Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One: How Hollywood Helped The Nazis

Part One: How Hollywood Helped The Nazis

Tue, 11 Sep 2018 10:00

Part One: How Hollywood Helped The Nazis

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I'm Rachel Adams Hurd. I'm a reporter for Bloomberg News and host of Entrust, a new series from Bloomberg and iHeartRadio. More than a century ago, the Osage nation negotiated something unique that brought a lot of money to its people. In this new series I look at who ended up with a lot of that land and oil money and how the SH Nation is fighting to get it back. Listen to Intrust on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. My name is Alex Fumero and I host the new podcast more than a movie American Me, a film directed by and starring Edward James Olmos. I'll be diving into the behind the scenes controversy, including an alleged backlash from the Mexican mafia, several people who worked on the movie. Have been murdered. I I don't want to speak about why would people be murdered for being in a movie? Listen to more than a movie American me on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Sisters of the Underground is a podcast about fearless Dominican women who stood up against the brutal dictator Kapal Trojan. He needs to be stopped. We've been silent and complacent for far too long. I am Daniel Ramirez, and as a Dominicana myself, I am proud to be. Are reading this true story that is often left out of the history books through your husband, blood on his hands? Listen to sisters of the underground wherever you get your podcasts. Hey everybody, I'm Robert Evans and this is once again behind the ******** the show where we tell you everything you don't know about the very worst people in all of history. Now, this is a show where I read a story about someone or someone's terrible, from a from history to a guest who is coming in cold. And my guest today is the inimitable Daniel van Kirk. Hello Daniel. You are a comedian. You are a writer, host of dumb people, town hindsight pen Pals, 3 great podcasts and I'm going to guess you can. Throw a pretty good punch because you look kind of yoked over here. I just think the the listener should know that. Thanks, that's all I'm going for is yoked. I am working towards that being my only introduction, right? This next guy is yoked please welcome to the hell. Just saw him on the street and brought him in for the podcast. I am going to fight that rule that you can't do stand up in a tank top. You can't think about it. Would you listen to anybody talk to you on a microphone and a tank top? I was Daniel O'Brien's subordinate for years, and he wears a tank top 100% of the time, so maybe he's broken. I'm used to it, yeah. Alright, so today we are talking about Hollywood and the Nazis, I mean, and how the two helped one another. You know, you say that us guests come into this cult and I am ready for that. That's beautiful. Well, what do you think when you think of like, how Hollywood reacted to the Nazis? What do you think of? Well, one, I think there was a documentary on Netflix about a whole bunch of directors get sent to like, make propaganda films. I mean, they made propaganda for the US against the Nazis. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. He's saying the idea of people who are were pro within the Hollywood elite, it's a little more complicated than that. So when we think about Hollywood, the Nazis, we think about what you're talking about those like why we fight documentaries and like Bugs Bunny beating up Hitler and all that stuff. That all came after the war had started. When we talk about the period from when the Nazis took power to the beginning of World War Two and what Hollywood did, it is a very different tale and a less positive 1 towards Hollywood. So that's what we're going to talk about today. So ready to hear. All right. Well, I'm going to start us off with some background on the the motion picture industry because I think it's going to be useful to sort of set the tone that this story comes in on. The first good movie going experience probably happened on the 28th of December 1895 in Paris. This is when Tin Lumiere Brothers films were screened and it was sort of the first time we're projection technology was advanced enough that like it was a good picture. You'd actually want to go and see this rather than looking at like a grainy lake. You know, it wouldn't be clear what was really happening. So that was the first like good movie going experience. The first permanent movie theater, the Nickelodeon, was opened in Pittsburgh in 1905. The first full length movie came out a year later. It was an Australian film about the outlaw Ned Kelly. But of course Americans quickly grew to dominate the industry, which you may have caught, yeah. It's interesting that it started in Pittsburgh. Yeah, the first movie theater. I would never have guessed that right, either. No. Yeah. Like Pittsburgh. OK. Yeah. Alright. I guess that in a Primanti brothers sandwich, you're historic. I don't know what that means because I've never been to Pittsburgh either, but I see it on all those food channels. It's like the sandwich where they put everything on the sandwich, like fries and coleslaw. It's primanti brothers. Supposed to be amazing. Well, our three Pittsburgh listeners are over the moon right now. We're here for you. We're here for you guys. Today is for you. Pittsburgh, obviously. One American. Was more dominant than others in the early film industry. Thomas Alba Edison. Hmm. Now William Dixon, a Scottish inventor, actually created the Kinetoscope, which is one of the very first movie cameras. But he worked for Thomas Edison, and so in 1892, Edison got the patent for like, the first functional movie camera that you could really sell as a commercial device. This made him even wealthier, although he was already pretty rich at the time. Dixon, because he didn't get rich off of inventing the movie camera, went on to become one of the first video pornographers in all of history. Got to make his fortune, yeah. He's that's the prequel to the Deuce. Yes. OK, yes, yes. Edison, meanwhile, just kept buying patents related to the motion picture industry and suing anyone he caught infringing upon them in 1908. He was a leading mind behind the creation of the Motion Picture Patents Company, which was a trust that basically bonded everyone who owned a film patent together in one organization so they could control which films could be made and basically monopolized the art form of filming things like anytime there's a new industry. Especially in, like the 1800s, in the early 1900s, it was like three or four people being like, well, let's just own all of it. Let's just own all of it and stop it from ever changing because that was Edison's idea. He figured movies would always be like 5 or 10 minutes shorts that people watched a bunch of in a row. And he was like, well, let's just be the only ones who get to do that, right? And actually, that's what's happening today in the car industry over the past like 20 to 30 years and even up till today, which what Tesla is trying to fight is like, you guys bought all of this electric technology back in the 80s so that you never had to release it. Yeah, because you controlled it all. Yeah. So it was basically illegal starting in 1908 to make a film that Thomas Edison didn't personally approve of, and he was from the beginning very concerned with the moral character of films. Quote. In my opinion, nothing is of greater importance to the success of the motion picture interests than films of good moral tone. No, thank you. By good moral test definition by which is always the best part, somebody's like, by my moral terms, like, no, I understand what you saying, but you also understand yourself defining that. Yeah, if you everyone judges their own morals. Yeah, everybody has a moral tone. You're just saying yours is right. And in Edison's case, I think that meant he didn't want films to show immigrants. So, well, I guess that's his moral tone. One of the things happening during this. Was what's known today as the Americanize, the immigrant movement, which was a reaction to the fact that immigration into the United States had switched from being mostly people from the British Isles, Germany, and Northwest Europe to people from scary places like Russia, the Balkans, and most horrifying of all, Italy. Yeah, yeah, which we all know what happens when too many Italians get into a country. Good stuff, great espresso. Yeah, terrible pizza. I think people, like, just don't think enough about the time in our country where you know the difference between racism and prejudice. Right, prejudices. I judge you based off what I know about you and racism tends to be I judge you based off how you look. Yeah. So prejudice, like, was equal to, like, racism. But you had to identify like, are you Irish? Are you Italian? And then once find out, then we prejudice size. Is that all we prejudice size you? But there was this time where it was like, it wasn't based on color of skin. It was like this thing of like, well, you're from there. No, thanks. They would say it was based off color of skin because a lot of people in 1908 would have looked in an Italian, a lot of like American white people would have looked in Italian and said, well, that's not a white man, really? Yeah. Yeah. Educated how deep that they went. Then the Irish were the last of the white people to become officially white, essentially. Yeah. But it was a process of being accepted as white for all of what we now just say, like, oh, everybody in ******* Europe is white as hell. That's Europe, right? But that was not the case from the beginning, and this is the period where it was starting. His lines, well I don't know much about Edison in specific, but I know this was a big factor in the movie industry because the Americanized the immigrant movement campaigned for the regulation of the film industry. They were the first people to want to censor films and so Edison was very much sort of reacting to that. The Americanized the immigrants movement was unsuccessful in actually creating laws to govern films, but their arguments clearly had an impact on people like Edison. A war started to brew in the nascent motion picture industry and on one side where people like. And I'm going to read you a quote from a moving picture world, which is like one of the first industry trade magazines. A critic wrote it in 1910, and he gave a horrified description of a movie theater. And this is from the textbook taking fame to market. So this will give you an idea of kind of what some people in the film industry, sort of on Edison side of things, were horrified of when they looked into a movie theater. The audience also stood for one or two high class films without any fuss, although we are sure they didn't understand what they were looking at anymore than they would have Chinese opera. I would have