Thanks for another great radio find, Store Hadji!
It's also strange how the subject matter of HIS HONOR THE MAYOR still seems fresh and very alive on the current political scene with an Immigration bill under attack, as well as the growing assult on American civil liberties guranteed in the Bill of Rights.
After Welles show was denouced as communistic from Hearst newspapers and the American Legion, Time Magazine came to Welles's defense in this article:
FREELY CRITICIZED COMPANY
Time Magazine, Monday, Apr. 28, 1941
The attack began suddenly. First there was a brief communique in William Randolph Hearst's Los Angeles Examiner. Next morning the item was blown up into a front-page spread. Across the continent the story streaked to make headlines in the New York Journal and American, many another Hearst paper en route. Burden of the tale told by the Hearstlings: a number of American Legion Posts, several other veterans' societies, as well as the California Sons of the American Revolution, had found subversive propaganda in the broadcasts of CBS's Free Company, particularly in a program called His Honor, the Mayor, written and directed by Orson Welles.
As reported by the Hearst press, a typical Legion stricture on Welles and The Free Company was that of Homer L. Chaillaux, chairman of the Legion's National Americanism Commission: ". . . cleverly designed to poison the minds of young Americans. . ." Echoed a spokesman for a Legion post in Brooklyn: "The name itself, Free Company, sounds suspiciously Communistic..."
All this suggested a renewed spring drive by the Hearst press against Orson Welles, and it coincided strangely with the release dates of Mr. Welles's film, Citizen Kane. The first drive had for its objective the suppression of the movie on the grounds that it looked too much like an unflattering portrait of Citizen Hearst.
Unfortunately for the Hearst strategy, The Free Company, a non-commercial series of democratic propaganda plays by people like Maxwell Anderson, Ernest Hemingway and William Saroyan, operates under what is virtually a Government charter. The Company's chairman, distinguished Author James Boyd (Drums, Marching On), pointed out that he is a dollar-a-year man with the Department of Justice, had shaped up The Free Company on official advice from his good friend Solicitor General Francis Biddle.
His Honor, the Mayor, which aroused Mr. Hearst and Legionnaires, described how an honest, small-town mayor supported the right of assembly by letting a gang of fascistic "White Crusaders" hold a meeting, then held a bigger and better meeting of his own. Another Free Company drama to which the Legion objected was The Mole on Lincoln's Cheek. It made a plea for freedom to teach, put in a plug for honest textbooks. Probable cause of the Legion's gripe was that its characters included a few witch-hunting operatives of a "Veterans' League."
During its show this week, The Free Company mildly replied by pointing out that many of its members had served in the Army, that all Free Companymen had "dedicated their talents to the proposition that we have in this country a way of life that is unique and precious and something to be infinitely proud of."