Previously by Charles A. Burris: The Real History of Third Parties
Over the past month Turner Classic Movies, my favorite cable/satellite channel, has been showing a series of films with political themes. But during this past week something dramatically changed. Both TCM hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz were joined by co-hosts PBS anchorman Jim Lehrer and CNN anchorman Wolf Blitzer to repeatedly reassure viewers before the November election that the dramatic stories they were watching were indeed fiction, that “the system” works, that yes there are a few “bad apples” but most politicians are good and decent persons looking to do good for the nation. These movies included All The Kings Men, All The Presidents Men, and Seven Days in May, films about incipient fascism in the USA. I just about puked my guts out having to endure these mendacious mainstream media gatekeepers simply to see the films once again. The Powers-that-be must be really scared to insert such propaganda nonsense on a channel simply showing classic films.
Also a long time friend who knows my tastes for classic cinema sent me the YouTube link for a 1933 film, Gabriel Over the White House, and wondered if I has seen it before. It’s included on this Amazon DVD Listmania! I created. I’ve watched it twice at TCM. The first time over a year ago and the second time just a couple of months ago. The first time I wasn’t very impressed with the plot-line or performances, just curious. But the second viewing I saw a lot of things I had missed before. The anointed dictator from God theme certainly is harrowing and inspired that ghoul from Hyde Park in his fascist ways. The forgotten men marching on DC was straight out of the contemporary headlines concerning the Bonus Marchers, but too early for Smedley Butler and the Wall Street plot to install their own candidate for dictator. That cinematic treatment would come later with Keeper of the Flame, with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, which also aired this past week.
Charles A. Burris [send him mail] teaches history in the Murray N. Rothbard Room at Memorial High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.