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Thread: Hollywood, an Empire of Their Own

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    Hollywood, an Empire of Their Own

    Book Review

    An Empire Of Their Own: How The Jews Invented Hollywood

    by Neal Gabler. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1988. Hardcover, 502 pp., illustrated, $24.95, ISBN 0-51746808 X.

    Reviewed by Jack Wikoff

    Much of An Empire of Their Own reads like a press agent release for the stereotypical Hollywood movie producer. Having originally subtitled his book How Zukor, Laemmle, Fox, Cohn and the Warner Brothers Invented Hollywood, author Neal Gabler provides valuable information about those Jews who came to dominate the film industry during the nineteen-twenties, thirties and forties.

    Undoubtedly the subtitle was changed to How the Jews Invented Hollywood to promote more effectively the myth that Jews singlehandedly created the film industry. Reading An Empire of Their Own may cause one to be ultra-conscious of whether a film producer, director, actor or technician is Jewish or not. One reviewer has written that "if misread, the book could provide fuel for anti-Semitism." This may or may not be true. What is certain is that the history of cinema is now old enough for us to see the extraordinary power this medium has had upon the political and moral values of the masses. Many Jews have persistently sought, and gained, this power throughout the twentieth century.

    In concentrating upon the lives and personalities of these Jewish producers, mostly of Eastern European birth, the author glosses over or completely ignores the achievements of gentile, Christian pioneers of the film industry. It can safely be said that the earliest cameras, projectors, sound and lighting equipment, and raw film stock were developed primarily by gentile inventors. The same can be said of those artists who were the first to create artistic movies with true narrative content, creative lighting and special effects, panoramic scenic settings and fast-paced editing. Certainly Jews made many valuable contributions to early film, but Gabler vastly exaggerates their innovation. Creative individuals such as W.K.L. Dickson, William Friese-Greene, Thomas Armat, Georges Melies, Louis and Auguste Lumiere, and Charles Pathe are not even mentioned. Edwin S. Porter, the director of the early narrative film and first western, The Great Train Robbery (1903), was also an engineer who developed cameras, projectors and special effects devices. In An Empire of Their Own, Porter is dismissed as a Projectionist-turned-director." Thomas Edison is portrayed as a villain for his great power in the early industry. Edison and his partners created the Motion Picture Patents Company in 1908, which until 1918 held an almost complete monopoly in camera and projection equipment licensing.

    What these Jewish producers did achieve was to move very quickly from owning a few nickelodeons to controlling complete monopolies consisting of production, distribution and exhibition facilities. These men acquired this control because of an excellent sense of what the public would buy, intense personal drive, group solidarity as Jews, a willingness for hard work-and -- a lot of shady dealing. Gabler describes how Adolf Zukor and Carl Laemmle illegally used Edison cameras without paying the royalties and how Louis B.Mayer cheated the producers of Birth of a Nation by falsifying his bookkeeping, thereby making as much as $500,000 on the exhibition of that one film in 1915.

    These Jewish producers moved to Hollywood from the East Coast in the teens and twenties because of the abundant sunlight, cheap non-union labor and distance from the enforcers of the Edison Patents Company. Zukor and his associates arrived relatively late in Hollywood. A woman from Illinois had given Hollywood its name in remembrance of her native state's holly bushes; several Englishmen, the Horsley brothers and Charles Rosher, created the first film factory in Hollywood, the Nestor Studio, in 1910. The Jews did not invent Hollywood, but they certainly did come to dominate it.

    Throughout An Empire of Their Own Neal Gabler contends that Hollywood "was founded and for more than thirty years operated by Eastern European Jews who themselves seemed to be anything but the quintessence of America" and that "above all things, they wanted to be regarded as Americans, not Jews; they wanted to reinvent themselves here as new men."

    For Gabler The Jazz Singer (1927), starring Al Jolson, epitomizes in cinematic terms the conflict of the Jew in America. The elderly cantor of a synagogue on the Lower East Side of New York City assumes that his only son will follow in his footsteps and retain the orthodox traditions. But the son would prefer to be an entertainer and goes against his father's wishes. Years pass and Jakie Rabinowitz, the cantor's son, has become Jack Robin, a nightclub singer. The crisis comes when the elder Rabinowitz cannot sing the "Kol Nidre" on Yom Kippur and the congregation pressures the young jazz singer to fill in for his father. But Jack's Broadway opening happens to be the same night.

