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I have just ordered this book (10 day delivery) but am just champing at the bit at the thought that this Dr. Condon

who was one of the earliest victims of McCarthyism (The Case of Dr. Condon) might have been Richard Condon's father or another close relative. Bert Andrews actually won The Pulitzer Prize in Jounalism for this expose and you can get it for less than $5.00

from abebooks.com or alibris.com or a few other locations.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. If our geneaology experts can find out the name of Richard Condon's father

that would also be very helpful to compare it to the name of the Dr. Condon in this book. He was targeted by Edgar

J. Hoover in 1947-48 right about the time my father was also targeted and hounded for stating that Robert Paine harbored

some early communal living sentiments, leanings and poltical views.

Full name is Dr. Edward Uhler Condon...


Edited by John Bevilaqua
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Dr. Condon's initials were E. U. Condon according to this doctoral dissertation....


Edward U. Condon, 1902-1974

The extraordinary career of Edward Uhler Condon, president of the American Physical Society (1946) and of the American Association of Physics Teachers (1964) ended with his death in Boulder, Colorado, on 26 March 1974.

Born in Alamogordo, New Mexico, on 2 March 1902, Edward Condon was one of the young American scientists who made the pilgrimage in 1926 to Gottingen and Munich and grasped immediately the significance and power of the new quantum theory. As an undergraduate, Condon had worked as a reporter for the Oakland Inquirer, thinking he might pursue a career in journalism. But the intellectual challenge of physics, after a brief flirtation with chemistry, caught his fancy. When he returned from Gottingen, he worked briefly as a public-relations man for Bell Labs, lectured at Columbia, then embarked on an academic career that took him to Princeton, Minnesota, and back to Princeton, where he taught until 1937.

Like most great scientists, Condon made important contributions w hile still a student. The basis for his papers on the separability of electronic and vibrational motions in molecules (the Franck-Condon Principle) was in his Berkeley thesis. With R.W. Gurney, he was an early explorer of quantum-mechanical tunneling, applied to the phenomenon of alpha-particle radioactivity. In 193, with Gregory Breit and Richard Present, he interpreted proton-proton scattering data and established the importance of charge independence in the strong nuclear interaction. His early solid-state theory work was the explanation of optical rotatory power, and later he studied semiconductor contact potentials.

With Philip M. Morse, he wrote the first English-language text on quantum mechanics (1929). With G.H. Shortley, he wrote the Theory of Atomic Spectra (1936), still the primary treatise in the field. In later years, the Handbook of Physics which he edited with Hugh Odishaw, and his editorship of Reviews of Modern Physics demonstrated once again his facility for dealing with the full range of topics in physics. Younger physicists who may wish to emulate Condon's courageous public record as an outspoken defender of truth, civil liberties, and peace may lose sight of the momumental research contributions that won him the admiration of his fellow scientists and the respect of the public, which permitted him to make a major impact on public affairs.

The second phase of Condon's career began with his move to Westinghouse as associate director of research, just two years before the beginning of World War II in Europe. He brought Westinghouse into the nuclear age and earned an accolade from Time as "king of the atomic world". He served on the National Defense Research Committee during World War II, but was not present at his birthplace in Alamogordo when the Trinity explosion gave that small New Mexico town its second claim to fame.

With the war over, Condon became director of the National Bureau of Standards, and, concurrently, science advisor to Senator Brian McMahon, chairman of the special Senate committee on atomic energy. McMahon was leading the forces for civilian control of the nuclear-weapons program and with Condon's active help saw success in the McMahon-Douglas bill, passed in August 1946. Condon believed deeply that civilian control over nuclear weapons development and production was essential to avoidance of nuclear war.

At NBS, as he had at Westinghouse, Condon concentrated his attention on good science, stripping away administrative encrustations of the past, hiring the next generation of scientific leadership, pulling together programs (like building technology) of great potential benefit to the public. He built the NBS Boulder Laboratories. But soon these accomplishments were dwarfed in the public eye by the relentless attacks of Congressman J. Parnell Thomas and the House Un-American Activities Committee, which Thomas headed. The press picked up the phrase in a HUAC report that stated "It appears that Dr. Condon is one of the weakest links in our atomic security." Time and time again, his security clearance status was reviewed and re-established, only to be challenged again. Finally, in 1951, wiht his record cleared and with Parnell Thomas in Danbury Prison, convicted of taking kickbacks from his office staff, Condon left government to become head of research and development for the Corning Glass Works.