been more comfortable on board a cattle train than where I sat. There were 500 smells combined in one. One young lady fainted and had to be carried out of the theater. I can forgive that all right, as people with sensitive noses should not go slumming. But what is hardest to swallow is that the tastes of this seething mass of human cattle are the tastes that have dominated, or at least set the standards of American moving pictures. So this is like a film critic in 1910 and he's commenting on the type of people in the movie. Yeah, yeah, that you're going to the movie, you're slumming, yes, but not based on people who are seeing movies or but based on based on both. The people who are seeing movies are, a lot of them are immigrants and poor people because it's a very affordable way to spend your time. But also the people making movies and running movie theaters were mainly lower class entrepreneurs who had come to the country from Europe and were either Jewish or Catholic immigrants, which at this point, if you're not a white Anglo-Saxon. Protestant, you're below. Yeah. What they would declare white people on the totem pole. So that's a big factor in this, is that these people who are Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and Catholic immigrants from Eastern Europe are moving into the United States and starting movie theaters, and other people like them are going to see these shows. And the movies that are being made are being made to play to this audience. And that is scary to the whitest people who have ever lived. What are they watching? I mean, they're probably not watching that much in the way of movies. And I'm guessing nothing good because we don't really get it was low rent entertainment. It was very low rent entertainment, very short, cheap, kind of like wasn't the opera or the orchestra. And you're not in this. Seeing complicated movies with a three act structure that are very long and stuff that doesn't come until a little bit later in 1909. Because of this trust Edison puts together, independent film basically becomes illegal. The now outlaw filmmakers call themselves independents. They keep right on making movies, using illegal equipment and buying foreign film stock to get around the trust. Edison forms a subsidiary, the General Film Company, to confiscate illegal equipment and basically bust into movie theaters and shut down on whose authority on his because he owns the patents. You can't make a movie. Bounty hunters for. Yeah. Film, yeah. And at this point, the film industry is all in basically New York, the East Coast. But it's like the cops showed up and there was a fight between his people and the independence. They would just say, well, we're recovering what we own. Exactly. And they've got the law on their side. These people are breaking the law by filming movies. Legally, you know, because they don't have the right to use a movie camera to make a movie if Edison doesn't approve of it. Wow. Yeah. Now, the good news is Edison's plan backfired. The general Film Companies, Iron Fist, just pushed independents to get into manufacturing film themselves. So Edison's not, I'm not going to sell you film, I'm not going to sell you cameras. So these people who are making independent films and running small movie theaters start getting their own cameras from outside of the US because there's other people making movie cameras legal, kind of on the edge, like. Definitely breaking the law a bunch. But, you know, it's it's also 19081909. So the law doesn't mean quite what it does today, which is why Edison's hiring goons to enforce it. You know, so many of these independent early motion picture moguls were people like Karl Lammel. They were immigrants themselves. And Carl Lamelle was born in southern Germany. He moved to the United States as a young man and worked a series of odd jobs until jobs until in his recollection, quote, one rainy night, I dropped into one of those hole in the Wall 5. Motion picture theaters. The pictures made me laugh, although they were very short and the projection jumpy. I liked them, and so did everybody else. I knew right away that I wanted to get into the motion picture business. Salemo got into the business of running theaters, but then he became a distributor himself because he basically, it was too much of a hassle to rely on the distributor to send him films, and that also meant he was dependent on Edison. So he eventually starts his own production outfit, the Independent Motion Picture Company, in order to make films on his own terms. Because he's just there's so much demand, and Edison and his guys, the people who have actual approval, aren't making enough movies, and they're sort of throttling the supply to people. So a guy like lambos like, well, **** it. Just make my own movies and I'll rent them out to other theaters in addition to the theaters that I owned. In 1912, Carl Limley renamed his company, which had been the Independent Motion Picture company Universal, where we Get Universal Studios. During the meeting where this was announced, he explained, quote, that's what we're supplying Universal Entertainment for the universe. Ars Technica does note that he later admitted he'd gotten the name from a universal pipe fitting struck he'd seen out the window during this meeting. So I think Carl was just kind of literally the thing where somebody's like, what's your name and you're like. Daniel pencil. He just pulled it from what was in front of him. Although that also proves like don't put too much thought into it, just do the work because it clearly it's worked, right? Everybody knows what universal picture is, right? That's awesome. So universal, Paramount and Warner Brothers all started as essentially a legal film companies really. They fled from the East Coast to California both because the fantastic sunlight made it easier to shoot on sort of long low tech ship that they were using in those days, but also because the distance helped protect them from Thomas Edison's wrath. Because you know, back then travel across, you were saying the law was not what the law is not because. Just like in the 1990s, are Pinkertons still running around too, where you just hire your own cops? That's part of it. There's also US marshals and stuff, but they've got to travel all the way across the country and it just means everything takes longer. And these guys are basically playing a waiting game because they know that the trust are starting to be busted during this period of time, right? Like Teddy Roosevelt, that everything he was doing. So they're thinking is if we get out to California, we can make a **** load of money. We're off the radar. Yeah. When we do have to pay fines, we'll make enough money to make it worthwhile. And. The lengthening of sort of the time that everything will take eventually will win. That's why I love your show, man. I was wondering, when we started, what? How did we end up in California from Pittsburgh? That's how we got it. Yeah. So the guy who wound up slaying the beast of the motion Picture Patent Company was a dude named William Fox. He started out running a film rental company. Soon he started making movies too, just like Lambley. And the Fox Film Corporation became the foremost anti Edison studio. Fox sued the MPC and won. Finally ending. Patent wars in 1915. By that point, Hollywood had already become the center of American and Global film production. Now, all this is important to establish his background, because Hollywood was built by immigrants who'd fought bigotry upon arriving in America and had often fled persecution in their home countries. Jewish people were overwhelmingly well represented within the industry. Here's a quote from Ben Erwins the collaboration quote. The men who created the studio system in Los Angeles were Jewish immigrants of Eastern European descent. These men included William Fox who founded Fox, Louis B Mayer who ran MGM, Adolph Zukor who ran paramount, Harry Cohn who ran Columbia Pictures, Carl Lamley who ran Universal Pictures, and Jack and Harry Warner who ran Warner Brothers of 85 names engaged in production, one study noted in the 1930s. Fifty three are Jews. So this is a very Jewish dominated business. These are people who had to fight in order to be able to do their business against. Discrimination and stuff. So these are. You would think that when Adolf Hitler rose to power in the early 1930s, these diverse and used to fighting bigots, movie moguls would have stood up to try and halt the spread of fascism. You would think that was their bread and butter. But you would be wrong. Throughout the first seven years the Nazis were in power past the outbreak of World War 20, major motion pictures were made that addressed the Hitler or the Nazis in a in a hugely negative light. There was one movie that kind of sort of did up until the outbreak of the war, but it came out in like 19. Well, that's what I was gonna ask you. So when they got here. When did they switch from making these nickel like quick short movies and start making longer ones? That really starts to happen around 19. Like I said, I think it was 1906 was the first close to full length movie was like an hour or something along 1910 was the birth of the star system. That's when these people so number one, these are I think 1927 is when they start doing talkies. So in the silent movies it becomes very useful to have someone in the audience is familiar with who they understand this person's gestures, their facial expressions and what the cause. It's important for the medium, yeah. So 1910 is when movie stars start to become a thing. Gotcha. Which again, 1915 is when the patent wars ends. So by 1915, we have the beginnings of Hollywood as we know it. And I, you know from that episode that you did, people should check out, if they haven't already, about behind the ******** for Hitler. Like, there it was obvious what his agenda was. Oh yeah. And it's so interesting to me that there's this disconnect of this industry that is literally derived out of the idea of, like, showing viewpoints or opinions or telling stories that there's a disconnect of the people who have started this here in California that are like, yeah, we're not even. Yeah, addressing it. Yeah. And we what's undeniable. So this is a controversial thing that we're going to get into today. What's undeniable is that during the pre World War Two years, but post the Nazis coming to power. Hollywood made almost no films whatsoever that even talked about the Nazis. The number of films that mention Jewish people dropped by, like, 60 or 70%. They became very, very careful about not offending the Germans. The debate is over. You know, Harvard scholar Ben Erwin, who wrote the collaboration, essentially argues that the studios worked with the Nazis. And he presents compelling evidence to that point. Yeah. Yeah. And it's it's a it's a good book. Studios run by predominantly Jewish yes, yes, and we'll we'll get into how this