A Brief History of The Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700
The Motion Picture Editors Guild and the post-production crafts it represents have a rich and varied history, as well as a pre-history, all of which leads up to the present day, and the Guild’s 80th anniversary in May 2017.
In the throes of the Great Depression, from the late 1920s throughout the 1930s, Hollywood was a notorious anti-union factory town. Editors, as well as directors, screenwriters and actors, felt betrayed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which was an all-encompassing “company union” and bargaining agent for its members with the Hollywood studios. When the studios imposed numerous pay cuts and lay-offs — and ultimately a 50 percent reduction in salaries in 1933 — the disciplines decided they had to form their own unions.
Hollywood’s unionization drive was given a boost on April 12, 1937, when the US Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the National Labor Relations Act, passed by Congress two years prior. The ruling forced the studios to recognize the unions for actors, writers and directors.
On May 20, 1937, the Society of Motion Picture Film Editors was founded by sound editor James Wilkinson and film editors Ben Lewis and Philip Cahn. Four days later, the Society’s Board of Directors first met. At the third meeting of the Board on June 7, the initial slate of officers was elected: Edmund D. Hannan, president; Frederick B. Richards, vice president; Edward Dmytryk, secretary; and Martin G. Cohn, treasurer. At that meeting, it was also decided that the Society’s offices would be located at 1509 Crossroads of the World on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Society membership was a solid 571 men and women, encompassing picture and sound editors, assistants, apprentices and librarians.
Society: The Beginnings of the Editors Guild
Crossroads of the World, the first offices of the Society of Motion Picture Film Editors, 1937. Photo: Bison Archives
The Busy Boom Years of Local 771 – East Coast
Local 771 marching in New York City’s Labor Day Parade in 1982, from left: Business Agent William Bender, Peet Begley, Fred Rosenberg (in sunglasses), Yvette Nabel, Joan Jimenez (center), Joyce Nakamura, Erik Ramberg and President Ted Troll. Photo by Dennis Yeandle
An Age of Transition and Turmoil: Editors Guild History 1965-75
Editor Lynn McCallon in 1969. Courtesy of Lynn McCallon
Post-Production Pioneers: The Guild’s Earliest Members – West Coast
Marge Sokolow, right, with fellow negative cutters, from left, Sara Santos, Lucille Reed and Edna McCance in the Desilu cutting room at the CFI lab in 1958. Photo courtesy of Marge Sokolow
Post-Production Pioneers: The Guild’s Earliest Members – East
Jerry Bender editing at WPIX- TV in 1953. Photo courtesy of Jerry Bender
The Evolution of Post-Production
Give Them Some Credit!: How Post-Production Practitioners Received On-Screen Acknowledgment
A selection of editorial credits throughout the decades. Clockwise from top left: Warner Bros.’ A Clockwork Orange (1971), Paramount Pictures’ To Catch a Thief (1955), 20th Century-Fox’s The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and 20th Century-Fox’s Prince of Foxes (1949)
Early on, a Woman’s Place Was in the Cutting Room
Barbara McLean editing Sing, Baby, Sing at 20th Century-Fox in 1936. Bison Archives
Why Is It Called ‘Foley’ Anyway?
Jack Foley. Courtesy of Catherine Clarke
Let There Be Sound: The Origins of Post-Production Audio on the West Coast
The Jazz Singer opened in 1927. Warner Bros.
Articles courtesy of CineMontage.org