Some Solutions! Richard J. Garfunkel 12-5-2022

Meanwhile, the greatest threats to our Democracy is the concentration of the wealth in the hands of the few, the growing gap between the upper and lower middle class, the ignorance, know-nothing thinking, greed and the venality of Trump and his legion of haters, bigots, and flat-earthers!.  The increase in poverty is related to many factors. The first factor has been the decline of the middle class as our economic society has changed from diamond shape with a large middle class and small levels of the very poor and the very rich and the top and bottoms of the diamond to an hourglass with a small middle class at the pinch of the hourglass along with a large lower middle class and poor on the bottom and with a growing number of upper middle class and rich at the top.

Since Reagan resources have been flowing to the rich through fiscal policies regarding taxation and spending. In 1980, there were 12 billionaires, today there are over 735. The wealth of America has flowed from the large middle class to 735 families which control over $4.7 trillion of America’s wealth, and the 3-4% (12-5 million) who control another $5-2 trillion. The six Walmart heirs, who control $150 billion, have more wealth than the bottom 40% of the American population. This trend was accelerated in the four years of the Trump Administration. In 2016, there were 525 Billionaires and by December of 2022, that number grew to 735 and increase of 40%. Currently Elon Musk’s net worth is estimated to be $219 billion. (who knows now?)

Under Nixon and other presidents there was revenue-sharing to the states, but that has declined. This revenue funded infrastructure projects which created domestic jobs. Under Republican Administrations there has been a trend towards corporate conglomeration, the rise of giant box stores and marginalization of labor. As the influence of trade unions has declined, real wages have not kept up with inflation. Corporate compensation for high paid executives accelerated dramatically from 1970 through 2000, with a 3500% increase in Fortune 500 CEO pay as their wages went from a ratio of 37 to one over their average employee to over 1000 to one. In the same vein they received a tax cut from the Kennedy top bracket of 70% to Reagan’s 28%. The average worker in these companies saw his real wages go up, after discounting inflation, less than 10%. In 2017, US Corporations paid a smaller percentage into the Federal Treasury than at any time since the Federal Income Tax (FIT) was established in 1916.

In 2019, the Federal Reserve published its 40 year (since 1980) evaluation of Asset Allocation. In those 40 years, $21 trillion went to the 1% and $900 billion was lost by the bottom 50%! If one added $4 trillion that was also transferred to the next 3-4% of the top earners, the total transference would be about $25 trillion. As anyone can see, $25 trillion is a lot of money! It basically reflects the Republican incurred deficits (Recessions and recoveries) since the end of Bill Clinton’s 2nd term, when the National Debt stood at $5 trillion. It is now about $30 trillion,

Many on the right complain about the National Debt and its threat to our economic stability, but few are being realistic about what can be done. The Debt cannot be balanced on the backs of people who least can afford to pay or afford to lose vital services. That is a formula for social upheaval and revolution. Again, the National Debt on September 30, 2017, the end of the fiscal year, was $20.4 trillion. On September 30, 2021 the National Debt was $30 trillion. Obama added $6.9 trillion to the Debt in eight years following the Great Recession, the worst economic period we endured since the Great Depression.

In four years, from the end of the Fiscal Year in 2017 until September 30, 2021 the Debt increased $9.6 trillion in just four years. At the end of the Fiscal Year, the National Debt was at $30.9 trillion. If one counts the increase in Debt from January 20, 2017 to January 20, 2021, the debt increased from $19.9 trillion to $27.8 trillion, or $7.9 trillion. Of course, this includes the huge deficits caused by Trump Administration, reflective of tax cuts, an economy that never grew above 3% for the first 18 months of the Trump and ministration and was under 2% for the 15 months before the last quarter of 2019. It also includes the expensive rollout of vaccines, the cost of the recovery, not unlike what faced the Obama Administration from 2009 through 2011.

How to reduce the National Debt:

1. Bring back the Kennedy Era top tax bracket of 70% of incomes over $2 million.
2. Have a minimum tax on all income above $15,000, even with deductions
3. Eliminate the mortgage deduction over $750K
4. Eliminate all generation skipping trusts
5. Cap yearly contributions for the wealthy into IRAs or 401ks
6. Eliminate all overseas tax shelters
7. Raise the Corporation tax back to Clinton Era 39%
8. Eliminate all corporate stock options for executive pay
9. Tax corporate Golden Parachutes at their full value as soon as they are given.
10. Tax corporate health insurance as income for anyone making over $1 million per year
11. Force repatriation of all overseas sheltered income
12. Cut and cap the sale tax in every state to 5% and add a 1% Federal sale tax
13. Cap the property tax, in every state, to 3% with a Homestead rule, limiting any yearly increase.
14. Raise the state income tax to make up the loss on property taxes and fund the public schools statewide.
15. Reinstate the draft for the Army and maintain as a volunteer force the Air Force, Navy and Marines
16. Cut farm subsidies, currently $5 billion, the annual cost for all farm support is between $15 and $35 billion annually.

Causes for poverty

1, Generational poverty, passed from parent to child
2. Failure to take advantage of education, bad parenting
3. Single parent homes and illegitimacy
4. Ignorance resulting from a lack of an education
5. Lack of vocational schools, inability to hold a job
6. Not teaching financial fundamentals to children
7. Poor savings habits, most Americans do not save
8. Excessive credit card debt, inability to manage a personal budget
9. Conspicuous consumption, buying what is not needed
10. The excessive cost of higher education,
11. Endemic regional unemployment, the rise of the Big Box store
12. Lack of Federal revenue-sharing to low income areas
13. The high cost of housing, the lack of federally subsidized housing
14. Lack of workforce housing
15. Healthcare needs, and the lack of insurance
16. Too low of a minimum wage

Illegitimacy has become endemic and it is one of the leading causes of poverty:

By the way, no matter what one’s social proclivity is: illegitimacy is over 50% in America. Today the overwhelming majority of black children are raised in single female-headed families. As early as the 1880s, three-quarters of black families were two-parent. In 1925 New York City, 85 percent of black families were two-parent. One study of 19th-century slave families found that in up to three-fourths of the families, all the children had the same mother and father.

