|Editorial Advisory Board|
As previously mentioned, one particular source will be a sort of “star” in our documentary. That source is the transcript and recording of the Hearings Before The Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency Of The Committee On The Judiciary United States Senate Eighty-Third Congress Second Session Pursuant To S. 190.
There are a few key and well known stars of these hearings that are most often cited: Senator Kefauver, Dr. Fredric Wertham, William Gaines, and even Milton Caniff and Walt Kelly.
There are also lesser known individuals whose presence and testimony greatly informed the final report produced by the Committee.
During the mostly sedate and professional proceedings a few moments rise to the surface as... "bristly exchanges".
|Hennings on right|
The Senate Subcommitte on Juvenile Delinquency, represented by Senator Robert C. Hendrickson of New Jersey, Senator William Langer of North Dakota, Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, Senator Thomas C. Hennings, Jr. of Missouri, and counselors Herbert J. Hannoch and Herbert Wilton Beaser called to order hearings to investigate, discover, and act, in some way upon, a major concern in the United States: juvenile delinquency at its relationship to comic books. Senator Hennings, quite humbly, reiterates this goal as he thanks Mr. Henry Schultz, General Counsel for the Association of Comic Magazine Publishers, for his testimony (see video below).
In line with that, Senator Hennings had been a prominent critic of Senator Joseph McCarthy. In Donald J. Kemper's book Decade of Fear: Senator Hennings and Civil Liberties, the author illustrates the longstanding disapproval that Hennings had of McCarthy:
“In the early 1950 's Hennings began, undramatically but persistently, to oppose Senator McCarthy. In sum, he contributed as much as any single public figure to McCarthy's decline in power. His opposition had personal as well as political basis, for to him McCarthy embodied much that was personally and politically distasteful. McCarthy's crude discourtesy, his practice of name calling, his pursuit of personal vendettas, and his accusations based on flimsy evidence offended the Missourian's sense of decency, while the fever McCarthy fomented against the expression of any but the most orthodox and "patriotic" sentiments violated Hennings' commitment to the broadest liberty of thought and expression. Despite the very immediate danger of becoming involved in a personal feud with McCarthy, Hennings vigorously opposed him and, eventually, succeeded in lessening his impact on public life.”
Senator Hennings eventually led hearings investigating ethical violations of Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1952.
Fortunately, reason won out over panic and fear and McCarthy again found himself the subject of an investigation when in August of 1954 a Senate committee was formed to investigate his actions. In September the committee released a unanimous report calling McCarthy’s behavior as a committee chairman inexcusable, reprehensible, vulgar and insulting. By December the Senate passed a resolution condemning McCarthy for abusing his power as a senator.