Sunday, November 23, 2014

Point of Order -- The Army-McCarthy Hearings

The other day I posted Operation Abolition and the Red Menace, containing embedded YouTube movies about the student "riot" at the HUAC hearings in 1960 in San Francisco.

Reader Nan the Historian brought up the 1964 documentary Point of Order and asked if I'd seen it. Yes, I saw it once years ago, but now it is available of course on The Internets, and I was able to find it on YouTube.

It's about the 1954 Army-McCarthy Hearings, and it consists of nothing but the television coverage of the hearings. Two television networks provided live gavel-to-gavel coverage of the hearings, which was a novelty then. The producer of this film, Emile De Antonio, also did something novel: He used nothing but the footage itself, with no voice-over narration and no music. You get nothing but the actual hearings.

Of course, since the hearings took place over some 40+ days and this is only an hour and half in length, you are not getting all of it. But what you do get is a clear picture of Joseph "Tailgunner Joe" McCarthy.

One thing is clear from viewing this film. Tailgunner Joe was a bully.

Check it out:

As an aside, if you look carefully, you'll see the youthful visage of Bobby Kennedy (that's him fourth from the left). It was a fact that that the Kennedys didn't particularly want publicized after his brother became president, but RFK had been counsel to the McCarthy-run Senate Committee on Government Operations. This committee was infamous for its role in rooting out "communists" from government, especially the "205" (the number changed depending on who McCarthy was talking to at the moment) in the US State Department.