The other night I picked up the "Encycopedia of Film" (Katz et al, 1998). First of all, its fascinating to flip through the pages. I was shocked at the amount of things I learned. Anne bancroft is married to mel brooks? Carrol O'Conner attended the University of Dublin? David Carridine had a baby by Barbara Hershey? Woody Allen's real last name was Konigsberg? Bruce Lee appeared in several episodes of Batman? Jackie Chan had directed films? The mind boggles. But really shocked me was how many succesful film people in the good old days had waited tables (that seems to have been a good job for most struggling actors), driven trucks, fixed toilets, and most commonly, been orderlies in mental hospitals, before they made the big time. Some even rode rails, or worked as laborers while they acted in local theatre, and so on. We've all heard about how that nasty film of the pre-Golden Age was infested with dirty, filthy commies, before we blacklisted the sunsabitches and made room for wonderful films like Pillow Talk and My Friend Flicka. My question is: how important was the communist influence in letting these people get shots in the film industry. I'm not exaggerating when I say some very prominent people wrote screenplayers and got directing gigs straight off the assembly line. I doubt Tom Cruise ever drove an ice cream truck, though I could be mistaken. How does it work?