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When The Red Scare Came For America's Favorite Redhead


At the start of the Cold War in the 1940s and 50s, the so-called "red fear" swept through the United States, a secret political and cultural shift among them toward communism, which they believed was obsessed with snuff went. The head of the Witch Hunt, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, who set up the House Un-American Activities Committee to investigate everyone from W.E.B. Du Bois to Albert Einstein and Arthur Miller (who later wrote his classic play The Crucible about the Salem Witch). test, as a metaphor for one's own experience). In 1953, McCarthy also set his eyes on a girlfriend from America, I Love Lucy star Lucille Ball.


Lucy the Red?

At the time, Ball was at the height of her career with I Love Lucy in its third season and garnering a typical viewership of 60 million (about five times more than Game of Thrones for perspective). So when it was announced on The Walter Winchell Show that Ball had registered as a communist in 1936, it was a big deal. Not only did they have his registration records, he also took the affidavits of other members who claimed to have attended a membership meeting at his address the following year.

In short, Lucy had to do some 'splaining'. One HUAC During the hearing, Ball insisted that she would only register as a communist to please her grandfather, who had socialist leanings, and had no intention of ever voting for a communist. In addition, she denied ever hosting any membership meetings, although she admitted that a family member may have organized a meeting at her home. Indeed, witnesses testified that Ball was not present at the meeting.


Afterwards

When the government was satisfied that Ball's registration was the folly of youth and had no secret communist agenda, they eased up, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the entire cast of his program favors at his birthday party. as invited. Still, her husband and costar, Desi Arnaz, felt she needed to address the controversy as she warmed up to the crowd ahead of the taping of the eighth episode of the season. "The only red thing about Lucy is her hair, and that's not even legit," he joked.

Ball was lucky that she didn't end up on the Hollywood blacklist, a career killer for those who couldn't or couldn't refute suspected communist leanings, and produced three more seasons of the all-time classic sitcom. He also starred in several subsequent hits, such as The Lucy Show and Hears Lucy, before his death from an aneurysm in 1989 at the age of 77. He is still considered one of the greatest comedians and cultural icons of American television today. ,

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