Focus Features Lands Michael Ausiello Memoir ‘Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies’; Michael Showalter To Direct Jim Parsons

EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features has landed the Jim Parsons star vehicle Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, and The Big Sick‘s Michael Showalter is set to direct and produce, with David Marshall Grant and Dan Savage writing the screenplay. The movie is based…

EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features has landed the Jim Parsons star vehicle Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, and The Big Sick‘s Michael Showalter is set to direct and produce, with David Marshall Grant and Dan Savage writing the screenplay. The movie is based on the acclaimed, bestselling memoir by Michael Ausiello, the founder and editor in chief of TVLine.com. In his heartbreaking, tragicomic memoir, Ausiello told the story of the eleven-month span between when his partner…

Have a glass of wine with a dude named Gaahl in an exclusive excerpt from Blood, Fire, Death 

Now that Lords Of Chaos, Feral House’s seminal (yes, seminal!) book on the Satanic origins and violent history of Norwegian black metal, has become a major motion picture, it’s time to welcome the next book in the publisher’s extreme metal series, Bloo…

Now that Lords Of Chaos, Feral House’s seminal (yes, seminal!) book on the Satanic origins and violent history of Norwegian black metal, has become a major motion picture, it’s time to welcome the next book in the publisher’s extreme metal series, Blood, Fire, Death: A Swedish Metal Story. Written by Swedish…

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Fortitude Options Female-Driven ‘Madame Presidentess’ & ‘Starfish On Thursday’ From TaleFlick

EXCLUSIVE: Fortitude International has optioned two female-driven properties from recently hatched curation platform TaleFlick: historical fiction Madame Presidentess and essay collection Starfish On Thursday. Both center on strong women going up again…

EXCLUSIVE: Fortitude International has optioned two female-driven properties from recently hatched curation platform TaleFlick: historical fiction Madame Presidentess and essay collection Starfish On Thursday. Both center on strong women going up against overwhelming adversity. The company is eyeing feature adaptations of each. Madame Presidentess depicts the real life of Victoria Woodhull, the first woman who dared to run for President of the United States in 1872 but…

Rhys Thomas’ Ruby Slippers Book Offers New Insights On FBI Recovery Of Stolen Shoes

Rhys Thomas at first thought the call from the FBI was a joke. The author and documentary filmmaker listened to the phone message again and jotted down the return number. “Could this be a crank call?” he wondered. “Am I a person of interest in some inv…

Rhys Thomas at first thought the call from the FBI was a joke. The author and documentary filmmaker listened to the phone message again and jotted down the return number. "Could this be a crank call?" he wondered. "Am I a person of interest in some investigation I know nothing about?" But it was no joke. The FBI wanted him to come back to Minnesota. He wasn't a person of interest, but he's definitely an interesting person – more knowledgeable about the pair of stolen…

Michelle Obama Memoir ‘Becoming’ Is Top Book Of 2018; Donald Trump’s Sudden Bibliophilia Explained?

Suddenly, Donald Trump’s newfound interest in books is beginning to make sense: One day after the president tweeted five plugs for books written by right-wing supporters and Fox News pals like Gregg Jarrett and Jeanine Pirro, Penguin Random House…

Suddenly, Donald Trump’s newfound interest in books is beginning to make sense: One day after the president tweeted five plugs for books written by right-wing supporters and Fox News pals like Gregg Jarrett and Jeanine Pirro, Penguin Random House has announced that Michelle Obama’s Becoming is officially the best-selling book of 2018. That’s right, the book that called Trump a “misogynist” and accused him of deliberately using the birther nonsense to “stir up the wingnuts…

Stephen Garrett’s Character 7 Pounces On ‘Tigers In Red Weather’; Liza Klaussmann’s Thriller To Be Event Mini

EXCLUSIVE: Stephen Garrett’s Character 7 has acquired the rights to produce the TV adaptation of Liza Klaussmann’s bestselling psychological thriller, Tigers In Red Weather. Garrett, who executive produced The Night Manager, is collaborating on the pro…

EXCLUSIVE: Stephen Garrett's Character 7 has acquired the rights to produce the TV adaptation of Liza Klaussmann's bestselling psychological thriller, Tigers In Red Weather. Garrett, who executive produced The Night Manager, is collaborating on the project with independent producer Rowena Wallace, under her company Peach Pictures. The event mini will be exec produced by Garrett and Character 7 Head of Development Michele Wolkoff in association with Wallace. Set on…

Herman Melville Novella ‘Benito Cereno’ Headed For Space As Sci-Fi Series From Steven Katz & Topic Studios

Topic Studios is developing a scripted TV series based on Benito Cereno, the 1855 Herman Melville novella about the fictionalized revolt of a Spanish slave ship. The series, which will be adapted to take place in deep space, is created by The Knick scr…

Topic Studios is developing a scripted TV series based on Benito Cereno, the 1855 Herman Melville novella about the fictionalized revolt of a Spanish slave ship. The series, which will be adapted to take place in deep space, is created by The Knick scribe/co-executive producer Steven Katz, who will write and executive produced project. Topic Studios will also executive produce alongside Manage-ment's Dan Halsted and Corinne Hayoun. Inspired by the novella — considered one…

Margaret Atwood Is Writing ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Book Sequel Due Out Next Year

Margaret Atwood is currently writing a sequel to her best-selling dystopian novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” it was announced Wednesday.

Due out in September 2019 from publishers Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, “The Testaments” is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene in the original book and will be narrated by three female characters, Atwood tweeted.

The new novel was inspired by readers’ questions about the fictional world of Gilead and by the “world we’ve been living in,” the Canadian author said.

Yes indeed to those who asked: I’m writing a sequel to The #HandmaidsTale. #TheTestaments is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene and is narrated by three female characters. It will be published in Sept 2019. More details: https://t.co/e1umh5FwpX pic.twitter.com/pePp0zpuif

– Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) November 28, 2018

Also Read: Bradley Whitford Promoted to Series Regular for ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 3

A hit when it was published in 1985, “The Handmaid’s Tale” took on new meaning after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, with his vision of America often being compared to the imagined land of Gilead.

The novel has since been adapted into an award-winning TV series on Hulu starring Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski.

Also Read: Yvonne Strahovski Says ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ ‘Feels So Close to Home’ in Trump Era (Exclusive Video)

The second season, which diverted from Atwood’s original novel, concluded in July and the drama is due to return for a third.

Since it premiered in April 2017, “A Handmaid’s Tale” was won multiple awards, including eight Primetime Emmys after Season 1 and a Best Actress Golden Globe award for Moss.

Atwood’s most recent books include dark dystopian “The Heart Goes Last,” published in 2015, and “Hag-Seed,” a modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Hearing Met With ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Protesters

‘Handmaid’s Tale’: Joseph Fiennes on Exploring ‘Warped Creatures,’ ‘Ugly Components of the Male Psyche’

How ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Yvonne Strahovski Made ‘Ice Queen’ Serena Sympathetic

Margaret Atwood is currently writing a sequel to her best-selling dystopian novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” it was announced Wednesday.

Due out in September 2019 from publishers Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, “The Testaments” is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene in the original book and will be narrated by three female characters, Atwood tweeted.

