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3Mar/150

EP1510: Crime and Peter Chambers: The School Teacher and the Professor

Dane Clark
A school teacher hires Pete to investigate the murder of a professor's wife.

Original Air Date: August 17, 1954

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2Mar/151

EP1509: The Saint: Miss Godby’s School For Girls

Vincent Price

The Saint becomes involved when a blackmailer calls him to give a father a demand for ransom.

Original Air Date: November 5 1950

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1Mar/150

EP1508s: Candy Matson: The Cable Car Case

Natalie Masters

A man sitting next to Candy on a cable car is shot and killed. Candy tries to solve the case and find a way to collect a fee.

Original Air Date: July 7, 1949

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28Feb/151

DVD Review: I Was a Communist for the FBI


This week and next two weeks from now, I'll be taking a look at I Was a Communist for the FBI.  The first post will talk about the movie and next will discuss the radio program.

Any discussion of Communism in the 1950s will be controversial due to the “red scare.” My understanding based on the study of the era is that two things are true: 1) there were many innocent people charged with being Communists and 2) there were actual Communist who working to infiltrate others as agents of the Soviet Union and still others working to undermine and basic the basic social systems of the United States in order to bring about a people’s revolution.

There is also debate on the exact role that the real Matt Cvetic had or what he accomplished in his undercover work, but this debate doesn’t really matter as both the Movie and the Radio show were very fictionalized (though in different ways), so the exact truth of what actually happened to Cvetic has little to do with either.

In the film, Cvetic (played by Night Beat’s Frank Lovejoy) is in the tale end of his 9 years as a Communist for the FBI and it’s a miserable lot in life. His mother is dying and he rushes to her bedside too late to tell her the truth. His brothers look on with contempt for being a Communist and for the pain that brought his mother. When Cvetic's son learns that Cvetic is a Communist, he turns on him as well.

Cvetic has worked his way up into high circles of the American Communist Party and the film draws an interesting line between the rank and file Communists as represented by a Cvetic’s son’s teacher and the leadership.

The leadership is two faced and hypocritical. With rank and file party members, they're all about equality and the revolution of the proletariat. Among themselves, they're far more honest. When the Communists take over, someone's going to be in charge, so it might as well be them. They want to be like the pigs in George Orwell's Animal Farm. One of them who is working actively to incite Communist activists among Blacks casually drops the "n-word" and persists with even when Cvetic challenges him on it. Cvetic is ironically considered the "true believer" of this group of senior party members.

The party leaders are also cunning and ruthless, not caring if innocents or bystanders are hurt in the process. In one scene, dedicated to helping the Soviets stop American steel production by staging strikes with fake protesters. This leads to people being savagely beaten including Cvetic's own brother.

The teacher decides she's had enough and wants out of the party but the party sets out to liquidate her and Cvetic has to foil the plan without breaking his cover.  This is a bit of an add on but it's decently done.

Overall, the movie shows some ways in which Communists did  or could have operated at the highest levels  particularly how on one occasion, they staged a filibuster and managed to force their way through a non-Communist union to get their way on the strike.

The film is in a way targeted towards the casual Communist and tried to warn of the long-suspected ties between the Community Party USA and the Soviet Union in hopes of encouraging people to leave before they got in too deep similar to a radio series of the time called Last Man Out. 

Ultimately, nothing was too original about the movie's message or propaganda value but what makes it stand out is the performance of Lovejoy as Matt Cvetic, a man whose position is eating him up. After 9 years, he hates the people who like him and is alienated from his friends and family, he takes part in despicable plots. Lovejoy does a good job portraying a tortured man who continues being ripped apart by what he does because his love for country and concern for his son's future is worth the sacrifice even if part of that sacrifice is being despised by his son.

Overall,  this is a good but flawed film, with an ending that's a bit confusing. Still, this is a decent film that rises above average due to the complex issues surrounding Matt Cvetic.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0

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28Feb/151

EP1508: Dragnet: The Big Girl

Jack Webb

Joe Friday and Ben Romero hunt for a suspect identified as a beautiful woman who hitches rides with men, then robs and beats them.

Original Air Date: February 9, 1950

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27Feb/150

EP1507: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Model Picture Matter

Bob Bailey
Johnny is hired to protect a beautiful model who is receiving threats.

Original Air Date: November 3, 1957

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26Feb/151

EP1506: Nick Carter: The Case of the Hermit Thrush

Lon Clark
A wealthy recluse disappears  when his housekeeper is murdered.

Original Air Date: October 12, 1947

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25Feb/150

EP1505: Philip Marlowe: The Rustin Hickory

Gerald Mohr

A teacher from Nebraska hires Marlowe to solve a murder and keep her name out of the paper.

Original Air Date: September 10, 1949

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24Feb/150

EP1504: Crime and Peter Chambers: The Utopia Ballroom Murder

Dane Clark
Peter is hired to investigate the murder of an aspiring actress.

Original Air Date: August 10, 1954

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23Feb/150

EP1503: The Saint: It’s Snow Use

Vincent Price

The Saint while in a vacation to a lodge is asked to pretend to be the husband of a woman who fears being murdered by her ex-husband.

Original Air Date: October 29, 1950

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