Biography of Joseph Patrick Kennedy

explanatory Essay
3947 words
3947 words

Biography of Joseph Patrick Kennedy

Joseph Patrick Kennedy was a very successful banker and film executive, born in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 6, 1888. Considered by many to be America’s version of the “royal family,” the Kennedy’s of Boston, Massachusetts have enjoyed triumphs and seen tragedy during the 20th century. As the family patriarch, Joseph Patrick Kennedy instilled values of commitment to public service, determination to succeed, and loyalty to family.

His father, Patrick Joseph, was a prosperous saloonkeeper. Patrick also was active in Boston politics, as Irish ward boss, a five time state representative, and state senator. Kennedy’s parents were anxious for their son to succeed, however in the Boston social environment of the time, success was difficult to achieve for people of their Irish-Catholic background. It was Kennedy’s mother, Mary Augusta, who decided that her son should be called Joseph Patrick rather than Patrick Joseph, after his father. She feared that “Patrick Kennedy” sounded “too Irish.” Mary Augusta believed that in elitist Brahmin Boston, being Irish and Catholic would obstruct entry into “better” society.

Mary arranged for her son to work for a millinery shop, delivering hats to affluent women. She instructed her son that, if asked his name, to reply simply “Joseph,” so as to avoid drawing attention to his ethnic background. Both parents were aware that entry to the higher levels of Boston society dictated that Kennedy mix with those outside his Irish community. They sent their son to Catholic schools for his early education, but when he was older he attended Boston Latin School and Harvard University, to be educated with Boston’s elite Protestant families.

Although Kennedy made a few friends at Harvard, especially among the minority of Irish students there, and was popular with young Irish women, Kennedy never was accepted by a majority of the students---anti-Irish, anti-Catholic sentiment was strong. One friend warned Kennedy to be very careful in his behavior because Boston Brahmins were watching for any sign that would justify their prejudices. Kennedy’s determination to ingratiate himself with the socially prominent Protestants was viewed by some as distasteful and pretentious. He was never invited to join any of Harvard’s “better” clubs. Friends indicated what they felt was one of Kennedy’s more commendab...

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...n its heyday (1930-49) was managed by a number of omnipotent studios, including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Brothers, RKO, Paramount, Twentieth Century-Fox, and Universal. They produced endless cycles of films in imitation of a few successful original types. The range of themes included the criminal underworld, behind-the-scenes newspaper dramas, westerns, musicals, costume romances, and character series such as the Charlie Chan films, prison stories, mysteries, comedies, and Broadway shows. Because of their enormous investments and gargantuan rewards (the film industry’s gross income for 1946, its best year, was nearly $2 billion); the studios were encouraged to repeat conventionalized formula pictures.

