Howard Hughes was an industrialist, aviator, and eccentric, but he was also the most important movie producer during the golden age of Hollywood. At a time when filmmaking was tightly controlled and highly formulaic, Hughes used his enormous wealth to challenge the dictates and restrictions that defined the motion picture industry. Tackling subjects that were explicitly forbidden, he pushed the boundaries of onscreen sex and violence. He pioneered production and marketing techniques that were revolutionary, including the multimillion-dollar blockbuster and the promotion of scandal. When Hughes became the first person to completely own a major Hollywood studio, he continued his maverick approach to filmmaking as a mogul. Most importantly, Hughes’s role in the federal government’s antitrust case against the industry led to the collapse of the entire studio system and the transformation of American cinema. Although his contributions are often overlooked, Hughes was instrumental in shaping the motion picture industry that exists today.
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Jeffrey Richardson is a nationally recognized expert in American history who has appeared as an expert commentator on countless television shows, from History Detectives and Mysteries at the Museum to Pawn Stars and Storage Wars. His specialties include cultural, western, and twentieth-century history. Richardson has worked at museums big and small, and he is currently the curator of exhibits at the Farmington Museum in New Mexico, where he lives with his wife and two "kids," Milford and Willow. Richardson has published books and articles on a variety of historical topics.