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No Rats Allowed


Jimmy Durante promoting the National Recovery Administration.

I am consistently amazed at FDR’s propaganda network. I can only imagine what conservatives would say if Obama tried something like this.

….From Michael Hiltzik’s book on the New Deal:

Ickes groused about having been forced at a movie theatre to sit through a film clip featuring “a most disgusting exhibition put on by a low-class comedian as NRA propaganda” before the main show began. (The unnamed comedian was Jimmy Durante.)

“It would hardly appeal to the lowest order of human intelligence,” Ickes recorded in his diary, “and I am wondering if this sort of thing is being put on extensively. If it is, it will do the NRA more harm than good.” Frances Perkins, overhearing Ickes complain, volunteered that she had heard that “movie audiences in New York City were booing NRA propaganda.”

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  • jim, some guy in iowa

    oh. my. god.

    how did something like that get by louis b mayer?

  • cpinva

    “I can only imagine what conservatives would say if Obama tried something like this.”

    well, it would be ok, until they finally figured out it wasn’t that NRA.

  • Manju

    At 00:20, Durante gives a Nazi salute.

    • He flat out does. It’s a joke, but he did. What a guy.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        Were the Nazis even all that well known in the States in 1933? Hitler had just become Chancellor, but I don’t know that anyone was paying attention to that at the time.

  • keta

    Well, over at the National Review Kevin D. Williamson will write a column tsk-tsking left-wing spokesmen for sleeping around and popularizing on-air shout-outs to their doxys, and professional douchehat Charles C. Johnson will tweet that he is going to post the full address of Mrs. Calabash.

    George Will will rhapsodize about the 1933 Yankees and then remember he needs a bowel movement so will jump-cut to Durante’s performance in The Man Who Came to Dinner and remind everyone that the delightful title character was played by Monty Wooley, who was a homosexual.

    Bill Kristol, actually having a bowel movement while speaking on Fox News, and sporting a thin, tight, supercilious smile (the personification of pinching one off) will remark that using old FDR propaganda films shows how truly desperate the Democrats have become.

    Sarah Palin will post the following on Facebook; “Even the lamestream media knows how you know me, and wee the people will unwaver in this fight against old clowns and that’s what makes America the greatest nation on the universe. Cornball appeals didn’t build this country. The DemoRats are scurrying! No siree! We real Americans built this up, and we earned it!

    Sean Hannity will have an exclusive on how the Schnozzola planted the seeds of Benghazi. Fox news will run a week-long expose on how many times Durante really had the clap and everyone on the right will write miles and miles of copy about how Hollywood has always been a den of over-sexed left-wing dim bulbs and what a shame our country has always been entertained by such un-American mediocrities.

    Reason magazine will publish an article entitled, The Ten Best Libertarian Vaudeville Acts In History. It will be in earnest.

    • Davis


    • Malaclypse

      professional douchehat Charles C. Johnson will tweet that he is going to post the full address of Mrs. Calabash.

      Nicely played.

  • andrewlong

    Well, tonight Obama was a good deal more soft-pedal in his delivery, but he doesn’t do so bad at the 21st-century brand of propaganda, The De₵ree:

    at 6:12, during the applause for a dig at Fox, check out the slightest hint of a Spockian ‘fascinating’ eyebrow raise. So good.

    • I beg to differ. That was a hint of a Colbert eyebrow.

  • Even the children are made into part of the Jimmy Durante Propaganda Machine!

  • Bruce Vail

    Obama did try something like this, getting Hollywood stars to endorse the ACA. The Republicans went nuts.

  • Probably what they’d say about Obama would be much like what conservatives said about FDR at the time.

  • NewishLawyer

    1. How would modern audiences react to a rich banker being told to hire a chauffer? How did audiences in the 1930s react to such a thing?

    2. The hypochondriac line was amusing but I bet the naysayers today would tsk tsk about health cots.

    3. I like the line about giving people more time off and hiring more people to have a full business time.

  • Davis

    Well, that made my day. Back in the 60s, when I was a teenager, my parents took me to see Durante in a Miami Beach nightclub. He was wonderful.

  • Russell Arben Fox

    This is awesome. Erik, you’ve done it again. I’m stealing this immediately.

    • Most of this stuff I steal from other people.

  • rea

    “movie audiences in New York City were booing NRA propaganda.”

    Hissing, surely?

  • steverinoCT

    Bonus Moe Howard, the exterminator.

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