The new novel was inspired by readers’ questions about the fictional world of Gilead and by the “world we’ve been living in,” the Canadian author said.

A hit when it was published in 1985, “The Handmaid’s Tale” took on new meaning after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, with his vision of America often being compared to the imagined land of Gilead.

The novel has since been adapted into an award-winning TV series on Hulu starring Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski.

The second season, which diverted from Atwood’s original novel, concluded in July and the drama is due to return for a third.

Since it premiered in April 2017, “A Handmaid’s Tale” was won multiple awards, including eight Primetime Emmys after Season 1 and a Best Actress Golden Globe award for Moss.

Atwood’s most recent books include dark dystopian “The Heart Goes Last,” published in 2015, and “Hag-Seed,” a modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Hearing Met With 'Handmaid's Tale' Protesters

'Handmaid's Tale': Joseph Fiennes on Exploring 'Warped Creatures,' 'Ugly Components of the Male Psyche'

How 'The Handmaid's Tale' Star Yvonne Strahovski Made 'Ice Queen' Serena Sympathetic

Margaret Atwood’s ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Book Sequel Set For 2019: ‘The Testaments’ Acquired By Doubleday & Anchor

Margaret Atwood’s vision of a post-Handmaid’s Tale world will be revealed next September, when the author’s The Testaments is released, and the creator of all things Gilead promises “almost everything” readers have ever asked ab…

Margaret Atwood's vision of a post-Handmaid’s Tale world will be revealed next September, when the author’s The Testaments is released, and the creator of all things Gilead promises “almost everything” readers have ever asked about the fictional, oppressive republic that was the inspiration for the new book. The book sequel – which is not connected to Hulu’s TV adaptation of Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale – was announced today with the acquisition of…

‘Barracoon’ Based On Book In Works As Limited TV Series By Common & Lionsgate

Lionsgate and Common’s Freedom Road Productions have acquired the rights to Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’, the critically praised, recently discovered book by 20th century writer Zora Neale Hurston, to develop as a li…

Lionsgate and Common’s Freedom Road Productions have acquired the rights to Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’, the critically praised, recently discovered book by 20th century writer Zora Neale Hurston, to develop as a limited television event series.
Barracoon centers on 86-year-old Cudjo Lewis, the last known survivor of the Middle Passage who was brought to America in 1927. The book, which was unpublished until earlier this year, chronicles Cudjo’s time of…

Former Time Lord Tom Baker wrote a new Doctor Who novel

The great thing about The Doctor from Doctor Who being a super old alien who goes on a different adventure every week is that it’s easy to accept that there are countless adventures that we, the audience, simply weren’t there fore. Few Doctors know tha…

The great thing about The Doctor from Doctor Who being a super old alien who goes on a different adventure every week is that it’s easy to accept that there are countless adventures that we, the audience, simply weren’t there fore. Few Doctors know that better than the Fourth Doctor, who was one of the most beloved…

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Michelle Obama Memoir ‘Becoming’ Sells 1.4 Million Copies In One Week

Michelle Obama can now add best-selling author to her resume. The former First Lady’s memoir “Becoming” sold more than 1.4 million print and digital copies in the United States and Canada since it hit the shelves on November 13.
&#822…

Michelle Obama can now add best-selling author to her resume. The former First Lady’s memoir “Becoming” sold more than 1.4 million print and digital copies in the United States and Canada since it hit the shelves on November 13. “Becoming” had one of 2018’s biggest debuts, according to the Associated Press. Crown Publishing printed over 3 million hardcover copies in North America and when it was released it became a hot title, selling more than 725,000 copies. When it…

Netflix Finds ‘The One’, New Drama Series Where Love Meets DNA Science

Netflix has met its match, so to speak. The streaming service has greenlighted The One, a 10-episode drama series from writer-creator Howard Overman based on the sci-fi novel by John Marrs.
Here’s the logline: The One is set five minutes in the f…

Netflix has met its match, so to speak. The streaming service has greenlighted The One, a 10-episode drama series from writer-creator Howard Overman based on the sci-fi novel by John Marrs. Here’s the logline: The One is set five minutes in the future, in a world where a DNA test can find your perfect partner – the one person you're genetically predisposed to fall passionately in love with. No matter how good your relationship, which one of us can honestly say we haven't…

Karina Longworth Traces Hollywood Sexism Back to Howard Hughes

An exclusive excerpt from the podcaster’s new book, “Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood.”

Karina Longworth has long ridden the swells of writing about Hollywood, whether as an early movie blogger at Cinematical and Spout, long-form reviewer at LA Weekly, author (Phaidon books on Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, and George Lucas), or podcaster at the Panoply network and now Slate. And in her latest book, “Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood,” she looks back at how women rose to power in a time when the only hope was to please the men who got there first.

“Seduction” fashions a revisionist feminist Hollywood narrative by using notorious womanizer and RKO mogul producer Hughes as a way to examine 10 actresses caught in his maw from the 1920s through the 1950s. These include Katharine Hepburn and Jane Russell (for whom Hughes famously fashioned an aeronautic brassiere), and Ida Lupino, who turned herself from a teen blond bombshell into a top actress, writer and director. All found success by doing something women have done since the dawn of Hollywood: deferring to men. “It’s a portrait of what Hollywood was like for women in the classical era,” Longworth said.

The book is a compelling read, and is a kind of offshoot from her popular weekly podcast “You Must Remember This,” in which she takes deep dives into “the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century.” Series range from Hollywood’s dead blondes, the fates of horror stars Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, and insightful looks at stars like Lena Horne and Ava Gardner, or Hollywood couples like Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, and Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra.

In addition to bringing listeners fresh details to Hollywood lore, Longworth’s podcast communicates a warmth and immediacy to history that’s up to a century old. When recounting the untimely death of Lombard in an airplane crash, Longworth choked up as she was recording. She left it in, she told me in a phone interview: “I wasn’t expecting it. I knew I found that story personally very moving, more emotional than any Clark Gable film I’ve ever seen has made me feel — the idea of him waiting in a hotel room, drinking, knowing his wife is dead, waiting for the confirmation.”

All those hours delving into Hollywood archives, the Academy Library, and history books (one favorite is Otto Friedrich’s “City of Nets”) also taught Longworth to regard every source with healthy skepticism. (Here’s a list of film books she has used as a resource.)

“I got to the point as I was researching my book that I feel that I have to question everything,” she said. “But the whole point of the podcast has always been reading every source I can find about something and presenting the conflicting stories, to use my knowledge of the period and common sense to figure out the most likely true thing, understanding that in most cases the people are not available to speak to. So what you have to do is take the facts that are available and use your imagination a little bit.”

Longworth sees herself as a contemporary woman “looking back at the past to figure out what the female point of view of these events might have been,” she said. When doing the series on Charles Manson, Longworth couldn’t avoid the pattern of misogyny in the whole climate around the murders. “I would have felt empathetic toward Sharon Tate even if she hadn’t been murdered,” she said. “She was not in a great situation, considering her husband’s attitude toward their marriage. Of course the murders were gruesome and horrific; I felt sick to my stomach writing about her and Polanski.” Did Quentin Tarantino take advantage of her research for his new movie “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood?” “I haven’t heard anything from him,” she said.

