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A Kinder, Simpler Time Dept.: Your Movie Columnist

January 21, 2010 | 12:00 pm

Jan. 21, 1959, Hedda Hopper 

Jan. 21, 1959 – I think this is the most vitriolic Hedda Hopper column I’ve found so far: “It took some scratching and digging on my part, but I finally learned why Charlie Chaplin settled tax problem -- so he could show the anti-American film he made in England to some Chaplin loving citizens of America. While he was still in debt to Uncle Sam he couldn't release it here. Cute, isn't it?

“Our Commie writers are now coming out of their hiding places to accept Oscars, yet most of them kept on writing during the war years and afterward under assumed names. When I charged a prominent producer of hiring a Commie, he replied: 'Why not, I'd hire the devil himself if he could turn in a good script.' With the message, I suppose, that hell is more exciting than heaven.”

Remember that in 1940, Hopper was still writing positively about Chaplin.