Bound and Gagged in Hollywood: Edmund L. Hartmann, Screenwriter and Producer

Bound and Gagged in Hollywood: Edmund L. Hartmann, Screenwriter and Producer

by Donald W. McCaffrey
     
 

Edmund Hartmann arrived in Hollywood as a contract screenwriter in the early 1930s, and by the next decade had become producer of his own screenplays for Universal. He oversaw feature films for such diverse talents as John Carradine, Eve Arden, Jane Russell, Basil Rathbone, Hedy Lamarr, Victor McLaglen, Bob Cummings, Don Ameche, Ann Miller, Jackie Cooper, and Joan

Overview

Edmund Hartmann arrived in Hollywood as a contract screenwriter in the early 1930s, and by the next decade had become producer of his own screenplays for Universal. He oversaw feature films for such diverse talents as John Carradine, Eve Arden, Jane Russell, Basil Rathbone, Hedy Lamarr, Victor McLaglen, Bob Cummings, Don Ameche, Ann Miller, Jackie Cooper, and Joan Fontaine. He could handle almost all types of cinema: mysteries, social dramas, fantasies, and westerns. But it was his facility for comedy for which Hartmann will be best remembered. He wrote seven comedies for Bob Hope, three for Lucille Ball, and worked with both Abbott and Costello and the vaudeville comedy team of Olson and Johnson. Ultimately, Hartmann made his greatest mark on television, where he oversaw two major hits of the 1960s, the long-running My Three Sons, with Fred MacMurray, and Family Affair, starring Brian Keith. In Bound and Gagged in Hollywood: Edmund Hartmann, Screenwriter and Producer, author and film scholar Donald W. McCaffrey looks over the long and varied career of this talented man. Drawing on more than fifty interviews, McCaffrey creates a profile of a man whose success in film extended to television triumphs. The book also covers Hartmann's tenure as president of the Western branch of the Writers Guild in the 1950s, as he and his fellow screenwriters endured investigations by the House Un-American Activities committee. As writer and producer for CBS and ABC in the 1960s, Hartmann was bound by contracts that favored the production companies. Despite many years working on four situation television comedies, he never received residual royalties. In this intimate portrait, McCaffrey provides an analysis of Hartmann's work on both the large and small screens, covering a span of more than forty years. Hartmann himself, a raconteur of the first order, adds spice to the narrative with anecdotes and an insider's view of the creative process. This book is a fitting tribute to a man whose legacy lives on

Editorial Reviews

Reference and Research Book News
As a contract screenwriter in the Hollywood of the 1930s, Hartmann did what he was told, and he was told to do plenty. He wrote features and then started producing his own scripts at Universal, working with no less than John Carradine, Hedy Lamarr, Basil Rathbone and Jane Russell. When it finally became clear to the studio bosses that Hartmann had a comedic gift, he wrote comedies for Bob Hope, Lucille Ball and Abbot and Costello, and produced the long-running My Three Sons and Family Affair for television. McCaffrey (English emeritus, U. of North Dakota) also has a gift, and that is for interviewing Hartmann and getting the details on the shows, the politics, and especially on the machinations of the blacklist of the McCarthy era, in which Hartmann had the honor (and the horror) of serving as president of the Writers Guild.
August 2006 Reference and Research Book News
As a contract screenwriter in the Hollywood of the 1930s, Hartmann did what he was told, and he was told to do plenty. He wrote features and then started producing his own scripts at Universal, working with no less than John Carradine, Hedy Lamarr, Basil Rathbone and Jane Russell. When it finally became clear to the studio bosses that Hartmann had a comedic gift, he wrote comedies for Bob Hope, Lucille Ball and Abbot and Costello, and produced the long-running My Three Sons and Family Affair for television. McCaffrey (English emeritus, U. of North Dakota) also has a gift, and that is for interviewing Hartmann and getting the details on the shows, the politics, and especially on the machinations of the blacklist of the McCarthy era, in which Hartmann had the honor (and the horror) of serving as president of the Writers Guild.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810857292
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
06/28/2006
Pages:
136
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.39(d)

Meet the Author

Donald W. McCaffrey is Professor Emeritus, English Department, at the University of North Dakota. He is the author of Four Great Comedians: Chaplin, Lloyd, Keaton, and Langdon, The Golden Age of Sound Comedy, Assault on Society: Satirical Literature to Film (Scarecrow, 1992) and The Road to Comedy: The Films of Bob Hope.

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