Today’s black illegitimacy rate of nearly 75 percent is also entirely new. In 1940, black illegitimacy stood at 14 percent. It had risen to 25 percent by 1965, when Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” and was widely condemned as a racist. By 1980, the black illegitimacy rate had more than doubled, to 56 percent, and it has been growing since. Both during slavery and as late as 1920, a teenage girl raising a child without a man present was rare among blacks. In 2012 29.1% of Hispanic children were born out of wedlock. In that same year, non-Hispanic white illegitimacy was 17.2%. Has it changed in ten years for all groups? Yes, it has gotten worse.

Have Illegitimate Births Reached Crisis Levels?

  • The median age for a woman to become a mother: 25.7 years.
  • Living the Middle Class lifestyle means needing more education than ever before, which is causing couples to put off getting married more often.
  • Cohabiting couples are less likely to have job prospects or economic stability.
  • Only 38% of American women will be married by the time they reach the median age of motherhood.
  • For women who have a high school diploma and some college, 58% of the births to this group are considered illegitimate children.
  • If a couple is living together when they have a child, but not married, then there is a 39% chance of the family unit disintegrating. It’s just 13% for a married couple.





“High Noon” the Making of a Classic and the Red Scare of the 1950’s Based on a book by Glenn Frankel Richard J. Garfunkel March 10, 2023

In the immediate post war period, right after FDR’s death, the 1946, Mid-Term elections brought back Republican control of Congress for the first time since 1928. By the time the new Congress was formed in 1947, the reactionary, right wing was already on the warpath in its hunt for radicals, communists, liberals, former New Dealers, and anyone who wasn’t a pure American by their definition.

But, in the post war period, there were two realities: the old Hollywood system was fading quickly as court rulings effected their control over their employees, profits had dropped dramatically, they were forced to give up control of their theaters, and television was attracting millions of viewers  who used to go to the movies. The other factor was that the public demanded more realistic films, often dealing with the social issues of the day, like: Crossfire, Gentleman’s Agreement, Home of the Brave, The Men, The Best years of Our Lives, Sunset Boulevard, Northside 777, The Killers, Street Car Named Desire and Boomerang, just to name a few, which dealt with veterans, crime, bigotry, anti-Semitism and race.

This era would later be known as “Film Noir,” a genre of films that use the visual style and themes of classic film noir (French: “dark film”) but add a modern sensibility. They also usually contain more graphic depictions of violence and sexuality. Classic film noir thrived in the 1940s and ’50s. The genre was characterized by dark stylized cinematography and a pessimistic mood, perhaps reflecting the uncertainty of the postwar era. Plots typically featured troubled cynical  characters often involved in the underworld. One could say that the “father” of this new era was the film, The Maltese Falcon, with its cynical private eye, Sam Spade. 

The postwar era was changing dramatically. In the case of United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc.,(1948) (also known as the Hollywood Antitrust Case of 1948,) a landmark United States anti-trust case decided the fate of film studios owning their own theatres and holding exclusivity rights on which theatres would show their movies. It would also change the way Hollywood movies were produced, distributed and exhibited. The Supreme Court affirmed (a District Court’s ruling) in this case that the existing distribution scheme was in violation of the United States Sherman and Clayton anti-trust law, which prohibit certain exclusive dealing arrangements. In plain language, the studios were force to sell the theaters. Also in this era unions were flexing the muscles given to them by the New Deal and the Wagner Act. Also, without white-washing reality, there were many communists in the union movement, along with criminals.

The case is important both with U.S. antitrust law and film history. In the former, it remains a landmark decision in vertical integration cases; in the latter, it is responsible for putting an end to the old Hollywood studio system. Another earlier ruling, effectively altered the contractual system used universally in Hollywood. Industry lawyers in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s took the position that an exclusive personal services contract should be treated as suspended during the periods when the artist was not actually working. Since no artist could be working every single day (that is, including holidays and weekends), this interpretation meant that two, or later seven, years of actual service would be spread over a much longer calendar period, thus extending the time during which the studio system had complete control of a young artist’s career.

Hollywood was experiencing changes since the late 30’s especially with unionization and the creation of guilds, which gave the writers, the set designers, the film crews and the all the other lower- level employees new leverage and bargaining power.

As this new realism boiled over in the post war period the “The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals” (MPAPAI, also MPA), which had been created in 1944, became very active against both the writers and this new wave of artistic realism. This organization was made up of high-profile, politically conservative members of the Hollywood film industry. It had been formed for the stated purpose of defending the film industry, and the country as a whole, against what its founders claimed was communist and fascist infiltration.


The organization was described by its opponents as fascist sympathizing, isolationist, nativist, anti-union, mostly anti-Semitic, red-baiting and supporting of Jim Crow Laws. One Jewish member, the writer Morrie Ryskind denied these allegations of his fellow members. Prominent members of the Alliance included: Robert ArthurMartin BerkeleyWard BondWalter BrennanRoy BrewerClarence BrownCharles CoburnGary CooperLaraine DayCecil B. DeMilleWalt DisneyIrene DunneVictor FlemingJohn FordClark GableCedric GibbonsHedda HopperLeo McCareyJames Kevin McGuinnessAdolph MenjouRobert MontgomeryGeorge MurphyFred NibloDick PowellAyn RandRonald ReaganGinger RogersMorrie RyskindBarbara StanwyckNorman TaurogRobert TaylorKing VidorHal B. WallisJohn WayneFrank Wead and Sam Wood. Of these actors, directors, executives and writers; Walt Disney, Adolph Menjou. Aside from these people generally accused of anti-Semitism; Walt Disney and Adolph Menjou, there were rabid right-wingers; John Wayne, Robert Taylor, and Cecil B. DeMille, who were quite vocal about their views.  In truth, most of the Hollywood moguls were conservative Republicans. Most, including Louis B. Mayer, the operational head of MGM hated FDR and the New Deal. Only one studio head, Jack Warner, of Warner Brothers, was a supporter of Roosevelt.

As for their philosophical head, it may have been the rabid, anti-communist, Ayn Rand, (born Alisa Z. Rosenbaum) who wrote in 1947 a pamphlet for the Alliance, entitled Screen Guide for Americans, based on her personal impressions of the American film industry. It read, in excerpt:

The purpose of the Communists in Hollywood is not the production of political movies openly advocating Communism. Their purpose is to corrupt our moral premises by corrupting non-political movies — by introducing small, casual bits of propaganda into innocent stories — thus making people absorb the basic principles of Collectivism by indirection and implication.

