||In this memoir, Oscar-winning Hollywood screenwriter Ring Larder Jr., who received an Oscar for M.A.S.H. in 1970, chronicles his life and career. In doing so, he relates his experiences of growing up with a silver spoon in his mouth during the Great Depression, pursuing a screenwriting career after he graduated form Princeton, and being summoned by the House Un-American Activities Committee after World War II.
||In the late 1940s, at the height of the McCarthy era, roughly 40 Hollywood talents were forced to testify in front of the dreaded HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee.) Of these, only a quarter refused to "name names" and expose the left-leaning views and associations of themselves and their colleagues. Oscar-winning screenwriter Ring Lardner was one of these "Hollywood Ten," and ended up serving a year in prison for his silence. Still, this mid-career setback turned out to be just another interesting twist in a life and career that was rife with colorful crests and waves. I'D HATE MYSELF IN THE MORNING is Ring Lardner's engaging memoir of his life and times as a Hollywood screenwriter, political leftist, prisoner of ideology, and friend of the famous. Along with offering gossipy tales of Tinseltown, it is also peppered with the wisdom Lardner accumulated from having lived through most of the 20th century.
||The author recalls his life as a screenwriter in Hollywood, his testimony for the House Un-American Activities Committee, and being put on the Hollywood blacklist.
|Editors Note 3
||Ring Lardner, Jr.'s memoir is a pilgrimage through the American century. The son of an immensely popular and influential writer, Lardner grew up swaddled in material and cultural privilege. After a memorable visit to Moscow in 1934, he worked as a reporter in New York before leaving for Hollywood where he served a bizarre apprenticeship with David O. Selznick, and won, at the age of 28, an Academy Award for Woman of the Year, the first on-screen pairing of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. In "irresistibly readable" pages (New Yorker), peopled by a cast including Carole Lombard, Louis B. Mayer, Dalton Trumbo, Marlene Dietrich, Otto Preminger, Darryl F. Zanuck, Bertolt Brecht, Bert Lahr, Robert Altman, and Muhammad Ali, Lardner recalls the strange existence of a contract screenwriter in the vanished age of the studio system—an existence made stranger by membership in the Hollywood branch of the American Communist Party. Lardner retraces the path that led him to a memorable confrontation with the House Un-American Activities Committee and thence to Federal prison and life on the Hollywood blacklist. One of the lucky few who were able to resume their careers, Lardner won his second Oscar for the screenplay to M.A.S.H. in 1970.