Oral Histories

Interview of Michael Wilson

Screenwriter and member of the Communist Party. Blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) for communist affiliations.
I Am the Sum of My Actions
Film and Television
Gardner, Joel
Wilson, Michael
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Father's travels from Illinois to Oklahoma; childhood in Oklahoma City; move to Monrovia, California, 1923; attending St. Brigid's Catholic School in San Francisco; Berkeley High School, 1929-31; evolving social consciousness; effect of Depression; studying at University of California, Berkeley; intellectual expansion and discontent; Professor Benjamin Lehman; San Francisco General Strike, 1934; beginning to write; radicalization during first graduate year; travel to Paris, Vienna, and Soviet Union, 1937-38; influence of motion pictures: Grand Illusion, All Quiet on the Western Front, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang; Abraham Lincoln Brigade and Spanish Civil War; return to Berkeley; recruitment into American Communist Party, 1938; Young Communist League at Berkeley; strike of cotton pickers in Bakersfield area; Zelma Gussin (later Wilson); teaching Marxism in Alaska; collective farming in Baja California; Tom Mooney pardoned by Governor Culbert L. Olson; arrival in Hollywood; writing short stories; Coronet magazine prize for "The Rookie"; screenwriting at Columbia Pictures; John Howard Lawson; Robert Meltzer; Hopalong Cassidy screenplays; World War II Marine Corps service.