BOOK EXCERPT: Hollywood's Age Discrimination

EXCERPT FROM Burt Prelutsky's: Liberals: America’s Termites or It’s a Shame That Liberals, Unlike Hamsters, Never Eat Their Young

These days, there is another blacklist taking place, but they’re calling it a graylist because the victims are scriptwriters who made the stupid career decision of allowing themselves to become gray-haired or, in some distinguished cases, even bald.

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Back in 1999, a class action suit was initiated by about 150 of us. Today, there are over 600 of us who are plaintiffs suing the various studios, networks and major talent agencies, for conspiring to blacklist WGA members on no other basis than their age.

Some people might find it ironic that Hollywood’s liberals, who are still inflamed over a blacklist that took place 60 years ago, not only condone it in their hometown, but practice it every day of their lives. For those of us involved in the lawsuit, it’s been an interesting decade. Those among us who don’t play golf find it helps fill the time. The lawyers on the other side have done everything in their power to delay a court judgment. The masochists among us particularly enjoyed the interrogatories. Not only did they want us to recall the date of every meeting we ever had with any of the defendants, but what was said, by whom, if we got the assignments and, if so, when was the script shot, when did it air and how much were we paid. By this time, some of us have a hard time recalling what we had for lunch.

It’s quite obvious that the defendants figure time is on their side, that all they have to do is wait us out and we’ll start dropping like flies, like very old flies. Fat chance! What they haven’t taken into account is that the lawsuit is providing some of us with the will to live that we might not otherwise have.

Not to sound too cynical, but when I saw Abe Polonsky leading a picket line composed of unrepentant Commies outside the Academy Awards in 1999, and saw Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Nick Nolte, and a few other Tinseltown pinheads, sitting on their hands and sneering when 90-year-old Elia Kazan came on stage to collect his honorary Oscar, it merely reminded me once again how hypocritical, rude and self-righteous the liberals in this town can be.

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In spite of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “Boomerang!” “Gentleman’s Agreement,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Viva Zapata,” “East of Eden” and “On the Waterfront,” Hollywood’s political elitists couldn’t get over the fact that 50 years earlier Kazan had, as they say, named names. What’s more, he made no secret of the fact that he was proud to have named the names of those he regarded as the enemies of his adopted country.

The truth is that long before the Reds got it in the neck for pledging allegiance to the Soviet Union, conservatives were persona non grata at many of the studios. In the 60s, I met and interviewed Morrie Ryskind. For those of you unfamiliar with the name, he had shared the Pulitzer Prize for “Of Thee I Sing,” had been Oscar-nominated for “Stage Door” and “My Man Godfrey,” and had also written “Penny Serenade” and a few of the Marx Brothers movies, including “Animal Crackers” and “A Night at the Opera.” In spite of having far more impressive credits than any of the pinheads collectively known as the “Hollywood 10,” he had not had a screen credit in several years because he was regarded as a political reactionary.

The “Hollywood 10” were also known as the Unfriendly 10, which once led my old friend, Billy Wilder, to remark, “Only two of the 10 had talent; the others were just unfriendly.”

Finally, as we all know, the patron saint of Hollywood, a town dedicated to back-stabbing and betrayal, is Lucretia Borgia, and the fact of the matter is that the bottom feeders have no real objection to naming names. It’s only when they’re the names of left-wingers that there’s a problem. Had Kazan named fascists or, better yet, card-carrying Republicans, the motion picture community would have erected a statue of the man at the corner of Hollywood and Vine, and, for good measure, changed the name of its major award from the Oscar to the Elia.

“Termites” is only available through Amazon or, for an autographed copy, by sending a check or money order for $20 to cover shipping and handling to Scorched Earth Press, 16604 Dearborn Street, North Hills, CA 91343-3604.

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