In the radio department this week there is a story about the Frederic W. Ziv Company's plans to produce a new transcribed series of open-end radio shows called "I was a Communist for the FBI". The tale, of course, details the experiences of Matt Cvetic, who for nine years worked as an undercover agent for the Feds and came up with invaluable information on the inner workings of the Reds in this country. Thru the good graces of Ziv's Johnny Sinn and Ziv press representative Dave Alber, I had an interesting talk with Cvetic last Friday.
Cvetic, as his story (originally published in The Saturday Evening Post) revealed, spent seven years as a member of the Communist Party itself, belonged to 75 Commie-front organization, attended close to 2,000 front and Party meetings and was secretary of the American-Slovene Communist Bureau and head of the Communist Party finance Committee for western Pennsylvania.
Cvetic obviously has a far better than average idea of the insidious and often effective modus operandi of the Commies. I was curious to learn his opinion of the anti-Communist newsletter, Counterattack, and its publication Red Channels, which listed 152 people in radio and television who had communist front or outright Communist Party affiliations. The scream around show business, as you know, has been that the Counterattack and Red Channels operation represented "guilt by association," " a horrifying invasion of civil rights,", "a fascist blacklist," etc.
"Counterattack and Red Channels," Cvetic said, "make a definite contribution to the fight against Communism. It's ridiculous to claim that they tend to destroy civil rights or are undemocratic. Anybody charged with a crime in this country, whether that crime be murder or plotting to overthrow our government by violence, has the opportunity and the complete right to defend himself. And that goes for a charge made by Counterattack on anyone else. Anybody who is completely innocent of aiding the Communist Party doesn't have anything to fear from Counterattack or any other source."
Cvetic then told about experience (unpublished till now) he'd had while a member of the Communist Party and working as an usher at the Nixon Theater in Pittsburgh, his home town. The Nixon was playing stage shows in those days, and Cvetic made it a practice to get to the theater during rehearsals. He'd go backstage and visit with the various performers. Some-a small majority, by the way- he knew to be Communists or extreme sympathizers. Any such he could help to persuade to attend various local "social" gatherings at which money would be raised for such needy cases and worthy causes as The Daily Worker.
"The higher up members of the Party in Pittsburgh," said Cvetic, "would keep posted on acts coming into the Nixon. They knew which were Communists or pro-Communists, and they used them to the hilt to attract the local people to these 'social' gatherings at which they denounced this country and raised money to help various Communist organizations."
Cvetic believes, of courses, that one of the most effective ways of combating the Commies is to educate the public as to the ways in which the Commies operate. Publication of his story in the Post, and the film which was bases on it, of course, were solid contribution toward such public education The Ziv radio series should prove an equally vital, and possibly an even more substantial contribution. How substantial, of course, depends largely upon how many advertisers and stations choose to buy it.
And while I am not given to running free ads in Backstage, I hope every station in the country will run the series. It will get the usual excellent Ziv production treatment; it will feature a fine actor in Dana Andrews, and most important of all, it will tell a tale that needs telling over and over and over again.
Ziv Offers "Communist"
Show With Andrews "
NEW YORK, Jan. 5. Monday (7) the Frederick W. Ziv Company's 100-man field sales force will offer for sale to local sponsors, stations, regional sponsors and webs and to national sponsors for "spot" placement a new transcribed, open-end half-hour radio series called "I Was a Communist for the FBI." The series is the first-person dramatized experiences of Matt Cvetic, who work as an undercover agent for the department of Justice for nine years, during seven of which he was a member of the Communist Party. The story was published by the Saturday Evening Post last July, and recently released as a film. Dana Andrews has been signed to an exclusive 10-year deal by Ziv exec veepee Johnny Sinn, to play the Cvetic part in the radio series.
The series has already gone into production on the West Coast and is scheduled for March 30 release. Ziv hopes to have 52 shows taped by July 30. The Ziv company is producing. Henry Hayward is directing, and musical director is David Rose.
12 ½ - G Per Show
"Communist" will be the one of the highest-budgeted of all new radio shows being prepped for 1952, with the total production nut running about $12,500 per half hour. The signing of Andrews, incidentally, brings to five the number of top film names featured in Ziv shows. Others are Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in the "Bold Venture" series, and Irene Dunne and Fred MacMurray in the "Bright Star" series.
"This is probably the most important show in Ziv's history," said Sinn, "because it combines a commercial venture with an important public service. Thru this program the American radio public will be made more aware of the inner workings, methods and goals of Communists in the United States, therefore more conscious of the menace of Communism to our nation."
Ziv Counts 254 Cities
for "Commie": Maybe 400…
NEW YORK – Sale of 18 more markets during the past week brings to 254 the number of cities which will carry the Ziv transcribed series. "I Was a Communist for the FBI." The show will debut on March 30, with Ziv anticipating a 400-city line-up.
70% SIGN AGAIN FOR ZIV "COMMUNIST" …
NEW YORK – "I Was a Communist for the FBI," the Frederic W. Ziv Company transcribed radio series, has been renewed for a second year by more than 70 per cent of sponsors and stations currently carrying the show. The highlight of the series" second years exploitation will be a $50,000 national essay contest for grammer and high school students that will be conducted this fall in co-operation with the Disabled American Veterans.