all started. I do want to announce up front that Arland has some detractors, people who don't think collaboration is a fair term, and so I'll be getting in where there are areas of controversy. I'll be getting into it a little bit, because this is very far from settled history, but I think irwins arguments are more convincing than the other one. So that is kind of largely the fact we're going to be taken here now. Irwan traces the start of the collaboration to the film, All Quiet on the Western Front. Which came out in 1930, almost three years before Hitler was in charge, but during the period where Nazis had attained a lot of power in both the Reichstag and on the streets. Now all quiet on the Western Front was based off of a classic book about German soldiers in World War One. It's it's wonderful. It was not an anti German film, but it was anti war and very critical of the Pro War sentiment in the country that had driven Germany to ruin in World War One. It's also gives you a sympathetic. Oh yeah, like take on the German soldier. Oh yeah, because it's it's a devastating. Emotionally. But the Nazis hated it because, again, like, you remember that scene where, like, the the boys are in class and their teachers making going to war seem like this? Like wonderful, awesome adventure and they're all in and they all go die? Yeah, horribly. The Nazis did not like their moms. And yeah, yeah, the Nazis hated that because they're Nazis. They like, we're trying to get we want, we want to get kids excited about dying for the fatherland again. So on the day the film was released in Germany, the Nazis in Berlin. Organized by Joseph, Gerbils bought 300 tickets to the 7:00 PM showing Nazis inside the theater hooted and yelled at the movie and at one predetermined point, started throwing stink bombs into the crowd and releasing mice. So, like, that was sort of their before they're in power, how they would try to shut down a movie. They didn't really. Yeah. Like junior high kids. Like junior high kids. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, probably a lot of them were teenagers. Yeah. Yeah. Now, the Nazis protested for six days until the film was completely removed from German. Trains Carl Lamley, founder of Universal, ordered a bunch of scenes cut from the film in order to please the German Foreign Office. Including that scenes with the teacher. He was the first big studio head to cave into Nazi demands. Now. He died in 1936. And to be totally fair, he helped smuggle like 300 Jewish people out of Germany during the Hitler years that he was alive. Yeah, I mean, we could say that once he realized, holy **** yeah, not good. But when beforehand, when it was just about money, he started the precedent of working with the Nazis. In order to continue to sell films to Germany, he was the first of the studio heads that was like, yeah, this is where this is the thing, man. Like, even right now in our country where it's like, you've really gotta ask yourself, what side of history do you wanna fall in on this, even if it doesn't affect you now? Yeah, like, where do you want to fall on this ****? I mean, but the hard part is you you got to look at history from the perspective of people who don't know what's coming next. But. Three. Yeah. I mean, you're because the Nazis are still saying all this **** yeah, they still have all these attitudes, but you're like, well, they're kind of self-contained and they're there and they're not really doing anything bad yet. So maybe they can be moderated a whole group of people and makes, you know, sell my whatever your product is, then I'll do it. But then it's like, well, what if it what if they start doing what they're talking about? And I think that I don't want to like Judge Lambley too harshly because clearly he was a what's what? **** lemley. Lemley. Well, yeah. I don't wanna judge Limley too harshly because clearly he was a good person who like just ****** ** greed. I agree. We know. We know. We have the precedent now that we should be looking at with hindsight. But I just be careful. Yeah, very. And this is again, one of the things that the people who don't like Erwan criticize him over is essentially thinking too much from the perspective of people living in the present day who know what the Nazis did. And that's a fair. But can't both things be true? Yeah. Be like, even couldn't it possible for him to be like, yeah, I ****** ** on that early stuff. Yeah. Once I saw the legitimacy of the horrors of what they were doing, come ask me how hard I worked to try and save people. Yeah, like, yeah, both of those things can be true. And it's also true that while he worked hard to save people, he didn't work hard to make anti Nazi movies. So, right, we're going to get into the rest of this collaboration and sort of the history of Hollywood and the Nazis. But first, it is time for some ads for products. I understand you're you're a big fan of products. I I love a good product. Do you do you also love Doritos? Daniel fan. I enjoy a dorito. Well, that's fantastic. Why don't you and I go have a quick Dorito break, and then we'll we'll we'll let these ads roll for everybody else. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. 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Very depressing. Religious history is back with more. Listen to revisionist history on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. I've never seen less enthusiasm for a great idea in my life. Being a real estate agent isn't about listing houses, it's about connecting to people. I need to find new buyers every day, so I promote my listings using radio commercials from Now every time I have an open house, it's a full house. A custom radio ad from iheart AD builder is the fast, affordable way to drive customers to your business. Put the power of radio to work for you. Get started now at iheart And we're back. We just had a delicious fistful of of Doritos. Are you want a little half and half? Oh yeah, Nacho and cool ranch. That's, that's we call that the Nacho Ranch. Dangerous place for a horse. That's not a complete joke anyway. I'll take it. Let's move on. I don't like that now that we're fortified. So in April of 1933, around a month after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, the movie King Kong debuted around the world. It ran in Germany for quite a while and was very successful until a professor with the German health office called it quote, Nothing less than an attack on the nerves of the German people. He said. It quote provokes our racial instincts to show a blonde woman of the Germanic type in the hand of an ape. It harms the healthy racial feelings of the German people, the torture to which this woman is exposed, her mortal fear, and the other horrible things that one would only imagine in a drunken frenzy are harmful to German health. In a drunken frenzy, yeah. You're the one the things you would imagine happening to her while you're drunk. Yeah. Yeah. It's normal to imagine a woman getting molested by an ape when you're drunk. As a doctor in Germany, I can say this. You know, if he was a Nazi, I mean, he probably right. I don't know this specific guy he was. Certainly. OK, enough to maintain his job when the Nazis took over, which meant he was willing to. Yeah, he he was vetted on some level. Yeah, he was vetted on some level. My judgment has nothing to do with the technical achievements of the film, which I recognized. Nor do I care what other countries think is good for their people. For the German people, this is unbearable. Isn't this even that tone? Isn't that even in itself part of the whole? The how we got to World War Two and the Nazi party for the German people. Like, it's a pride. Yeah. Yeah. Because of how much pride was lost in, in this World War One serious war. Yeah. That now that's part of the whole thing. Like, other people can do it. They want more Germans and we need to hold ourselves to a higher esteem. We are a proud people. And once we root out this evil within our country, we will be the best country in the world and eventually take it all over. And it's this, like in America, we've always sort of had this, like, attitude that like, yeah, we can be free and easy. Because we just, like, landed on the continent with all of the resources. Yeah. You know, everybody happened to die that was here before us, oddly enough, oddly enough. And in Germany, they're like everybody around us or, yeah, that now that's part of the whole thing. Like, other people can do it. They want more Germans, and we need to hold ourselves to a higher esteem. We are a proud people. And once we root out this evil within our country, we will be the best country in the world and eventually take it all over. And it's this, like in America, we've always sort of had this, like, attitude that, like, yeah, we can be free and easy because we just, like, landed on the continent. Of all of the resources, you know, everybody happened to die that was here before us, oddly enough, oddly enough. And in Germany, they're like everybody around us wants to kill us. And we have to be the hardest **** ** ******* in order to like, yeah, I think that is a big factor. And they weren't. Russia was, Russia was, Russia was the hardest **** ** *******. College grad will tell you that. Yeah, yeah. So the professor went on to warn that quote, psychopaths or women would in particular be vulnerable to being thrown into a panic by the film psychopaths or women. Either one. Either one, because you're either going to go do that to a woman or you're going to, you're going to feel like that's going to happen to you. Oh, see, you actually found a more like a friendlier interpretation of that. I thought he was just saying psychopaths and women are the same thing. Oh well, but no, I think you are probably right. Is that he's like, well, either men who want to molest women will see this as a call to do it, or women will be scared by it. I think you're probably right. Credit to the Nazi. Me the no, no, no, no, no. I'm not calling you a Nazi. Almost never call our guest Nazis. Thank you. Thank you. I'd like to keep that streak going. Yeah. Yeah. So the movie was not banned, but its title was changed. Really? Yes. It was changed from King Kong, to quote the fable of King Kong and American Trick and Sensation Film. Oh, so it's like rolls off the tongue, doesn't? Yeah, of course, yeah. That should have been the title. Yeah, it's Peter Jackson. That's you missed you, fool. Yeah, it's a trick and sensation film. What does that mean? A trick? Actions have worked up this kooky little idea. I I think it yeah. It was meant to make it seem less serious. Trivial to make it. Yeah. It's a fable, like German people are used to. Scary fable. So if we present this as a fable rather than, you know, this might be island. See it as a joke. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. They were trying to make it a commentary. Bingo. