Malcolm was not motivated in college as he’d earlier been in high school. It was a “lost’ time in his life. He continued writing for student journals, but without real creative urgency. Poor grades almost prevented graduation. What a contrast this was to all the intellectual and spiritual energy his life generated during high school years. But then something fresh happened. His grandmother (Beatrice’s mother) left a thousand dollars in her will to be given Malcolm on his twenty-first birthday. He decided to move to California and enroll in a radio workshop conducted by the National Broadcasting Company. His tuition would be covered by his grandmother’s legacy.
Hollywood was an entirely new and different experience for Malcolm. He awakened. He responded to all sorts of different stimuli. Then one of the half-dozen largest advertising agencies in the U.S. hired him for its Hollywood office as a junior producer. He was soon producing a fifteen-minute, five-times-a-week “live” network daytime program featuring a philosopher, a home economist and a musician. But now came an invitation for Malcolm to go to work in a major movie studio as a publicist (probably the best entry position in the industry). Here was the celebrity system in the flesh. Malcolm found himself in the midst of it.
Soon Malcolm helped originate a couple of the earliest TV shows in Hollywood, and emceed one of them. He was elected first president of the Television Producers Association of Hollywood. This activity led to meeting Mary Pickford, the first great woman star who became a global celebrity. She and Malcolm became friends. They formed PRB, Inc., a production firm set up to showcase a projected radio project for Miss Pickford and a TV show for her husband, Buddy Rogers, who had starred in the first “Oscar”–winning Best Picture, “Wings.” This experience remains an integral part of Malcolm’s life.
However, Malcolm’s encounter with fame and glamour and enormous wealth served to confront him with a barren emptiness within his life. He didn’t want this. He found himself exposed and vulnerable. To his surprise, he was no longer in control of his life. He had been, over a long period of time, attending churches on Sunday mornings, searching for meaning as he participated in ritual and listened to sermons. Now it all started to come together.