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California Canon: 'Additional Dialogue, Letters of Dalton Trumbo'

by Take Two®

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FILE - In this Oct. 28, 1947 file photo, screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, left, and his wife, Cleo, listen from the audience as the chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) announces a contempt citation against Trumbo at a hearing in Washington, D.C. /AP

All summer, for our series The California Canon, we've brought you great books about the Golden State. In our latest installment, Take Two contributor David Kipen looks at the book, "Additional Dialogue, Letters of Dalton Trumbo," written by Dalton Trumbo.

He was an Oscar-winning screenwriter who wrote films like "Roman Holiday" and "The Brave One," but he didn't get credit because of the anti-Communist blacklist.

He refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947 at the height of their investigation into Communist influences in Hollywood. 

His life was depicted in the 2015 film "Trumbo," which starred Bryan Cranston. 

During that time period, as he furiously worked to write screenplays, he also wrote expressive and entertaining letters. Many of them were to friends and colleagues, but he also wrote to people who annoyed or angered him.

Here's actor Paul Giamatti performing a live read of one of Trumbo's letters ... this one is an exchange he had with his telephone company. Notice that he refers to the company as burglars. This was part of American Masters: Trumbo, which aired on PBS.

David Kipen is the founder of the Libros Schmibros lending library.

Click on the blue play button above to hear the entire segment.

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