Because of the HDC’s ties to politics and Hollywood, many of their efforts challenge artificial distinctions sometimes made between “media history” and “American history.” Moreover, the organization’s efforts in so many different legislative and cultural areas make any attempts at a comprehensive timeline of their creative output or legislative battles futile. Fortunately, however, HDC executive secretary George Pepper wrote an eighty-page report about the key accomplishments of his organization through its nearly decade-long period of high activity.
The following list culled from these notes tells several stories—the history of a profession-based civic organization that began as the HDC, an account of 1940s Hollywood and radio industry texts and practices, and the role of Hollywood as a site of American political action for issues including world peace, racial equity, and freedom of expression.
Although it remains inconclusive as to exactly when and why the organization that began as the HDC finally stopped organizing, several possibilities present themselves. First, the pressures from the U.S. government over the organization’s pro-peace and intellectual freedom activities during the Cold War likely made it an uncomfortable bedfellow for the creative workers who provided the backbone of its organizational activities. Furthermore, a series of mergers with non-Hollywood creative organizations in New York and elsewhere may have diluted the appeal of the HDC as a membership organization for stars and lead to disenfranchisement when political mobilization turned toward broader issues within science and the arts. These factors, combined with a series of legislative and electoral defeats in 1946 and beyond, provide some clues as to why the HDC dissolved after such a successful and impassioned stint in American politics.