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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gordon Kahn
BornGordon Jacques Kahn
(1902-05-11)May 11, 1902
Szigetvár, Hungary
DiedDecember 31, 1962(1962-12-31) (aged 60)
Manchester, New Hampshire, USA
EducationYale University
Alma materColumbia University
GenreMotion pictures
Literary movementHollywood blacklist
Notable worksHollywood on Trial (1948 book)
Years active1919–1962
SpouseBarbara Brodie
ChildrenTony Kahn

Gordon Kahn (1902–1962) was an American author and screenwriter who was blacklisted during the McCarthy era; he is the father of broadcaster and author Tony Kahn.[1]


Gordon Jacques Kahn[2] was born on May 11, 1901 in Szigetvár, Hungary.[1][3] When he was six years old, he and his parents moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the United States of America. In 1918, Kahn graduated from Townsend Harris High School in New York City. He spent the next year at Yale University, then took up studies at Columbia University[1]


While studying at Yale, Kahn became a reporter for the Bridgeport Star.[1]

New York

In New York, he worked for the New York Herald and Zitt's Theatrical Weekly, the latter for which he wrote a Broadway column in the style of Samuel Pepys.[1] In 1922, he wrote a book called Manhattan Oases about speakeasies, illustrated by his roommate of the time, Al Hirschfeld.[1] For much of the 1920s, Kahn wrote for the New York Daily Mirror.[1]


In 1930, former Mirror colleague Samuel Marx (later head of scenery at MGM), invited Kahn to move to Hollywood and try his luck as a screenwriter.[1] He wrote more than a script a year (well over two dozen) in a period under two decades.[4] Writing credits include: The Death Kiss (1932), Newsboys' Home (1938), and Buy Me That Town (1941).

Kahn joined several leftist and liberal causes and helped found the Screen Writers Guild (now Writers Guild of America).[1][4] He was the first managing editor of The Screen Writer.[1]

Hollywood blacklist

In 1947, when the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) began its hearings on "Communist infiltration," Kahn was one of the "Nineteen Unfriendlies" subpoenaed.[1][4] He was not called to testify and so did not become one of the Hollywood Ten.[1] Soon after December 1947, however, when the Studios announced the firing of the Hollywood Ten, Kahn lost his job at Warner Bros. Studios.[1][4] In 1948, he published Hollywood on Trial.[1]

Kahn sold his 13-room Beverly Hills home, and he and his family moved into a smaller house in Studio City. In 1950, fearing arrest, he fled to Cuernavaca, Mexico. His wife and sons Jim and Tony joined him six months later. The Kahns lived there until low funds in 1956, after which they returned to the United States and lived in Manchester, New Hampshire.[4]

Kahn used the pseudonym "Hugh G. Foster" to write magazine articles for Holiday and Atlantic Monthly, but he never wrote scripts for Hollywood again.[4]

Personal life and death

Kahn married Barbara Brodie; they had two sons.[4]

Kahn is described as a "man who affected a beard and monocle." One FBI report noted that Kahn had "a facial resemblance to Lenin."[5]

Gordon Kahn died age 61 on December 31, 1962, of a heart attack during a snowstorm in Manchester.[1][4]


Film Screenplays:


  • 1956: The Adventures of Robin Hood - screenplay for 1 episode as "Norman Best"



Kahn is the subject of his son Tony's 1987 short documentary The Day the Cold War Came Home.[8]

Blacklisted, a docu-drama in six half-hour episodes that first aired on National Public Radio in 1997, chronicles the last fifteen years of Gordon Kahn's life and the fears and ordeal his family experienced. It was written, produced, and narrated by Gordon Kahn's son Tony Kahn. All of the words of Gordon and his wife Barbara were drawn from their writings, diaries, and letters. The words put in the mouth of J. Edgar Hoover were all derived from a confidential 3,000-page FBI surveillance file on Gordon Kahn dated from 1944 to 1962.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q and physician Jim Kahn. "Gordon Kahn Papers, 1944-1950". Wisconsin Historical Society. September 1972. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b Kahn, Gordon (1933). Recent American History. Globe book company. LCCN 33013883. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  3. ^ Gordon Kahn at IMDb
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Clayton R. Koopes; Kahn, Tony (December 1989). "The Day the Cold War Came Home. (film review)" (fee required). The Journal of American History. 76 (3): 1016–1017. doi:10.2307/2936572. JSTOR 2936572.
  5. ^ a b Andy Meisler (1995-08-31). "How Blacklisting Hurt Hollywood Children". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
  6. ^ Al Hirschfeld (1922). "Illustrations". Manhattan Oases: The Speakeasies of 1932. By Kahn, Gordon. Glenn Young Books. LCCN 48002154. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  7. ^ Thomas Mann (1948). Foreword. Hollywood on Trial: The Story of the 10 Who Were Indicted. By Kahn, Gordon. Boni & Gaer. LCCN 48002154. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  8. ^ "The Day the Cold War Came Home (Movie listing)". Facets Multi-Media. Retrieved 2008-06-16.[dead link]

External links

This page was last edited on 24 March 2022, at 20:33
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