Saturday, November 8, 2008

`Time' Magazine's `March of Time' Link In Great Depression--Part 3

[Note: It was recently revealed that the Time-Warner Media Monopoly’s Time Inc. magazine subsidiary is expected to soon lay off 600 of its employees, representing more than 6 percent of its work force.]

Another March of Time newsreel disliked by anti-Establishment newspaper critics was the 1941 film short “Labor and Defense.” In its Feb. 8, 1941 issue, the U.S. Communist Party’s Daily Worker printed a review by David Platt, titled “Labor Is Target In Current Release of March of Time. Debs Is Slandered; Pegler and Hillman Are Glamorized.” According to the Daily Worker reviewer, The March of Time was “the most direct expression in the movies of the needs and demands of the big industrialists” and it was “therefore necessary to pay the strictest attention to what this organ of Wall Street has to say.” The Daily Worker film critic characterized the “Labor and Defense” film newsreel as “a dangerous anti-labor film whose chief purpose is to break up the labor movement.”

Despite such criticism of the political content of Time Inc.'s newsreel division by anti-Establishment writers, in 1937 a special Oscar was given to former Time Inc. Vice-Chairman Roy Larsen at the Academy Awards ceremony by Shirley Temple, in recognition of The March of Time’s “revolutionizing the newsreel.”

But according to The March of Time, 1935-1951, a researcher for the Time Inc. media conglomerate’s newsreel production in the 1930s, Mary Losey, described March of Time’s filmmaker, Louis de Rochemont, as “the first and, I think, most magnificent example of male chauvinist that I ever came across. I think he disliked women more than he disliked men, but he preferred men who kowtowed to him, and he was very destructive.” As The March of Time, 1935-1951 noted:

“In Louis’s shop, it was always the men who made Time march. There were women on the payroll, of course, but with a couple exceptions, none of them occupied decision-making positions in those days. Almost all of the researchers (called `checkers’) were women.”

The institutional sexism within Time Inc’s March of Time division reflected “the inferior position of women in all Time divisions” where “in those days only men occupied positions of responsibility and authority in the corporation,” according to the same book.

Other than Roy Larsen and Louis de Rochemont, most employees of Time Inc.’s March of Time division in the 1930s “received pitiful salaries” and “this was especially the case with editorial workers in the cutting room, upon whose effectiveness and skill The March of Time depended,” according to The March of Time, 1935-1951. Workers in the cutting room were required by Larsen and Rochemont to work “two weekends and every evening overtime for two weeks out of every four—without extra pay,” according to the same book.

(Downtown 1/29/92)