The principle of free speech requires that we do not use police force to forbid the Communists the expression of their ideas — which means that we do not pass laws forbidding them to speak. But the principle of free speech does not require that we furnish the Communists with the means to preach their ideas, and does not imply that we owe them jobs and support to advocate our own destruction at our own expense.

Rand cited examples of popular and critically acclaimed films that in her view contained hidden Communist or Collectivist messages that had not been recognized as such, even by conservatives. Examples included  The Best Years of Our Lives, (because it portrayed businessmen negatively, and suggested that bankers should give veterans collateral-free loans), and A Song to Remember (because it implied without historical evidence that Chopin sacrificed himself for a patriotic cause rather than devoting himself to his music). Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge; she rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism as opposed to altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivismstatism, and anarchism. Instead, she supported laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, including private property rights.

Of course, in this climate and with the political changes in Congress, the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives, which was created in 1938 to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having either fascist or communist ties. It became a standing (permanent) committee in 1945. In 1938, Hallie Flanagan, the head of the Federal Theatre Project, was subpoenaed to appear before the committee to answer the charge the project was overrun with communists. Flanagan was called to testify for only a part of one day, while an administrative clerk from the project was called in for two entire days. It was during this investigation that one of the committee members, Joe Starnes (D-Ala.), famously asked Flanagan whether the English Elizabethan era playwright Christopher Marlowe was a member of the Communist Party, and mused that ancient Greek tragedian “Mr. Euripides” preached class warfare. Of course, during the latter part of the New Deal, there were all sorts of attempts to discredit the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1939, the committee investigated people involved with pro-Nazi organizations such as Oscar C. Pfaus and George Van Horn Moseley. Moseley testified before the committee for five hours about a “Jewish Communist conspiracy” to take control of the US government. Moseley was supported by Donald Shea of the American Gentile League, whose statement was deleted from the public record as the committee found it so objectionable.

In 1946, the committee considered opening investigations into the Ku Klux Klan, but decided against doing so, prompting white supremacist committee member John E. Rankin (D-Miss.) to remark, “After all, the KKK is an old American institution.” Instead of the Klan, HUAC concentrated on investigating the possibility that the American Communist Party had infiltrated the Works Progress Administration, including the Federal Theatre Project and the Federal Writers’ Project. Twenty years later, in 1965–1966, however, the committee did conduct an investigation into Klan activities under Chairman Edwin Willis (D-La.).

Of course, this sets the stage for the eventual making of the classic film, High Noon, and how it came about. This most interesting story is related by Glenn Frankel is his book on High Noon and the Blacklist, which almost destroyed its creator Carl Foreman and others who worked in this very dangerous period in our history.

Of course, in this post war climate, there was the rise of independent producers like Stanley Kramer. After the war, Kramer, who was born in the Bronx, and was Jewish, (he attended DeWitt Clinton HS and graduated at age 15, and graduated at 19 from NYU and eventually served in WWII) soon discovered that there were no available jobs in Hollywood in 1947, so he created an independent production company, Screen Plays Inc. He partnered with writer Herbie Baker, publicist George Glass and producer Carl Foreman, an army friend from the film unit. Foreman justified the production company by noting that the big studios had become “dinosaurs,” which, being shocked by the onrush of television, “jettisoned virtually everything to survive.” But they failed to develop cadres of younger creative talent in their wake.

Kramer’s new company was able to take advantage of unused production facilities by renting time, allowing him to create independent films for a fraction of the cost the larger studios had required, and he did so without studio control. Kramer also saw this as an opportunity to produce films dealing with subjects the studios previously avoided, especially those about controversial topics.

However, Kramer soon learned that financing such independent films was a major obstacle, as he was forced to approach banks or else take on private investors. He did both when necessary. But with studios no longer involved, rival independent companies were created which all competed for those limited funds. At that time, it was quoted that “there were no fewer than ninety-six” other companies in competition during that period, and included some of Hollywood’s biggest names: Frank CapraJohn FordWilliam WylerHoward HawksLeo McCarey, and George Stevens. Kramer explained how he tried to differentiate his new company from the others, explaining he was less interested in the money than having the ability to make a statement through his films.

His first real feature Champion (1949), another Lardner story, this one about an ambitious and unscrupulous boxer. Written by Foreman, it was tailored to the talents of Kirk Douglas, a former amateur wrestler who was now an actor. Filmed in only 23 days with a relatively small budget, it became an immense box-office success. It won an Academy Award for Best Editing, with four other nominations, including Douglas for best actor and Foreman as screenwriter.

Kramer next produced  Home of the Brave (also 1949), again directed by Mark Robson, which became an even bigger success than Champion. The story was adapted from a play by Arthur Laurents, originally about anti-Semitism in the army, but revised and made into a film about the persecution of a black soldier. it was the “first sound film about anti-black racism.” The victim in the film was played by the Black Actor James Edwards, who was also featured in the original Manchurian Candidate, with Frank Sinatra, and as General George S. Patton’s valet in Patton.  The subject matter was so sensitive at the time, that Kramer shot the film in “total secrecy” to avoid protests by various organizations. Critics generally liked the film, which, notes Nora Sayre, “had a flavoring of courage.”

His renamed Stanley Kramer Company produced The Men (1950), which featured Marlon Brando‘s screen debut, in a drama about paraplegic war veterans. It was the first time Kramer and Foreman worked with director Fred Zinnemann, who had been directing for twenty years and had won an Oscar. The film was another success for Kramer, who took on a unique subject dealing with a world few knew about. Critic Bosley Crowther noted that its “striking and authentic documentary quality has been imported to the whole film in every detail, attitude and word.”

In a parallel universe, in 1947, the HUAC committee held nine days of hearings into alleged communist propaganda and influence in the Hollywood motion picture industry. After conviction on contempt of Congress charges for refusal to answer some questions posed by committee members, “The Hollywood Ten” were blacklisted by the industry. Beginning with these ten screenwriters who were sent to prison for up to a year, because they refused to answer HUAC’s inquisition-like questions under the supposed protection of the First Amendment, the blacklist quickly took root in 1947. And after HUAC redoubled its efforts in 1951 to not so much fact-find but act as jury, judge, and executioner to any subpoenaed witness they deemed “unfriendly” (who wouldn’t name names), hundreds of careers were destroyed or sidelined for years and decades. In many cases forever. The studios had decided back in ’47 that anyone who HUAC deemed “unfriendly,” or was simply accused by a friendly witness, should never be hired again.