In October 1954, Condon's Navy clearance was again re-established in connection with government contract research at Corning. When the clearance was dramatically suspended by intervention of the Secretary oft he Navy, the press reported that Vice President Nixon, a former member of HUAC, implied in campaign speeches that he had requested the suspension.

Ten years later, after Condon had taught at Oberlin two years and at Washington University for seven, he moved to Boulder, Colorado, as professor of physics and fellow of the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics. His security clearance was quietly restored, clearing his record once again.

What kind of man was he? Grace Marmor Spruch's profile in Saturday Review (1 February 1969) says it well:

"The composite Condon is a moral, impassioned man, with a depth of concern for mankind not common in scientists; a man fiercely principled and anti diplomatic; a man who believes and feels in sharp contrasts, and who will let the world know his position without ambiguity. Fuzzimindedness is an anathema to him and he insists on saying so at every opportunity. But this rasping trait is wedded to an extreme generosity and kindness. Throughout his life he has given freely of his time, his counsel, his finances, and his home."

Watergate came as no surprise to Edward Condon, nor did its aftermath. I imagine he would like to have lived to see the outcome of the impeachment inquiry. But Condon understood and paid his share of the price of liberty. Somehow his idealism, his sense of humor and his inexhaustible energy made his relentless quest for a better world look like optimism. He was elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science during the height of his troubles with HUAC. He was president of the society for Social Responsibility in Science (1968-69) and was co-chairman of the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (1970). He was appropriately honored on his retirement from JILA and the University of Colorado in the summer of 1970 by the volume edited by Brittin and Odabasi. Brittin relates a comment about Condon by E. Bright Wilson: "Sometimes I think he looks for trouble", Wilson said. Condon's reply: "It's not hard to find."

Sadly, brilliant scientists - who serve their country and principles, their love of truth and their fellow citizens with relentless determination and delightful good humour - are hard to find indeed.

Lewis M. Branscomb

Vice President and Chief Scientist

International Business Machines Corporation

[Crow Professorship Home]


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Before Joseph McCarthy, There Was Robert Stripling

We never won the Cold War as decisively as we should have.

-- blogger "Fjordman," posted at Gates of Vienna


Before there was Joseph McCarthy there was Robert Stripling.

The chapter whose excerpts appear at the end of this post is found in Robert Stripling's The Red Plot Against America. The Red Plot was published in 1949, but has long been forgotten due to the liberal memory hole that dictates our popular recollections of that era. Having served ten years as Chief Investigator of the bipartisan House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), Stripling provided a substantive primer on the precise nature of the Communist threat against the United States of America -- specifically, the threat from within the United States of America. The Red Plot narrates HUAC's meticulous work -- names and dates, details and wranglings -- which had been underway since 1938 and in which Stripling had been a prime mover.

With America touched by the same totalitarian trends that had been blowing through Europe since the 1920s, HUAC was the premier governmental body to wage what I suggest we regard as the "culture war" of what (perhaps too hastily) has since been lauded as "the Greatest Generation." More to the point, HUAC was the scene of that generation's most charged political theater. Congress had created the Committee in the 1930s to publicly gather information on, primarily, American Nazis, Klansmen, and other homegrown fascists. Only later, as Communism's wide scope and insidious nature became apparent, did HUAC set out to expose the vast leftwing conspiracy of its American operations, a conspiracy propagated by both card-carrying members and fellow-traveling sympathizers. (Above: Robert Stripling and HUAC member Richard Nixon examine subpoenaed documents)

Then -- as now -- moments of battlefield sacrifice and triumph could not, by themselves, efface grave civilizational uncertainties. On one hand, in 1946 Winston Churchill had delivered his Iron Curtain speech demarcating the line between the free and Communist worlds. Beginning in the summer of 1948 Whittaker Chambers had delivered ("more or less by chance," as Stripling relates) damning testimony about the Communist cell that had operated within successive Roosevelt Administrations and even in the newly-formed United Nations. On the other hand, that same fall breakaway Democrat Henry Wallace's presidential campaign with the "Progressive Party," which fronted for the American Communist Party, had received over 1.1 million votes (more than half, not surprisingly, coming from New York and California). Similar to today's neoconservative priorities -- of overhauling post-Cold War American attitudes to one-time geopolitical partners such as Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, the Palestinian Authority, and the Saudi royal family -- Stripling sensed, during his own era of unsettling realignments, a gap in our discourse vis-a-vis Communism. And he raced to fill it.

