Q. Does that include screenwriter Richard Collins, who later named names?
A. I never met Richard Collins, but when he was in some executive post on Bonanza, a friend of mine knew him slightly. At one point, when I was recommended for a script, she was astonished to hear him say, "Don't bother bringing up Marsha Hunt to me. As long as I'm connected with this show, she will never work on it." He was so vehement and adamant about it. I've since heard that he was someone who had been a Communist and repented, which was an enviable position. It was better to have loved and lost, to be the prodigal son.
Jeff Corey and John Randolph
Jeff Corey and John Randolph may be the most recognizable actors who were blacklisted. After being denied employment for some 15 years, each went on to roles in many memorable films: Corey in True Grit, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Little Big Man; Randolph in All the President's Men, Serpico and Prizzi's Honor. In addition, Corey is a past member, and Randolph a current member of the SAG National Board of Directors.
^ excerpt v
Miller himself has stated that he wrote the play to comment on the parallels between the unjust Salem Witch Trials and the Second Red Scare from 1948 to 1956. During McCarthyism, the United States was terrified of Communism's influence. Like the witches on trial in Salem, Communists were viewed as having already silently infiltrated the most vital aspects of American life and security, presenting a clear and present danger to the community at large.
Political dissidents at the time were regarded with suspicion, and, to many under the influence of the Red Scare hysteria, presented an unsubstantiated threat to national security. The implication of a person's name offered up to the House Un-American Activities Committee by a testifying witness carried the same weight as irrefutable evidence of guilt, and any refusal to name names by a witness was a clear sign of a Communist conspiracy. Miller, seeking to protect his business and personal friends from a prevailing hysteria of injustice, and admitting in private his own desire to keep his inner-conscience and sense of self inviolate, refused to testify to the Committee and was blacklisted by the American government.
Many of Miller's peers, fearing the wrath of the court, provided the names of their associates to the Committee in an attempt to save themselves from public and professional disgrace. Most of these accusations were procured out of fear and were largely uncorroborated and had no legal basis of proof. Miller, portraying a stark similarity between the collaboraters of both the McCarthy era and the Salem Witch trials, depicts cowardly neighbors accusing each other falsely to save themselves from the high court of Salem. To Miller, only those who refuse to cooperate to such a system of plain injustice even to the point of death, most notably John Proctor and the seven condemned villagers who hang with him for their silence, hold onto their honor and sense of self and die as vindicated martyrs. Despite this it isn't intended as a historically accurate play, as Miller said "The play is not reportage of any kind... what I was doing was writing a fictional story about an important theme"
^Hollywood ten picketers
^president Truman saying how stupid McCarthy is, print out in color!