Friday, July 27, 2018

Freedom and JK :)


One of Jack Kelly's most famous--or most infamous--movies is the 1962 anti-Communist educational film Freedom and You.

It's usually referred to as Red Nightmare, but that's actually a condensed version of Freedom and You:

The complete film gives a lot more background and insight into the characters. (And has a lot more scenes of JK!) Some things which are alluded to in Red Nightmare (such as the union meetings and the Cub Scout banquet) are explained in more detail in Freedom and You.

Jack Webb (who was the film's co-producer as well as its narrator) intros the film by showing scenes depicting a supposed Soviet replica of a US city set up to train Communists to infiltrate America.

Then, JK enters the picture as "Jerry Donovan", an average Joe who lives with his wife, three kids and a dog in a typical American town.

Jerry cheerfully works as a machinist on a lathe he's nicknamed "Bertha":

Pete (Robert Conrad), a co-worker, jokes with him about the upcoming bowling league championship:

 Pete also asks Jerry if he's attending the important union meeting that night. Nope, Jerry tells him, because the in-laws will be in town:

A manager, Mr. Evans (William Reynolds), also urges Jerry to attend the union meeting, but he still declines:

After a hard week's work, Jerry just wants to relax. But, his wife Helen (Jeanne Cooper) bugs him about the union, PTA and Naval Reserve meetings he's weaseled out of recently. And, it turns out his in-laws weren't coming until next week, which Jerry knew perfectly well:

Plus, much to Jerry's consternation, his teenage daughter Linda (Pat Woodell) and her college-aged beau, Bill Martin (Peter Brown), suddenly announce that they intend to marry as soon as possible (earlier scenes revealed that Bill has been drafted):

Then, Jerry goes fishing the next day and forgets to take his little boy Jimmy (Ronnie Dapo) to the father and son Cub Scouts banquet--again. (They were no-shows the year before, too.) The poor kid ends up crying in his room.

And finally, Jerry is ordered to report for two weeks' active Naval Reserve duty, which will jeopardize his bowling league's chance to win the championship.

After all this, Jerry is beat and decides to hit the hay. Maybe he'll feel better in the morning.

Or, maybe Jack Webb will show up in his front yard and wish a "Red Nightmare" upon him for being such a complacent shirker:

Jerry wakes up to discover that the "Commies" aren't just coming, they're already here. At the drugstore where he's stopped for coffee, Jerry is puzzled because, as Webb says, "Freedom has suddenly vanished":

Jerry tries to call Helen from a pay phone, but the operator informs him he needs a permit from "The Commissar" to make a personal call:

Then, a siren sounds. Jerry goes out into the street where a Communist officer (Peter Breck) exhorts his fellow "comrades" to "purge the minds of reactionary Americans" so they will "welcome the "enlightened Soviet system" and "conform without resistance to the dictatorship of the proletariat".   

Jerry returns home, relieved to find his family having dinner. But, the children are unusually quiet and Helen's demeanor is chilly. She tersely informs Jerry that he's slated to address the PTA about how the new Communist life benefits children, because he was on the debate team in high school. Helen chastises him for not revealing this fact to the Party officials.

Then, Bill Martin--now a Communist soldier--bursts into the house and announces that Linda has volunteered to join a farm collective to free herself from "the lingering bourgeois influence of family life".

Jerry protests, but is helpless to stop Linda from leaving. Comrade Martin warns Jerry that his "deviations and remarks" against the Party will be reported to the proper authorities.

Things aren't any better at work. Jerry greets his co-workers as usual but is answered with stony silence, because he and his fellow machinists are now expected to fulfill a daily quota:

Jerry finds he can't do his job because "Bertha" is broken. However, he gets no sympathy from Pete, who advises Jerry to fix the lathe immediately and work anyway (even during his lunch hour), because Comrade Commissar isn't interested in excuses:

Will Jerry's "red nightmare" ever end? Please stay tuned for Part II to find out...and stick around to see rare candid photos of JK on the set of Freedom and You coming up soon! :)