He wasn’t a movie star, or a studio head, or even a producer or director, but he was once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood.

Hello, everybody.  Mr. Joe Morella and Mr. Frank Segers, your classic movie guysreminiscing today about the early days of Hollywood.  Mrs. Norman Maine is out having her hair bobbed.

The man pictured above may not be recognizable to many readers of this blog but certainly his name will jog your memories.  William Randolph Hearst was one of the most famous and powerful men in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. Orson Welles immortalized him as Charles Foster Kane in the thinly veiled story, Citizen Kane.

There’s no one today comparable to Hearst.  The only man today who comes even close is Rupert Murdoch, who controls newspapers, television stations and a film studio.

But Murdoch didn’t establish a film company.  He bought 20th Century Fox studio.  And as far as his press empire goes, he has a lot of competition. There’s  radio, broadcast television, cable TV, the internet and name your platform.

Hearst’s newspaper empire was unique in its day. He had virtually no competitor.

Why was Hearst involved in the movie business? Simple.  His mistress (Marion Davies) was a showgirl who wanted to be a movie star. So he set up a film company.  It made pictures with other stars as well as his honey, but everyone knew why he was making “flickers.”

There’s a new novel, Murder on the Hearst Yacht, which explains everything, the entire story. You can buy it in paperback or on Kindle by clicking here. (Disclosure: Joe at the height of his literary period is involved here.)

And be sure to tune in tomorrow for more on Hearst and Davies and Murder on the Hearst Yacht.

 

 

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