Note well that when The Red Plot was being written, the junior senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, was still just a blip on the national radar. Goaded, perhaps, by the force of Stripling's argument -- which voiced frustration at the many obstacles placed in HUAC's way, including those from the Roosevelt White House -- McCarthy went on the offensive in the year following the book's publication, delivering his famous "Enemies Within" speech in February 1950.

Yet The Red Plot Against America contains nothing that is "McCarthyite" and everything that is "Striplingite." It is a substantive rendering in plain, everyday English of the hard, often thankless, often vilified investigation into the American social fabric when European civilization was collapsing for the second time in 30 years. This work was undertaken -- transparently and vigorously -- by a small group of freedom-loving Americans in Washington, DC in order to preserve the integrity, viability, and endurance of the land Lincoln described as "the last best hope of Earth."

Similarities to today's fight against Islamist infiltration and subversion of the West, a fight waged in large part on the Internet -- and just a portion of the Internet at that -- will, or should, be self-evident. (If not, then click through the links in the "Top Shelf Reads" category in the right column, including the brave, trail-blazing online work of Cinnamon Stillwell, Debbie Schlussel, Pamela Atlas and more.) A revival of HUAC in our time, in spirit and perhaps also in form, should be on the table. It's a matter of hard-nosed common sense and good governance. My principal concern, frankly, would be not for the mission of such a federal committee, but for the mettle of the members selected (or who would offer) to serve on it.

Lifetime conservatives (of which I'm not) typically trumpet America's Cold War victory against the Soviet Union, a victory won despite decades of liberal opposition. Such conservatives have bragging rights, I guess. Thus Ann Coulter can pose for a photo at Senator McCarthy's grave and suggest, as she did at CPAC 2007, that student Republicans form "Joe McCarthy clubs" on college campuses. But bragging rights bring with them even bigger responsibilities. During our post-Cold War era there are many parallels to be observed and lessons to be learned from the "culture war" that was underway before the Cold War had even begun.


From "Conclusions," Chapter 13 of The Red Plot Against America

[emphases and links added to suggest comparisons with contemporary issues]:

In this concluding article of my series I'd like to get a few things off my chest, things I could not say while working for the House Un-American Activities Committee.

I don't regret any of the years I spent with the Committee, though the work was neither easy nor rewarding. It was work that somebody had to do, and from its seed has sprung two tremendous Government programs, the $17,000,000 [1949 dollars] inquiry into the loyalty of Government employees and, directly or indirectly, the multi-billion dollar Marshall Plan....

But the House Committee, pioneers and forerunners in this work, at a meager fraction of the cost of subsequent development, has never known a period when it was not under attack. Vilification from Communists is understandable, for the Committee wields a tremendous weapon against them: exposure. Criticism from honest liberals has hurt the Committee much more. I know the morale of my own staff reached an all-time low when, after we unearthed the "pumpkin papers" which conclusively corroborated the spy-ring testimony of Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley, President Truman repeated his charge that it was all a red herring.

Yet Mr. Truman emphasized in his vigorous Inaugural Address the very differences between Communism and Democracy which the Committee had been revealing -- through the lips of willing or reluctant witnesses -- for more than ten years. Labor leaders who condemned us a decade ago for suggesting that their unions were being contaminated by Communism have since reluctantly conceded that we were correct.

