View the archive of our 90-minute class and discover the Five Things We’ve Learned about the people and values that shaped the movie business – and all we uncovered while compiling the comprehensive oral history of Hollywood.

There’s an old saying: Everyone has two businesses. Their own and the movie business. But how much do we really know about Hollywood? Or rather, about the two Hollywoods. The glory days of old Hollywood characterized by fun, flexibility, and familial good; and the Hollywood of today – a business shaped by agents, corporations, and global interests.

In writing our new book, Hollywood: The Oral History, we discovered that even though we call both periods “Hollywood,” they are distinct in nearly every way. We read transcripts of more than 3,000 American Film Institute seminars – candid, largely undiscovered sessions featuring some of the most important figures in movie history. And time and again we were delighted to discover that these figures championed and benefited from many of the American values and attitudes too often absent in the movie business today. We also found abundant evidence to contradict widely held contemporary beliefs about the way the business operated and key facts we’ve mistakenly come to take for granted about the figures such as the studio heads Louis B. Mayer and Harry Cohn, stars Judy Garland, Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, and many, many others – personalities whose lives and work have been obfuscated by historical fantasy.

It’s this important story about the real American values that shaped the movie business that we want to share with you in our 90-minute class, Five Things We’ve Learned about the Two Hollywoods. We read thousands of never-before-published interviews with stars, directors, producers, designers, studio executives, and craftspeople. In the process, we gained unique, unprecedented insight into the real life of a workaday Hollywood that no longer exists. 

We’re excited to share with you all we learned about:

– How Hollywood’s founding studio heads, contrary to the popular misconception, were not tyrannical;

– How studio-era Hollywood, contrary to the popular misconception, represented women in front of and behind the camera;

– How the studio system, contrary to the popular misconception, represented values of family, fun and flexibility;

– How studio-era filmmakers, contrary to the popular misconception, enjoyed an uncommon degree of creativity and autonomy;

– Finally, why has the history of Hollywood been misconstrued for so long and why it’s essential that we get it right.

We’ll share these discoveries and more in our time together. This earlier era is a Hollywood to love, one that will make you marvel at the visionary talent, spirit of collaborations, forces of will and repeated innovation that created one of the world’s enduring fascinations: the American movie business. 

Please join us!

– Jeanine Basinger and Sam Wasson