Image ref 41828694. Copyright Rex Shutterstock No reproduction without permission. Please see www.rexfeatures.com for more information.

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn

Rex Shutterstock

Thus, it’s no surprise that Longworth would emerge with a strong take on how the Hollywood studio machine manipulated and often destroyed many women as they sought stardom. That disturbing pattern emerged as she recounted countless stories of starlets moving west who were badly used by the men in power, whether partners, executives or producers.

Check out the excerpt below from “Seduction” on actress-director Ida Lupino.

From SEDUCTION by Karina Longworth, published by Custom House. Copyright © 2018 by Karina Longworth. Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers. 

BY  T H E  S P R I N G  O F  1950, Ida Lupino was widely championed as Hollywood’s first actress turned director of the sound era. That March, she was invited to present the Best Director  prize at the Academy Awards. Winner Joseph Mankiewicz, in his speech, affectionately referred to the presenter as “the only woman in the Directors Guild, and the prettiest.”

That fall, Ida’s finest work as a director would hit movie theaters. Outrage starred Mala Powers, a raven-haired nineteen-year-old whose casting Hughes had personally approved, as Ann, a bookkeeper at a lumber yard who is raped after hours by the guy she buys coffee from every morning. Not Wanted’s credits had played over a flash-forward to the film’s heroine  at her most desperate and broken, and here, again, Lupino began the film by showing Powers at her most vulnerable, limp- ing through the streets, totally alone. The director then flashes back to show Ann two days earlier, happy and vibrant, buying two slices of chocolate cake from a coffee counter vendor. The vendor makes an aggressive pass at her, and, like a girl who hears such things every day, she rolls her eyes and goes on with her life. That life includes a boy- friend, Jim, who tells her while they eat the cake that he’s been given a raise, and they can finally get married.

Ann’s American-girl dream is crushed the next evening. She gets off work late and begins to walk home alone. The coffee counter guy lies in wait for her. She walks alone through the darkened mill where she works, whistling. The coffee guy calls out to her, “Hey, beautiful!” She doesn’t stop. He follows her. She starts to become aware that some- thing doesn’t feel right. The camera, facing Powers, dollies back as she quickens her pace. The coffee guy rounds a corner and becomes visible behind her, in the middle of the frame. He whistles, and she freezes, as does the camera. She turns around, looks at him, looks around, and then starts to run. He follows her. She looks for somewhere to hide, banging on the windows of an abandoned building. In her nervous- ness, she knocks over a metal trash can, which gives him a clue as to where to find her. Lupino switches to an overhead camera to track Ann as she runs through a maze of empty, industrial streets. A taxi speeds around a corner and she frantically tries to hail it, to no avail. Outside a trucking company, she’s able to rig a truck horn to blare. This gets the attention of a man in the upper window of the business, who looks out to see what’s going on. What he can’t see from his vantage point is what we’ve already seen: she has tripped and fallen, and her stalker has caught up with her.

In the aftermath of the attack, Ann becomes hysterical. She can’t stop defending herself, as though it were her fault. “I couldn’t get away!” she cries. “I couldn’t move!” The next day, she decides to pre- tend like everything is normal and fine. But on her walk to work it feels like everyone is staring at her, that everyone knows and all they can think when they look at her is, “That’s the girl who got herself raped.” From here, Outrage becomes a psychological thriller, with Lupino using creative editing and sound design to amplify her heroine’s PTSD. All the conditions are in place for Ann’s quick recovery—she has people who care about her, her family and coworkers want to help, and her fiancée still wants to marry her—but startlingly, she can’t handle all of this kind attention, because she feels so broken inside. Without telling anyone, she gets on a bus and skips town. She essentially becomes a fugitive and starts a new identity in a new town, where, when a man flirts too aggressively with her, she becomes consumed with the delusion that he’s her rapist, and she nearly kills him.

Outrage deals with a uniquely female situation in a uniquely empathetic way. After such a violation, it asks, how could a woman learn how to be around men again, to trust them, to let them touch her? How would you get out of the psychological head space that it was you who did something wrong? How do you stop running? In Ann’s case, it’s a purely platonic man friend who restores her faith in male goodness and puts her on the road to recovery. The ultimate thesis of the film is that women are not sex objects, and treating them as such—through full-on sexual assault, unwanted sexual advances, or even just con- descending commentary—has  lasting consequences. Outrage is not perfectly enlightened by modern standards, but in a Hollywood era in which the top female star was pinup queen Betty Grable—and  especially at RKO, where the bulk of Hughes’s creative decisions stemmed from his own sex drive—the  film was revolutionary.

Outrage received some rave reviews.  “It is a picture that every par- ent, as well as every woman, should see . . . the story hits home to every family in that such an occurrence might happen anytime to any girl or woman,” wrote Shirle Duggan in the Los Angeles Examiner, singling out Ida for her direction. The Los Angeles Daily News, Hollywood Citizen- News, and the trade paper Film Daily all approved, as well. But the two biggest trade publications threw cold water on Ida’s accomplish- ment. In what seemed like a misreading of the film’s plot, The Holly- wood Reporter’s review  accused  Ida of exploiting “rape as motivation for an old-fashioned  ‘find happiness  on the land’ drama.” If Outrage were a “clean-cut essay with strong educational overtones,” added the Reporter’s critic,  “its sordid theme of criminal attack might have more justification.” The Variety review was also dismissive: “Over- directed in many instances by Ida Lupino, there will be many who will take issue with her interpretation of the girl’s reaction to her plight. Film throughout lacks any elements of entertainment in its de- sire to sock over a depressing message. Hard selling will be required here, with expected grosses slim.” Variety did not report extensively on Outrage’s grosses—perhaps because there was nothing of note to report—but the movie had come in so far under budget that it didn’t need to gross big.

Ida Lupino’s popularity in Hollywood was untainted by her boy-friend (and eventual husband) Howard Duff having been branded a “communist sympathizer” by the witch-hunting press. In July 1950, two months  before Outrage was released,  Duff had been one of 151 entertainers whose names were named in the pamphlet Red Channels, which was as close to an official list as was actually printed during what became known as the Blacklist era. Duff soon thereafter lost his job as the star of the popular radio serial The Adventures of Sam Spade. Duff didn’t understand why he had been targeted; like so many others who were the subject of finger-pointing during this era, he had been a liberal Democrat since the time when the country had been united in a hate for fascism, but he had never been a registered Communist.

That didn’t mean there wasn’t any evidence that the McCarthyites could use against him. Under Hughes’s direction, RKO subscribed to a service provided by an outfit calling itself the American Library of Information (ALI). This was a racket run by the Better America Foundation, which compiled bare-bones dossiers on potential subversives. Few reports included information beyond mentions of the subject in various Communist publications, or the fact that the suspect had sub- scribed to such publications, often two decades earlier. RKO received a report from ALI on Howard  Duff in March 1952 (a year in which the studio paid $1,500 for ALI’s services, up 50 percent from the previous year). Duff was accused of having subscribed to People’s World in 1939 (and only 1939), as well as having publicly supported the Hollywood Ten and the Committee for the First Amendment, the all-star band also including stars like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, which had organized a trip to Washington to support the Ten at their hearings.

