Oral Histories

Interview of George H. Dunne

Jesuit priest, opponent of segregation, and supporter of the Conference of Studio Unions’ 1945 Hollywood set decorators strike.
Subtitle:
Christian Advocacy and Labor Strife in Hollywood
Series:
Governmental History Documentation Project - Ronald Reagan Era
Topic:
Politics and Government
Interviewer:
Tuchman, Mitch
Interviewee:
Dunne, George H.
Persons Present:
Dunne and Tuchman.
Place Conducted:
Xavier Hall at Loyola Marymount University 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 Mitch Tuchman, freelance consultant, UCLA Oral History Program; BA, Sociology, Occidental College. M.Ph., Ph.D., Sociology, Yale University. The interviewer, having worked intermittently on a history of the motion picture labor movement, was familiar with events and personalities involved in the motion picture studio strikes of the mid-1940s. Immediately prior to recording the interview, the interviewer reread Father Dunne's 1952 pamphlet, Hollywood Labor Dispute: A Study in Immorality. At Dunne's request, a photocopy of the text had been supplied him by the Oral History Program, so that he, too, refreshed his memory.
Processing of Interview:
Editing was done by Bernard Galm, senior editor, Oral History Program. He checked the verbatim transcript prepared by H. Sabrina Gledhill, of the interview against the original tape recordings and edited for punctuation, paragraphing, correct spelling, and verification of proper and place names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed. In a letter from his home in Le Paquier, Switzerland, Father Dunne supplied some first names of people mentioned in the transcript. Mitch Tuchman, senior editor, Oral History Program, reviewed the edited transcript before it was typed in final form. Frontal matter and index were prepared by the Oral History Program staff.
Length:
3 hrs.
Language:
English
Copyright:
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Audio:
Series Statement:
Interviews in this series were undertaken by the UCLA Oral History Program in conjunction with similar efforts at the University of California, Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office; Claremont Graduate School Oral History Program; California State University, Fullerton, Oral History Program; and the University of California, Davis, Oral History Project. Funds were provided by the state legislature through the office of the state archivist. The project was an outgrowth of earlier efforts of the Regional Oral History Office to document Earl Warren, Goodwin Knight and Edmund G. "Pat Brown, Sr., eras in California politics. All interviews in the series are deposited at each of the participating institutions and at the California State Archives in Sacramento. A full listing of interviews on the Reagan era can be located at the Regional Oral History Office. Individual efforts are listed in the catalogs of the various participating programs.
Earliest experiences as a Jesuit: Nanking, China, and midwestern United States--Desegregation controversy at St. Louis University--Family history--Writing for Commonweal--Ecclesiastical response to early public addresses--Continuing interest in race relations--Trial by Fire--Mafia links to organized labor in Hollywood--Interviewing Hollywood labor leaders--Addressing strike meetings--Sharing a platform with a suspected Communist-­ Meeting with William Green--Roy Brewer's calumnious remarks.
Representative Carroll Kearns investigates the labor situation in the motion picture industry-­ Pat Casey reveals a conspiracy to lock out motion picture craftsmen--The pivotal role of actors in the strike--Ronald Reagan, Jane Wyman, and George Murphy visit Dunne at Loyola--Reagan and Dunne seated side by side during a congressional hearing--"The leopard [IATSE] doesn't change its spots"--Ronald Reagan: "Rover Boy"--"Willie" Bioff reveals Mafia ties--Proposing binding arbitration--Archbishop's Cantwell's report-­ Reprimand by the archbishop.
Exiled from Los Angeles--Flo Contini, Sorrell's secretary--1948-71: Parish work in Phoenix, writing in Rome, training Peace Corps volunteers at Georgetown University, traveling in Brazil, general secretary of an interfaith committee in Rome--Semiretirement in Switzerland--Hollywood Labor Dispute--Reasoning inductively--The end of Willie Bioff--Assessing Ronald Reagan-­Murphy's ill-advised wisecrack--Victor Riesel's "smear"--Father Whalen forbids a speech on anti-Semitism.
Casey confirms Dunne's version of the studio lock out--"There was [never] any reason for considering us radical"--Lena Horne--Civil and ecclesiastical authority: "I have a vow of obedience, so I obey. I am not bound to obey an order to do something which is wrong."