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Now, Doctor Ernst Seeger, who will be hearing about a bit in this podcast, was Germany's chief censor, and he had other issues with the film. He was already opened. Right. It had already been out. It's already been out, already been a huge hit. It's been out in Germany for months, I think. I think months. Yeah. So he was fine with the idea of what he called an orangutan. And I just want you to look at the spelling of orangutan. Is it similar to orangutan? It is. That's what they used to call them. What? The idea of a orangutan. Orangutan. Orangutan. Almost written phonetically. Yeah, it is. Yeah. Which I suspect. Iran. Noon. Iran. New tan, tan. So he was fine with the idea of an orangutan falling in love with a, quote, blonde woman of the Germanic type because that was in line with popular racist wisdom of the time, which was that people who aren't white lust over white women. So he was actually OK with that. He was like, yeah, this show is a real thing in nature that we have to be guarded about. Yeah. Yeah. He's, I mean, he's a *******. Sure. We'll be hearing a lot of old timey racism from this particular Nazi. So Doctor Seeger didn't object to that to the film because of the monkey molesting the woman thing. Objected to the film because it showed a commuter train being derailed, and he was afraid that that would make people less trusting of public transportation. My God, forest through the trees. Funny. That is a very German thing though, to watch this movie and be like, what if it makes people scared of the train, right? Like like he has an issue with mechanical malfunctions. Like they you've got to show that we can build stuff better than that. When people think that we endorse this, something would be built. Not well, I, I, German engineering would never have a train derailment. For what it's worth, Hitler loved King Kong. Really? Yeah. Hitler had no problem. He was he was way into the movie. He he loved it. The collaboration quotes a German foreign press chief who said, quote, one of Hitler's favorite films was King Kong, the well known story of a gigantic ape who falls in love with a woman no bigger than his hand. Hitler was captivated by this atrocious story. He spoke of it often and had it screened. Several times. Really? I can't hear that. And not think. Do you remember when that fire and Fury book came out and somebody posted a fake excerpt from it where they were talking about Trump having the monkey channel made for him? It reminds me of that like, like Hitler just staring at this ape on the screen just in spellbound. Like just really liked the idea of like a creature that like could not be contained and had like he because how he saw himself. I was like, I'm bigger and they they I can bust free. I can. Like there had to be some sort of grandiose delusion that he had in that I think I and I I I'm on, I'm on the record here. I think Hitler was just a nerd. I think before that was a commenter. I think if Hitler had, he just loved the idea of monster found in the jungle. Thought it was cool. Next, we're groundbreaking at the time. So I think that's why he he loved it for the same reason people loved Jurassic Park in 1992. It was just probably safer. And I think that's the kind of guy Hitler was because he was, he was very obsessed with fantasy sort of fiction, you know, as a young man. So I I suspect that was the thing. Now, Germany in the 30s was an important market for Hollywood. Prior to World War One. It had been like the second largest foreign market for Hollywood films. And then, you know, after 1920 when Hollywood was allowed back in, the country accepted. Between like 20 and 60 movies every year that the the the Nazis were in power there. There were rules in Germany stating that like they were supposed to be no more than one Hollywood movie for every German movie made, but they relaxed those because the German film industry had trouble and because the people like Hitler. Yeah, Germans loved American movies and were it was a major market for Hollywood. There was a lot of money in being able to sell films to the Germans. Most of the major studios set up German branches during the Weimar years. Executives from MGM, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox all kept up a brisk correspondence with Hitler's adjutants during the period of time the Nazis were in charge. Some of them even signed letters. Hail Hitler. No ****. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, they all. That's some wrong side of history shoot right there. Should I write? Should I write? Hile Hitler on it, I could just, like, sincerely regards like, dude, what's the harm? You know he's going to like it. You know he's going to like it. We're all the way over here in America. Do you want to keep selling movies? Yeah, right. Trust me, it's never going to come back at somebody in auction in 60 years. In the dismay of your future family is going to be selling a letter where you wrote. Yeah, and what's in two years? He'll be out of power. It's so crazy. How could this keep going on? Could you imagine the feeling of like 1943 and you ******* wrote hail Hitler? Ohh yeah, you'd be like, Oh my God, I hope that gets burnt. Throw that in with the books, please. Throw my letter in with the boy. I hope the Germans are bad at keeping records. It's actually the thing they're best at. Ohh **** yeah. So like every dictator I've ever read about, Adolf Hitler was a huge movie buff. He watched at least one Hollywood film every single night. Pretty much that he was in power in his own private movie theater. Usually the only time Hitler stopped talking, as a general rule, is when he was watching a movie. Really? Yeah. Tarantino knew this **** man, with the glorious ********. Get him to a movie, get him to a movie. He loved movies, and he he tend to either. Really. Like films or hate them. When Irwin was researching the collaboration, he went into the buns archive, which is like a big German government archive, and he found Hitler's thoughts on dozens and dozens and dozens of movies. No ****. Yeah. Yeah. And he would usually write like, I liked it or it was it was good, it was great, or I switched it off. For whatever reason, he would say that if he didn't like a movie, he would say it was bad. Very bad. Particularly bad. All Traditionary bastion points. No, no, no. I know. I'm just Trump. Well, he would say bad movies were repulsive. Or the most potent crap, which is potent crap. Potent crap. Yeah, potent crap. That's that's got to be abandoned Berlin. Yeah. Potent, potent crap. Can you guess what Hitler's favorite Hollywood movie was? Let's see, you didn't see anything after 45, right? Define allegedly. Allegedly. Far as we know. Yeah. ****. Which is a shame. I really think he would have liked white Christmas. Ohh, he would have loved white Christmas. There's a lot of, like, racist stuff in that. Ohh tons. **** dude, I don't know. Tell me. Mickey Mouse? Really? Yeah. Yeah. He ordered multiple Mickey Mouse cartoons in 1937. Joseph Gerbils was trying to get him a Christmas gift and wound up settling upon a shitload. Does Disney come up in any of this stuff in Hollywood? Not much. They actually got out of the country pretty early because they were kind of a small studio at this point. And so, like, dealing with, we'll get into that a little bit. Like they they they weren't a huge factor in here, but he loved love Mickey Mouse. Yeah. You don't want to be on that end of the room. Yeah. Hitler. Joseph Gerbils 1 Christmas gave him a bunch of Mickey Mouse films and this is what girls wrote in his diary. I presented the few. I present the furor with 32 of the best films from the last four years and 12 Mickey Mouse films, including a Wonderful art album for Christmas. He is very pleased and extremely happy for this treasure that will hopefully bring him much joy and relaxation. Hitler loved Mickey Mouse, that's sad, which bums me out, and Osama bin Laden loved Tom and Jerry. What the ****? Yeah, the CIA's archive, because the CIA posted up all the stuff we did an episode on this. But all the stuff that was on Osama's hard drives dozens of episodes of Tom and Jerry? Really? Yeah, tons of them. The sad. That's the sad. There's nothing to do with this information. That's the saddest sending to any cartoon. What? Tom and Jerry isn't the final episode. They kill each other. They killed they? I think so. Yeah. I had no idea where there is an episode where they killed themselves and then they like ghosts and they float away. It's like dark dude, that's extremely dark. Yeah, that's that actually sounds more fitting of Hitler cause the Germans are into dark myths for kids, dude. And you know what? Then I hope he saw that whole like remember Disney made that propaganda film about the kids? Yeah. Hope he saw and he was so ******. Yeah, I hope he just hate. He was so mad. Felt betrayed by Disney. It's frustrating because we don't know much about what he thought about the ante. We know he saw some of the anti Hitler films who watched the great dictator. Twice, really. We don't know what he thought about it. That's not recorded, but we know he watched it twice. Wow. Yeah. We'll talk more about the great dictator at the end. But that's always one of, like, the big mysteries to me is, like, did he like it? Like, was Hitler watching the great dictator? Something like that. He was flattered. Yeah. Because it's. I mean, it's one of the great. He loves movies. Yeah. And they made one about him. They made one about him. And they made many. But like, yeah, but they made one about him that, like, was a groundbreaking. Yeah. Film. Yeah. So yeah, I'm sure he probably, he may. He may have. Anyway. Hitler was chiller. The point of this is that Hitler was actually a lot chiller about movies. In most of his sensors, there were numerous cases of films that had difficulty getting through Nazi sensors that were nonetheless loved by Hitler. He seemed to be particularly vulnerable to being influenced by films. He actually had a film called Tip Off Girls turned off Midway through during a scene. Like there was a scene in the movie where these people are robbing trucks by having women lie down in the street and then the truck stops in front of the woman and then like gangsters will rob the trucks. Hitler had the movie stopped right after the scene so he could go right. A law A1 sentence law that was immediately put into German. Like legal codes quote, whoever sets up a roadblock with intent to commit a crime will be punished by death. So Hitler watches this movie about people hijacking trucks like this and like runs out of the theater to go make a new law influenced. Are you wild? Right? Yeah, yeah. Just like a kid. He is like a kid. I mean, a horrible ******* monster kid. I'm not minimizing, no, but on like, on this level, in this energy of his life, he's like. Oh no, my gosh. Oh my God. Yeah. We have to change the law. Yeah. Yeah. So Hitler was clearly aware of the impact movies had