Lupino would claim that she personally visited her “buddies at the FBI” to ensure protection for Duff and another man to whom she was close who had been unfairly targeted, actor John “Julie” Garfield. This visit is not documented in the portions of Lupino’s FBI file made avail- able through a Freedom of Information Act request. If she did reach out to the FBI on Garfield’s behalf, it seems her intervention could only do so much. Garfield, unable to work in studio movies, had gone back to New York, where he was doing theater, and drinking heavily. Aware that he was not doing well, Lupino went to New York to see Garfield in Clifford Odets’s Golden Boy, but he didn’t perform that night, and when she went to check on him, he seemed to be a shell of the exuberant character he used to be—not just in bad health, but weak in spirit. Ida told Julie that she had spoken to the FBI on his behalf. He asked her to hold his hand as he drifted off to sleep. She did, and then went home to Hollywood determined to find a movie role for her friend, to help bring him back from the brink.

The problem was that Ida was under contract to make movies at RKO, and RKO was run by an increasingly eccentric, head-traumatized megamillionaire who had become obsessed with eradicating Communists from the film industry.  On a base level, Communists posed the same kind of threat in Hughes’s racist mind as black people and all the “others” he disliked and feared, while also firing up Hughes’s capitalist imagination, in more ways than one. Not only did the reds threaten Hughes’s ability to operate unchecked in a free marketplace, but in aligning himself with the anti-Communist cause, he also spotted an opportunity to shore up credibility with the power brokers who provided him with lucrative military contracts. In keeping with his lifelong germophobia, Hughes treated the supposed Communist infiltration of RKO like an infestation: he essentially tented the lot.

On April 5, Hughes released a statement announcing he was shutting down production at RKO, putting one hundred employees on “leave of absence” while he made sure that none of them were tainted. “The plain fact is they are innocent victims of the Communist problem in Hollywood,” Hughes said in a statement. “It is my determination to make RKO the one studio in Hollywood where the work of Communist sympathizers is not used.”

By this point, Jarrico had filed suit against RKO and Hughes, seeking lost income and punitive damages. He alleged that Hughes, who had claimed that he had suspended production at RKO in order to hunt Communists, was actually trying to distract from the fact that his studio was running at a loss and Hughes was clueless as to how to turn it around. It was an open secret in Hollywood that RKO was having trouble producing enough content to be profitable, and it was apparent that Hughes and his current publicists, Perry Lieber at RKO and the outside firm Carl Byoir and Associates, were running damage control. For every column that hinted at RKO’s troubles, there’d be an obviously planted item in another paper enthusing about the impressive slate of RKO attractions on the horizon, such as one in Film Daily in February  1952 suggesting that independent  productions  like Clash by Night (featuring Marilyn Monroe) and Jet Pilot represented “the most potent product this studio has ever prepped for early distribution at any one time in its history.”

Jarrico’s allegation was probably, at least in part, true, but it was perceived as a desperate move in a climate in which Hughes’s zero tolerance earned him plaudits from on high. Representative Donald Jackson of HUAC praised Hughes for his stance on Jarrico at a Kiwanis Club lunch in Los Angeles, and on the Senate floor, Richard Nixon declared that Hughes had earned the “approval of every man and woman who believes that forces of subversion must be wiped out.” In March, a Los Angeles Times editorial lauded Hughes’s hard-line stance on Jarrico specifically and Communists in general, predicting, “If the Screen Writers Guild calls a strike on such an issue, it will not have the sympathy of the public, nor deserve it. Most Americans will agree with Hughes that a writer who declined, before the Un-American Activities Committee, to answer a question as to his Communist affiliation on the ground that to answer might incriminate or degrade him thereby certified his unfitness for any employment that would bring his name before the public.”

Hughes’s campaign to exterminate Communists in the film industry had an intended audience outside Hollywood. In June 1953, gossip columnist Jimmie Fidler reported on his radio show that Hughes was “dickering with the war department for the first commercial contract to manufacture atomic weapons.” This was just gossip—but given the overall political climate, Hughes would have been wise to believe that his fortunes as a government defense contractor were related to the overall perception of him as a good American.

Whether Hughes knew it or not, the FBI had on the record a differing opinion as to his merits as a citizen. Just a few months earlier, an internal Bureau memo noted that a source, whose name they redacted but who from context appears to have been a high-ranking executive at TWA, had described Hughes as “an unscrupulous individual who at times acts like a screwball and paranoiac, to the extent that it is conceivable that he might even be capable of murder.” In this light, it seems likely that the RKO shutdown was a publicity stunt aimed at selling the image of Hughes as a man who put country over company, thus bolstering a Hughes business that was worth much more financially than the movie studio ever could be.

Six weeks after Hughes shut down RKO, John Garfield died in bed, at the age of thirty-nine. The official cause of death was cited as a heart attack, but many close to him believed that being blacklisted had pushed his already weak heart to the brink, sapping him of the will to live. The passing of this once-beloved star did nothing to pause the persecution of “un-Americans.” At the time, it was anathema to mention the human cost of the Blacklist, lest one wanted to see their own name blackened, and their own opportunities diminished.

Hughes did not openly punish Lupino for her associations with those under a cloud of suspicion, but he didn’t make it easy for her, either. Throughout her time under contract to RKO, Hughes rejected many of her movie ideas. He put the kibosh on potential films about Mexican Americans (for whom Hughes had no empathy) and the atomic bomb (regarding which Hughes had conflicts of interest as a military contractor). Then, right after Garfield’s death, when Ida was pregnant with Duff ’s child,  her script for a film about gambling addiction was rejected, too. The excuse given was that the subject matter was not commercial. Lupino had made an unfortunate mistake in timing, pro- posing her casino movie just a few months after the release of The Las Vegas Story, which lost more than half a million dollars for the studio, and had wider reverberations than any other bad, money-losing movie that year.

‘Scary Stories’ Documentary Acquired By Wild Eye For Theatrical Bow

EXCLUSIVE: Wild Eye Releasing has acquired worldwide rights to Scary Stories, a documentary about Alvin Schwartz’s 1980s-penned YA book series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The film from director Cody Meirick will now get a theatrical releas…

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Happy 104th Birthday, Hedy Lamarr: Read Exclusive Excerpt From New Graphic Novel Biography

EXCLUSIVE- It was 104 years ago today that screen legend Hedy Lamarr was born in Vienna beginning a bittersweet, one-of-a-kind life odyssey. The legacy of that unique journey has made Lamarr a figure of fascination in recent months.
Last year the docum…

EXCLUSIVE- It was 104 years ago today that screen legend Hedy Lamarr was born in Vienna beginning a bittersweet, one-of-a-kind life odyssey. The legacy of that unique journey has made Lamarr a figure of fascination in recent months. Last year the documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamar Story (produced by Susan Sarandon) was released to wide acclaim  and then this past summer Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot made it clear that her pursuit of a Lamarr project is a front-burner…

Warner Bros. Takes Film Rights To Reed King’s Sci-Fi Novel ‘FKA USA’ In Seven-Figure Deal

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros. has purchased the feature film rights to Reed King’s upcoming dystopian novel FKA USA in a seven-figure deal. The novel is being published by Amy Einhorn of Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan, in June of 2019.
FKA USA imagi…

