1950: Film Producer Walter Wanger Apologizes to John Wayne

“I recognize that time and history have proven the correctness of the judgement of the Motion Picture Alliance and its foresight in recognizing the Communist menace.” Walter Wanger


Walter Wanger

New York Times – September 17, 1950

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These developments closely followed the refusal of Jack B. Tenney, State Senator and until recently head of the Legislature’s un-American activities commission, to serve on the Crusade’s Pacific Coast advisory board because Wanger had been chosen to head the anti-Red drive here. Pledging support to the Crusade, John Wayne, screen star and president of the Alliance, sent Mr. Wanger a letter stating that the need for tightening ranks in the film industry is “more important than any memories we may have of ancient disputes.” Mr. Wayne further declared, “we must, however, ask you at this time to correct the misunderstanding you had in the past as to our purpose. On May 26, 1944, you wrote us a letter which included this passage, ‘Your organization has made unsupported charges of Communism in the motion picture industry – it has linked throughout the nation the word “Hollywood” and “Red” and without proof.’ We wish you had been right and we had been wrong. It is no satisfaction to us that there are and were a tight group of Communist conspirators in our midst.”

“Mr. Wanger’s reply stated in part: “If any words of mine hurt your group or any member of it, I can only express my regret. I recognize that time and history have proven the correctness of the judgement of the Motion Picture Alliance and its foresight in recognizing the Communist menace.”

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