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Waldo Pressman Salt

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Waldo Pressman Salt (October 18, 1914 - March 7, 1987) was an American screenwriter who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses during the era of McCarthyism.

Salt's childhood was unstable. His mother was often suicidal, and his father was alcoholic. Salt said, "We are all born with human needs. The conflict between those needs and what we do to meet those needs is the drama of life." Salt grew up to believe that everything had a cause and all bad things could be made better.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Waldo Salt graduated from Stanford University at age eighteen. The first of his nineteen films he wrote or in which he participated in the writing, was released in 1937 with the title "The Bride Wore Red." An idealist, at 24 Salt joined the American Communist Party (1938). The Communist party became the family Salt never had. He was a civilian consultant to the U.S. Office of War Information during World War II.

Salt's career in Hollywood was interrupted when he was blacklisted after refusing to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1951. Like many other blacklisted writers, while he was unable to work in Hollywood Salt wrote pseudonymously for the British television series, "The Adventures of Robin Hood".

As a Communist Salt was sure that he understood the road map to a better future, and so he was basically optimistic. He was convinced that he was riding the wave of the future. In 1956, he heard Nikita Khrushchev explain the atrocities that occurred in Russia under Stalin. He had accepted the blacklisting, but now everything he believed in seemed to collapse. Communism had been his answer to the evil in the world. Now Communism itself proved to be evil too.

Knowledge is Personal

Web-logs are essentially personal journals.  I dismissed them as the private thoughts of individuals.  I wasn't interested.  Then I saw three friends of mine sharing their technical knowledge, thoughts, even their half baked ideas with the rest of the world in a blog.  They showed me that blogs could be personal knowledge sharing tools.  Now I'm interested. 

Blogs connect people and knowledge.  They help you to find the people in your field of expertise who matter. 
David Gurteen - Introducing Blogs (8 min)

Salt began to keep a journal.  Much of it was filled with drawings, storyboard's for film ideas.  On one page in large letters he wrote "To search for truth you must first have lost it."

Salt said that he used the journal to keep his mind working visually during the blacklisting.

After the collapse of the blacklist (1962), Salt struggled to get working again.  He wrote 3 very poor films, then moved to New York but he couldn't get work. "I was 50, unemployed and unable to write successfully. I felt sick."

His daughter insisted that he found something that he really wanted to do and focus on that. So for the next 3 years he wrote Don Quixote, a quality script that was never produced, but it was the tool that honed his skills again.

Salt won Academy Awards for Midnight Cowboy (1969) and Coming Home (1978), and a nomination for his work on Serpico (1973).

Waldo Salt died in Los Angeles in 1987. He is the father of actress Jennifer Salt.

I'm very keen to know more about Waldo Salt.  Please help if you can.

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