President Roosevelt made at least two determined efforts to wipe out the Committee. Failing, for the simple reason the people want the Committee, he demanded of Martin Dies that the Committee thereafter confine its inquiries to Fascist activities. Committee members who tended to regard Communism with the same cold eye as they regarded Nazism were signaled out for especial scorn by pet columnists and commentators. The Committee was forbidden to reveal, six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the scope of Japanese subversion in Hawaii and on the Pacific Coast. It is unimportant but relevant that I, after being instrumental in exposing the fact that Joe Lash and other pro-Communist youth leaders were enjoying White House hospitality, was "railroaded" into the Army. I quote the word "railroaded" because it is not mine. It was said by two Army colonels in discussing with me the curious phases of my induction.

The legend has grown and has been carefully nurtured by clandestine and well-meaning interests, that the Committee has ignored Fascism to concentrate on Communism. That is a lie, as our records will prove. As the one more familiar with those records than anyone else, I know there are still many Fascists and fellow scum in the country, ready to pollute the American bloodstream. All they lack is a Fuehrer. Martin Dies fought the Ku Klux Klan in the face of six-shooters. My father campaigned against the Klan when it meant that he must face political ruin in his district and danger to himself and his family.

The Nazis lack a Fuehrer and a purpose. The Communists have both, and combine the fanaticism of Hitler's followers with remarkable guile. They are irrevocably charged with fighting almost every ideal which made this country great. In event of a war with Russia they will be infinitely more destructive saboteurs than were the comparatively clumsy Nazi subersives.

It is not easy to fight Communism. Communism, contrary to a popular phrase, IS something new under the sun. Its members and champions, many of them misguided liberals, can infiltrate, contaminate and dominate almost any field -- including the pulpit, though Communism is by rule a Godless calling. Graduates of Russian training schools are the world's leading authorities in the practices of disorder. It is incontrovertible that every key point, strategically, in the United States has been studied faithfully against the day when peaceful-looking American Reds will be called upon to come into the open and fight for Mother Russia. We have shown through testimony that they are past masters at working within the warp and woof of the United States Constitution. We have seen Henry Wallace, their befuddled sympathizer, come within a heartbeat of the Presidency [the Soviet dupe and "spiritual window-shopper" had served as vice president up until three months before FDR's death]. We know from the testimony of ex-Communists Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley that many Communists and distinguished followers have risen high in Government circles.

We further know that between January 1, 1947 and December 16, 1948, 151 State Department people were removed from the Federal payroll, 91 of whose cases were classified as "of acute significance." And that is only one department. Coincidentally or not, it was State Department policy which abandoned China's 400,000,000 humans to the advances of Russian-controlled Chinese Red armies, and it is the considered opinion of men like Gens. Claire Lee Chennault [commander of the Flying Tigers, which included the author of God Is My Co-Pilot] and Patrick J. Hurley that we may one day be confronted by many of these millions, armed and thoroughly indoctrinated [one word: Korea]. Coincidentally or not, it was the State Department -- admittedly contaminated at that time -- which sold Poland, another ally, down the river.

One of the chief criticisms directed at the House Committee is that we have smeared the reputations of good citizens. As I said earlier, I am not the official apologist of the Committee. It has made its mistakes. But whenever I hear anyone use the word "smear" in connection with the Committee's efforts I must ask him to name those persons we have smeared (of the hundreds of witnesses we have heard and the thousands of names introduced).

The name of Dr. Edward U. Condon, director of the National Bureau of Standards, usually is brought up. Beyond his name there is usually silence. As I have pointed out, I made an effort to have Condon called as a witness in answer to his request. That he wasn't called, however, is comprehensible. This friend of many pro-Communists, who was not cleared by the Atomic Energy Commission to share A-bomb secrets at the time he was in charge of the Bureau's atomic scientists, was not heard because the Committee could not obtain from the White House the letter which J. Edgar Hoover had written suggesting that Condon was a poor security risk. I hope the Committee eventually gets that letter. I hope it hears Condon.

If Americans believed all they have read in anti-Committee papers they must believe we used rubber hoses to extract testimony. The Committee is not a judicial body and never will be by law. It cannot operate under the rules of evidence, cannot issue indictments, cannot hand down verdicts. It was established solely to hear witnesses and, from their testimony, to recommend legislation.

The Committee absorbed considerable punishment during its investigation of Communism in Hollywood, where the ideology has taken such a foothold that there are figures to prove that Party collections from members and their followers amount to $32,000 a week [1949 dollars]. It was held in many quarters that we had no right to ask witnesses whether they were Communists. It was said that a man's politics are his own business, as indeed they are.

