Thursday, August 14, 2014

You Can't Do Business with Hitler

Sometimes I read about radio history and feel like some cranky mischievous character like Joe Bussard has planted some false information as a prank. Much to my surprise I was able to corroborate this information through multiple reputable sources. There was once a radio program called "You Can't Do Business with Hitler."  Seriously, there were at least 56 episodes run between 1942 and 1943.
  • Heads They Win - Tails We Lose
  • Broken Promises
  • No American Goods Wanted
  • Two for Me One for You
  • Mass Murder
  • Spoils of Europe
  • 1000 Year Reich
  • Living Dead
  • Anti-Christ
  • Pagan Gods
  • Swastikas over the Equator
  • Money Talks with a German Accent
The program was written and produced by the radio section of the Office of War Information (OWI) the propaganda office of the U.S. military in that era. John Flynn and Virginia Moore starred in the program which aired on at least 790 radio stations. The scriptwriter was Elwood Hoffman and the director was Frank Telford. Elwood script wrote for other propaganda programs in that era including  six episodes of  "This Is Our Enemy", and three episodes of "American Portrait." He wrote some more mundane material for Cavalcade of America and of all things... The Columbia Workshop. More here.

It as based on an autobiographical book by Douglas Miller published in 1941. MIller was a Rhodes Scholar from Denver. His book ended up sixth on the nonfiction best-seller list for 1941. Miller was an attache with the American Embassy in Berlin from 1924 to1939. (some sources say 1925-1929) By the time he resigned he was staunchly opposed to the Nazi regime and in the mood to write some anti-Nazi propaganda. More here.

The title was actually a repudiation of statements by Charles Lindbergh. Yes, that same Lindbergh. It wasn't terribly quotable "I believe this nation is well able to take care of itself economically."  But Lindbergh was advocating for isolationism... and Miller wanted into WWI.  So they found themselves very much at odds. But we already know who won that argument with the public.