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series: American Masters
air date: 6/17/13 12:00 AM
This program is adapted from his son Christopher's 2003 play and based on the remarkable letters Dalton Trumbo wrote during the devastation wrought by the "Red Scare" in the mid-20th century. With credits for Kitty Foyle and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo to his name -- and the anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun -- the young Trumbo was one of the highest paid Hollywood writers. Refusing to testify before the HUAC in '47, he was part of the group known as the Hollywood Ten; convicted for contempt, he spent 11 months in federal prison and lost all right to ply his craft. Writing 30 scripts under pseudonyms -- he won an Oscar in '56 for The Brave One as Robert Reich -- he was not recognized publicly again until 1960, when Otto Preminger credited him on Exodus and Kirk Douglas did so on Spartacus -- actions considered to mark the end of the blacklist. As late as 1993, Trumbo was awarded a posthumous Acadamy Award for Roman Holiday ('53).
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