Orson Welles is Not a Communist

Orson Welles performing War of the Worlds with his Mercury Theatre on CBS radio in 1938
Orson Welles performs War of the Worlds on CBS radio in 1938

Almost any week in Hollywood Orson Welles is the main topic of conversation. Personally, your editors don't like Welles. He is the seven-year-old kid next door who has a vocabulary twice his size. He is the good-looking young man who walks off with your best girl. He is the braggart who says impossible things and then does them. Your editors are average people. That's why they personally are not fond of the man who is too good and knows it and shows it!

Yet your editors cannot agree that Welles, as has been hinted in certain newspapers, is a dangerous individual domestically inclined. His playlet called His Honor, the Mayor, broadcast over the CBS network on Sunday April 6, is as communistic as the Bill of Rights of the United States. In fact, most of the mayor's speeches were quotations from the Bill of Rights.

Welles is as dangerous as a naughty boy playing with firecrackers. He has very little chance of hurting anyone else, but he can readily blow himself right through a skylight. We are dubious of his sincerity in defending the case of Harry Bridges, recently on trial in deportation proceedings as an "undesirable alien." Welles' friends will tell you that he believed Bridges not guilty because he was tried once before and it is American not to put a man twice in jeopardy. The wise ones will tell you that Welles was merely being Welles.

The only person not disturbed by the young producer of Citizen Kane is the young producer himself. Your editors don't like him because everything he does is perfect, from movies to radio plays. But he's good, drat it, he is!

From Movie-Radio Guide, May 24-30, 1941