Eventually, more than 300 artists – including directors, radio commentators, actors, and particularly screenwriters – were boycotted by the studios. Some, like Charlie ChaplinOrson WellesAlan LomaxPaul Robeson, and Yip Harburg, left the U.S or went underground to find work. Others like Dalton Trumbo wrote under pseudonyms or the names of colleagues. Only about ten percent succeeded in rebuilding careers within the entertainment industry.

In 1947, studio executives told the committee that wartime films—such as Mission to Moscow, The North Star, and Song of Russia—could be considered pro-Soviet propaganda, but claimed that the films were valuable in the context of the Allied war effort, and that they were made (in the case of Mission to Moscow) at the request of White House officials. In response to the House investigations, most studios produced a number of anti-communist and anti-Soviet propaganda films such as The Red Menace  (August 1949), The Red Danube (October 1949) The Woman on Pier 13,  (October 1949), Guilty of Treason (May 1950, about the ordeal and trial of Cardinal József Mindszenty), I Was a Communist for the FBI (May 1951, Academy Award nominated for best documentary 1951, also serialized for radio), Red Planet Mars (May 1952), and John Wayne‘s  Big Jim McCain (August 1952). Universal-International Pictures was the only major studio that did not purposefully produce such a film.

In the wake of all the HUAC probes into Hollywood and its message, after the end of WWII and now during to the Korean Conflict, Kramer’s last independent production was High Noon (1952), a Western drama directed by Fred Zinnemann. The movie was well received, winning four Oscars, as well as three other nominations. Unfortunately, High Noon‘s production and release intersected with McCarthyism. Writer, producer and partner Carl Foreman was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee while he was writing the film. Foreman had been a member of the Communist Party ten years earlier, but declined to “name names” and was branded an “un-cooperative witness” by HUAC, and then blacklisted by the Hollywood companies, after which he sold his interest in the company. Kramer, a long-time friend and business partner of Carl Foreman removed Foreman’s name from the credits as co-producer.

High Noon, which starred an aging Gary Cooper, centers on a town marshal whose sense of duty is tested when he must decide to either face a gang of killers alone, or leave town with his new wife. Though mired in controversy at the time of its release due to its political themes, the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four (Actor, Editing, Score and Song) as well as four Golden Globe Awards (Actor, Supporting Actress, Score, and Black and White Cinematography). The award-winning score was written by Russian-born composer Dimitri Tiomkin (he was also one who was looked at by the HUAC investigators.

Eventually, High Noon was selected by the Library of Congress as one of the first 25 films for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” in 1989, the NFR’s first year of existence. An iconic film whose story has been partly or completely repeated in later film productions, its ending in particular has inspired numerous later films, including but not just limited to westerns.

The film takes place in the fictional Hadleyville, a small town in New Mexico Territory, in 1898, Marshal Will Kane, newly married to Amy Fowler, a Quaker, played by the young and nervous Grace Kelly, prepares to retire. The happy couple will soon depart for a new life to raise a family and run a store in another town. However, word arrives that Frank Miller, a vicious outlaw whom Kane sent to prison, has been released and will arrive at the noon train. Miller’s gang—his younger brother Ben, Jack Colby, and Jim Pierce—await his arrival at the train station.

  • Gary Cooper as Marshal Will Kane
  • Thomas Mitchell as Mayor Jonas Henderson
  • Lloyd Bridges as Deputy Marshal Harvey Pell
  • Katy Jurado as Helen Ramírez
  • Grace Kelly as Amy Fowler Kane
  • Otto Kruger as Judge Percy Mettrick
  • Lon Chaney Martin Howe, the former marshal
  • Harry Morgan as Sam Fuller
  • Ian MacDonald as Frank Miller
  • Eve McVeaghas Mildred Fuller
  • Morgan Farley as Dr. Mahin, minister
  • Harry Shannon as Cooper
  • Lee Van Cleef as Jack Colby
  • Robert J. Wilke as Jim Pierce
  • Sheb Wooley as Ben Miller

Of course, the townspeople really want no part of this fight and have a genuine fear for the life of Kane. His deputies and all the town’s leaders and elders eventually are no help to him. But, he is risking his life and limb to serve justice.

When faced with the threat of the Frank Miller Gang coming back to town, Kane feels that even though he’s already turned in his star (badge), he must face this challenge. And yet, no one will stand by his side. One by one, his friends, his co-workers in the form of Harvey Pell (Lloyd Bridges) lone deputy, turn their backs and shirk their responsibility to do the right thing. They tell him to run away. So in the end, Cooper’s (Will Kane) scared, but assured stands alone, save for his Quaker wife who must forsake her religion to stand by a man whose community has disowned him.

Shot in black-and-white and with an intended modesty that was counterintuitive to the most popular grand Old West epics of that decade, many of them starring Wayne, High Noon was a jolt to the system for audiences inundated with Westerns that had little to say. And, depending who you ask, High Noon had quite a bit on its mind regarding the era in which it was made.

Of course, the right-wing, fiction writers, and modern day witch hunters took one look at who had produced High Noon; Kramer, Zinnemann and Foreman, all Jews, and thought the story was a metaphor for collectivism and communist subversion.

Like Gary Cooper, who was born in Montana, a Republican and a conservative, John Wayne was an active and vocal member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (MPA). Which was the sanitized way of saying, “Hollywood’s Conservative Redbaiters.” Founded in MGM executive James K. McGuinness’ Beverly Hills home—Gone with the Wind producer David O. Selznick would later describe McGuinness as “the biggest anti-Semite in Hollywood”—the Motion Picture Alliance had its first public meeting in February 1944 with Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Ginger Rogers, Cecil B. DeMille, and John Ford in attendance. Gary Cooper’s frequent director, Sam Woods, was elected president of the organization and Walt Disney vice president. (Wayne himself would become president of the organization in 1949, and was its leader during the height of the Hollywood blacklist and the release of High Noon.) Gary Cooper joined later that year.

As a conservative counterbalance to the perceived communist threat in Hollywood movies, particularly during the wartime years when Hollywood was eagerly making films sympathetic to Soviet Union in lieu of a united war effort, the Motion Picture Alliance publicly and proudly campaigned for the need to hunt down and fire any secret communists in the studio system. They also essentially invited Congress’ now notorious House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to begin investigating their industry.

