Ever wonder how Hollywood works? The Godfather knows…
Around the time of the great depression, Hollywood (as a movie production hub), was just 15 years old. Movie studios were still very young and had little cash on hand to survive the slump in ticket sales, creating the opportunity for profiteers to step in.
Around that time, the extortion of Hollywood studios became rampant at the hand of (primarily) one man, William Bioff. Backed by the Chicago Outfit, Willliam moved to Hollywood after the Outfit successfully took over the IATSE, the national entertainment workers’ union. There Bill basically threatened studio heads with organized and pervasive strikes (which they could create through their influence in the IATSE) if they didn’t pay for strike protection to the Outfit. So guess what? They paid.
Hollywood studio executives became complicit in the Outfit’s shakedown when they realized they would never have to pay wage increases as long as the Outfit prevented a strike. The money being saved by only paying off the mafia instead of paying increasing wages was enormous, so business was good for studios and the mafia alike.
During this time we also saw a lot more gangster movies hitting the market. From 1900 – 1919, a total of four mafia related films were made. From 1920 – 1929 we saw 18 gangster flicks released. Then from 1930 – 1939… 70 films about the mafia or gangsters were made by the “Hollywood” movie machine. What does it mean? That’s anyone’s guess… just making an observation.
A living legacy
Early American mafia families were mainly Italian. Their organization and take over of both criminal and legitimate businesses was fueled by a survival instinct. After immigrating to America, Italians had little opportunity and often turned to petty crime for income. Organize, proliferate and cover up petty crimes and voila, you have organized crime!
Throughout the 40’s and 50’s there was a crackdown on mafia activity. Many believe they killed Kennedy because he threatened to expose their influence on prominent stars like Frank Sinatra, who ironically helped Kennedy get elected (check out this CBS article on Sinatra, Kennedy and the Mob).
The point, methinks, is the world is run by tough guys. In truth we see mafia-like activity through every powerful organization in the world. Even if they aren’t Italian, don’t think for a minute that organized mobs don’t run the world.
When it comes to the bottom line, everyone is fighting for power, resources and control and everyone is influenced by the needs or wants of the powerful; even our president.
Ever wonder why we hate Iran so much?
Food for thought,