Jack's FBI file

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Jack's FBI file

Postby shimp scrampi » Thu May 25, 2006 12:07 pm

Roman's post over in the "program" sub-forum about the 1938 New York City had me Googling about the Burns/Benny/Chapereau smuggling case - and I came across this which should be interesting to all here - and is oddly appropriate considering some of the political happenings these days.

The FBI has a section on their website of files on famous folks, Jack included! No real dirt (what were you expecting!?) but it does offer some interesting insight into the Chapereau smuggling incident. The file is almost entirely about the smuggling case, with a couple of banal latter day requests for clearances to the white house or other government buildings.

This whole thing really went down at a fascinating social and political moment in US History - I doubt if the US wasn't teetering between sides in the war that this would have amounted to anything at all. There is clear evidence of this being some kind of anti-semitic lash at the Burnses and Bennys by the Nazi-sympathizer maid who was a key witness in all of this. One unattributed allegation claims that the Burnses were dope fiends, which is the reason why "Gracie always wears long sleeves"! (Of course, the real reason is her arm was badly scarred as a child).

Gracie Allen's file is also up but it appears to be pretty much a duplicate of the Benny file.


I had some real trouble with these PDF files using internet explorer, it worked much better in firefox for some reason.
shimp scrampi
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Postby mrdj » Thu May 25, 2006 2:11 pm

Thanks so much for the link! Interesting too, was the reference to Al Jolson and his anti Hitler remarks causing such a stir. I laughed at the letter complaning that the media shouldn't use Jack's 'Benny'. but Kubelski instead because it gave real Americans a bad name.
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Postby shimp scrampi » Thu May 25, 2006 2:51 pm

Darn furriners are tryin' to turn this country into Outer Waukegan! :roll:

I have to admit I haven't been able to get the twisted mental image out of my head of little Ronnie and Sandy tightening a belt around Gracie's arm while she taps a vein for her fix of Horse...

I know, I am sick puppy. :twisted:
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Postby Roman » Sat Jun 17, 2006 7:19 am

Very interesting file. Thank you for posting this. I agree that some of the talk today about immigrants (illegal or otherwise) sounds very similar to the nonsense spouted back then about Benny and Burns. I'm not sure that in 1939 we were teetering between support of the Nazis and the Allies (I think it was more between supporting Britain and France or staying out of the conflict altogether) but, as this file shows, there were more than a few Nazi sympathizers among our countrymen. If I'm not mistaken, I think there was a Nazi Bund rally held around this time in Madison Square Garden of all places. Of course, after Pearl Harbor, no one would admit to being pro-Nazi but this file reminds us that there was a time when some Americans (admittedly always a very small minority) supported Hitler and the Nazis.
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Postby Brad » Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:06 pm

Roman wrote:....I think there was a Nazi Bund rally held around this time in Madison Square Garden of all places....

Sorry for adding to a year-old post, but I find out the most interesting things by perusing old postings.

Yikes, there indeed was a German-American Bund, and yes there was a rally at Madison Square Garden.

Don't click here unless you have a strong stomach.

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/media_ph.php?l ... diaId=2742
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