The sixth and penultimate hour of Hollywood attempts to ask some difficult questions about what would happen if a major Hollywood studio attempted to make a film with an African American lead and an interracial romance. The latter aspect is key in understanding the events that occurred. While there were several black stars in Tinseltown by this time, most notably Lena Horne, who Camille Washington is very loosely based on, they were either in supporting roles, usually as a glorified musical act, or leading all-black productions.
Burning crosses notwithstanding though, a movie like Meg would face major pressure in 1947, and not just from Southern censors. Interracial relationships themselves were forbidden by the Hays Code, a fact the show unfortunately glosses over. Nevertheless, things get grim, and perhaps for that reason this is the lightest “episode guide” of the lists we’ve compiled.
Hollywood Episode 6
-We’re told that the burning crosses found in every Meg filmmaker’s front lawn are the result of the “American Colonization Society.” The organization was founded in 1816 with the goal of settling free black Americans in West Africa, primarily Liberia. Initially this appealed to early abolitionists, but its members were always white and increasingly grew more racist as it became a preferred method of some to take care of the “negro problem” after Reconstruction, following the Civil War, ended in the 1870s. In all the ACS transported more than 12,000 African Americans to Liberia. Its last “resettlement” was 2,000 lives in 1904. It lasted on until 1964, ostensibly as a relief society for Liberia, but there has been a stark reevaluation from historians. I am not well-versed enough in their history to know if most of them were “secretly KKK” by 1947. However, considering that southerners and slaveholders like Henry Clay were running the organization at its height during the 1840s… I wouldn’t be surprised!
-The role Ernie gets in Meg is “Darryl B. Selzman.” Darryl like Darryl Zanuck at 20th Century Fox, and B. Selzman as a reference to MGM head Louis B. Mayer and his contentious son-in-law, producer David O. Selznick.
-The Meg edited says “I fucked Gloria Swanson” in this very screening room. That’s just funny, y’all.
-While it’s a sweet revisionist fantasy that Archie and Rock live together, it’s unclear if Rock ever lived with any man. Cary Grant was certainly “roommates” for years with “pal” Randolph Scott, but Rock sadly may have been too in the closet for even that. He apparently did have a “joke” wedding invitation to an event with his neighbor Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show), but they didn’t live together and the resulting scandal after that invitation found its way to the press ended their friendship.
-During Ace and Avis’ fight, where Ace surprisingly agrees to allow his wife to co-chair his studio, “Claire de Lune” is playing.