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros. has purchased the feature film rights to Reed King's upcoming dystopian novel FKA USA in a seven-figure deal. The novel is being published by Amy Einhorn of Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan, in June of 2019. FKA USA imagines a United States where, in the wake of environmental disasters and the catastrophic policies of its final president, the Fifty States have seceded and given way to a series of lawless territories. The story centers on…

Fox Nabs ‘Saving Bravo’ Novel By Stephan Talty; Andrew Baldwin Adapting

EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has secured the film rights to the war novel Saving Bravo: The Greatest Rescue Mission in Navy SEAL History by journalist Stephan Talty. Andrew Baldwin, who wrote The Outsider starring Jared Leto as well as the Idris Elba-le…

EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has secured the film rights to the war novel Saving Bravo: The Greatest Rescue Mission in Navy SEAL History by journalist Stephan Talty. Andrew Baldwin, who wrote The Outsider starring Jared Leto as well as the Idris Elba-led film The Take, is attached to adapt the screenplay. Logan producers Hutch Parker and Dan Wilson are producing. Released October 30 via Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the biography is about the rescue mission of Gene Hambleton…

David Letterman’s Final Episodes of ‘The Late Show’: 5 Surprising Behind-the-Scenes Stories

David Letterman’s “Late Show” went off the air on May 20, 2015, and since then, all the lip-sync battles and carpool karaokes haven’t quite filled that perfect quota of weird that Letterman once provided.

But as author Scott Ryan argues in his new book “The Last Days of Letterman: The Final 6 Weeks,” Letterman hit a stride of old-fashioned, genuine late night talk that rose to the level of Johnny Carson in his final shows.

“Dave and his guests actually talked to each other. Very few of the guests were appearing on the show to promote their latest movies. They were actually coming on the show to talk to their friend,” Ryan writes in the opening to his book. “This time they brought it back to the days of Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. For six weeks of time, conversation was the true king of late night.”

Also Read: David Letterman Returns to NBC’s ‘Late Night’ Next Week as Seth Meyers’ Guest

For his book, Ryan conducted interviews with more than 20 writers, employees and managers on “The Late Show,” asking them to recall some of their memories that allowed those final airings to come together. He describes in copious detail the events of each show leading up to the finale, including behind-the-scenes moments that shed light on the emotion experienced by the crew and the guests that graced Dave’s couch.

Here are a few behind-the-scenes highlights from the book:

1. Norm Macdonald Became Unusually Emotional.

Rather than just be one of Letterman’s guests, comedian Norm Macdonald asked if he could perform a tight five of comedy, making him one of the last people to perform stand-up on “The Late Show.” “The Late Show” writers describe Macdonald as having prepared extensively for the coveted spot behind an interview with Oprah Winfrey, coming into the studio more than five hours early with cocktail napkins and full notebooks packed with material.

Also Read: Norm MacDonald’s Netflix Series Sets Chevy Chase, Jane Fonda and David Letterman as Guests

But Macdonald’s tearful tribute to Letterman, in which he performed one of Dave’ old bits, surprised everyone with how much he cared.

“I have known Norm a long time. He is weird, crazy, and brilliant and he is not emotional,” writer Bill Scheft said in the book. “That was quite magical and right up there for me. I can’t think of anything ahead of that.”

CBS

2. Bill Murray Got the Crew Tipsy Before Saying Goodbye.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that Bill Murray is an elusive figure, and “The Last Days of Letterman” only perpetuates his mythos.

“There really wasn’t an order to booking Bill Murray,” said Sheila Rogers, Letterman’s supervision producer and talent manager. “He doesn’t have a publicist or agent that you deal with. I would text him and never know when I was gonna hear back from him. Sometimes he would text back something that would be funny, but wouldn’t really be an answer.”

Also Read: Obama Danced With Prince Weeks Before He Died, Ex-President Tells Letterman (Video)

Murray would ultimately show up, bursting out of a giant cake meant for Letterman, only to rush over and hug him while still drenched in frosting. More peculiar, however, was when Murray decided to abruptly, in the middle of his interview with Letterman, recite an advertisement for Slovenian vodka. When Murray rehearsed this bit with the writers, he opted to use a real bottle of vodka rather than a prop bottle filled with water, pouring large glasses to get them sloshed ahead of meeting with Letterman to describe the routine.

“So now I am drinking with Bill Murray and one of my best friends,” writer Mike Buczkiewicz said. “This is gonna go horribly awry because we still have to produce the second-to-last ‘Late Show.’”

3. Bob Dylan Was Not the Show’s First Choice.

On the second-to-last episode of “The Late Show,” Bob Dylan gave a rare, dimly lit, emotional performance of the old standard, “The Night We Called It a Day.”

Also Read: Howard Stern Describes Donald Trump’s Rating of Women to David Letterman (Video)

And while booking the generally camera-shy Dylan proved to be a big get for this special occasion, some of “The Late Show” staff didn’t want Dylan as their first choice, but instead preferred Billy Joel.

“I wanted the circle to come all the way around because Bill Murray and Billy Joel were on the first show on CBS,” Brian Teta, a segment producer, said. “I really wanted Billy Joel to sing ‘Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway).’ I wanted him to sing it on the marquee. You can’t go wrong with Dylan, but I liked the idea of the first guest and musical performance back on the last show.”

4. The Staff Agonized Over the Final Top Ten List.

For weeks, just about every writer on staff prepped for what would be said by 10 different celebrities, delivering one line a piece about “Things I’ve Always Wanted to Say to Dave.” One writer explained the origins behind a joke in which Letterman’s son Harry keeps asking, “Why does Daddy have to go to prison?”

“To me, only Dave can do that joke,” Scheft said. I was a stand-up for 13 years and my late wife was a stand-up, and she told me really early on, ‘The best comics do material that only they can do. Nobody else can steal the joke because it’s of them.’”

Also Read: David Letterman Tells Tina Fey He Didn’t Think Female Writers Wanted to Work on His ‘Dog-and-Pony’ Show

As for the Top Ten list, the segment producers had to work extensively to make sure Peyton Manning’s schedule was entirely cleared, they had to rewrite a joke for Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the last minute, and agonized over whether Tina Fey, who previously joked she’d never have to wear a dress again on a talk show, would actually wear a dress to the finale.

CBS

5. Matching the Closing Montage to a Foo Fighters Song Took Months.

From November 2014 to May 2015, “The Late Show” staff spent countless hours working to edit together a montage for Letterman’s finale. They started editing a highlight reel montage before Letterman announced he was retiring, telling an editor that it was for an anniversary special and not for his retirement.

Letterman dropped little hints of what he wanted in the montage, including that he wanted the whole thing to be done to the tune of Foo Fighters’ “Everlong.” But just as they were near done editing, Letterman threw a monkey wrench into everything by saying Foo Fighters should play the song live. It posed the challenges of getting the band to agree to perform, even though they wouldn’t appear on camera, and to get them to sync up their live performance with their carefully edited montage. The band needed to hit a beat just as a clip of Farrah Fawcett shouting “wow” played in the montage.

