Some of you may remember the The Second Red Scare. It was a troubling period in the United States between 1947 and 1956 when President Truman's Executive Order required all federal civil service employees to be screened for "loyalty."
In what would become known as the McCarthy era, and McCarthyism, the screening for patriotism didn't extended beyond government employees and affected many members of the entertainment industry, as well as education and union activists.
There was widespread fear that Communism was rooting its way into the American lifestyle by means of radio and Hollywood. Many celebrities were subject to attacks on their character and patriotism, which were often loosely based on "reckless, unsubstantiated accusations."
As accusations piled up against Hollywood actors and directors, there was one in particular that shocked the nation.
Lucille Ball, one of the most successful comediennes in American history, was called into question for her voter registration.
By then, she was heading into the third season of I Love Lucy, and had held claim to her identity as America's golden girl for decades. But the FBI didn't care, they called her in to be questioned by the House Un-American Activites Committee (HUAC).
In 1936, Ball had registered with the Communist Party and was further incriminated when Communist Party "Member's Class" meetings were held in her home.
Although this looked like all the evidence the HUAC would need to blacklist America's sweetheart, Ball stood her ground and confidently refuted their charges.
”I think anytime you give the American people the truth they’re with you,” she told the LA Times.
She had registered as a Communist to placate her grandfather, but that she was never a member of the party "to her knowledge." Although the meeting was held at her home, a former communist confirmed that Ball was not present.
She was right to believe in the American people. The public didn't shun her over her family ties to the Communist party, in fact, fans overwhelmingly supported her!
The Times reported that stacks of telegrams were pouring in from well-wishers who refused to believe that she was anything less than a patriotic American.