By: Ed Roberts
Exacerbated by several high-profile Hollywood scandals, a wave of anti-Hollywood rhetoric tried to paint the movie capital as a veritable hotbed of crime, licentiousness, and moral transgression. THE SINS OF HOLLYWOOD, published in May 1922, is perhaps the most prominent anti-Hollywood polemic published during this turbulent time in film history. This anonymously-written booklet recounts in sensational, lurid detail the various high-profile scandals that precipitated the firestorm surrounding Hollywood's supposed moral turpitude. The author (later identified as former PHOTOPLAY editor Ed Roberts) pulls no punches in his condemnation of "movie vice." He even takes aim at some of Hollywood's biggest stars, directors, and producers: Rudolph Valentino, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Wallace Reid, Thomas Ince, Mabel Normand, Mae Busch, and more. Although real names are only sparingly used, most subjects are easily identified.
In a nutshell, the author takes us on a guided tour through the seedy, disreputable, thoroughly indecent underworld that lurks beneath Hollywood's glistening, glamorous facade. It is a sensational work of moral alarmism that gives us a wild, untamed, unapologetically lurid account of Hollywood's dark side.
NOTE: This book is an entertaining, propulsively readable book regardless of one's prior knowledge of early Hollywood history. However, some listeners may want to know the identities of these scandalized stars. Their identities can be found in the annotations provided by TAYLOROLOGY: http://www.taylorology.com/issues/Taylor30.txt