But we were not asking for information on a political affiliation. We simply asked these people, by asking them if they were Communists, whether they were members of a conspiracy determined to overthrow this form of Government. The fact that ten of them refused to answer on constitutional grounds, knowing, perhaps, that the Committee was in possession of 33 Communist Party cards of Hollywood celebrities, is, I will continue to believe, most significant.

It is equally significant that ten of the 40-odd witnesses we questioned in the Alger Hiss-Whittaker Chambers case stood on their constitutional tights, and that in his own testimony Hiss made 198 uses of the phrase "to the best of my recollection" or its qualifying counterparts.

The Committee hears, by and large, a type of witness completely foreign to other Congressional committees in search of information. More often than not it is faced with subversives and fellow travelers who are superbly well trained and well advised in the incitement of public sentiment. The reactions of some members to their type of testimony have been provoked very artfully.

What the Committee has revealed over the last ten years is hard for many Americans to believe. The average citizen cannot comprehend that one of the top officials of the super-important Board of Economic Warfare was a gamboling nudist whose literary output had to be confined to the pornographic division of the Library of Congress; that his successor was a kind of male strip-teaser dancer; that pressure enough was put on respectable authorities to cause the shipment out of this country of more than 1,300 pounds of uranium products at the time we were attempting to develop the A-bomb; that the chief Russian spy in the A-bomb espionage ring was impervious to arrest....

Ten years ago Joe Curran, of the Maritime Union, denounced the Committee vitriolically when we tried to bring out that his union was saturated by Communism. In 1946 he had to fight for his life against he Communists he had nurtured. We have seen the same things happen in many unions. But when one of our first witnesses warned against that peril, [HUAC member Martin] Dies was called to the White House and castigated by President Roosevelt for picking on the CIO on the eve of an election.

Leon Josephson, one of the few witnesses we've had who was prosecuted by the Justice Department and imprisoned for the contempt he displayed for Congress, once said to an American consular officer, "I consider the orders of the Central Committee of the Communist Party above the laws of the United States, and I would do anything short of murder to carry them out." Many others the Committee has heard might have been as frank.

The Committee, as constituted, is not equipped to deal with Communism. Communism has brought into being new techniques and tactics never envisioned by the founders of our Government. It may well be necessary to streamline even our judicial processes if we are going to cope with the menace. Gerhart Eisler's case is pertinent. He functioned for 20 years in this country, carrying out some of the most treasonable acts imaginable. The most closely organized group ever to appear on the American scene was at his command. He traveled back and forth to the U.S.S.R. on false passports; defied Congress. Yet he is still out of jail, and travels extensively over this country making speeches under the auspices of various front organizations whose leaders are dedicated to the destruction of this Government. [He would flee the U.S. clandestinely in 1950.]

Committee investigators were long encouraged by the White House to exterminate Nazis by exposing them, which we did to a great extent. But when two of our men raided Communist headquarters in Philadelphia and seized records of great concern to the interests of the people, they were arrested on the orders of a Federal judge and the Committee was ordered to return the files.

The F.B.I., if left alone, could clear up Communism in this country. I'd trust my life and the lives of my family in the hands of the F.B.I., if no political considerations were involved. It should be an independent bureau. Instead, it is hitched to the Department of Justice whose top men, politically appointed, are sometimes guided by political considerations. As extensive as are the files of the House Committee (files consulted by 20,000 accredited Government agents in the last decade) the F.B.I. files are of much greater magnitude. J. Edgar Hoover's men could round up at least 25,000 potential Communist saboteurs in short order, if war broke out with Russia. Some F.B.I. men, however, have discovered that their most comprehensive investigations of Communist subversives have been ignored when recommendations were urged for their prosecution. We know, for these men have come to us for support, and so have Civil Service Commission investigators, State Department men and others -- their morales cracked by frustration....

