Eric Johnston was the second head of the MPAA, a high level political operative and a friend of CIA director Allen Dulles. In this episode we take a look at his life and work, from his role instituting the Hollywood blacklist to his relationships with the FBI and CIA. From his meeting with high level businessmen after a trip to the Soviet Union and his liberalising of the production code and promotion of American films in foreign markets to his testimony at HUAC, this story encompasses much of the deep politics of Hollywood.
The FBI’s file on James Marshall Hendrix aka Jimi Hendrix is a brief but entertaining example of the Bureau having too much time on their hands and not enough to do. After Hendrix was arrested in Toronto in 1969 ‘after a quantity of marijuana was found in his shaving kit’ the Canadian authorities asked the FBI for help finding an excuse to deport him. Hoover’s men duly obliged, though they found virtually nothing.
Author and publicist Richard Condon is best remembered for writing The Manchurian Candidate – a biting futuristic satire in which a Medal of Honor winning soldier is brainwashed by the Soviets to try to assassinate the US president. The FBI files on Condon and his most famous book draw numerous connections between the JFK assassination and The Manchurian Candidate (particularly the film adaptation). The Bureau even conducted a background search on Condon before the book was even published, solely due to it depicting the FBI.
The International Spy Museum is a privately owned museum that hosts exhibits and other events on the history of spies, spying, intelligence tradecraft and so on. Conceived in 1996 – coincidentally just as the CIA adopted a more overt approach to domestic propaganda – and opened in 2002 – coincidentally a crucial year for CIA domestic propaganda – it has grown a strong reputation for itself in the years since then. Financed by The Malrite Company and the District of Columbia, The International Spy Museum is a shining example of collaboration between government and the private sector. In all likelihood, it is a front for the CIA.