To commemorate Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating Mary McCall, Jr., the first woman president of the Screen Writer’s Guild, one of the groups that formed the Writers Guild of America.
McCall Jr. joined the Screen Writers Guild in 1934, was an active member of the executive board, and served as one of the key negotiators for the first screen Minimum Basic Agreement (finalized in 1942) before her election as the Guild’s first female president in November 1942. A popular leader, she secured wartime wage increases for all writers and served a total of three terms as SWG President (1942-43, 1943-44, and 1951-52).
McCall started her career as a film reviewer in college. She then moved on to short fiction and screenwriting where she went on to write over 20 screenplays, including the MAISIE franchise, DANCING IN THE DARK, CRAIG’S WIFE, and MR. BELVEDERE GOES TO COLLEGE. In the 1950s and ’60s, McCall also wrote for television on shows such as THE MILLIONAIRE, THE THIRD MAN, I DREAM OF JEANNIE and GILLIGAN’S ISLAND. In 1962, she was the first recipient of the WGA’s Valentine Davies Award.
At this special event, we, in partnership with the University of Warwick and the WGAW’s Committee of Women Writers, will screen McCall’s 1936 film CRAIG’S WIFE. Immediately following the screening, historian J.E. Smyth talks to McCall’s daughters, Sheila Benson and Mary-David Sheiner, about their mother’s life and legacy.
Refreshments will be served before the 7:30pm screening, and an exhibit curated by the WGF Archive of McCall’s work as a writer and Guild president will be on display.
This event is open to the public and free with RSVP. Parking in the adjacent garage is included. Please sign up below. Questions? Call the library at 323-782-4544.