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The committee had declared its intention to investigate whether Communist agents and sympathizers had been planting propaganda in U. Disney testified that the threat of Communists in the film industry was a serious one, and named specific people who had worked for him as probable Communists.Reagan testified that a small clique within his union was using "communist-like tactics" in attempting to steer union policy, but that he did not know if those (unnamed) members were communists or not, and that in any case he thought the union had them under control.(Later his first wife, actress Jane Wyman stated in her biography with Joe Morella  that Reagan's allegations against friends and colleagues led to tension in their marriage, eventually resulting in their divorce).Actor Adolphe Menjou declared, "I am a witch hunter if the witches are Communists. I would like to see them all back in Russia." In contrast, several leading Hollywood figures, including director John Huston and actors Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Danny Kaye, organized the Committee for the First Amendment to protest the government's targeting of the film industry.The following year, the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (MPA), a political action group cofounded by Walt Disney, issued a pamphlet advising producers on the avoidance of "subtle communistic touches" in their films. In a 65th-anniversary article in 2012, Wilkerson's son apologized for the newspaper's role in the blacklist, saying that his father was motivated by revenge for his own thwarted ambition to own a studio.Its counsel revolved around a list of ideological prohibitions, such as "Don't smear the free-enterprise system ... In October 1947, drawing upon the list named in the Hollywood Reporter, the House Un-American Activities Committee subpoenaed a number of persons working in the Hollywood film industry to testify at hearings. The hearings opened with appearances by Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan, then president of the Screen Actors Guild.According to historians Larry Ceplair and Steven Englund, "In actuality, the strike had resulted from Disney's overbearing paternalism, high-handedness, and insensitivity." Inspired by Disney, California State Senator Jack Tenney, chairman of the state legislature's Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities, launched an investigation of "Reds in movies".
Under pressure from his studio, Warner Brothers, to distance himself from the Hollywood Ten, Bogart negotiated a statement that did not denounce the committee, but said that his trip was "ill-advised, even foolish".The Hollywood blacklist was rooted in events of the 1930s and the early 1940s, encompassing the height of the Great Depression and World War II.Two major film industry strikes during the 1930s increased tensions between the Hollywood producers and the unions, particularly the Screen Writers Guild. government began turning its attention to the possible links between Hollywood and the party during this period.The American Communist Party lost substantial support after the Moscow show trials of 1936-1938 and the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of 1939. Under then-chairman Martin Dies, Jr., the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) released a report in 1938 claiming that communism was pervasive in Hollywood.Two years later, Dies privately took testimony from a former Communist Party member, John L.