Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New Board Game “Hollywood 1947” Trivializes Devastating Communist Blacklist That Destroyed Lives: Holocaust Next?


This sounds like something from “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Someone has actually made a board game mocking the devastating Hollywood communist blacklist perpetrated by Senator Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn. The creators are named Travis Hancock and Sarah Keele and the company is called Facade Games. (This is real, not a joke, “Hollywood 1947” can be purchased on Amazon for home entertainment.)

The Blacklist ruined thousands of lives in Hollywood from 1947 to the mid 1950s. The House UnAmerican Activities Committee dragged actors, directors, etc in front of Congress to determine if they were Communists — and to name others who might be.

The result was the immediate destruction of careers. Screenwriters were forced to use pseudonyms on their scripts, or have “fronts” (as seen in the film “The Front” with Woody Allen). Actors were barred from being in films, turning to theater or the early TV business centered in New York. Many lost their livelihoods.

Some of the best known people on the Blacklist were actress Lee Grant, 98, who went on to win an Oscar, and writer Dalton Trumbo, more recently portrayed by Bryan Cranston in a biopic.

What are these game makers thinking? What’s next, the Holocaust?

The description reads: “Hollywood 1947 is a social deduction game. You must never show your cards or loyalty to anyone, but you may say whatever you’d like about the cards you put into a movie, or about your true allegiance. Open discussion about which cards were added into a movie is encouraged. However, if you are a Communist or the Rising Star, lying will often help you accomplish your goals since the majority of players will be Patriots.

“In the game each player will secretly be a Patriot, Communist, or Rising Star. Each round every player will have a unique Job to perform (such as the Screenwriter, Gaffer, Director, Actor, Editor, etc). These jobs will affect what kind of movie is getting made that round, what cards are in players’ hands, and who will receive special information. Players can choose to skip their jobs to instead re-roll any two of the dice in the game. At the end of each round the players with stars showing on their dice will get to add a card into the movie.”

It’s unclear if there are cards that read “Lose your home,” “go to jail,” or “kill yourself.”

I can only think of the great people who lost their careers including Zero Mostel (only allowed back in 1968 with “The Producers”), theater legends Morris Carnovsky and Phoebe Brand, Lillian Hellman, Dashiell Hammett, Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin — people whose work is revered now, who lost more than decade of their lives.

This isn’t funny, it’s shameful to turn people’s real lives into a board game. Yikes.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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