My great uncle, Louis B. Mayer, loved being an American so much he claimed to be born on the 4th of July. He was actually born on the 12th but I am sure he loved any fuss being made for his birthday at the same time as Americans celebrated around the country.
Over the years and decades, as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer thrived, he would be given many honors from many organizations and institutions, but simply being an American was the most powerful privilege and honor he could have.
As far as L.B. was concerned it was only in America that you could create a dream factory like MGM whose sole product, motion pictures, was designed for the enjoyment of the every day hard-working person, while at the same time create thousands of jobs for other hard-working, talented people.
As he walked around the studio each day he knew every person’s name, from carpenter to director; knew about their wives or husbands and children; knew where they were from. He felt responsible for each and every one of them.
I am sure that whenever he took a moment to survey the ‘finest studio in the land’ he must have felt an incredible joy. MGM was an achievement on a scale he could not have imagined as a hungry, skinny kid diving for scrap metal back in the frigid waters of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. And most certainly was a dream he would never have attained had the family stayed in Dumier, Ukraine.
No, it was only in America where Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and all who came through its gates, including the man himself, could have the freedom to pursue their biggest dreams.
MGM was Louis B. Mayer’s promised land and a huge achievement I am so proud to celebrate.
Happy 4th of July!