Natural-Born Storyteller: Irving G. Thalberg


An interesting brief look into the life of Irving G. Thalberg written by my friend Matthew Rovner.

Born in 1899, Irving G. Thalberg ran Universal Pictures at 20 and co-founded MGM at 24. His life and work are shaded with irony and contradiction. Owing to a severe heart ailment, he was not expected to live past 30. He consequently spent most of his formative years in a sick room reading popular novels, classics and philosophers like Kant. Yet Thalberg did not emerge from his Proustian childhood as a budding novelist; instead, his ambitious mother, Henrietta, pushed him into the social and visual world of popular-film entertainment.
[…] As a youth, Thalberg advocated for socialism; however, as an adult he destroyed socialist author Upton Sinclair’s 1934 campaign for governor of California by producing a series of phony newsreels, implying that the candidate was disloyal to America and was a communist. Thalberg feared that if Sinclair became governor, the film business and its wealthy leaders would suffer financially.

via Natural-Born Storyteller – – By Matthew Rovner.

Thalberg’s political propaganda films to protect corporatism by calling someone a nefarious agent for anti-American interests sound familiar? Ain’t nothing new in the political play-book of the extreme right, only time tested fear mongering to protect profits.