on him and on everybody else. He believed the spoken word was the only way to push large scale societal change. And he noted that just as people were more convinced by his speeches when they happened after dark, movies screened at night were more convincing. Still true. Yeah, still true. Hitler, if you don't comedy same way. Yeah, absolutely. You doing stand up comedy and. Daylight is not there's something about the night for us as human beings that we allow more influence or just sway into our minds. It's we we allow ourselves to go places mentally, yeah, through like a spoken person, whether that's a speech or stand up like how many. I don't know. You just think about. So many big things that happened at night. I don't know. I think, like, if I think personally in my own self, like, why I'm more influenceable at night, it's because when I wake up in the morning, I usually get a bunch of **** to do. And so, like, I'm not thinking about life, I'm thinking about the stuff that I need to do in my life. And then you get around to night time and you're probably done with most of the I don't. Maybe that's a factor, just that, like, when you're going out to a movie at night or to see a comedy show you finished, you're more willing to think about stuff because you don't have anything pressing. Other than this thing. Yeah. Know what that I don't know. Sure. That's probably even more true for like Friday night. Yeah. And Saturday night comedy shows and movies. Yeah. Because you're, you're the rest of your world is turned off. Yeah. For a few couple days, hopefully. Yeah. That makes sense. And it's one of those things like, you know, Hitler is Hitler. But when he says something about how people react to being propagandized to or trying to, like convinced when he talks about how speech is impact people, you probably listen to him on that stuff. The guy knew what he was talking about when it comes to that. So pre Hitler, Germany and many other countries had limited how many films Hollywood could export. In nine January of 1932 a non Nazi German doctor Martin Freudenthal had traveled to Hollywood to study the studio system. This was not uncommon. Canada, Chile, China and other countries had all sent representatives to Hollywood in the early 30s to make sure that their people were portrayed accurately and inoffensively in films, right? So the Germans aren't the only people who are concerned about their representation in movies. Obviously the French were particularly emphatic about this. One French man, Baron Valentine Mandelstam, had convinced. Great. Yeah, really great. Sounds like a German name, actually. Yeah, it doesn't actually convinced his government to ban all Warner Brothers films in France until Warner Brothers paid him for the advice that he was giving them. So, like. The Gerber of Rich, famous Hollywood actors, several of these people died of drug overdoses and were revealed of having, you know, being homosexual or bisexual. Like that was a very common thing. There were murders. The stuff that happened has always been a factor in Hollywood was new at this point, and it was shocking to people. And this all came to a head in the summer of 1921 when Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle was the biggest name in comedy. He was, you could call him the 20s equivalent of a guy like Chris Farley, almost Paramount Pictures because. His father was supposed to play Fatty Arbuckle in a biographical film. I did not know that. Yeah, and died before you could do it. Well, that's. We'll get into what what that is because we're going to talk more about Fatty Arbuckle and sort of the first moral scare in Hollywood that led to the birth of the American censorship apparatus. That is important for us to understand the context of all this. But first, it's time for products. Yeah, you you didn't see it, but he pumped his arm. I did. Exactly once. All right, well, listen to this. The ads in with your ears. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. His unspeakable crimes and the incompetence or unwillingness of the police to stop him brought the entire country of Belgium to the brink of revolution. From Tenderfoot TV in iHeartRadio this is la Monstra. The story of abomination and conspiracy that led to the demise of the entire institution of Belgian federal police and rattled the foundations of its government. Story about the man who simply become known as La Monstre. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. This fall on revisionist history, is there anything that we haven't talked about or I should have asked you or you'd like to add that seems relevant? You should have asked me why I'm missing fingers on my left hand. A story about sacrifice. I think his suffering drove him to try to alleviate suffering. And the shocking discovery I made where I faced the consequences of writing a book I thought would help people? Isn't that funny? It's not funny at all. It's depressing. Very depressing. Religious history is back with more. Listen to revisionist history on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. I've never seen less enthusiasm for a great idea in my life. 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It's like all of the money today. So to celebrate his success, one of Fatty Arbuckle's friends through a three day Labor Day bacchanal party in San Francisco, which is of course one of the great drinking towns in history. Now this is during prohibition, but these guys are movie stars so they just they're able to find liquor anyway. It's like finding drugs now. Now Fatty did not enter the party in good spirits. He visited a mechanic slightly before the trip and accidentally sat on an acid soaked rag so his *** was covered in second degree burns. I love it. What did you start out with that he said he did not have a good trip. He did not have a good time before the trip. OK, yeah. So before he leaves for his bacchanal San Francisco Bender and Labor Day Party, which I would still, that sounds like a great Labor Day. It does sound like a great labor. So he where's he at? He's at a mechanics getting his car worked on that makes more sense for an answer. And there's an acid soaked rag in the chair. Somebody that burns his ***. Where batteries. The same. Where you getting. I don't know. I assume acid was all over the place and that's why you. Ever sit down and be like cool if I sit here? Yeah, you asked that question. No, that's the acid chess son. That's where we keep the acid rag if I am a mechanic, right? You know how when you go to mechanic and they're like don't enter the garage area or like owner only enter the garage area with one of our employees. I would also post underneath that sign. Here's why. And have the story of Fatty Arbuckle sitting his *** on an acid soaked rag. It is the kind. If this was a movie starring Fatty Arbuckle, this is exactly what would have happened. Funny protagonist Burns, and then he's got to sit on a doughnut. The whole movie. And it's it's funny. What do you mean, fatty? What do you mean you're not? You don't know if you're coming to the party. All right, look, I'm at the mechanic. Sure, as one does sat down, right? Don't you get rid of standing around? Of course I do. Yeah. Don't you wish sometimes we still had those horse and buggies? Don't get me started. Why? What happened? I have acid ***. I have acid ***. So Fatty Arbuckle shows up to this party with his acid *** and he goes to sleep, wakes up in the morning and there's a **** load of people in the the rooms that they rented. There's a big party. So he he gets drunk, he starts to have a good time and he meets a 25 year old actress and fashion model named Virginia rap Arbuckle and Rap 1 version of the story is that our buckle and rap go back into a room and have sex and somehow her bladder winds up punctured. The myth is that he crushed her to death. To death? Yeah, that's that's one of the myths that Fatty Arbuckle crushed a woman to death. There's no evidence of that. But did she die? She she totally died. OK, hold on. So everybody goes into separate rooms. No, there's two different versions of the story. OK, sorry. One woman who's possibly a con woman had a history of being a con woman before this. Claimed to be a friend of rap, but there's no evidence of that. There's no evidence they'd ever known each other. She just might have tried to drag jump onto this. Yeah, exactly. This tragedy train. And in court, she basically claimed that he sexually assaulted rap and her bladder wound up punctured, and that's why she died. But was she found dead the next morning? No, no, no. She lingered for several days. They first rented a hotel room for her because she was sick. And then after a day or two, they took her to a hospital because they're like, oh, this isn't getting better. And this is like, 19. How does one bladder tend to get popped from a punch? Well, sorry, I feel like I'm jumping. I don't really know. What we know is that in the autopsy, there was no signs of violence on the body. And that Arbuckle and multiple other guests claim that they never had sex and we're never alone together. They claimed that she had been drinking and started complaining that she couldn't breathe and, like complaining of abdominal pain. And then they got her a hotel room to try to, like, chill her out and what not. And, you know, she died several days later. We don't know what happened. So one theory is they had sex, maybe consensual or nonconsensual. But either way, in the course of that, his either weight or aggression or just, yeah, harmed her in a way that eventually killed her. Yes. And the other theory? Is she just drank a lot, somehow ruptured her own bladder. She had some. Didn't have sex with anybody. Yeah. There's no signs of any sort of abuse or sex. And there's no signs of violence or violence. Yeah, exactly. And they put her in a hotel to be like, yeah, go sleep off the thing that's killing you. And then, sure enough, she slept it off forever. Well, they took her to a hospital eventually, but then she died in the hospital. Yeah, but it doesn't really like it. Seems like Arbuckle was probably innocent for with what we know today because this case has been relitigated for decades, but at the time. There was a huge court case about it and it exposed the wild lifestyles, illegal drinking and general debauchery of Hollywood a listers. So this led the Motion Picture Studios to get scared because they were scared that the government was going to come in and regulate the whole industry because this really. Yeah, this was this was like shocking to people at the time. Yeah, because you don't have what we have today. Everybody was literally, this is deaths, murders, suicides and drug scandal. Yeah. Like are the only times the General American public is hearing. What the hell these celebrities are doing? Yeah, used to be you could literally just you just do whatever you wanted. Yeah. Yeah, a lot of times you had enough money to make people