The first year of the Academy Awards was 1929, and Ben Hecht received an Oscar for his screenplay of Josef von Sternberg’s original story “Underworld.” Hecht, who was known for mocking the very industry that he worked in, did not attend the ceremony, but instead sent a telegram to Douglas Fairbanks, president of the Academy:
THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE EVER RECEIVED OR BEEN PROMISED A STATUE AND I HARDLY KNOW HOW TO COPE WITH SO WEIRD AN HONOR STOP YOUR AWARD FILLS ME WITH A GREAT DEAL OF GRATITUDE STOP THE EXISTENCE OF YOUR ACADEMY AND ITS ACTIVE CONCERN FOR CLASSY MOVIES POINTS AGAIN TO THE FACT THAT HOLLYWOOD IS BECOMING LESS AND LESS AN OUTHOUSE ON PARNASSUS.
For the rest of his film career Hecht continued to insult and mock the industry and its top executives. In 1936 he wrote a satirical poem called “Hecht’s Prayer to His Bosses.” A small edition was published by Stanley Rose, who owned a bookshop on Hollywood Boulevard, not far from the Musso & Frank Grill and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Hecht sent it as a Christmas card to all the studio bosses. We at TheScreamOnline have an original copy, and we are happy to present it here. Extreme profanity alert!