Sunday, February 08, 2009

So What Happened To Hollywood?

I watched another couple of old western movies this weekend. The movies starred Henry Fonda and Victor Mature, my Darling Clementine and Glen Ford in Heaven With A Gun. It wasn't very long ago that almost all of the male Hollywood stars were veterans, some with no small amount of heroism during their service. Jimmy Stewart flew B24s over Europe in WW2. Tyrone Powers flew transports for the Marine Corps in the Pacific, including hauling wounded from Iwo Jima.

Glen Ford Joined the Marines, his service was in publicity. Henry Fonda served on a destroyer in the Pacific war. Victor Mature flunked the eye test for the Navy, passed the test for the Coast Guard the same day, ended up a Chief Boatswain's Mate doing patrol duty in the Atlantic.

Pretty much everyone who wasn't too old wore the uniform and many who were too old, like Ronald Reagan wore the uniform anyway. Reagan may have been too old and had vision too poor for combat duty so he made training films. Other stars who couldn't serve in uniform worked USO tours, Bob Hope wasn't even born in the USA but logged USO tours from early in WW2 all the way to Gulf War One.

I really don't know what happened to Hollywood. It's not just that most of Hollywood is of the left, after all, Hank Fonda was a lifelong Democrat, once reported as having a fistfight with Jimmy Stewart over politics. They maintained their friendship by never speaking of politics again.

No, it's more than politics, or maybe politics has become more intense. One thing I do know, the stars of yesterday did not go out of their way to anger some forty-eight percent of the viewing public. Perhaps it's just that yesterday's stars were a little smarter than today's.

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