not say anything about it. And this is also a time where, like, people are shocked at the idea of a woman having sex with someone who isn't. That's her husband. Like, so this is, this is shocking to people at the time. They get really angry and there's a fear that the government's going to come in and regulate the film industry. So in order to avoid that, the big studios try to get ahead of this by creating the motion picture production code in 1922. This become this. Basically, they create the MPAA because this is where the. PA comes from and the head of the MPA at first is a guy named William Hayes who was a former postmaster general. One of Hayes's first acts was to ban Fatty Arbuckle from ever appearing in another movie. Whoa yeah no, that ban was reversed 8 months later, but it was too this is the end of Fatty's career is like a big star, and this is the end of him being a part of this podcast because he was not a Nazi. So I just this sets up where Hollywood is at the time, because again, one of the criticisms of Erwan's book is that. He talks about how all these Hollywood studios collaborated with the Nazis, but he doesn't focus enough on how everybody was censoring movies back then. So I want to make sure we're giving that sort of background now. In 1930, the MPAA adopted the production code, which is more commonly known as the haze code, and the haze code basically laid out all the things you couldn't do in movies. So when the code was announced, hey said this quote, the code sets up high standards of performance for motion picture producers. It states the considerations which good taste and community value. Be necessary? In this universal form of entertainment? The code decreed that no picture quote lower the moral standards of those who see it. Now let me ask you, this is also like. This is in response to the public outcry of the scandal of, like, what's happening in Hollywood, right. It's a bunch of different scandals. So Arbuckle was weird to me that they're like, oh, in this, in their personal life, they're acting like this. Yeah. But as far as what they put on film, we'll make sure that that makes you feel good about your, quote, moral code. Yeah, because this is like, that's the basic idea, is that Hollywood gets criticized for being too, too lascivious, too out there. And some of the movies were a little bit more before the production code. You know, you you could get away with more. Nothing. We would consider shocking today, but for the time it was. So this was essentially the industry being like, well, all right, we've got to stay within the Lions otherwise we're going to get shut down by the government. We're going to pun intended project a good image. Yeah, exactly. And so and another factor in this is that like in 27 or I think it is the they start making talkies. And so that there are more concerns then because film is growing from a novelty to a serious fact at the center of like American culture. Exactly. And so that's why in 1930, they clamped down even further and make this production code so again, no pictures allowed to lower the moral standards of those who see it. It states that the sympathy of the audience shall never be thrown to the site of crime, wrongdoing, sin or evil. So, like, 80% of the movies that have come out this year are already banned. You can't even have a Sopranos. Yeah, no, of course not. Jesus Christ, let alone Breaking Bad. Suggestive dancing was banned, as was kissing with too much lust. It was forbidden to insult religion or show the use of illegal drugs. Also forbidden was interracial romance, the concept of revenge, and depicting a crime in any way that might give people an idea of how to actually commit that crime. Concept of revenge. Yeah. And what was the last thing? You can't show someone committing a crime in a way that actually would inform people how to do that, which is still something like you can't. And we lost that boat in 19, in the 80s when MacGyver showed everybody how to make a pipe bomb on TV. And then a kid went out and did it. Well, I feel like that's a public service. The only thing that's Daniel, the only thing that's going to stop a bad guy with a pipe bomb is a good guy with a good kid, a good kid with a 15 year old with a pipe bomb. Oh, boy, we don't talk about pipe bombs enough anymore. Thankfully. Yeah, because all the guns. Yeah. One thing at a time, brother. Alright, so in the collaboration, Ben Erland argues that studios work directly with the Nazi government in a way that was unique and novel. Who did this? This is the guy who wrote this book, the operation doesn't. Again, I'm trying to give both sides of this, so you got to set up that censorship is everywhere and other countries are also agitating to have films censored because they're offended at how they wanted their viewed. But Erland argues that the way the studios worked with the Nazi government was unique and novel. Even given all of this context, and I do think his argument has a lot of water, the main argument is whether or not it was a collaboration where the studios were actually working with the Nazis, or if it was just normal censorship. So I'm going to let you make your own mind up on that. I'm going to let you, the listener, make your mind up on that. I'm going to try to sort of present both sides of this. What no one doubts is that during the time the Nazis were in power, up until World War Two started, references to Nazis and references to Jewish people were severely curtailed in movies. And in fact often cut out entirely. Now one thing everyone seems to agree on is that greed was a major factor behind this. Because in 1932 the Germans introduced Article 15 into their legal code, which stated that, quote, the allocation of permits may be refused for films the producers of which, in spite of warnings issued by the competent German authorities, continue to distribute on the world market films, the tendency or effect of which is detrimental to German prestige. So the Germans now say that we can stop. So they have to hand out permits in order for like a studio to sell them a movie and they're doing like 60 a year or something like that. And generally most studios, they're going to need about 10 to a dozen movies accepted to make a profit in Germany. So what, what Article 15 said is that all permits to a film producer can be stopped if they distribute anywhere in the world a movie that is detrimental to German prestige. Yeah. So this is not opposed to like France who is like we're not putting your movies out until you take advice on how we want to be seen Germany saying. We're gonna stop you if you do a movie anywhere in the world that we don't, we don't like exactly. So that starts to be how the Germans approach things. It's like we will cut Hollywood off from Germany if you make movies anywhere that we don't like. So yeah, this is now, this is 1932, so this is when the Nazis have a lot of power in Germany, but they're not in control yet. So it's important to note that this is a lot of Germans are sore about Hollywood because during World War One, Hollywood had made a lot of anti German pictures, right? So, like, this is not just a Nazi thing, but the Nazis really amp it up to the NTH level. So that that German guy who came to Hollywood doctor Freudenthal to sort of, like, talk to them about how they represented Germans, he was. He had been able to get the Hays office to cancel a paramount movie about the sinking of the Lusitania, and he'd also been able to secure edits to a movie set inside a German POW camp. So he he went over there, and he was able to actually get Hollywood to change some movies to make them more friendly to Germans, and when he returned to Germany, eight when he returned to Germany. From his time in LA, he wound up landing there eight days after the Enabling Act, which is what made Hitler a dictator. So eight days after Hitler takes power for real, doctor Freudenthal meets with several German officials, including Joseph Goebbels. I'm going to quote from the collaboration here. Everyone listened as Freudenthal outlined at brand new plan to combat the hate film problem in the United States. He began by pointing out that the most successful moments of his trip had been his interactions with the heads of Hollywood Studios. He had received permission from the Hays Office to meet directly with Carl Lambley of Universal Pictures, and as a result of their meeting, Limley had agreed to postpone the sequel to all quiet on the Western Front, entitled The Road Back. Throughout the rest of the year, Freudenthal had met with Lampley's son, Carl Lambley junior, and many more pictures were changed in Germany's favor, naturally, Freudenthal said. Universals interest in collaboration is not platonic, but is motivated by the company's concern for the well-being of its Berlin branch and for the German market. Other studio heads were just as obliging. An executive at RKO promised that whenever he made a film involving Germany, he would work, quote in close collaboration with the local consul General. An executive at Fox said that he would consult a German representative in all future cases as well. Even United Artists offered quote the closest collaboration. So you can see why Erland picked the title the collaboration for his book. It does seem like there was an active working relationship with these studios, them saying, like, we know, look, we get what you guys are doing over there. Yeah, we want to work with you. Yeah, don't ban our films. Let's work together so we can make sure we can sell our films and Germany will get enough movies and we don't offend you guys at all. And is it too far of a reach to say? That if you make a movie The Nazis, like all the Nazis, are going to go see it. Like, if it's endorsed by the government, they're not see it, they would all go see it, right? I mean, not all of them. They're very, it's very popular. And, well, actually what we're gonna get into that in a little bit. So one of the things that's interesting here is the Nazis have sort of come down to us from history as like masters of propaganda. They did not consider themselves masters of propaganda. The Nazis considered Hollywood to be by far the best at propaganda. And so we will be, we will be discussing that quite a bit later on. So Freudenthal suggested that someone should permanently have the job of being the German liaison to Hollywood. This person's job would be to educate and train film industry personnel so that anti German movies were never made in the 1st place. I think Freud and Freudenthal probably wanted that job for himself, but he didn't wound up getting it. A diplomat named George Gissing actually got the job, and kissling's first big task was a movie called Captured, which featured scenes of German soldiers beating up captured British soldiers and denying them water. Jostling demanded that this all be cut, and when it wasn't, he flipped his ****. Captured was declared by the Nazis to