Today, the motion picture industry is an always changing, ever thriving business. Media corporations seem to be replacing true media moguls, buying out all aspects of the entertainment industry and forming one large conglomerate operating everything from radio to television to print to motion pictures. This semester I learned that the coming years will demonstrate a transformation of the motion picture and entertainment industry, not seen since its inception over a century ago.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that joseph patrick kennedy was a successful banker and film executive, born in boston, massachusetts, on september 6, 1888. he instilled values of commitment to public service, determination to succeed, and loyalty to family
  • Explains that kennedy's father, patrick joseph, was a prosperous saloonkeeper and active in boston politics. his mother, mary augusta, decided that her son should be called joseph patrick rather than patrick.
  • Explains how mary arranged for her son to work for a millinery shop, delivering hats to wealthy women. they were aware that entry to the higher levels of boston society dictated that kennedy mix with those outside his irish community.
  • Opines that kennedy's determination to ingratiate himself with the socially prominent protestants was viewed by some as distasteful and pretentious.
  • Describes how kennedy was extremely financially shrewd. he had an entrepreneurial spirit and an appreciation for money as an adolescent.
  • Narrates how kennedy accepted a job as president of columbia trust company bank and married rose fitzgerald, daughter of boston's mayor. they had nine children, including joseph jr., john, rosemary, kathleen, eunice, patricia, robert, bobby, jean, and edward.
  • Describes how kennedy supported his large family through numerous successful business ventures. he may have earned as much as $5 million in only three years from his motion picture work and $8.5 million when he sold the alcohol franchise.
  • Explains that kennedy's career as a motion picture executive earned him high regard from some observers. he was sensible enough not to meddle with an already profitable company.
  • Explains that although kennedy's work as a motion picture executive meant he was repeatedly away from his wife and children for long periods of time, his concern for the physical and emotional welfare of his children remained constant.
  • Explains that kennedy's political involvement began in 1932, when he supported the democratic presidential nomination of franklin delano roosevelt. he was an isolationist and announced plans to resettle 600,000 german jews in other parts of the world.
  • Explains that kennedy's life was fraught with tragedy during the 1940s. his eldest son joseph jr., was killed in action during world war ii, and his favorite daughter, kathleen, died in a plane crash four years after the death of her husband.
  • Describes how kennedy concentrated his efforts on getting his sons elected to political office. he began by working on jack's campaign for representative in the 11th district of massachusetts.
  • Explains that kennedy's strategy for getting his son elected as the first roman catholic president of the united states was launched in the late 1950s.
  • Explains that kennedy remained active and interested in the lives of his grown children despite suffering a stroke in 1961 that left him incapable of speech. however, tragedy continued to curse his last years.
  • Analyzes how kennedy bore his sorrows with stoicism and courage until his death on november 19, 1969, at hyannis port, massachusetts. cardinal cushing's words best express kennedy’s importance in american life.
  • Explains that when joseph kennedy was named chairman of the hollywood studio pathe in 1926, many industry insiders took an immediate dislike to him.
  • Explains that kennedy was one of the first eastern businessmen to take hold of hollywood's potential. by the mid-1920s, the american film industry was turning out 800 films a year and employed as many people as the auto industry.
  • Explains that kennedy was in hollywood engaged in his notorious liaison with gloria swanson, who was by no means kennedy's first extramarital escapade, but she was the ideal trophy to symbolize the great worldly success
  • Describes how kennedy convinced guy currier to finance his plans to enter the movie business. he bought the film booking offices of america, sight unseen, from its british owners, and received $75,000 from the trading company.
  • Narrates how kennedy used the profits from fbo to purchase the radio corporation of america (rca) who had a new system for making motion pictures with sound.
  • Explains that kennedy made an offer to buy the pantages theater chain, the second biggest in california, from its owner.
  • Explains that kennedy's arrogance was rampant, and when pantages rebuffed his offers, kennedy threatened him by boasting of his influence in the banking and movie businesses.
  • Describes how a hysterical lady in red emerged from the janitor's broom closet on the mezzanine screaming: "there he is, the beast! don't let him get at me!"
  • Describes how eunice pringle, of garden grove, california, told police that she had come to pantages looking for work as a dancer. he pushed her into the broom closet, wrenched her underwear loose and raped her.
  • Explains that pantages was convicted and sentenced to fifty years, but the verdict was overturned on appeal. the court found her testimony improbable as to challenge credulity.
  • Analyzes how pantages' lawyers reenacted the alleged rape and showed that it could not have occurred in the small broom closet the way pringle had described it.
  • Explains that pantages was acquitted by the second jury, but his business had plummeted because of his notoriety. he was forced to sell out to kennedy's rko for $3.5 million.
  • Narrates how pringle confessed to her mother and a friend that joseph kennedy had set up pantages in exchange for their perjured testimony.
  • Explains that kennedy had purchased kao (keith-albee-orpheum theaters corp), a chain with 700 movie theaters in the us and canada, and more than 2 million patrons daily.
  • Describes how joe was asked to serve as a special advisor on the board of pathe exchange inc. in 1928. kennedy became chairman of the production company and began implementing his own ideas.
  • Explains that kennedy merged fbo with his chain of theaters (kao) to form the famous rko. kennedy then had rca trade its stock for stock in the new company, which brought him $2 million.
  • Describes how joseph kennedy became so entranced by gloria swanson and hollywood that he wouldn't leave california to attend his father's funeral. his cousin joseph kane confronted him saying, "you son of a bitch"
  • Opines that nothing illuminates kennedy's character as his decision to remain in california while the rest of the family and many notable citizens paid their last respects to the man who had been responsible for so many of joseph’s early successes.
  • Describes how joseph kennedy plundered pathe exchange and arranged for rko to pay him $80 a share, while the rest of the stockholders received just one dollar and fifty cents. kennedy doubled his investment in less than two years.
  • Analyzes how kennedy crafted the transaction to enrich himself. he took advantage of privileged information from the files of major stockholders in the movie companies who were clients of guy currier, his partner at rko.
  • Narrates how wisconsin congressman schafer denounced kennedy as the "chief racketeer in the rko swindle." sirovich called for an investigation of the movie industry, but the probe was mysteriously halted
  • Analyzes how doris kearns goodwin found letters from anguished stockholders of pathe. anne lawler of jamaica plain in boston said she lost her life savings.
  • Explains that joseph kennedy had been chairman of fbo for two years and nine months. he was special adviser to first national pictures, rca, and paramount pictures for seventy-four days.
  • Analyzes how the american film industry developed into a strong oligopoly in the 1920s by adopting the strategy of the chain store.
  • Explains that the public's enthusiasm for sound film was another defining change in the motion picture industry. production companies rushed into the production, distribution, and exhibition of talkies, hoping to make up for lost time.
  • Explains that the 1920s and 1930s were the true beginning of what would later be known as the hollywood studio era.
  • Explains that in 1927 the motion picture academy of arts and sciences was formed and began an annual awards ceremony. the academy awards asserted a definable quality of excellence analogous to literature and theater.
  • Explains that the studios sponsored a host of talented actors from the 1930s until the early 1950s. producers and directors such as david o. selznick, darryl f. zanuck, mervyn leroy, william wyler, george stevens, and billy wilder made significant contributions to cinematic art.
  • Explains that the medium of film had converted legitimate theaters into movie houses. during hollywood's golden age, sumptuous movie palaces were erected all over the united states.
  • Explains that the film industry was managed by a number of omnipotent studios, including metro-goldwyn-mayer, warner brothers, rko, paramount, twentieth century-fox, and universal.
  • Opines that the coming years will demonstrate a transformation of the motion picture and entertainment industry, not seen since its inception.
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