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    Ronald Reagan Typed Letter Signed "Ronnie," three pages, 8.5" x 11". [Los Angeles], November 6, 1945. To journalist Walter Winchell, New York Daily Mirror, reporting on an event in Los Angeles involving Gerald L.K. Smith, an anti-Semitic, anti-Black, anti-Communist preacher-politician. On the first page, in pencil, Winchell has handwritten a reply for his secretary to send to Reagan: "Dear Ronald/T[hanks] very much/Regards/May [see] all/you/soon." Reagan, back in Hollywood after three years in the Army, but not yet discharged, writes, in part, "Operator 44 reporting.....I am afraid you are in the wrong town. The re-birth of Naziism is apparently to take place in Los Angeles. Our old friend, Gerald L.K. Smith, has been holding out here for several weeks...I am pretty hopped up about the romance between Mr. Smith and the Los Angeles City administration. His particular buddy is Meade McClanahan, of the City Council, who has appeared with him at several meetings and whose only attempt at fame occurred last week when he tried to tear a portrait of F.D.R. from the wall of the City Council chamber. [McClanahan was recalled in 1946.] Smith secured permission to speak in the local high school auditorium here. Naturally many of us protested and the Los Angeles School Board answered that they could only refuse him the privilege if it could be proven that he was subversive. This didn't sound like too much of a job so several prominent individuals such as Eddie Cantor, Harpo Marx, and representatives of 500 civic and religious organizations appeared before the School Board to prove Gerald was subversive. I might add our own outfit, the American Veterans Committee, was also represented by a group of men still in service. Smith appeared also and answered all questions by charging the delegations with being Communists. Our petitions were denied and Smith spoke last Saturday night in a local high school. Previous to this, however, some 500 high school students walked out of school and picketed the Board of Education. One statement in the press the following day hinted that these students were egged on by a sound truck representing a Jewish organization. This must have been something of a hot potato because the subsequent stories switched to a Communist influence. The police bravely assaulted the high school kids and managed to arrest about 20. Here is the statement for the press of Lawrence L. Larrabee, president of the School Board: 'It is obvious that these youngsters did not map this thing out by themselves. There were quite a few adults on the sidelines egging them on. The adults were of the same type that made all the noise during the two pressure meetings incited here on the Smith permit and in my opinion most of those people were Communists. This thing today is the most contemptible I have ever seen.' Keep in mind, Walter, that the two 'pressure meetings' were those I have described, 500 civic and religious organizations, war veterans, and so forth...Well, the great night dawned -- if a night can dawn -- last Saturday. We of A.V.C. had decided that pickets outside Smith's meeting were fine but wouldn't it be funny if he talked to the wrong audience! So, when Mr. Smith started his speech, the acoustics must have been pretty bad. All anyone could hear were the 'boo's' of a very disrespectful audience. We had five rows of servicemen right down in front reading newspapers. Mr. Smith lost his tie and his temper, never did make his speech, - just kept screaming that everyone in the joint was a Communist. In a city which is conducting as campaign for more police because of an unusual crime wave which city officials laid to lack of officers for adequate patrol, it seems strange that 400 policemen were assigned to this meeting. The excuse was to prevent a riot...When it became apparent that Gerald's needle had stuck and all he could say was 'Communist!', our hand-picked audience rose cheerfully, 'Heiled' him and adjourned to the Olympic Auditorium where a meeting was held under the auspices of the Mobilization for Democracy -- but the police weren't through. They followed us over, waited outside and when some of the high school students who were present at this meeting also left to go home, they were arrested for violating the curfew law. This is the first instance I have ever known of this law being enforced...J. Paul Elliott has charged the Mobilization for Democracy and Attorney-General Robert W. Kenney with inciting mass demonstrations bordering on riots...The only other alarming thing with all of this is the absolute refusal of the local papers to print a true story...." Folds, light tanning on first page, staple holes in upper margin of first and third pages, and a minute 3.25" long sliver cut away at the top edge of the third page. A truly magnificent letter in fine condition giving an insight into the political thinking of the 34-year-old actor who, just 16 months later, was elected President of the Screen Actors Guild.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
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