Manny P. here…
It’s only fitting on the eve of Election Day, the Forgotten Hollywood Book Series will NOW be officially housed in a combined 100 libraries. And, these latest shelves are found at the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Woodland Hills, CA. Overall, Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History is in 85 branches, while Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History rests in 39 libraries.
The Motion Picture and Television Fund is celebrating 90 years in existence. Right from the start, their mission statement has been We Take Care of Our Own.
The organization has its origins from cinematic luminaries as Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith, who realized the need for reaching out to those in the movie industry who fell upon hard times. The original Board of Trustees included many of the big names in Hollywood such as Harold Lloyd, Douglas Fairbanks, William S. Hart, Jesse Lasky, Cecil B. DeMille, Donald Crisp (an actor in my book series), Hal Roach, and Irving Thalberg. It was known then as the Motion Picture Relief Fund (MPRF).
In 1932, Mary Pickford spearheaded the Payroll Pledge Program, a monetary deduction plan for those earning over $200 a week. Studio workers were compelled to pledge one-half of one percent of their earnings to MPRF. In 1938, MPRF increased participation in the Payroll Pledge Program by including talent groups, unions, and producer representatives. SAG improved this effort by ruling for compulsory contributions by its Class A members.
SAG Prez Jean Hersholt searched for an opportunity to supplement income produced by the Payroll Pledge. Jules Stein came up with the idea to have major movie stars appear on a new radio program, The Screen Guild Show, whereby they would donate their normal salaries to MPRF. Members of the Directors Guild and the Writers Guild also contributed their services.
Sponsored by Gulf Oil, The Screen Guild Show made its premiere on over 61 CBS stations in 1939. The first program featured the iconic Jack Benny, Judy Garland and Joan Crawford. The Screen Guild Show quickly became one of the most popular programs on network radio, raising $5.3 million for MPRF during its 13-year run. Most major actor participated a number of times: Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Bing Crosby, Natalie Wood, Carole Lombard, Bob Hope, Betty Grable, Clark Gable, Tyrone Power, and the list goes on.
The Motion Picture Relief Fund broke ground on the existing facility in Woodland Hills in 1948 under the supervision of Jean Hersholt. The Motion Picture & Television Fund mission remains the same: preserve the health and quality of life of those who devote so much of their lives to a career in the entertainment industry. Donations are vital to MPTF’s ability to provide services to its retired industry members.
Donations including literary books that share untold stories about Hollywood’s Golden Age… wink!
Until next time> “never forget”