Personally, I seem to have committed the crime of attempting to expose people who seek to destroy our way of life. It is a job for which I was hired by chosen representatives of the people of the United States; a job to which I attended to the best of my ability. It is not a very good job, really, for the simple reason that it is now unfashionable, if that is the word, to be primarily interested in America and the preservation of its liberties. Apparently it is bad taste to expose the fact that Government documents of great importance are being stolen; that a President demanded the admission to this country of Mrs. Earl Browder [Earl Browder: socialist anti-draft agitator during World War I; Communist Party candidate for president of the United States, 1936 and 1940; imprisoned for passport violations, 1939; sentence commuted by FDR, 1942; died, 1973], over the protests of the State Department, because he did not want to be embarrassed by Joe Stalin's questions; that a number of Government officials, by their admission or refusal to answer, have been mixed up with a gang of cold-blooded subversives; that choice military secrets, including A-bomb data, have been passed on to the leaders of a country which since V-E day has overrun Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Albania and most of China.

* * *


FTR, like almost every single book that has been decisive in my political maturation, no one and nothing in our contemporary American experience pointed me to The Red Plot Against America -- not one friend (many of whom are former friends), not one relative, not one teacher or college professor, nothing in popular or intellectual culture nor in the MSM -- nothing except my own disillusionment with leftwing politics, and my consequential efforts to come to terms with their legacy.

July 11, 2007 in American History, Anti-Dhimmitude, Conservatism, GWOI - The 21st Century's Good Fight, Leftism, Leftwing Liberalism, Post-IWP, Russia, Second Thoughts, The Blogosphere | Permalink


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Edward U. Condon was DEFINITELY NOT Richard Condon's father...but as one of the 1st victims of McCarthyism remains an important figure.

Edward could have been related to Richard Condon just the same with another relationship.

Richard (Thomas) Condon (1915-1996)

American satirical novelist, playwright, and crime writer, best known for his thrillers THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1959) and PRIZZI'S HONOR (1982). Condon ridiculed among other things American politics, President Ronald Reagan, the U.S. Mafia, Hollywood agents, and fast-food business, all representing interconnected aspects of the same mad reality. Several of Condon's books have been made into films.

"I thought that Condon's The Manchurian Candidate was one of the best books I had ever read. I just couldn't put it down and after I had read it, I thought, 'I've just got to make a film of it.' It had great social and political significance for me at the time, and it has certainly been - unfortunately - a horribly prophetic film. It's frightening what has happened in our country since that film was made." (Frankenheimer in The Cinema of John Frankenheimer by Gerald Pratley, 1969)

Richard Condon was born in New York City as the son of Richard and Martha (Pickering) Condon. He was educated in public schools and served in the United States Merchant Navy. In 1938 he married Evelyn Hunt; they had two daughters. Condon worked briefly in advertising and then from 1936 as a publicist in the American film industry for 21 years, among others for Walt Disney Productions, Hal Horne Organization, Twentieth-Century Fox, Richard Condon Inc., and other firms. In 1951-52 he was a theatrical producer in New York and wrote a play, MEN OF DISTINCTION (1953). At the time it produced, he resigned as a vice president of RKO-Radio Pictures. As a novelist Condon made his debut with THE OLDEST CONFESSION (1958). "I am considered a compulsive writer because I spend a seven-hour day and a seven-day week at the typewriter," Condon once confessed. After moving to Paris in the 1950s, Condon lived with his family in Spain, Ireland, and Switzerland. Richard Condon died in Dallas on April 9, 1996.

Condon's most famous thriller, The Manchurian Candidate, has inspired two film productions. In John Frankenheimer's Cold War version from 1962 a soldier, Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) comes back with his platoon from the Korean War with a Congressional Medal of Honour. However, he has been brainwashed with the rest of his unit by Chinese during his captivity in North Korea, and primed to kill at the release of a certain code. Shaw's primary target is a U.S. presidential nominee. His own mother (Angela Lansbury) turns out the be the Russian agent, who plans to elevate her husband to the White House. In the case of Major Marco (Frank Sinatra) the brainwashing has been only partially successful, and Marco unlocks Shaw's mind. Shaw kills his mother, stepfather, and then himself. "MARCO: Poor Raymond... poor friendless... friendless Raymond. He was wearing his Medal when he died. I tried to tell you what that means... to be a Medal of Honor winner... to a soldier, anyway..." (from George Axelrod's screenplay) The film was forbidden in Finland during a period of self-censorship, when center-left coalition governments wanted to maintain a good and trusting relationship with the Soviet Union. In spite of political conjunctures, the book was translated into Finnish in 1960. In thas been said, that the film was taken out of circulation in the United States after President John F. Kennedy was shot to death in Dallas. Condon's controversial story inspired also Jonathan Demme's film version from 2004, starring Denzel Washington as the plagued soldier and Meryl Streep as the intriguing mother. In this remake the Operation Desert Storm provided the background for the paradoid story.

