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Controversial Materials

Red Channels - Infamous paperback book published in June 1950 that contained the "supposed" names of Communist sympathizers and that inspired the blacklisting nightmare which ruined the careers of many individuals in the US entertainment industry.

Red Channels

Entitled: "Red Channels: The Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television," this 'Bible' of potential traitors and subversives soon gained acceptance by many networks, sponsors and ad agencies nationwide.

Founded in 1947 by former FBI agents, the book was published in New York City by COUNTERATTACK: The Newsletter of Facts to Combat Communism located at 55 West 42 Street and sold for $1.00 a copy.

The list generated such paranoid that the CBS network made its employees sign a loyalty oath. None dared refuse to sign it for fear of being labeled a "Commie."

Over time such names as: Leonard Bernstein, Abe Burrows, Aaron Copeland, Jack Gilford, Henry Morgan, Uta Hagen, Hazel Scott, Judy Holliday, Harry Belafonte and even Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz found their way onto the list.

Even Irene Wicker, a gentle children's show hostess of THE SINGING LADY/ABC/1948-40, who had been a radio favorite for 20 years, was implicated. Although all charges were disproved, her career was destroyed through innuendo.

With the collapse of McCarthyism and his witch hunts for Communists, Red Channels faded into history, becoming just a bad memory.


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