CJ Johnson, host and producer of Movieland, ABC Radio’s podcast for lovers of film and the film business, interviewed me for the latest episode. Together, we cover the controversy over Ben Urwand’s book, The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler and what it has taken to defend my great-uncle, Louis B. Mayer, from Urwand’s sensationalistic claims. At the time of the interview I had not yet read the book. I point to the many film scholars and historians who have deemed it, as Jeanine Basinger put it, “a film historian’s nightmare.”
I also cover my role as my generation’s historian and how the collection of photos that our family shares inspired my blog HollywoodEssays.com and has also led to the unearthing of some long-forgotten scandals. In the process, we also discuss the intersection of vaudeville and the early film business. It’s a far-ranging interview and I am grateful for the opportunity for a comprehensive discussion with a fellow film nut, especially one as well-read and genuinely interested as CJ Johnson.