Also Read: Let’s Talk About Jay-Z, David Letterman, and Saving Your Relationship (Podcast)

“They played at rehearsal. It was close. It was nothing like I had it when I edited it within an inch of its life and perfect to the drumming, but it was good and close enough,” executive producer Barbara Gaines said. “When they had it perfect, I ran up on stage and hugged Dave Grohl. I don’t know him, but I screamed, ‘That was so amazing!’ He’s like, ‘Who? Why? Get this woman off me.’ I was beyond excited.”

“Last Days of Letterman” hits bookshelves Nov. 6 from Fayetteville Mafia Press. 

Related stories from TheWrap:

Norm MacDonald’s Netflix Series Sets Chevy Chase, Jane Fonda and David Letterman as Guests

David Letterman Tells Tina Fey He Didn’t Think Female Writers Wanted to Work on His ‘Dog-and-Pony’ Show

Let’s Talk About Jay-Z, David Letterman, and Saving Your Relationship (Podcast)

David Letterman’s “Late Show” went off the air on May 20, 2015, and since then, all the lip-sync battles and carpool karaokes haven’t quite filled that perfect quota of weird that Letterman once provided.

But as author Scott Ryan argues in his new book “The Last Days of Letterman: The Final 6 Weeks,” Letterman hit a stride of old-fashioned, genuine late night talk that rose to the level of Johnny Carson in his final shows.

“Dave and his guests actually talked to each other. Very few of the guests were appearing on the show to promote their latest movies. They were actually coming on the show to talk to their friend,” Ryan writes in the opening to his book. “This time they brought it back to the days of Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. For six weeks of time, conversation was the true king of late night.”

For his book, Ryan conducted interviews with more than 20 writers, employees and managers on “The Late Show,” asking them to recall some of their memories that allowed those final airings to come together. He describes in copious detail the events of each show leading up to the finale, including behind-the-scenes moments that shed light on the emotion experienced by the crew and the guests that graced Dave’s couch.

Here are a few behind-the-scenes highlights from the book:

1. Norm Macdonald Became Unusually Emotional.

Rather than just be one of Letterman’s guests, comedian Norm Macdonald asked if he could perform a tight five of comedy, making him one of the last people to perform stand-up on “The Late Show.” “The Late Show” writers describe Macdonald as having prepared extensively for the coveted spot behind an interview with Oprah Winfrey, coming into the studio more than five hours early with cocktail napkins and full notebooks packed with material.

But Macdonald’s tearful tribute to Letterman, in which he performed one of Dave’ old bits, surprised everyone with how much he cared.

“I have known Norm a long time. He is weird, crazy, and brilliant and he is not emotional,” writer Bill Scheft said in the book. “That was quite magical and right up there for me. I can’t think of anything ahead of that.”

CBS

2. Bill Murray Got the Crew Tipsy Before Saying Goodbye.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that Bill Murray is an elusive figure, and “The Last Days of Letterman” only perpetuates his mythos.

“There really wasn’t an order to booking Bill Murray,” said Sheila Rogers, Letterman’s supervision producer and talent manager. “He doesn’t have a publicist or agent that you deal with. I would text him and never know when I was gonna hear back from him. Sometimes he would text back something that would be funny, but wouldn’t really be an answer.”

Murray would ultimately show up, bursting out of a giant cake meant for Letterman, only to rush over and hug him while still drenched in frosting. More peculiar, however, was when Murray decided to abruptly, in the middle of his interview with Letterman, recite an advertisement for Slovenian vodka. When Murray rehearsed this bit with the writers, he opted to use a real bottle of vodka rather than a prop bottle filled with water, pouring large glasses to get them sloshed ahead of meeting with Letterman to describe the routine.

“So now I am drinking with Bill Murray and one of my best friends,” writer Mike Buczkiewicz said. “This is gonna go horribly awry because we still have to produce the second-to-last ‘Late Show.'”

3. Bob Dylan Was Not the Show’s First Choice.

On the second-to-last episode of “The Late Show,” Bob Dylan gave a rare, dimly lit, emotional performance of the old standard, “The Night We Called It a Day.”

And while booking the generally camera-shy Dylan proved to be a big get for this special occasion, some of “The Late Show” staff didn’t want Dylan as their first choice, but instead preferred Billy Joel.

“I wanted the circle to come all the way around because Bill Murray and Billy Joel were on the first show on CBS,” Brian Teta, a segment producer, said. “I really wanted Billy Joel to sing ‘Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway).’ I wanted him to sing it on the marquee. You can’t go wrong with Dylan, but I liked the idea of the first guest and musical performance back on the last show.”

4. The Staff Agonized Over the Final Top Ten List.

For weeks, just about every writer on staff prepped for what would be said by 10 different celebrities, delivering one line a piece about “Things I’ve Always Wanted to Say to Dave.” One writer explained the origins behind a joke in which Letterman’s son Harry keeps asking, “Why does Daddy have to go to prison?”

“To me, only Dave can do that joke,” Scheft said. I was a stand-up for 13 years and my late wife was a stand-up, and she told me really early on, ‘The best comics do material that only they can do. Nobody else can steal the joke because it’s of them.'”

As for the Top Ten list, the segment producers had to work extensively to make sure Peyton Manning’s schedule was entirely cleared, they had to rewrite a joke for Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the last minute, and agonized over whether Tina Fey, who previously joked she’d never have to wear a dress again on a talk show, would actually wear a dress to the finale.

CBS

5. Matching the Closing Montage to a Foo Fighters Song Took Months.

From November 2014 to May 2015, “The Late Show” staff spent countless hours working to edit together a montage for Letterman’s finale. They started editing a highlight reel montage before Letterman announced he was retiring, telling an editor that it was for an anniversary special and not for his retirement.

Letterman dropped little hints of what he wanted in the montage, including that he wanted the whole thing to be done to the tune of Foo Fighters’ “Everlong.” But just as they were near done editing, Letterman threw a monkey wrench into everything by saying Foo Fighters should play the song live. It posed the challenges of getting the band to agree to perform, even though they wouldn’t appear on camera, and to get them to sync up their live performance with their carefully edited montage. The band needed to hit a beat just as a clip of Farrah Fawcett shouting “wow” played in the montage.

“They played at rehearsal. It was close. It was nothing like I had it when I edited it within an inch of its life and perfect to the drumming, but it was good and close enough,” executive producer Barbara Gaines said. “When they had it perfect, I ran up on stage and hugged Dave Grohl. I don’t know him, but I screamed, ‘That was so amazing!’ He’s like, ‘Who? Why? Get this woman off me.’ I was beyond excited.”

“Last Days of Letterman” hits bookshelves Nov. 6 from Fayetteville Mafia Press. 

Related stories from TheWrap:

Norm MacDonald's Netflix Series Sets Chevy Chase, Jane Fonda and David Letterman as Guests

David Letterman Tells Tina Fey He Didn't Think Female Writers Wanted to Work on His 'Dog-and-Pony' Show

Let's Talk About Jay-Z, David Letterman, and Saving Your Relationship (Podcast)

‘Beastie Boys Book’: Most Hilarious Stories and Wild Moments in Massive 592-Page Autobiography

When you’ve been working on a book for over four years as the Beastie Boys have, it’s hard to know when enough is enough. However, in this marathon 592-page autobiography “BeastieBoys Book,” the iconic New York rappers have managed — in true Beasties fashion — to produce something as wide-ranging, wildly entertaining and as diverse and unorthodox as their music itself.