In Glenn Frankel’s nonfiction study of Hollywood’s Golden Age, it is as much about American history as it is the motion picture history. Like the title says, Frankel’s High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic it is about how one of the most enduring Western to ever be put on celluloid came to be, as well as the story line became a political football, about communism versus Americanism, to be kicked around by John Wayne, a draft-dodger and a self-proclaimed super-patriot.  John Wayne, who time and again recurs in the High Noon mythology as an antagonist more successful than the picture’s onscreen and cowardly townspeople, who fail consistently in running Gary Cooper’s marshal out of town. By comparison, the real life Wayne boasted with pride in his part of sabotaging the career of High Noon’s screenwriter, Carl Foreman and (ultimately) uncredited associate producer.

Ironically, what made Cooper and Foreman’s friendship so remarkable, despite Cooper being a well-known Hollywood conservative who even testified as a friendly witness before HUAC in 1947—Cooper saw a creative partner in Foreman, who was indeed a former member of the Communist Party. At least it wasn’t until screenwriter Martin Berkeley enthusiastically mentioned Foreman’s name to HUAC in ’51 while Foreman was on the set with Cooper and Zinnemann. But, were any of these people really communists? Hardly!

Quite like his protagonist Will Kane, Foreman had already long known his fate was to deal with the apocalyptic force that scared the hell out of his community. Prior to Berkeley’s namedropping of hundreds of supposed communists, including some like Foreman who actually were once members of that party, Foreman already received a subpoena to appear before the committee in September 1951, which was about the midway point of shooting High Noon. In the lead-up to his big day, Foreman’s script,, during pre-production, became sharper and more pessimistic, with the writer later claiming he even lifted dialogue for the craven and betraying friends of Will Kane from the pressures being placed on him by Stanley Kramer and fellow business partners in their independent company, Sam Katz, George Glass, and Sam Zagon, to cooperate with HUAC. If true, this would further explain Kramer’s ambivalence for the film’s dailies, which allegedly had echoes of his own bending to HUAC’s power before Foreman even testified.

After Foreman was accused of being a communist and then testified before HUAC, where he went through verbal contortions to say he was not a communist in the last year but would not confirm or deny if he’d ever been one (a questionable “limited Fifth Amendment” legal strategy), his relationship with Stanley Kramer was over, and he was initially even barred from finishing his position as “associate producer” until Cooper and Zinnemann stuck up for the writer. As soon as the principal photography on High Noon concluded, however, so did Foreman’s association with Kramer. As part of his lucrative buyout, he agreed to have his “associate producer” credit expunged from High Noon. (He’s still credited as writer.)

John Wayne, then president of the Motion Picture Alliance, decides to get deeply involved in the battle over High Noon and its legacy! Historian Gary Wills later described John Wayne’s role in this era as “to emerge after the battle and to shoot the wounded.” While he could show more sympathy for former communists than many of his contemporaries, including famed columnist Hedda Hopper ( a notorious right-winger and red-baiter), so long as they cooperated with HUAC and essentially went along with the witch hunt, he had no mercy for anyone like Foreman who attempted to stand alone against an overwhelming force. He resented the Will Kanes of Hollywood and he took a special, personal aim at derailing Carl Foreman’s career.

Foreman was likely naïve or too furious to see the big picture, but he used his unprecedented buyout for a new member of the blacklist to attempt forming an independent production company—and he had a most unusual partner: Gary Cooper. Wayne’s conservative friend and fellow charter member of the Motion Picture Alliance enthusiastically backed Carl Foreman’s production company, insisting it was a good bet and requesting Foreman announce his part in the venture. A press release came via Daily Variety, reporting that Cooper, Robert L. Lippert, and PR man Henry Rogers were going into business with a screenwriter who just refused to answer before Congress whether he was ever a communist. By all accounts, Wayne went ballistic.

As per Frankel’s book, Gary Cooper received personal pressure from Wayne, with Maria Cooper Janis remembering her father saying, “Wayne’s bit was if you did this [with Foreman], you’ll never work in this town again.” To be fair, Foreman’s attempt to break the blacklist in 1951 was likely always doomed, and Cooper received just as much pressure from columnist and friend Hedda Hopper as well as Jack Warner, a liberal studio mogul, who was the first to name names to HUAC and threatened to tear up a middle-aged Cooper’s contract at Warner Brothers.

Nevertheless, it is the special touch of attention that Wayne gave to Foreman’s association with Cooper, even after Cooper eventually and reluctantly stepped out of the deal. Like Thomas Mitchell’s mayor in High Noon, he not only didn’t want to help Foreman/Kane, but he took a practical pleasure in dissuading other townspeople, or movie stars, from lifting a finger.

One of Foreman’s last days in Hollywood involved the would-be producer meeting with John Wayne in Beverly Hills. Even with Cooper gone, Wayne was now pushing Henry Rogers to also abandon Foreman. He hoped to reason with Wayne, but he’d have better luck knocking over a mountain. Wayne was apparently furious that Foreman had embarrassed Cooper by having him betray the Motion Picture Alliance, and Wayne in turn wanted Foreman to betray his principles by crawling back to HUAC, admit he was once a communist, and name names.

When Foreman said maybe he’d just find work in Europe, Wayne responded by asking what makes him think he’ll be able to leave the country? Foreman took that as a threat, and by all appearances, even in his old age, Wayne probably wouldn’t have minded the inference. Foreman eventually did leave America, essentially exiled to the United Kingdom in search of work. It was the end of his marriage and the destabilization of his career, which he was able to rebuild after some years in Britain (and after the State Department revoked his passport so he couldn’t travel beyond the UK).

The Conclusion:

The film was made and it was a great success. High Noon has been cited as a favorite by several U.S. presidentsDwight Eisenhower screened the film at the White House and Bill Clinton hosted a record 17 White House screenings of it. “It’s no accident that politicians see themselves as Gary Cooper in High Noon,” Clinton said. “Not just politicians, but anyone who’s forced to go against the popular will. Any time you’re alone and you feel you’re not getting the support you need, Cooper’s Will Kane becomes the perfect metaphor. Ronald Reagan cited High Noon as his favorite film, due to the protagonist’s strong commitment to duty and the law. It was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, it won 4, Gary Cooper, Cooper for Best Actor, and Film Editing, Best Scoring of a Dramatic Picture and Best Song.

