Wednesday, August 13, 2014
To Name and Name Not, To Name or Not to Name
Book to be written: To Name and Name Not: How and Why Two Cousins Did and Did Not Name Names during the HUAC Hearings
I think it is probably true to say that very few people in the USA have the questionable distinction of having had two relatives come before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee during the McCarthy era, one who "named names" and one who didn't.
The one who didn't name names is mentioned in the book entitled "Naming Names," by Victor Navasky. Only one problem: Navasky got his Communist name wrong. It was "Jim Casey," not "Jack Casey." As a baby and a toddler, my mom was called "Baby Casey." The real last name was "Glaser."
The one who did name names was rather famous, in his way. He was a third cousin, same side of the family as "Jim Casey." His name was David Raksin. He did the music for many movies in the forties and fifties. His most famous movie music was that of "Laura." He was president of ASCAP for years. From wiki: "With over 100 film scores and 300 television scores to his credit, he became known as the "Grandfather of Film Music."
Raksin named names because he feared for his career in Hollywood. My grandfather didn't name names because the owner of the New York Post, where he worked as a copy editor at the time, was extremely liberal and sent her own lawyer to the hearings. Thus he was not roughed up and threatened the way most of the media and arts people were when they came before HUAC.
I don't hate Raksin for naming names. I am, however, proud that my grandfather didn't.