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HFPA united

50 years ago, Hollywood foreign press denizens throw their first Globes as the combined journo org we know today

While foreign journalists had organized various contact-sharing communities in Hollywood decades before, it wasn’t until 1955 that the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. took the form we know today.

In 1928, the Hollywood Assn. of Foreign Correspondents (HAFCO) came together — followed seven years later by the formation of the Foreign Press Society. Neither group had staying power, though the HAFCO was proud to host Charlie Chaplin at one international ball.

Even so, overseas journalists kept tabs on one another — they needed to form an organization they could call home. Back then, Hollywood didn’t value foreign markets the way it emphatically does today, so these journalists shared resources — contacts, materials and conversation.

In 1943, amid the chaos of World War II, a band of entertainment scribes and photogs launched the first phase of the HFPA, handing out the first Globes at a relatively tiny affair on the Fox studio lot. Because the guidelines for membership were somewhat loose, certain members, who were more career-minded, objected.

In 1950, defectors formed the Foreign Press Assn. — members were required to be working journalists. They soon, however, found that unity was what the org thing was about in the first place, and they were back in the HFPA fold by ’55.

Thus, the HFPA took on its lasting professional form, with a mission statement aimed at creating a bond between foreign countries and the U.S., and firm membership guidelines. Today’s members represent 55 countries and reach a readership of 250 million.

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