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Source: Joan Collins Archives

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Unlike Seven Thieves which I blogged about a couple weeks ago Joan Collins and Paul Newman, really are the only two reasons to watch Rally Round The Flag Boys. Joanne Woodward is pretty cute and funny in it, Jack Carson is great as the stumbling awkward U.S. Army Captain who tries to come off as a lot tougher than he actually is. Jack Carson is simply one of the top comedic actors of his generation.

But the first hour of this movie is pretty funny with Joan playing this beautiful (if not gorgeous) rich housewife in this small town about an hour outside of New York City who really only has one problem. Her wealthy business executive husband never sees her. The man is either working all the time at the office, out-of-town on business (or with his mistresses’s) or going out with his mistresses. I added the mistress part myself to make it sound funny, but the point being the man is never around and never seen with his beautiful adorable wife Angela Hoffa (played by Joan Collins) in the entire movie. And Joan can get kinda prickly about little things like never seeing her husband. Even if he gives her an allowance that makes her a millionaire.

But Angela comes across Harry Bannerman (played by Paul Newman) early in the movie when he gets to the train station in their small town coming back from work and his wife is too busy to pick him up. Angela just happens to be there perhaps thinking this might be the night where she actually gets to spend some time with her husband, but of course he’s still not there and still at work. And offers to drive Harry home. And that is where Angela and Harry who are neighbors get to know each other a little bit and find out that they have something in common. Which is they don’t get to see their spouses very often.

Harry’s wife Grace Bannerman (played by Joanne Woodward) is the busiest housewife in Putnam’s Landing if not America as a whole. Except she’s not very busy at home (if you get my drift) but instead is more like a First Lady and is involved in every civil activity known to man. At least in Putnam’s Landing and isn’t around much for her husband Harry, but he works a lot as well and doesn’t see his wife a lot either. They have a townhall meeting in Putnam’s and the Mayor there announces that the U.S. Army wants to open a base there, but won’t tell them why they need the base there. And his wife is appointed to run a new committee to deal with the new Army base coming to town. And appoints her husband to be the liaison between the town and U.S. Army about the base coming to town. Harry just happens to work in public relations and is in the U.S. Naval Reserve so is very qualified for this job.

To get back to Joan Collins which is really the only reason why I’m writing about this. There are two very hysterical scenes in this movie where Joan is her usually adorably funny self. Perhaps three with her picking up Paul Newman early in the movie and driving him home. But the first one being where Paul drives Joan home from the meeting because his wife stays late at the meeting and Joan invites him in to her home. And they have a hilarious but innocent party where they get drunk and do a lot of dancing and fall back down the stairs together after trying to go upstairs.

The other scene being where Joan follows Paul to his hotel in Washington where he’s there to talk to the Pentagon about his new role in Putnam’s and gets to his hotel room and Joan is there waiting for him. Harry makes it real clear that he’s happily married and doesn’t want to get involved, but Angela doesn’t take no at least not very easily and makes a big play for him. And Harry’s wife arrives there and sees them together. After that the movies gets really silly and looks more like musical comedy than anything else.

I saw this movie a few months ago and have it on DVD and tweeted that and shared that on Google+ as well that the only reason I saw this movie was to see the adorably funny Joan Collins in it. Joan actually saw that and liked it. Saw this movie over the weekend to refresh my memory about it and to prepare for this piece. Take Joan Collins out of this movie and replace her with a much more ordinary woman who doesn’t have Joan’s comedic ability and talent like a Deborah Kerr or someone like that (no offense to Deborah Kerr) and I don’t have much incentive to watch this movie, at least not a 2nd time. This movie is an example where a great actress and actor can pull the movie together by themselves. Especially if that actress is as beautiful, adorable, sexy, and funny as a Joan Collins.

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Source: James Neff- Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward 

James Neff: Rally Round The Flag Boys 1958

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Telling it The Way it Was

Telling it The Way it Was


Still the best news anchor America has ever seen. Walter Cronkite, was the CBS Evening News, as great of a title that would have been if that is what he represented. He wasn’t CBS News, again as great of an honor that would have been. He was network news. He was the gold standard for how good real news anchors are judged by. People who anchor real news shows and real news stories. Stories that have real importance to the country. Perhaps that don’t draw the best ratings, or are the most entertaining. But real-life stories that effect everyone in the country. A true news anchor and not an entertainment news anchor, covers current affairs and national affairs. Issues involving the entire country. Like our foreign policy, national security and economy, to use as examples.

Like the death of the President of the United States. A war where millions of Americans are stationed thousands of miles away in another country fighting someone else’s civil war. Or the death of a great civil rights leader, or political leader. Or a political scandal involving not just the White House, but the President of the United States and his involvement in that scandal. Or a national energy shortage that effect every single American and effects the national economy. Or the Great Deflation of the 1970s. That resulted in two recessions in that decade and led to the economic malaise of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Or peace treaties involving two major Middle Eastern countries. Or a hostage crisis involving several Americans being held hostage in a Middle Eastern country.

Walter Cronkite, anchored the coverage of all of these stories and issues that I mentioned. And I believe it’s very clear which issues and stories that I’m talking about exactly.Were there what would be called fluff stories on the CBS Evening News, like a panda being born at the National Zoo, or a major sports story, sure. All network newscasts have done that. And Cronkite wasn’t above that and perhaps shouldn’t have been. But Americans watched his newscast, because they wanted to know what was going on in the world especially in their own country. Get the latest economic news, news about the latest war we might be involved in. Issues that the President and his administration are pushing. What’s going on in Congress and the latest political news in and outside of Congress. And Cronkite was the best at this.