Yes, there were communists in Hollywood! There were also liberals, socialists, and pro-union workers. Were they marching to the order of Moscow or Stalin? Hardly! Did many of them join the Communist Party in the 30’s to seek and work for social and economic justice in a country where predator capitalism destroyed the economy with the Crash and the Depression? Yes. Thus, what did the witch hunt accomplish? Very little, but it did raise the ante on persecution in the name of Americanism.

  • Gary Cooper– (1901-1961) Cooper’s most important film during the postwar years was Fred Zinnemann‘s Western drama High Noon (1952) with Grace Kelly and Katy Jurado. During the filming, Cooper was in poor health and in considerable pain from stomach ulcers. His ravaged face and discomfort in some scenes “photographed as self-doubt”, according to biographer Hector Arce, and contributed to the effectiveness of his performance. Considered one of the first “adult” Westerns for its theme of moral courage, High Noon received enthusiastic reviews for its artistry, On April 14, 1960, Cooper underwent surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for an aggressive form of prostate cancer that had metastasized to his colon. He fell ill again on May 31 and underwent further surgery at Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles in early June to remove a malignant tumor from his large intestine. After recuperating over the summer, On December 27, his wife learned from their family doctor that Cooper’s cancer had spread to his lungs and bones and was inoperable. His family decided not to tell him immediately. On January 9, 1961, Cooper attended a dinner given in his honor and hosted by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin at the Friars Club The dinner was attended by many of his industry friends and concluded with a brief speech by Cooper, who said, “The only achievement I’m proud of is the friends I’ve made in this community.” In his last public statement on May 4, 1961, Cooper said, “I know that what is happening is God’s will. I am not afraid of the future.” He received the last rites on Friday, May 12, and died quietly the next day
  • Stanley Kramer-(1913-2001) Director Steven Spielberg described him as an “incredibly talented visionary” and “one of our great filmmakers, not just for the art and passion he put on screen, but for the impact he has made on the conscience of the world.” Kramer was recognized for his fierce independence as a producer-director, with author Victor Navasky writing that “among the independents…none seemed more vocal, more liberal, and more pugnacious than young Stanley Kramer.”

His friend Kevin Spacey, during his acceptance speech at the 2015 Golden Globes, honored Kramer’s work, calling him “one of the great filmmakers of all time. He died on February 19, 2001, in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, aged 87, after contracting pneumonia. 

  • Carl Forman-(1914-1984) According to Darkness at High Noon: The Carl Foreman Documents—a 2002 documentary based in part on a lengthy 1952 letter from Foreman to film critic Bosley Crowther—Foreman’s role in the creation and production of High Noonhas been unfairly downplayed over the years in favor of Kramer’s. Foreman told Crowther that the film originated from a four-page plot outline he wrote that turned out to be very similar to a short story by John W. Cunningham called “The Tin Star.” Foreman purchased the film rights to Cunningham’s story and wrote the screenplay. By the time the documentary aired, most of the principals were dead, including Kramer, Foreman, Zinnemann, and Cooper. Victor Navasky, author of Naming Names, a definitive account of the Hollywood blacklist, told a reporter that, based on his interviews with Kramer’s widow and others, the documentary seemed “one-sided, and the problem is it makes a villain out of Stanley Kramer, when it was more complicated than that”.

Richard Fleischer later claimed he helped Carl Foreman develop the story of High Noon over the course of eight weeks while driving to and from the set of The Clay Pigeon (1949) which they were making together. Foreman went to Britain to live and work. He developed a successful career. In 1975, Foreman returned to the US, and signed a three-picture contract with Universal. He co-wrote and helped produce a sequel to NavaroneForce 10 from Navarone (1978). It did not match the success of its predecessor. Carl Foreman was back home in the United States when he died of a brain tumor in 1984 in Beverly Hills, California. The day before he died he was told he would receive the long overdue Oscar credit for writing Bridge on the River Kwai.

  • Fred Zinnemann (1907-1997) Austrian born Jewish immigrant, escaping Nazi persecution. He won four Academy Awardsfor directing and producing films in various genres, including thrillerswesternsfilm noir and play He made 25 feature films during his 50-year career. Perhaps Zinnemann’s best-known work is High Noon (1952), one of the first 25 American films chosen in 1989 for the National Film Registry. With its psychological and moral examinations of its lawman hero Marshall Will Kane, played by Gary Cooper and its innovative chronology whereby screen time approximated the 80-minute countdown to the confrontational hour, the film broke the mold of the formulaic western. Working closely with cinematographer and longtime friend Floyd Crosby, he shot without filters, giving the landscape a harsh “newsreel” quality that clashed with the more painterly cinematography of John Ford’s westerns.[15] During production he established a strong rapport with Gary Cooper, photographing the aging actor in many tight close-ups which showed him sweating, and at one point, even crying on screen..Screenwriter Carl Foreman apparently intended High Noon to be an allegory of Senator Joseph McCarthy‘s vendetta against alleged Communists. However, Zinnemann disagreed, insisting, late in life, that the issues in the film, for him, were broader, and were more about conscience and independent, uncompromising fearlessness. He says, “High Noon is “not a Western, as far as I’m concerned; it just happens to be set in the Old West.” Zinnemann died of a heart attack in London, England on March 14, 1997. He was 89 years old.
  • John Wayne-(1907-1979) By contrast, John Wayne told an interviewer that he considered High Noon” the most un-American thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life,” and later teamed with director Howard Hawks to make Rio Bravo in response. “I made Rio Bravo because I didn’t like High Noon,” Hawks explained. “Neither did Duke [Wayne]. I didn’t think a good town marshal was going to run around town like a chicken with his head cut off asking everyone to help. And who saves him? His Quaker wife. That isn’t my idea of a good Western.”  John Wayne died of cancer, some said it was attributed to his starring in the 1965 film, The Conquerors. Of the 220 film crew members, 91 (comprising 41% of the crew) developed cancer during their lifetime, while 46 (or 21%) died from it. When this was learned, many suspected that filming in Utah and surrounding locations, near nuclear test sites, was to blame. Although the number of cancer cases among the cast and crew is in line with the average for adults in the US at the time, the perception of a link between the film’s location and subsequent illness remains, not least because many of those involved in the film developed cancer at a younger age than average.  Wayne, in particular, was a heavy smoker, and Wayne himself believed his stomach cancer to have been a result of his six-pack-a-day cigarette habit. How ironic that America’s self-anointed Super Hero, was a draft-dodger, who claimed draft-exemption, because of support of his family, after he left them, may have died from the results of the Atomic tests in Utah.
  • John Parnell Thomas(1895 -1970) As a S. Congressman, and Republican Chairman of HUAC in 1947. Thomas was a staunch conservative opponent of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, claiming the President’s legislative agenda had “sabotaged the capitalist system.” Thomas opposed government support for the Federal Theatre Project declaring that “practically every play presented under the auspices of the Project is sheer propaganda for Communism or the New Deal.” In 1949 Thomas called the U.S. Secretary of DefenseJames Forrestal, “the most dangerous man in America” and claimed that if Forrestal were not removed from office he would “cause another world war. Rumors about corrupt practices on the part of Thomas were confirmed when his secretary, Helen Campbell, sent documents to Drew Pearson, which he used to expose Thomas’ corruption in an August 4, 1948, newspaper article. As a result, Thomas and Campbell were summoned to answer to charges of salary fraud before a grand jury.