Written by surviving members Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz) and Mike D. (Michael Diamond), the book traces the group’s earliest days as hardcore punks who loved Bad Brains until their end as cultural icons, when MCA (Adam Yauch) — the group’s visionary and spiritual leader — died at 47 from salivary gland cancer in 2012.

Throughout, there are odes to Yauch, who had plans to do a “The Kids Are Alright”-style documentary on the Beasties before his death, something revealed by Horovitz in the first chapter.

Also Read: Heather Graham Says Israel Horovitz Forced a Kiss After She Dated His Son, Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock

The book features a number of chapters written by folks other than the duo, including contributors as wide-ranging as Amy Poehler, Colson Whitehead, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson and Luc Sante, to early New York City nightlife personalities.

As great as the self-contained stories are (how they discovered Brass Monkey, ransacking hotels, etc), it’s the minor details — like Horovitz getting into the minutiae of how to deal with cassettes — that show the surviving members at their most humorous. A number of stories will elicit smiles and tears, often at the same time, but here are some of the stand-out stories that are among the many highlights from the book.

“Beastie” stands for Boys Entering Anarchistic States Toward Internal Excellence

Early in the book, Mike D. explains how the group, which featured Yauch, John Barry and Kate Schellenbach, got its name — it is from the above anagram, which Mike D. admits makes no sense. Doesn’t make it any less iconic, however.

Yauch was the free-spirited leader of the group

Horovitz opines how Yauch was a treasure-trove of knowledge and wisdom, who wanted to understand how things worked (nickname, Tech Wiz) and wasn’t afraid to meet people and take on life one adventure at a time. He met the Dalai Lama and put on the Tibetan Freedom Concert — an all-star fundraiser for a Tibetan charity where bands like U2, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, A Tribe Called Quest, Sonic Youth, Foo Fighters and… you get the point played. And perhaps the funniest memory: Yauch met a guy on the group’s flight to Australia and decided on a whim to go snowboarding with him, telling his bandmates he’d be back with them by soundcheck days later. Yauch’s absence is a subtle but overarching theme of the book, with his presence always felt.

British Airways accidentally aided in the group’s transition to hip-hop

As young hardcore punks, the Beasties released a song titled “Cooky Puss,” which served as an ode to the Carvel ice cream cake of the same name. After finding out about the synch, the group got paid, which meant they had extra cash to invest in themselves. Horovitz had eyes for a Rickenbacker guitar, but instead decided to pick up a Roland TR-808, a drum machine used to make iconic track, including “Brass Monkey” and Run-DMC’s “Peter Piper.”

Also Read: ‘Buddhist Monks’ Breakdance to Honor Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch (Video)

They apologize — a lot — for their early image

The surviving Beasties were not proud of their early “caricature” years. They describe that era as being a joke on macho culture, before becoming the culture that people didn’t understand was a joke itself. They fired original drummer Kate Schellenbach (for which Horovitz apologizes), discuss the original extremely inappropriate name of “Licensed to Ill” (which they say was Rick Rubin’s idea) and other rowdy behavior during that time that included Horovitz being arrested in England after being accused of throwing a beer can at a patron (he said that he didn’t do it).

Their first “holy s—” moment was a trip to England

After inking with Def Jam, which led to signing with a marketing and distribution deal with Columbia Records, the trio were flown to England in 1986 to some meet-and-greets with the label. On a night off, they went to Mick Jones of the Clash’s house (which was a very non-rock star place), where Yauch retaught the guitarist how to play “Clash City Rockers” in his studio. Later, Johnny Rotten and Clash members Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon joined the crew to take in the slasher flick “Re-Animator” after drinking with that ensemble.

They tried to pull a “Phil Collins,” and it was basically a disaster

The Beasties were on tour and playing arenas and stadiums, opening for Run-DMC. As they started to take off on the strength of “Hold It, Now Hit It,” the trio decided to play two shows in one night — opening up for their Def Jam labelmates in Oakland, then hopping on a plane for a proper headlining show in Los Angeles. The venue for the headlining gig was owned by Matt Dike, who was instrumental in the making of “Paul’s Boutique.” With members of Jane’s Addiction in attendance, Anthony Kiedis introduced the Beasties. But the gig didn’t go great and became stuff of legend… and not in a good way. Sounds issues caused the trio to end the show earlier. After seeing the group walk off in disgust, a fan named Mario Caldato told Dike that he’d be happy to use his equipment to run sound for the venue that ultimately closed not-too-long after.

Also Read: The Muppets Rap Beastie Boys ‘What’cha Want’ (Video)

Yauch performed “Walk This Way” with Run-DMC ‘s Steven Tyler and a drunk Joe Perry, who nailed it

One of the many highlights of the Run-DMC tour — who were arguably the hottest group in the land due to their remake of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” — came to a stadium gig in Florida. For their performance of the hit song, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry joined the rappers on-stage, but one thing was missing: a bass. Yauch happened to have one with him and was thrusted on stage to play the part… however, it was after a day of drinking. Do the math. He tried doing the tried-and-true rock move of playing back-to-back with Perry, who clearly wasn’t feeling it. Instead, what happened was some sort of hilarity where Yauch was chasing Perry across the stage to do the move. As for the song itself, Yauch nailed it, totally drunk and all.

The hydraulic penis from their 1987 tour is still in a box at a New Jersey storage facility

When the Beasties toured following “Licensed to Ill,” they were implored to obtain some stage props in order to jazz up their live stage. Instead of getting something remotely standard, the Beasties had a hydraulic penis (NOT an inflatable one, as they make abundantly clear) that popped out of a box during “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party),” which was the set closer. Unfortunately for them, they never had much use for the prop afterwards, and retired many of the “Licensed to Ill” songs for years after this tour. They kept the hydraulic penis in storage for over 30 years, with no use for it… unless, of course, you count the storage facility, whose open the box every year for their holiday party.

They acrimoniously split with Def Jam over withheld royalties

Though the iconic label founded by Rubin and Simmons (who was also their manager) was instrumental in the group’s rise, the tension broke in 1987. The Beastie’s royalties were withheld over a breach of contract, they say, because they were on tour for 12 months supporting their smash debut “Licensed to Ill” and didn’t record a new album within 12 months. It led to an acrimonious split between the friends who, essentially, brought hip-hop to a wide audience. It’s an emotional chapter where the “all for one, one for all” notion of the group’s rise with their friends/business partners dramatically disintegrated. Relations didn’t smooth over until many years later.

Donny Osmond inadvertently halted plans for “Paul’s Boutique”

As published in Vulture, the group’s adventurous second album took them a few years to make. Though it remains one of the most important records in hip-hop history due to its layers of sound and blending of samples, their new label, Capitol Records, wasn’t as enthused with the result. Hoping for a second “Licensed to Ill,” the label wasn’t down with the forward-sounding album and instead opted to put resources into a new Donny Osmond album — in 1989. Woof.

