On Oct. 22, 1950, almost exactly 64 years ago, several hundred members of the Screen Directors Guild convened in emergency session in the Crystal Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel. One participant later called it ''the most tumultuous evening'' in the history of Hollywood. The showdown over a loyalty oath that would deny any Communist affiliation had finally arrived.
On one side: The SAG president, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who faced ''the most dramatic evening in my life,'' he later recalled. On the other: Cecil B. DeMille, one of the founders of the movie industry.