Thomas refused to answer questions, citing his Fifth Amendment rights, the most common stance for which he had criticized accused Communists. Indicted, Thomas was tried and convicted of fraud, fined and given an 18-month prison sentence. He resigned from Congress on January 2, 1950. (A very recent, former president stated that by taking the 5th Amendment it was tantamount to guilt and that it was used by mobsters. He took it almost 450 times!)

In an ironic twist, he was imprisoned in Danbury Prison where Lester Cole and Ring Lardner Jr., both members of the “Hollywood Ten” were serving time because of Thomas’ inquiries into the film industry.







The Finding of Tutankhamun and the Myth of the Curse of the Pharaohs Richard J, Garfunkel March 12, 2023

On October 28, 1922 Howard Carter announced to the foreman of his Egyptian excavation crew that he wanted to continue work immediately in his search for the tomb of King Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings.

Archeologists only worked a short season in the valley, because by early spring it turned that desolate area into a virtual furnace until late October. Also the tourists would start to arrive in droves in mid-December to visit the burial sites of the pharaohs. Another problem existed, because their current dig blocked the entrance of the tomb of Ramesses VI, which was one of the most popular attractions in the Valley of the Kings. Carter was very concerned after this short season of 1922, that it would be his last effort in the valley. He had just returned from a meeting in England with the Earl of Carnarvon, who had been bear the cost of this excavation for the past 15 years.

Carter was looking for a big prize, the tomb of the young King Tutankhamun, whose short reign had ended around 3200 years earlier. For centuries, few people wandered into this section that was rife with bandits and marauding gangs. It was so dangerous that only in the 19th Century did archeologists venture there.

The Valley of the Kings, the royal burial grounds had been part of the ancient Thebes – the capital of the Egyptian Empire. The valley itself was only a few miles from the West Bank of the Nile – not far from Karnak and Luxor and more than 400 miles south of modern Cairo.

By that time, at least 33 royal tombs had been found on the site’s bedrock, but everyone had been pillaged long before by professional thieves. When something was found by European excavators, it was basically worthless. There were some beautiful objects, but they hardly justified the effort. With all that effort in mind, local experts believed that there was little left to find. But for Carter, who had been exploring that region for 30 years, there were some interesting clues, including a cup with King Tut’s name on it. There was also a cache of jars, with the King’s seal on them with contained some ancient linen wrappings that were used for mummification. The original finder of these artifacts was Theodore M. Davis, a rich, elderly American. He had claimed that King Tut’s tomb could be found, reflected of the evidence of the linen and jars. He was so derided for this thoughts, that he felt chastised and he set aside his discoveries as mostly a failure and worthless. Others, including HE Winlock, director of the Metropolitan Museum, thought otherwise and told Howard Carter his conclusions.

Meanwhile, to avoid conflicts over the rights to excavate, the Egyptian government granted exclusive concessions each year. Davis relinquished his concession in 1914 and Carter persuaded Lord Carnarvon to take it over. Carter devised a theory of where he thought the tomb could be located. His research indicated that only a small area had not been crisscrossed with excavation trenches into the bedrock. There was a small areas bounded by the tombs of Ramesses VI, Merneptah and Ramesses II. One reason this area had been ignored was that it was piled high with rubble, rocks, and sand form the excavation of the tomb of Rameses the VI, who had lived 200 years after Tutankhamun. It had been postulated that King Tut had ascended the throne in 1334 BCE, during the 18th Dynasty, at the age of around nine years. It was also understood that he had reigned for only nine years. During that period it was an era of prosperity, but some religious confusion and fervor.

At this juncture, Carter had returned to England to confer with Carnarvon. Carter, who was a bachelor, had been in Egypt since 1890. He started as a draughtsman and eventually became an inspector for the Egyptian government’s Department of Antiquities. Upon his return, the digging continued as a trench was created. After a few days flint chips were uncovered. This was a mildly encouraging discovery, because rocks like these had been discovered blocking other graves. The next morning, Carter returned, and he noticed a solemn silence all around, which was caused by the stoppage of work, In Carter’s word, “I guessed that something usual had occurred!”: His foreman (a reis) was most excited and said, confidentially that he felt that a beginning of a staircase had been located. Working under Carter’s watchful eye, the workers began the arduous job of clearing the stairs. The top of a doorway came into sight and on the plaster covering that sealed the door were affixed the royal seals of a necropolis – the jackal god, Arubis, above nine defeated foes. It was a thrilling moment for Carter in that valley of deafening silence. Carter was in awe as after decades of work he could be on the very brink of a major discovery. He ordered the stairway filled in again, posted guards around the site and hurried to Luxor to send a cable to Lord Carnarvon. It read, “At last have made wonderful discovery in Valley: a magnificent tomb – with seals intact. Re-covered same for your arrival: congratulations!”

Carnarvon replied that he would arrive in Alexandria with his daughter Lady Evelyn Herbert on November 20th. In those days one took a ferry across the channel to France, a train southward to Marseilles and by ship to Alexandria. From there it was a train ride to Luxor. By the 26th of November, Carnarvon and his daughter were there when more tunnels were found, opened and another sealed door twenty five feet from the first was located. With Carnarvon, his daughter and his assistant AR Callender, he drilled a small hole in the upper left hand corner. They widened the hole a bit. Carter later wrote, “I inserted a candle and peered in! At first I could see nothing as the hot air escaping from the chamber caused the flame to flicker. But, presently as my eyes got accustomed to the light, the details of the room emerged. Slowly from the midst, strange animals, statues and gold everywhere. Everywhere was the glint of gold!”