“The Beastie Boys Book” is out on Oct. 30.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Heather Graham Says Israel Horovitz Forced a Kiss After She Dated His Son, Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock

Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock Supports Women Accusing His Father, Israel Horovitz, of Sexual Misconduct

John Berry, Beastie Boys Founding Member, Dies at 52

When you’ve been working on a book for over four years as the Beastie Boys have, it’s hard to know when enough is enough. However, in this marathon 592-page autobiography “BeastieBoys Book,” the iconic New York rappers have managed — in true Beasties fashion — to produce something as wide-ranging, wildly entertaining and as diverse and unorthodox as their music itself.

Written by surviving members Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz) and Mike D. (Michael Diamond), the book traces the group’s earliest days as hardcore punks who loved Bad Brains until their end as cultural icons, when MCA (Adam Yauch) — the group’s visionary and spiritual leader — died at 47 from salivary gland cancer in 2012.

Throughout, there are odes to Yauch, who had plans to do a “The Kids Are Alright”-style documentary on the Beasties before his death, something revealed by Horovitz in the first chapter.

The book features a number of chapters written by folks other than the duo, including contributors as wide-ranging as Amy Poehler, Colson Whitehead, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson and Luc Sante, to early New York City nightlife personalities.

As great as the self-contained stories are (how they discovered Brass Monkey, ransacking hotels, etc), it’s the minor details — like Horovitz getting into the minutiae of how to deal with cassettes — that show the surviving members at their most humorous. A number of stories will elicit smiles and tears, often at the same time, but here are some of the stand-out stories that are among the many highlights from the book.

“Beastie” stands for Boys Entering Anarchistic States Toward Internal Excellence

Early in the book, Mike D. explains how the group, which featured Yauch, John Barry and Kate Schellenbach, got its name — it is from the above anagram, which Mike D. admits makes no sense. Doesn’t make it any less iconic, however.

Yauch was the free-spirited leader of the group

Horovitz opines how Yauch was a treasure-trove of knowledge and wisdom, who wanted to understand how things worked (nickname, Tech Wiz) and wasn’t afraid to meet people and take on life one adventure at a time. He met the Dalai Lama and put on the Tibetan Freedom Concert — an all-star fundraiser for a Tibetan charity where bands like U2, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, A Tribe Called Quest, Sonic Youth, Foo Fighters and… you get the point played. And perhaps the funniest memory: Yauch met a guy on the group’s flight to Australia and decided on a whim to go snowboarding with him, telling his bandmates he’d be back with them by soundcheck days later. Yauch’s absence is a subtle but overarching theme of the book, with his presence always felt.

British Airways accidentally aided in the group’s transition to hip-hop

As young hardcore punks, the Beasties released a song titled “Cooky Puss,” which served as an ode to the Carvel ice cream cake of the same name. After finding out about the synch, the group got paid, which meant they had extra cash to invest in themselves. Horovitz had eyes for a Rickenbacker guitar, but instead decided to pick up a Roland TR-808, a drum machine used to make iconic track, including “Brass Monkey” and Run-DMC’s “Peter Piper.”

They apologize — a lot — for their early image

The surviving Beasties were not proud of their early “caricature” years. They describe that era as being a joke on macho culture, before becoming the culture that people didn’t understand was a joke itself. They fired original drummer Kate Schellenbach (for which Horovitz apologizes), discuss the original extremely inappropriate name of “Licensed to Ill” (which they say was Rick Rubin’s idea) and other rowdy behavior during that time that included Horovitz being arrested in England after being accused of throwing a beer can at a patron (he said that he didn’t do it).

Their first “holy s—” moment was a trip to England

After inking with Def Jam, which led to signing with a marketing and distribution deal with Columbia Records, the trio were flown to England in 1986 to some meet-and-greets with the label. On a night off, they went to Mick Jones of the Clash’s house (which was a very non-rock star place), where Yauch retaught the guitarist how to play “Clash City Rockers” in his studio. Later, Johnny Rotten and Clash members Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon joined the crew to take in the slasher flick “Re-Animator” after drinking with that ensemble.

They tried to pull a “Phil Collins,” and it was basically a disaster

The Beasties were on tour and playing arenas and stadiums, opening for Run-DMC. As they started to take off on the strength of “Hold It, Now Hit It,” the trio decided to play two shows in one night — opening up for their Def Jam labelmates in Oakland, then hopping on a plane for a proper headlining show in Los Angeles. The venue for the headlining gig was owned by Matt Dike, who was instrumental in the making of “Paul’s Boutique.” With members of Jane’s Addiction in attendance, Anthony Kiedis introduced the Beasties. But the gig didn’t go great and became stuff of legend… and not in a good way. Sounds issues caused the trio to end the show earlier. After seeing the group walk off in disgust, a fan named Mario Caldato told Dike that he’d be happy to use his equipment to run sound for the venue that ultimately closed not-too-long after.

Yauch performed “Walk This Way” with Run-DMC ‘s Steven Tyler and a drunk Joe Perry, who nailed it

One of the many highlights of the Run-DMC tour — who were arguably the hottest group in the land due to their remake of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” — came to a stadium gig in Florida. For their performance of the hit song, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry joined the rappers on-stage, but one thing was missing: a bass. Yauch happened to have one with him and was thrusted on stage to play the part… however, it was after a day of drinking. Do the math. He tried doing the tried-and-true rock move of playing back-to-back with Perry, who clearly wasn’t feeling it. Instead, what happened was some sort of hilarity where Yauch was chasing Perry across the stage to do the move. As for the song itself, Yauch nailed it, totally drunk and all.

The hydraulic penis from their 1987 tour is still in a box at a New Jersey storage facility

When the Beasties toured following “Licensed to Ill,” they were implored to obtain some stage props in order to jazz up their live stage. Instead of getting something remotely standard, the Beasties had a hydraulic penis (NOT an inflatable one, as they make abundantly clear) that popped out of a box during “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party),” which was the set closer. Unfortunately for them, they never had much use for the prop afterwards, and retired many of the “Licensed to Ill” songs for years after this tour. They kept the hydraulic penis in storage for over 30 years, with no use for it… unless, of course, you count the storage facility, whose open the box every year for their holiday party.

They acrimoniously split with Def Jam over withheld royalties

Though the iconic label founded by Rubin and Simmons (who was also their manager) was instrumental in the group’s rise, the tension broke in 1987. The Beastie’s royalties were withheld over a breach of contract, they say, because they were on tour for 12 months supporting their smash debut “Licensed to Ill” and didn’t record a new album within 12 months. It led to an acrimonious split between the friends who, essentially, brought hip-hop to a wide audience. It’s an emotional chapter where the “all for one, one for all” notion of the group’s rise with their friends/business partners dramatically disintegrated. Relations didn’t smooth over until many years later.

Donny Osmond inadvertently halted plans for “Paul’s Boutique”

As published in Vulture, the group’s adventurous second album took them a few years to make. Though it remains one of the most important records in hip-hop history due to its layers of sound and blending of samples, their new label, Capitol Records, wasn’t as enthused with the result. Hoping for a second “Licensed to Ill,” the label wasn’t down with the forward-sounding album and instead opted to put resources into a new Donny Osmond album — in 1989. Woof.

“The Beastie Boys Book” is out on Oct. 30.

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