Fri Feb 22, 2013, 06:05 PM
cali (103,265 posts)
It's the centenary of John Garfield, forgotten hero of the McCarthy witch hunt
He died at age 39 of a heart attack after having been blacklisted. He was involved in liberal politics but had never been a Communist. Unlike Kazan and Odets, he refused to name names.
While we are living at a time when many equate fame with the number of Twitter followers, John Garfield earned his place in the pantheon of mensches by refusing to name names. A liberal Democrat and a patriot, John Garfield was a true hero in an era of cowardice. In the words of his friend, the filmmaker Abraham Polonsky, Garfield "defended his streetboy's honor, and they killed him for it."
After Garfield stood up to HUAC, his personal life resembled that of one of his screen protagonists. The fates had conspired against him, just as they had conspired against his Mickey Borden in Four Daughters, just as they had conspired against his Johnny Bradfield, a boxer falsely accused of murder, in They Made Me A Criminal.
5 replies, 1040 views
It's the centenary of John Garfield, forgotten hero of the McCarthy witch hunt (Original post)
Response to cali (Original post)
Fri Feb 22, 2013, 06:39 PM
graham4anything (11,464 posts)
3. One of my top 10 favorites, especially "Breaking Point"
Breaking Point was a remake of To Have or Have not (Bogart/Bacall), but i like Garfield's better.
One of his last films, sad to say.
Response to cali (Original post)
Fri Feb 22, 2013, 07:10 PM
Tierra_y_Libertad (44,761 posts)
5. As old time Reds go, "I Love Lucy".
Testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities
When Ball registered to vote in 1936, she listed her party affiliation as Communist. (She was registered as a Communist in 1938 as well.) In order to sponsor the Communist Party's 1936 candidate for the California State Assembly's 57th District, Ball signed a certificate stating "I am registered as affiliated with the Communist Party." The same year, she was appointed to the State Central Committee of the Communist Party of California, according to records of the California Secretary of State. In 1937, Hollywood writer Rena Vale, a self-identified former Communist, attended a Communist Party new members' class at Ball's home, according to Vale's testimony before the United States House of Representatives' Special Committee on Un-American Activities, on July 22, 1940. Two years later, Vale reaffirmed this testimony in a sworn deposition:
within a few days after my third application to join the Communist Party was made, I received a notice to attend a meeting on North Ogden Drive, Hollywood; although it was a typed, unsigned note, merely requesting my presence at the address at 8 o'clock in the evening on a given day, I knew it was the long-awaited notice to attend Communist Party new members classes ... on arrival at this address I found several others present; an elderly man informed us that we were the guests of the screen actress, Lucille Ball, and showed us various pictures, books and other objects to establish that fact, and stated she was glad to loan her home for a Communist Party new members class
In a 1944 British Pathé newsreel, titled Fund Raising For Roosevelt, Ball was featured prominently among several stage and film stars at a fund-raising event in support of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt's campaign for re-election. She also stated that in the 1952 US Presidential Election, she voted for Republican Dwight Eisenhower.
On September 4, 1953, Ball met privately with HUAC investigator William A. Wheeler in Hollywood and gave him sealed testimony. She stated that she had registered to vote as a Communist "or intended to vote the Communist Party ticket" in 1936 at her socialist grandfather's insistence. She stated she "at no time intended to vote as a Communist."
Ball stated she has never been a member of the Communist Party "to her knowledge" ... did not know whether or not any meetings were ever held at her home at 1344 North Ogden Drive; stated... as a delegate to the State Central Committee of the Communist Party of California in 1936 it was done without her knowledge or consent; did not recall signing the document sponsoring EMIL FREED for the Communist Party nomination to the office of member of the assembly for the 57th District...
A review of the subject's file reflects no activity that would warrant her inclusion on the Security Index.
J. Edgar Hoover, then director of the FBI, named "Lucy and Dezi" among his "favorites of the entertainment world." Immediately before the filming of episode 68 ("The Girls Go Into Business") of "I Love Lucy," Arnaz, instead of his usual audience warm-up, told the audience about Lucy and her grandfather. Reusing the line he had first given to Hedda Hopper in an interview, he quipped: "The only thing red about Lucy is her hair, and even that is not legitimate."