be the worst hate film since World War One. Josling activated Article 15 and stopped Warner Brothers from receiving permits from any more films ever. In 1934, the company closed its Berlin office. A scholar named Doherty, who also has written about this period of time, calls them, quote, the first of the majors to withdraw on principle rather than work with the Nazis. So Warner Brothers. Are of the the studios kind of the heroes at this point because they they made their move. They made their move refused to change, they refused. They did change it somewhat because he had some justing had some points. They're like OK, yeah maybe that is unfair but they still made a movie that the Nazis didn't like and the Nazis completely cut them out of German. So they said fine let's close our office. We're not going to keep fighting with you. Well they closed their office, I mean they lost a lot of money, but yeah they did close their office and they left. I mean they were forced to leave Germany. So on March 29th, 1933, UFA. The Major German film company at the time, their big studio that was actually making movies in Germany, fired most of its best writers, directors, crew members and talent. I'm going to give you one guess as to why they fired all these people at once. They were Jewish. Yep. And it turns out that most of their film industry people in Germany were Jewish too. The Salesman Syndicate, a Nazi organization, sent letters to American film studios with offices in Germany and ordered them to fire all of their Jewish employees as well. They said to me again, the Salesman Syndicate, which is a was a Nazi organization like a Nazi, almost like a labor union for Nazi. Salesman sent letters to American film studios with offices in Germany and ordered them to fire all of their Jewish employees. Wow. So the Nazis fight. The Nazis ordered their big film company to fire all of its Jewish employees, and then they go to the American. Studio is working in Germany and say said dilemma and all these other people like, hey every you can't have any Jewish people employed in Germany. You know, they're not saying you have to fire your Jewish people whatever you want in America. And we'll get to that later. We'll get to that later. But they start by saying you can't employ Jewish people within Germany now. In fairness to the companies, none of the studios obliged instantly and they sent all of their Jewish workers home instantly on mental preservation leave. So they put these guys out on paid leave and eventually Hollywood reached an accord with the Nazis. They put up lists each studio of their best Jewish employees in Germany, and the German government would grant those employees exemptions and actually granted them protection too, like state protection to Jewish employees of these these movie studios. But most of the Jewish employees of all these studios were fired, so they did come to an arrangement. Nazis aren't getting their whole way yet, but also the studios fire most of their Jewish employees in Germany. Hmm. So, uh, these people were able to stay at their jobs until January of 1936, when the Nazis categorically banned Jewish people from working in the film industry. The collaboration basically credits to the delay, to the fact that because the Germans had fired all of the Jewish people from their own film production company, they weren't able to make enough movies. And so they couldn't. They didn't want to push Hollywood that much because they understood movies were valuable for like, peoples morale. And so they were like, well, OK, we can't make many movies. Right now, because we just fired everyone who knows how to make movies, so we won't push the studios quite yet because we need a couple of years before we do it to rebuild our own domestic film industry. So actually, for a while, this goes great for the Hollywood studios. And in fact, in 1933, they sell 65 pictures because they're the only people making movies that Germany German citizens can get. Yeah. And Germany can't really make movies for a while. Yeah. Yeah. So in, you know, in the room. Yeah. And it's a boom. And in 1932, before Hitler was in power, they'd sold 54 films to Germany. In 1933, they sell 65. So this is seeming great for the studios. You know, you got a deal. You got to work with the Nazis. A little bit. But by God, the money comes in. That's like a what is that, like a 20% increase? Yeah. Yeah. It's a good. It's a solid amount of money. And these guys, you know, it's a it's an expensive industry. So midway through 1933, a screenwriter named Herman Mankowitz. Mankowitz. Yeah. Who wrote? He was the guy who wrote Citizen Kane later. So he decided to write a movie that explicitly attacked the Nazis and brought up the attacks Jewish people had to endure under Nazi rule. He wrote a screenplay titled The Mad Dog of Yours. This is what, 3633? This is the same year, so he's early on this. He's very early on this. This is when the studio, he's already being like, ****** going down. This is ****** ** right? The Nazis are a problem. Somebody should make a movie about a paper and go after. Exactly. So he writes a script and a producer, Sam Jaffe, buys the idea and leaps into trying to film it. Jeff was so shocked that there were no other anti Nazi movies in production in Hollywood that he got terrified. Someone was about to beat him to the punch. So he takes out a full page ad in The Hollywood Reporter that says this. Which try to imagine anyone doing this today. Because I sincerely believe that in the Mad Dog of Europe I have the most valuable motion picture property I have ever possessed. And because I wish to take sufficient time to prepare and film it with the infinite care that it's subject merits, I hereby ask the motion picture industry to kindly respect my priority rights. So he puts out an ad being like no one else making anti Nazi movie. Right now I'm making a great anti Nazi move. This is what Dante's peak should have done with Volcano. Oh yeah, put out an atom. Yes. Or the Prestige should. This is important. Other magician movie that came out or what's the other one? Deep impact and Armageddon. What happens about every should have asked for priority. Yeah, I'm making the definitive **** Hitler movie. Hitler movie. I don't know what you guys are doing or if I get to be first, but hold off if you're hold off because this is going to be the **** Hitler movie to **** all **** Hitler Movies Now. I've never read the Screen way screenplay Irwan, who wrote the collaboration, did and he he doesn't think it was very good, but who knows? I have no way to judge this, but it did contain frank depictions of Nazi violence against Jews and would have been groundbreaking because that did not happen before 1940. And no movie was there a depiction of Nazi violence against Jewish people before 1940. So the movie would have been groundbreaking if it had ever been made. See, Jeff was not trying to release the movie in Germany, so Jocelyn couldn't bring Article 15 against him. Since his company, he wasn't working with one of the big studios, he started his own independent production company. So there wasn't anything that Jaslyn could do to them. Because, like what? We're not in Germany. What are you going to do? Well, in Armageddon happens about every should have asked for priority. The definitive **** Hitler movie. Yeah, nobody. Everybody. Hitler movie. I don't know what you guys are doing or if I get to be first, but hold off if you're hold off because this is going to be the **** Hitler movie to **** all **** Hitler Movies Now, I've never read the Screen Way screenplay. Irwan, who wrote the collaboration, did and he he doesn't think it was very good, but who knows? I have no way to judge this, but it did contain frank depictions of Nazi violence against Jews and would have been groundbreaking because that did not happen before 1940. And no movie was there a depiction of Nazi violence against Jewish people before 1940. So the movie would have been groundbreaking if it had ever been made. See, Jeff was not trying to release the movie in Germany, so Jesslyn couldn't bring Article 15 against him. Since his company, he wasn't working with one of the big studios. He started his own independent production company. So there wasn't anything that Justin could do to them because, like, what? We're not in Germany. What are you going to do? Well, Justin went to the Hays office, or at least erlan suspects that Kisling went to the Hays Office. We don't exactly know what happened. Erwan suspects that Kissling went to the Hays office and threatened to ban all American movies from Germany if the studios didn't make sure that this movie didn't get made. There is no hard evidence of this fact. What we know is that Will Hayes, America's chief censor, had a meeting with Sam Jaffe and Herman Mankowitz very shortly after that and Hayes allegedly told them. Quote, because of the large number of Jews active in the motion picture industry in this country, the charge is certain to be made that the Jews as a class are behind an anti Hitler. Picture and using the entertainment screen for their own personal propaganda purposes. Yeah, no ****. The entire industry, because of this, is likely to be indicted for the action of a mere handful. So I think it's probable that Kissling did go to Hayes and be like, I'm going to Ban America from Germany, American movies from Germany, if you don't stop this **** right? Because he certainly bore Hayes. Just unprovoked. Looking out for the interest of the industry so that they could keep making money in Germany. Also possible. I mean, either way, yeah, either way, ******. Either way, it's it's gutless, right? Yeah. So Jeff wound up selling the script to a guy named Rosen because he couldn't. He couldn't raise the money himself. Al Rosen was an early film industry agent. He got as far as buying film stock and casting who would have been the very first Hitler ever in motion picture history other than the actual hit. But the project died on the vine. He also couldn't find additional financial backing to make the movie. Louis Mayer of MGM told him. Quote, because we have interest in Germany, I represent the filament picture industry here in Hollywood. We have exchanges. There we have terrific income from Germany and as far as I am concerned, this picture will never be made. See? Yeah, all all that like Mankowitz or Jeff or Jeff could have had to say was like, yeah, but they're doing ****** ** **** man. Doing ****** ** ****. And it seems seems full. Full disclosure from my opinion. It seems as though their attitude is, yeah, we know they are. We're also making Hitler's house. And it wasn't actually Hitler's house. It was supposed to be like a spa, basically. But if you look up Hitler's house, Pacific Palisades, you'll find out how to hike up there. It's a beautiful hike. Really? Yeah. Yeah. Wow. There is. There was a lot of fascist sympathy. And what is that about point we're just anti-Semitism