Interviews

 

Ring Lardner, Jr.

Writer

Ring Lardner Jr. on his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee

01:39

I could answer exactly the way you want, Mr. Chairman... I could answer it, but if I did, I would hate myself in the morning.

About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Ring Lardner, Jr. (1915-2000) describes his work as a screenwriter and one of the most closely identified victims of the Hollywood Blacklist. Mr. Lardner describes his career as a writer on such films as "A Star Is Born" (1937), in which he contributed the movie's famous ending; "Woman of the Year" (1942), for which he and co-writer Michael Kanin won an Academy Award and "Laura" (1944), the classic film noir for which he contributed uncredited. He recounts the Hollywood "Red Scare" which halted his career and placed him on an industry blacklist. He describes his testimony as an "unfriendly" witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) that landed him in jail as one of the "Hollywood Ten." He speaks in detail about his work in television, which he did under pseudonym during the Blacklist era, working on such series as The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-58), The Buccaneers (1956-57), The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (1956-57) and Ivanhoe (1958). Mr. Lardner talks about his emergence from the Blacklist in the mid-sixties that culminated with his win of the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for "M*A*S*H" (1970). Michael Rosen conducted the interview in New York, NY on July 1, 1999.

I could answer exactly the way you want, Mr. Chairman... I could answer it, but if I did, I would hate myself in the morning.

Interview Highlights

Embedded thumbnail for Writer Ring Lardner Jr. describes the moment in his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee when he uttered his now-famous line, ""I could answer exactly the way you want, Mr. Chairman... I could answer it, but if I did

Ring Lardner Jr. on his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee

01:39