Oral Histories

Interview of Herbert Knott Sorrell

Union organizer. Head of the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU) and business manager of the Motion Picture Painters union, Local 644.
You Don't Choose Your Friends: The Memoirs of Herbert Knott Sorrell
Social Movements
Labor Movement
Dixon, Elizabeth I.
Sorrell, Herbert Knott
Place Conducted:
Florence Contini's home in Los Angeles, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Elizabeth I. Dixon, Librarian of the Office of Oral History, UCLA.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Early life in Missouri and Alabama; father's union activities; move to Oakland, California, 1907; work at age twelve in sewer pipe factory; boxing for a living; learning painting trade; work as painter at Universal, 1923-26; fired from Universal for belonging to painters union; early organizing efforts in studios; activities in Hollywood studio strikes, 1937 and 1945; role of violence in 1937 strike; conflict with International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE); organized crime influence in IATSE; formation of Conference of Studio Unions (CSU); keeping local union free from dominance by International Painters and Decorators Union; Tom Mooney; differences with American Federation of Labor during 1945 strike; conflict with International Brotherhood of Teamsters; relationship of communists to union; opinion of Harry Bridges; lockout of CSU members, 1946; actions of Motion Picture Producers Association; Father George H. Dunne's investigation of corruption in IATSE; Kearns Committee hearings; accusations of communism; Jack B. Tenney and Tenney committee; changing status of unions by 1960s.