in America. anti-Semitism was everywhere. I mean that. I mean here, though, we there was just so many people like, yeah, we we think the Jews are the problem, too. Yeah. And it was less, I think people here were less hateful about us than they were in Europe. But it was very common. It was very common to view, like, the idea that Jewish people controlled, I mean, they did control the film industry at this point, but the idea like to go back to your other. Heard about the behind the ******** of Hitler. The scapegoat became that the Jews were undermining the government's ability to come back to power, right? That's how it like initially started. Yeah. So what was the feeling here? That they just were bad people? No, it's the same idea that has persisted for a while, that. So, you know, Jewish families are overrepresented in the finance industry and banking and have been for quite some time. And the reason for this is that for a very long time, both Muslims and Christians were prohibited based on their religions from running banks, from charging interest. That was a religious like, like it was forbid. It's still forbidden for Muslims. I think for whatever reason, Catholics and Protestants have gotten over that **** in recent years. For a long time, pretty much the only people who could run a bank were Jewish people. And so they got a toehold. In that industry and that that has been a major factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. It's it's not talked about a lot now. Like we tend to think of the Nazis as really stirring up anti. I mean, they did, but there was a lot of it present in Europe and the United States. There are still churches all throughout Europe that have stained glass reliefs of what's called a Juden sale, which is a pig that's supposed to represent a Jewish woman nursing Jewish babies. Like there's still representations of the blood Passover, which is like this idea that. Jewish rabbis kill Christian kids to make their Passover bread. Yeah, like those things are in. You can go find churches today in Europe that still have stained glass reliefs of that stuff, if you look at it, like anti-Semitism did not start with the Nazis, and it was everywhere prior to World War Two. And so the studio heads in Hollywood were terrified of this, and we're very aware of it, and we're seeing fascist sympathy surging in the United States prior to World War Two, and we're seeing anti-Semitism surge in the United States prior to World War Two. So they were scared. And they wanted Hollywood not to stir things up and make it worse. That was a legitimate fear that if we make movies about Jewish people in any way, if we address the Nazi issue in any way, if we're seen as trying to change American opinion towards the Nazis, that will encourage more violence against Jewish people. So that is another factor here. That is something all of these Jewish studio heads and production people are very concerned about. Jewish people are very divided about what to do because there were a lot of Jewish speakers at this time. Who thought that Hollywood needed to address, like, the issues that the Nazis raised? Rabbi Stephen Wise of the American Jewish Congress said this in 1933. The time for caution and prudence has passed. What is happening in Germany today may happen tomorrow in any other land on earth, unless it is challenged and rebuked. It is not the German Jews who are being attacked. It is the Jews we must speak out. If that is unavailing, at least we shall have spoken. So this is not like none of these are uniform groups. There are a lot of Jewish people saying ******* Hollywood ought to do something, but there's also a lot of. Very scared people in Hollywood being like, maybe it's bad to do anything right. So that speaker I just quoted was from the American Jewish Congress, who called for a total boycott on German products in 1930. Now the American Jewish Committee and the Benay breath protested this. They were more on the don't rock the boat side of things. And those Jewish advocacy groups were closer, had closer ties to the film industry. So their feelings wound up having a larger impact on the policy of the major studios at the time from 1900 to 1929. Some 230 movies had been made about Jewish people. There would be significantly fewer released during the Nazi era. I think one of the things that's worth noting is that from 28 to 193463 Hollywood movies had featured Jewish characters. Right in the next six years, from 1934 to 1939, forty only 24 films featured Jewish actors. So yeah, about 2/3 is what this this drops by and we're going to get into why right now. See, in 1934, A A former Warner Brothers employee named Darryl Zanuck got his hands on the script for a movie called the House of Rothschild. Since he wasn't Jewish himself and was the cofounder of his own studio, 20th Century Pictures, he felt free to produce whatever the hell he wanted. He saw this movie as a critique of anti-Semitism and a carefully veiled attack on Hitler because it would be talking about how Jewish people had been persecuted a century or so ago in Europe. But it would clearly be he thought people would, you know? Yeah, right. So yeah, though it was set in the past, the film addressed the present at one point. His main character even said quote, go into the Jewish quarter of any town in Prussia today and you'll see see men lying dead, but for one crime that they were Jews. So this is like a pretty direct attempt to address it. But there's a double irony in this movie The first irony is that only a non Jew at this point in Hollywood could have gotten away with making a film that directly addressed anti-Semitic violence. The second irony is that the fact that Zanuck was not Jewish meant that he didn't notice. That his film attacking anti-Semitism wound up being anti-Semitic as ****? Really? Yeah, it was not intentionally so, but one of its central scenes involved a Jewish banker, the patriarch of the Rothschild family, bribing a tax collector and cheating the government out of his money. During a rant about the unfairness of anti-Semitism, this banker shouted quote we're can strive for money. Money is power. Money is the only weapon that the Jew has to defend himself with. So Zanuck's heart is in the right place. Yeah, he's not seeing it clearly, yeah. The inciting incident of the movie is when the Patriarch of the Rothschild family, on his deathbed, urges his five sons to create five bank branches in different cities across Europe. He says, quote, your banking houses may cover Europe, but you will be one firm, one family, the Rothschilds, who always work together. That will be your power. And remember this before all. Neither business nor power nor all the gold in Europe will bring you happiness till we are people have equality, respect, dignity, to trade with dignity, to live with dignity, to walk the world. With dignity. So he's trying. There's a good message in here, there's a good message in here. But it's couched in like a story about bankers who like a big part of the movie. Like serving tropes. Exactly. Trying to comment and intelligently. Exactly. And it focuses a lot on Nathan Rothschild Wheeling and dealing with different European leaders in order to fund the defeat of Napoleon. So some of this plot could very easily be anti Jewish propaganda and many American Jews were horrified by the movie. It also had a lot of people who loved it and a lot of Jewish people in America. Thought it was a heroic movie, and it it still has a reputation as, like, for whatever you will say about its flaws, at least he tried. Yeah, right. Like it you can't you can't condemn it when when other people seem to be deliberately not trying. Yeah. But this did scare a lot of Jewish people, particularly a lot of Jewish people in the film industry. And so as a result, throughout the 1930s, Jewish actors started getting less and less work. It's debatable as to how much of that was out of a desire to please the Nazis and how much of it was due to the fears of Jewish political leaders. Whichever cause was more to blame, the result? Then, in dispute, Jewish people started disappearing from the silver screen long before the Germans disappeared them on Moss from Europe. We do know, at least, that the Nazis were fans of the House of Rothschild. In 1940, they released the Eternal Jew, which is one of the vilest propaganda films in all of history. That film included that scene from Zanax movie where the elder Rothschild cheats the tax assessor, like that whole scene was included in this Nazi propaganda film. But a German voiceover played during the scene saying, here we show a scene from a film about the Rothschild family. It was made by American Jews, obviously as a tribute to one of the greatest names in Jewish history. They honor their hero in a typically. Jewish manner, delighting in the way old Meyer Amschel Rothschild cheats his host state by feigning poverty in order to avoid paying taxes. So. Yeah, it's tough. Guy tries to do the right thing, and he accidentally makes Nazi propaganda, like, so you gotta do a spin it, man. Yep. It's a mess. Yeah, right. Yeah. Yeah. Are you are. No one's trying. And the person who's trying is making some mistakes and then also fueling the fire of the people he's against. Which, yeah, sucks. And not only are the people not trying, there seems to be some evidence whether directed from the Nazi government. Or just to make their own money. Yeah. That they're like, Oh yeah, we don't even want you making movies that could infringe on Hollywood's profitability in Germany. Don't rock the boat or Nazi Germany, to be more specific. So we're going to get into the rest of this possible collaboration, and we're also going to talk about the Pro Fascist movies that Americans made completely by accident in this period of time. Yeah, it's a wacky story, Daniel, but this is where part one. Gonna end. So the listener is gonna have to catch the rest of this on Thursday. Daniel, at the end of this episode, do you have any plug cables to plug? Yes, I would like to let people know I'm starting Daniel Van Kirk the together tour that will start on the 18th of September and I'm going to be hitting up a whole bunch of cities. The first leg of it is Houston, Austin, Dallas, Lafayette and Baton Rouge. If you go to or my Twitter handle at Daniel Van Kirk, you can find all that information there. And I will also be doing a live dumb people. Down October 25th as part of the All Things Comedy Festival in Phoenix. Well that's just grand. I'm Robert Evans. You can find me on Twitter at I write OK you can find this podcast on the Internet at, which is where all of the sources for today's podcast will be listed. You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram at at ******** pod. So check us out and I will see you all in like 2 days to talk more about Nazis in Hollywood. Hi, I'm Molly Jong Fast, and this is fast politics. 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