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See it Now
Source: Dabell 43: See it Now- Edward Murrow vs Joseph McCarthy

Ed Murrow- You can’t defend freedom oversees if you won’t defend freedom at home

To quote Edward R. Murrow. “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.” Which pretty much sums up the difference between people who believe in free speech and fascists. “We cannot defend freedom abroad when we are making it weaker at home”. Going to other countries to defend freedom and American values as we are crushing those values at home for the American people. That is what this debate in the early and mid 1950s was about. I don’t want to make the Tea Party look like McCarthyites. But there’s a wing in that movement with Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann who see the world and America one way And if you don’t agree with them, they’ll label you as Un-American. That movement was around on the Right in America in the 1950s as well.

Ed Murrow and his nightly newscast See it Now and their investigation into Senator Joe McCarthy’s committee hearings about supposed Communists inside of the U.S. Government, put CBS News on the map as far as TV in this country. And probably led to the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite that eventually became a half-hour show. Because Murrow and See it Now took down a movement that was trying to destroy free speech and assembly for the rest of the country. Which is what Joe McCarthy and his supporters were about. Either you’re as terrified about Communists taking over America, even though the theocratic Christian-Right, outnumbers Communists and perhaps the Far-Left in America in general by millions, the Far-Right will view as Un-American. And someone who should be in jail.

The 1950s and the start of the Cold War with Russia, was a great time to be a demagogue. Especially if you were on the Right and were in public office. Because Americans were literally scared to death that Communists, probably from Russia, would invade America and throw our liberal democratic government and way of life. Even though we clearly always had the upper hand against Russia if it ever came to some actual physical war. Simply because of our overwhelming economic strength and economy. The Russians even knew that which is why they went through several stages of economic reform. Including even some privatization of their Marxist system. To try to compete with America and Europe economically. And Senator Joe McCarthy exploited this fear very well.

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Goodnight and Good Luck

Goodnight and Good Luck


The way that Ed Murrow defeated Joe McCarthy in this little media battle was by using Senator McCarthy’s own words and actions against him. Reporting exactly what Senator McCarthy was saying and doing during his so-called investigation into Communists inside the United States Government. This was not commentary on Ed Murrow’s part, but Murrow accurately describing the dangerous actions of Senator Joe McCarthy. Who was the Chairman of the Select Committee on Communists in Government. (Not the exact title, but close enough) And what Murrow was doing was explaining how dangerous this type of fascism on the Senator’s part was to our American values of Freedom of Assembly and Speech. That Americans shouldn’t be judged by who we associate with, or what we think, but by how we live our lives as Americans.

McCarthyites, have a hard time making the case of some vast left-wing conspiracy against Joe McCarthy. Since all that CBS News led by Ed Murrow did to him, was report his own views and opinions. With Murrow then telling Americans what they meant as well as what he though of McCarthy’s views. McCarthyites, can’t accuse Murrow and See it Now for making it look like the Senator said something that he didn’t, or that his views were taken out of context. Since all they did was show videos of his speeches. And even gave the Senator an oportunity to respond live on their show to the reporting that See it Now did on him and his Congressional hearings that he chaired.

Joe McCarthy, was the classic right-wing demagogue. The George Wallace of the 1940s and 50s. Who saw fear in average Americans (lets say) and used it to advance his own political career. He was looking at running for president perhaps as early as 1960. We were at the height of the Cold War with Russia in the 1950s. And millions of Americans were terrified of communism and thought it would not only come to America, but take over our system and turn us into a communist authoritarian state. Part of the irony here is that his committee was essentially investigating a Republican administration. Since Dwight Eisenhower was now President. Who he and is administration were strong anti-communist Cold Warriors. Just an example of how off-base the McCarthy Committee was.

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Democratic Socialist

Democratic Socialist


Public Resource: Longines Chronoscope- Dr. Norman Thomas From 1952- Democratic Socialist Foreign Policy

What I respect about Norman Thomas even though he was a Socialist and we probably agree on almost nothing as it relates to economic policy, is that he was a real Democrat. A real American Democrat, a real Democratic Socialist. Who was probably against communism as much as any Conservative, or Liberal and spoked out against communism. Which is different from socialism. Socialism, is democratic and communism is authoritarian. At least in how its been practiced around the world. He wasn’t one of these far lefties that spoke up in favor of Communists and other authoritarians, who were dictators around the world. For a couple of reasons. One, he was against communism, but also because of how badly socialism has been made to look like.

Thanks to the success of right-wingers, going back at least since the late 1960s in America, socialism has been made to look like communism. As if they are part of the same philosophy, because they are not. And Democratic Socialists like Norman Thomas tend to believe in at least a certain level of capitalism and private enterprise. Just not at the expense of the people and what want as many people as possible to benefit from private enterprise. Norman Thomas, was the Bernie Sanders of his time. He and Henry Wallace, another Democratic Socialist, who ran for president for the Progressive Party in 1948, were very similar when it came to economic policy. But Thomas, was perhaps not as much as a dove when it came to foreign affairs and national security.

If you pay attention to this video, you consistently hear Norman Thomas criticize the Soviet Union, totalitarianism and even communism. That the Russian people, were essentially subjects of the Russian Government in the Soviet Union. You didn’t hear him unlike others on the Far-Left in America, try to claim that Russia was misunderstood during the Cold War. Or even try to suggest that America might have been the bad guys in that war of words. Or even the wrong country won that war. Thomas, was a Socialist in the European sense. Democratic in nature and even supported capitalism and private enterprise. But wanted a big central government to manage the resources of the country and support the people with a welfare state. So no one would have to go without, or have too much, according to him.

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