Issue 160, Winter 2001
Budd Schulberg has written two of the three best Hollwood novels--What Makes Sammy Run? and The Disenchanted (the third being F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon).
This conversation--a portrait of early Hollywood, its moguls, Communists and writers--was recorded on July 3, 2000, at the Schulberg home in Quioque, Long Island, while we were on the patio eating his wife Betsy's excellent lunch.
I'll start with F. Scoot Fitzgerald's observation in his notebooks: "Hollywood is a Jewish holiday, a Gentile's tragedy."
BUDD SCHULBERGThere’s no question about the Jewish invasion of Hollywood in the early days. With a few exceptions, the early moguls came mostly from New York’s Lower East Side.Jewish immigrants.
Sam Goldwyn comes co mind, Adolph Zukor and Louis Mayer-people who had really come up out of nothing, who were resourceful and looking for a way out, came quite naturally to the nickelodeon. For one thing, it was ton despised a business for the Gentiles, like a low burlesque; respectable businessmen wanted no part of it. So it was left co people looking for a main chance, and with some imagination-who would quite naturally gravitate coward it. So, with a few exceptions, all of the early filmmakers—Laemmle, Zukor, Loew, Lasky—starred as penniless Jews, just on their way to learning English but quick studies. Almost overnight they created the movie business in the 1910s.
So the first part of your question is answered easily. But the second half, the Gentile’s tragedy," gives me pause.