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.
Subtitle:
I Am the Sum of My Actions
Topic:
Film and Television
Interviewer:
Gardner, Joel
Interviewee:
Wilson, Michael
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Language:
English
Copyright:
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Abstract:
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.