Blacklisted Writer’s Papers Available: The Roy Huggins Papers

Roy Huggins was an American novelist, blacklisted film and television writer, producer and production manager. His crime novels were inspired by the writings of Raymond Chandler, and include “The Double Take” (1946); “Too Late For Tears” (1947) and “Lovely Lady, Pity Me” (1949).

Huggins made the transition to television in 1955 when he began working for Warner Bros. as a producer. He is best known for creating and writing for the popular television series including “Maverick,” “The Fugitive,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “The Rockford Files,” and “City of Angels.” He was executive producer for television shows such as “Alias Smith and Jones,” “Cool Million,” “Baretta” and “Hunter.” He also wrote for made for television movies and miniseries such as “The Invasion of Johnson County” and “Captains and the Kings.”

In September of 1952, Huggins was summoned before the infamous U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to answer questions about his brief membership in the Communist Party. He continued to write under his own name, and under the name “John Thomas James,” combining the names of his three sons.

The collection is rich in annotated scripts, story submissions, research materials and television viewer thoughts on many of Huggins’s television projects.

The collection is still being processed, and the finding aid will be updated periodically.

Peggy Alexander
Performing Arts Special Collections
UCLA Library Special Collections

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5 Responses to “Blacklisted Writer’s Papers Available: The Roy Huggins Papers”

  1. I’m delighted that Huggins’s papers are available and being processed at UCLA, and I look forward to doing some research within them someday.

    But, are you serious about that headline? That, and your description of Huggins’s encounter with HUAC, are a dismaying whitewash of history. Omitted is the fact that, when Huggins appeared “to answer questions about his brief membership in the Communist Party,” his answers included the names of 19 other alleged communists. While some of those individuals really were blacklisted for more than a decade, Huggins of course was not. He achieved his professional breakthrough on MAVERICK and 77 SUNSET STRIP during a period when he would’ve been unemployable had he not fingered his former colleagues as enemies of the state. A relative non-entity when he named names, Huggins was one of the great success stories among the friendly witnesses.

    Indeed, I’m not sure it’s accurate to describe Huggins as “blacklisted” at all; he has screenwriting credits for every year between 1948 and 1953, so if Huggins was in fact barred from work in Hollywood, it was for a very brief period. The placement of the section above about his pseudonym is also potentially misleading, in that one might presume that, like many authentically blacklisted writers, Huggins had to resort to using a phony name. In fact, he didn’t start using “John Thomas James” until the mid-sixties, and for reasons that had nothing to do with the blacklist.

    I’ve always been struck how Huggins seemed uniquely able to avoid the moral condemnation that eventually fell upon the friendly witnesses, even as the blacklist-era decisions of famous finks like Kazan followed them around perhaps more than was fair. It’s unfortunate that we’re STILL setting the record straight about a moment in history that thrived upon the dissemination of lies and half-truths.

  2. Pegg Alexander says:

    The collection was acquired earlier this year, and is in the midst of being processed. The Library provides access to our collections as quickly as possible after acquisition through finding aids that are sometimes provisional in form. In this case, information used to write the biographical note was supplied by Mr. Huggins’s family. Finding aids often go through iterative changes as processing progresses and we will considering your feedback as we move forward.

    Again, I am very glad that you added your comment to our posting. Use of our collections is intended to encourage discovery and exchange of ideas. I invite you to consult the Huggins papers and any of our other collections that might fill your research and writing needs.

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  4. Thanks for your post, much appreciated.

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