After their remarkable discovery the grave was blocked by two heavy wooden doors that had been earlier prepared. The next day a portable electric lighting system was set up. The room was packed to the ceiling with countless items. It was filled with items Tutankhamun would need on his journey through infinity. By Christmas, seven weeks later, all the items had been removed to an empty nearby tombs that was set up as storage area and a laboratory.

In the midst of the excavation process inspired speculation that the tomb was cursed. One of the reasons for this myth was the untimely death of Carter’s patron, Lord Carnarvon. He had died of the result of a mosquito bite that had been nicked by a shaving blade of a barber. His health was never robust, the bite became infected and he developed pneumonia and died. Therefore from th day of the discovery of the tomb, gossip abounded that there was a curse on anyone who violated the tomb. (by the way, Carter lived until age 66 in 1939, after a life filled with honors and fame. Arthur Roberts Callender, Carter’s assistant died in 1936 at age 61. Lady Evelyn Herbert, who was born in in 1901 lived to 1980. Lady Evelyn attended the opening of the Tutankhamun 50th anniversary celebrations in 1972, including the Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibition at the British Museum, London, where she was presented to the Queen who was there to open the exhibition.)

Meanwhile, the discovery produced only limited evidence about the history of Tutankhamun’s reign and the Amarna Period that preceded it, but it provided insight into the material culture of wealthy ancient Egyptians as well as patterns of ancient tomb robbery. Tutankhamun became one of the best-known pharaohs, and some artefacts from his tomb, such as his golden funerary mask, are among the best-known artworks from ancient Egypt. Most of the tomb’s goods were sent to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and are now in the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, although Tutankhamun’s mummy and sarcophagus are still on display in the tomb. Flooding and heavy tourist traffic have inflicted damage on the tomb since its discovery, and a replica of the burial chamber has been constructed nearby to reduce tourist pressure on the original tomb.

Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb revived popular interest in Ancient Egypt – ‘Egyptomania‘ – and created “Tutmania”, which influenced popular song and fashion. Carter used this heightened interest to promote his books on the discovery and his lecture tours in Britain, America and Europe. While interest had waned by the mid-1930s,[67] from the early 1970s touring exhibitions of the tomb’s artefacts led to a sustained rise in popularity. This has been reflected in TV dramas, films and books, with Carter’s quest and discovery of the tomb portrayed with varying levels of accuracy. One common element in popular representations of the excavation is the idea of a ‘curse‘. Carter consistently dismissed the suggestion as ‘tommy-rot’, commenting that “the sentiment of the Egyptologist … is not one of fear, but of respect and awe … entirely opposed to foolish superstitions”

The excavations carried out under Davis’s sponsorship are among the most important ever undertaken in the Valley of the Kings: in the course of 12 years about 30 tombs were discovered and/or cleared in his name, the best known among them are KV46 (tomb of Yuya and Tjuyu), KV55 (the Amarna cache), KV57 (tomb of Horemheb) and KV54 (Tutankhamun embalming cache). Most of the objects discovered went to Cairo Museum, where they were displayed in a gallery named ‘Salle Theodore Davis’, with further items presented to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other American museums. He also published seven volumes laying out his finds.

With Carter’s discovery of KV62, Tutankhamun’s tomb, in 1922, Davis’s opinion that the “valley had been exhausted” was proved wrong. Burton later recalled that when Davis terminated his last excavation in the valley, out of fear of undercutting nearby tombs and pathways, he was only two metres away from discovering the entrance to KV62.

In Luxor, fellow Rhode Islander Charles Wilbour introduced Davis to antiquities dealer Muhammad Mohassib on their first trip up the Nile in 1890. Wilbour had bought from Mohassib for years, and he became a trusted dealer for Davis. Many people bought a number of important pieces from him over the years.

He was an English peer and aristocrat best known as the financial backer of the search for and excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

In 1907, Lord Carnarvon undertook to sponsor the excavation of nobles’ tombs in Deir el-Bahri, near Thebes. He employed Howard Carter to undertake the work, on the recommendation of Gaston Maspero, director of the Egyptian Antiquities Department. In 1912, Carnarvon published Five Years’ Exploration at Thebes, co-written with Carter, describing their excavations.

In 1914, Lord Carnarvon received the concession to dig in the Valley of the Kings, replacing Theodore Davis who had resigned. Carter again led the work, undertaking a systematic search of the Valley for any tombs missed by previous expeditions, in particular that of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun. Excavations were interrupted during the First World War, but resumed in late 1917.] By 1922, little of significance had been found and Lord Carnarvon decided this would be the final year he would fund the work.

His country houseHighclere Castle, serves as the exterior and upstairs filming location of the ITV/PBS television series Downton Abbey. The below-stairs scenes were filmed on a set in London, as Highclere’s basement is the home of Carnarvon’s Egyptian collection. Highclere is owned by the present earl.

He was British archaeologist and Egyptologist who discovered the intact tomb of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Tutankhamun in November 1922, the best-preserved pharaonic tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings.

Howard Carter was born in Kensington on 9 May 1874, the youngest child (of eleven) of artist and illustrator Samuel John Carter and Martha Joyce Carter (née Sands). His father helped train and develop his artistic talents.

Carter spent much of his childhood with relatives in the Norfolk market town of Swaffham, the birthplace of both his parents. Receiving only limited formal education at Swaffham, he showed talent as an artist. The nearby mansion of the Amherst family, Didlington Hall, contained a sizable collection of Egyptian antiques, which sparked Carter’s interest in that subject. Lady Amherst was impressed by his artistic skills, and in 1891 she prompted the Egypt Exploration Fund (EEF) to send Carter to assist an Amherst family friend, Percy Newberry, in the excavation and recording of Middle Kingdom tombs at Beni Hasan.

Although only 17, Carter was innovative in improving the methods of copying tomb decoration. In 1892, he worked under the tutelage of Flinders Petrie for one season at Amarna, the capital founded by the pharaoh Akhenaten. From 1894 to 1899, he worked with Édouard Naville at Deir el-Bahari, where he recorded the wall reliefs in the temple of Hatshepsut.