    As Gabler describes this situation: "Jack's quandary is that he can bring Judaism to show business, but he cannot bring show business to Judaism -- which is to say that Judaism cannot be reinvigorated or revitalized in America or by America. It is alien to it."

    The Jazz Singer has a happy ending. Jack's producers allow his Broadway premier to be postponed a night so he can sing the "Kol Nidre" in the synagogue. Then, in his show business triumph, the young Jewish entertainer appears in blackface, "one minority disguised within another," singing "Mammy" to his mother seated in the enthusiastic audience. The son of the immigrant gets the best of two worlds.

    Viewed from outside the Jewish subculture, the anxiety and conflict that "assimilation" produced in these men does not seem as extreme as Gabler would have us believe. Although the Jewish movie moguls rarely kept kosher and seldom went to synagogue, it does not mean that they ever really stopped being Jews. Assimilation often simply meant acquiring ostentatious symbols of wealth and success such as country club membership, the breeding of thoroughbred racehorses, compulsive gambling and sexual highjinks in Las Vegas and Havana, season tickets at the opera and palatial mansions on both coasts. Many of these "role models" dumped their old Jewish wives and married younger gentile women. In retrospect these Jewish men never truly wanted to join the culture of the Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite. What they sought was entree into those domains of power and influence which had once been exclusively gentile.

    The most important question in historical and political terms is to what extent the Jewishness of these movie executives affected the content of motion pictures. An Empire of Their Own provides a number of valuable answers to this question. Gabler also reveals inside information on the East Coast boards of directors and stockholders who were the true powers behind the movie producers. A number of passages cite the various Jewish lobbying groups which also influenced film content. Several chapters are devoted to the Hollywood executives' response to the investigations of congressional committees into Jewish and Communist influence in motion pictures in the 1940's and 1950's.

    In spite of Neal Gabler's ethnocentric prejudices (and partly because of them!) An Empire of Their Own will be a valuable addition to any collection of books about the political and cultural history of the twentieth century.
    http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v09/v09p243_Wikoff.html

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    Hollywood, an Empire of Their Own

    I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe "the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews," down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.

    How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.

    The person they were yelling at in that ad was SAG President Alan Rosenberg (take a guess). The scathing rebuttal to the ad was written by entertainment super-agent Ari Emanuel (Jew with Israeli parents) on the Huffington Post, which is owned by Arianna Huffington (not Jewish and has never worked in Hollywood.)

    The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.

    As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood. Without us, you'd be flipping between "The 700 Club" and "Davey and Goliath" on TV all day.

    So I've taken it upon myself to re-convince America that Jews run Hollywood by launching a public relations campaign, because that's what we do best. I'm weighing several slogans, including: "Hollywood: More Jewish than ever!"; "Hollywood: From the people who brought you the Bible"; and "Hollywood: If you enjoy TV and movies, then you probably like Jews after all."

    I called ADL Chairman Abe Foxman, who was in Santiago, Chile, where, he told me to my dismay, he was not hunting Nazis. He dismissed my whole proposition, saying that the number of people who think Jews run Hollywood is still too high. The ADL poll, he pointed out, showed that 59% of Americans think Hollywood execs "do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans," and 43% think the entertainment industry is waging an organized campaign to "weaken the influence of religious values in this country."

    That's a sinister canard, Foxman said. "It means they think Jews

    meet at Canter's Deli on Friday mornings to decide what's best for the Jews." Foxman's argument made me rethink: I have to eat at Canter's more often.

    "That's a very dangerous phrase, 'Jews control Hollywood.' What is true is that there are a lot of Jews in Hollywood," he said. Instead of "control," Foxman would prefer people say that many executives in the industry "happen to be Jewish," as in "all eight major film studios are run by men who happen to be Jewish."

    But Foxman said he is proud of the accomplishments of American Jews. "I think Jews are disproportionately represented in the creative industry. They're disproportionate as lawyers and probably medicine here as well," he said. He argues that this does not mean that Jews make pro-Jewish movies any more than they do pro-Jewish surgery. Though other countries, I've noticed, aren't so big on circumcision.

    I appreciate Foxman's concerns. And maybe my life spent in a New Jersey-New York/Bay Area-L.A. pro-Semitic cocoon has left me naive. But I don't care if Americans think we're running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.

    jstein@latimescolumnists.com

    Source

    Don't forget to read the comments on this column.

