This Day In Crime History

October 5, 1945: Hollywood Black Friday Strike Turns Violent

Strikers and strikebreakers attacked each other with chains, hammers, pipes and nightsticks while security forces shot tear gas and firefighters employed hoses in an attempt to get the crowd to disperse. 

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On October 5th, 1945, a six-month strike organized by the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU) against the Warner Bros. studios turned violent. The strike, which eventually became known as Hollywood Black Friday, boiled over as non-strikers attempted to report to work at Warner Bros. main gate. Cars of those who were pejoratively known as scabs were overturned.

Reinforcements on both the sides arrived and security attempts to quell the violence failed. As strikers and strikebreakers attacked each other with chains, hammers, pipes and nightsticks, security forces shot tear gas canisters and firefighters employed hoses in an attempt to get the fighters to disperse. Three-hundred police were eventually called to the scene and 40 were reported as injured.

Violence continued throughout the week but national exposure dampened both sides’ inclination towards action.

Esteemed experimental novelist Thomas Pynchon later based a sequence of events in his book Vineland on the actions of the riot.

Pictured above: What appear to be versions of Molotov cocktails on street readied for tossing by strikers standing behind overturned cars during riots at Warner Bros. Studio.

(Photo by Ralph Crane/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

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