Rob Wagner’s Script, the Beverly Hills literary film magazine that earned a reputation during Hollywood’s Golden Era as the West Coast New Yorker, championed liberal causes that helped usher in collective bargaining for screenwriters, directors and technical movie crews.
The little magazine battled against government censorship, promoted Soviet filmmaking, and in its later years practiced advocacy journalism to stand against the internment of Japanese Americans and the attacks on Mexican Americans during the Zoot-Suit riots as World War II raged overseas.
This left-leaning literate magazine, published between 1929 and 1949, can trace its progressive roots to the height of the Red Scare of 1918 and 1919 when federal and state law authorities summoned Script’s founder, Rob Wagner, before a grand jury to answer charges of sedition.
Author Rob Leicester Wagner, the great-grandson of Script’s founder, examines in Hollywood Bohemia: The Roots of Progressive Politics in Rob Wagner’s Script the origins of magazine’s leftist politics. The publication’s founding on socialist principles took root in the Bohemian salons of New York City’s writers and artists, the art schools of Paris and Rob Wagner’s militant socialism as a pacifist and antiwar advocate during World War I.
The author writes of how Rob Wagner influenced artists like Charlie Chaplin, the actress Anna May Wong and film director Frank Capra. He examines Wagner’s experiences during the “anti-Red” hysteria during the first European war that gave birth to Script a decade later. Script ultimately attracted celebrated writers Dalton Trumbo, Edgar Rice Burroughs, William Saroyan and Ray Bradbury to write for free.
Hollywood Bohemia: The Roots of Progressive Politics in Rob Wagner’s Script also draws upon declassified Justice Department investigative files as sources. The book is richly illustrated with photographs, including previously unpublished images of Wagner with Charlie Chaplin, Will Rogers, Frank Capra and other film artists of the day.
Hollywood Bohemia will be published July 1, 2016, and can be pre-ordered at:
Janaway Publishing, Inc., 732 Kelsey Ct., Santa Maria, CA 93454
Phone: (805) 925-1038 Fax: (805) 925-5228
Contact the author at: email@example.com
Book cover photograph: From left, Upton Sinclair, Charlie Chaplin and Rob Wagner.
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