Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Bad Old Days of the Cold War

On Friday, June 7, at the Hudson Opera House, as part of the Speakers in the Humanities Project through the New York Council for the Humanities, Rod Edelman will present an illustrated lecture entitled "On the Waterfront and the Hollywood Blacklist." The announcement of the lecture, which begins at 7 p.m., indicates that "it will examine the climate in America that led to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee's (HUAC) ascent to power and will offer examples of the kinds of films that HUAC felt were subtle communist propaganda."

Word of this lecture at the Hudson Opera House inspired a reader to share the information that, in addition to the Hollywood Blacklist, which we have all heard of, there was a "Red List" of people involved in radio and TV on the East Coast suspected of having Communist leanings. A tract called Red Channels: The Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television, issued by the right-wing journal Counterattack, names 151 actors, writers, musicians, broadcast journalists, and others believed to be somehow complicit in "indoctrinating the masses of the people with Communist ideology and the pro-Soviet interpretation of current events." 

The Red List, which can be viewed here, contains many familiar names--Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Ruth Gordon, Garson Kanin, Arthur Miller, Dorothy Parker, Pete Seeger--and, if you peruse it carefully (and have been around Hudson long enough), you will discover the name of someone who, up until about ten years ago, owned a house on Willard Place.

1 comment:

  1. Pete Seeger was a full member of the Communist Party USA and I believe has never repudiated the Party.

    -- Jock Spivy