The Great Hollywood Coverup Part I: Moving Pictures, Moral Crusaders, and Murder
Nearly 100 years ago, scandal after scandal was rocking the new kid in town, the motion picture business; Tinseltown; Hollywood. Overdoses on mercury bichloride, cocaine-addicted starlets, prostitution and drug rings, suicides, and an alleged raucous orgy ending in the rape and murder of an actress by one of the top stars. This was all occurring while this new art form was under constant scrutiny by Christian fundamentalists and early feminist activists on a moral crusade to "clean up" and save America from its sinful trajectory off which Hollywood's leaders seemed hellbent on profiting.
It seemed like the wolves were closing in until Hollywood's leading power broker--the man who understood and capitalized on Americans' fascination with fame--decided to place one of his most loyal directors in charge of presenting a cleaner, more dignified image of Hollywoodland. And almost without missing a beat, that director was found dead in his home, bringing down all the heat Hollywood's leading power-broker wanted least.
In the first part of this epic duology of History Impossible, we'll be looking at this power broker's place at the dawn of Hollywood and in the original culture war, the mysterious actor from England with a shrouded past that he hired as his propagandist, and the ominous circumstances leading up to that actor's death. Stay tuned for Part II in the coming weeks.