Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hunting Commies

Professor Tom Sito reminds us:

April 4, 1952- CARTOON COMMIES- Nationally syndicated columnist Walter Winchell accused the owners of a New York commercial animation studio, Tempo Productions, of Communist sympathies. One of the owners was Disney Layoutman Dave Hilberman, who was a union organizer and was the only artist personally named by Walt Disney to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee*.

The F.B.I. began investigating Tempo and their Madison Avenue clients quickly pulled their business. Tempo closed, laying off 50 artists. Mr. Clean, Markie Maypo and the Hamm’s Beer Bear were once again safe from Red subversion.

* The Committee was originally set up in 1938 to investigate Nazi-Fascist infiltration in American industry. During WWI German sabotage on American and Canadian dockyards was common. So they wanted to avoid that in the immigrant community. But by 1944 the committees and the FBI intentionally shifted their focus to socialist and leftist associations. Exposing a high profile actor or screenwriter made more headlines that hunting reds in the Dept of Games & Fisheries

As in 1919, after World War II the government went after left-wingers. For over a decade, black-listing threw a lot of people out of work. Studio moguls could have stood up for their employees but it was easier, safer and more convenient to go along and get along.

So, the blacklist.

Happily, by the early sixties the thing was dying a natural death, but it took a few people standing up and saying "bullshit" to make it happen. Spines, then and now, are something in short supply in Hollywood. (Big money turns many people into invertebrates, and there's nothing to be done about it).

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