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    Question On a sidenote

    ...from a reader's comment:

    2. DON'T BLAME/FEAR JEWS. It is the zionist we need to fear/curtail. Global elitism is rampant. Lets hope this movement in Greece increases in scope and consumes all evil!
    Submitted by: gErm
    4:04 AM PST, December 20, 2008
    Anyone has an idea as to what movement this person is referring to?

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    Maybe he has Greece confused with Palestine. Both are in the Eastern Mediterranean & look relatively close on a globe.

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    They own and control all of it, plus he means of media disemination and even internet access. When I tell this to friends they shrink away from me like as if I was Adolf Hitler.
    "Wenn vor uns ein feindliches Heer dann erscheint, Wird Vollgas gegeben Und ran an den Feind!
    Was gilt denn unser Leben
    Für unsres Reiches Heer? (Ja Reiches Heer)
    Für Deutschland zu sterben ist uns höchste Ehr!"

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    A close friend and I were conversing on the very topic of this thread just the other day. I guess the article answers the question. Wow. I knew the influence was substantial, but I never really knew just how substantial.
    "It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."
    — Samuel Adams

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    Grin

    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    Maybe he has Greece confused with Palestine. Both are in the Eastern Mediterranean & look relatively close on a globe.
    LOL, it is unlikely that he is that stupid . I was thinking he means the recent rioting in Greece, which made me wonder, why he considers that as a counter-zionist movement.

    Anyways, don't want to derail the topic further, it was just a side note.

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    I always regarded those complaining of excessive Jewish influence as crazy obsessive Christian fundamentalists and 'anti-semites'. anybody criticising, in any way, 'the chosen' must be either a bible bashing retard or just plain evil. The idea of a Jewish conspiracy seemed idiotic. I had never, to my knowledge, met a Jewish person nor had any dealings with them. It's ironic that these stereo types and this way of thinking was entirely the product of the mass media. I began to notice that the number of Jewish names in credits for films seemed quite disproportionate. A little research revealed some quite incredible facts. Many of our national newspapers were Jewish owned. The heads of most of the TV stations were Jewish. A hugely disproportionate number of producers and directors were Jewish. Still, I didn't have any problem with this. As far as I was concerned, if they were the careers those people chose, or if this was where they chose to invest their money; that was up to them.

    It was only later, when I was aware of who the media owners, producers, directors, presenters and actors were, that I started to listen more closely to what they were saying and how they were saying it. In these days of political correctness, when we're supposed to treat everybody equally and not discriminate, I became aware that certain groups were being constantly stereotyped. In Hollywood and American and British TV productions, Arabs and Europeans (Germans in particular) are almost always negatively portrayed. Jews and Africans are always wise and compassionate. The newspapers and news channels similarly put their biased slant on every story.

    The effect on our people afforded by this level of media control is so effective that anybody even expressing concern at this level of Jewish control and influence is instantly deemed anti-semitic, even criminal.

    In short, Hollywood seems very very Jewish to me. Certainly more than it should be in the 'representative democracies' they like to pretend we have.

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    Hollywood isn't the only sphere of American life that is over dominated by Jews. Just check out Wall Street or academia. Do a random search of college presidents/chancellors, the number of Jews controlling our education system is incredible. And politics, there will be a record number of Jews in the Congress this January. 13 OUT OF 100 IN THE SENATE! They only make 2% of the population & many of those seats are in states with hardly any Jews. Btw, the previous link was to an Israeli online newsite, any American goyim owned organization printing the same article would be accused of anti-Semitism, the American goyim aren't suppose to know these facts & I guess they figure most of us don't know how to access foreign websites.

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    Already in 1913, Jews such as Cecil B. DeMille, Jesse Lasky, Arthur Freed, and Samuel Goldwyn formed Jesse Lasky Feature Play Company (later Paramount Pictures). Hollywood had become the centre of the American film industry by 1915 as more independent filmmakers relocated there from the East Coast. For more than three decades, figures such as D.W. Griffith, Goldwyn, Adolph Zukor, William Fox, Louis B. Mayer, Darryl F. Zanuck, and Harry Cohn served as overlords of the great film studios - Twentieth Century-Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, and others.

    Jewish influence/dominance is also found in other countries\' film industry.

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