Seeing Red

Friday, July 23, 2010


We all remember the Hollywood Ten, the industry blacklist instigated by political demagogues. But there was also a broadcast blacklist, spearheaded by five little-known crusaders. In this interview from 2007, Historian David Everitt explains how these self-styled communist-hunters bent the broadcasting industry to their will.

Comments [7]

Edward Hayman from Ohio

David Everitt, the author, was probably the best friend I ever had. We were friends since 4th grade. He died a few years ago of Lou Gehrig's disease. Sometimes I listen to this interview just for the pleasure of hearing his voice as if he's still here. I'm probably not the only one. He was just a great, great guy.

Jun. 01 2014 03:52 PM
Mark Richard from Columbus, Ohio

Excuse me, the UN blacklist was back in the 1980s. The UN blacklist was endorsed by Robert Christgau of the Village Voice, for one. Christgau has done occasional bits for NPR. I know - 'That's different. Supporting apartheid was worse than supporting mass murder in the Gulag.' Etc. Boycotts are legal. Employers were boycotting prospective pro-Stalin employees. It's that simple. I wish that the networks had not done it, but then I wish so many artists had not jumped into the gutter of Stalinism back in the 1930s, too.

Jul. 27 2010 12:26 PM
Mark Richard from Columbus, Ohio

Must be a lot of red-diaper babies or their friends at NPR. There are blacklists all the time. The UN had a blacklist for entertainers who performed at Sun City back in the 1990s. A public which had seen FDR and Earl Warren (backed by left-wing opinion) herd over 100,000 Japanese-Americans into internment camps during World War II was not going to get its knickers in a twist over the blacklisting of some Hollywood chumps who were stupid enough to have associatee themselves with Stalin's barbed-wire and bludgeon regime in the 1930s, and then refuse to be whistle-blowers during the Korean War.

In 1943, the best-selling non-fiction book of the year was called 'Undercover', by someone called John Roy Carlson. It was a wide-swinging 'expose' of supposed pro-German and fascist agents in America, including the author of 'Little House on the Prairie'. Accusations of pro-Nazi sympathies against GOP politicians like Taft who had been isolationist were routine. NPR will never get around to asking these ahistorical types who obsess about McCarthy if the Roosevelt administration's tactics and actions during World War II did not set the table for liberals getting hoist by their own petards when the enemy became the USSR, not Hitler's Germany. The BS machine goes on.

Jul. 27 2010 12:19 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Yeah, well at least we haven't let them rule Ralph Nader illegal,yet, only irrelevant.

Jul. 27 2010 02:49 AM
Karen Rubin from Long Island, NY

I was especially moved by your reporting about the Black Listed screenwriters who secretly wrote for the Robin Hood series.

As a child, I remember how important that show was to me - how different it was from everything else in pointing to issues of social justice.

It did a lot to shape who I became in the world.

I guess that is what the powers-that-be feared at the time - that the ethics of social justice that these "communists" espoused would become infiltrated into our society.

This is truly the irony, as you also pointed to the irony of "outlaws" preparing these scripts about "outlaws" fighting corrupt power.

Jul. 25 2010 04:59 PM
Kahlid from Philly

Your guest seemed to gloss over the Lucy & Desi situation.

It was sort of a crisis at the time for them and they both made a public "Checkers" style appeal to the public that really saved the show.

Jul. 25 2010 02:48 PM

MP3 download does not seem to work. Only downloads 1k file. I do not use iTunes but would like to subscribe or download manually.

Jul. 23 2010 09:55 PM

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