In the next ten years Condon published prolifically. His novel, A TALENT FOR LOVING (1964), a love story set in the world of bold and beautiful, was made into a film in 1969, starring Richard Widmark and Cesar Romero. AN INFINITY OF MIRRORS (1964) is a story about Paule, a daughter of a great Jewish actor, and Veelee, a descendant of a German military family, who fall in love in Paris. They marry, but on the eve of World War II their paths separate. When the persecution of the Jews starts, Paule leaves her husband, part of the monstrous machine. Veelee continues his career in the army and Paule finds a new lover. The death of their son, Paul-Alain, finally awakes Paule and Veele to see themselves as puppets of evil. "What I wanted to say," explained the author, "was that when evil confronts us in any form, it is not enough to flee it or to pretend that it is happening to somebody else..."

"Paule concentrated on her house, on becoming a good German wife, and on learning to think and feel like a German... She had already read Nietzsche and it had madeher giggle, but she reread him with the memory of the storm troopers at earnest work all around the army staff car. She felt at home with Stefan George and von Hofmannstahl, though George's work had been used recently to make the Nazis more palatable in German intellectual circles. She would not read Kafka, the Czech whom the Germans adored; she could not afford hopelessness." (from An Infinity of Mirrors, 1964)

Condon gained critical success again in 1974 with the WINTER KILLS. It paralled the lives of the members of the Kennedy family with a theme that murdering presidents is a good idea for world leaders who wish to better themselves. The story was also filmed, but despite its cast included Anthony Perkins, Dorothy Malone, Sterling Hayden, Elisabeth Taylor (uncredited) and John Huston, it was never satisfactorily released. One of its producers was murdered and the other sent down for forty years on a drugs charge. Jeff Bridges played a likeable dope and the half-brother of President Keegan, who was assassinated in 1960, tries to track down the man who ordered the murder. John Huston is his father (a Joseph P.Kennedy figure) who walks around in red bikini shorts. William Richert wrote and directed the film which has enjoyed a cult status. "The tongue-in-cheek approach makes what could have been a provocative vision of the corrupt American power elite into something quite trivial. Picture was shut down before completion, and in an effort to raise additional money, Richert made The American Success Company with Bridges and Bauer. Revised for a 1982 re-lease." (from Guide for the Film Fanatic by Danny Peary, 1986)

The political scene and its scoundrels gave much material for Condon's novels. "Politics is a from of high entertainment and low comedy," Condon once wrote. "It has everything: it's melodramatic, it's sinister and it has wonderful villains." American presidents are portrayed in THE STAR-SPANGLED CRUNCH (1974) and THE FINAL ADDICTION (1991), in which a simpleton from Connecticut, Goodie Noon, succeeds President Reagan, and a frankfurter salesman, Owney Tompkins Hazman, tries to find his long-lost mother, Oona Noon, and becomes involved with political maneuvers. In EMPEROR OF AMERICA (1990) a private-sector nuclear device explodes in Washington, wipes out the White House. The Royalist Party and the National Rifle Association take the responsibility but Condon's target is Reaganism and its legacy, embodied in the character of an Army colonel, Caesare Appleton, who becomes Emperior Caesare I. Condon wrote: "The Reagan Administration - that shining definition of reigning glamour and romance associated with queens, big money, great dressmakers, great poverty, colorful (moderate) mullahs, glamorous (if shocking) scandals and entertaining South American drug lords - had overtaken the national imagination of a society which had been compartmentalized by money."

In 1982 appeared Prizzi's Honor, the first part of Condo's 'Prizzi' saga. The satiric tale of the Mafia killers, and their romance was filmed in 1985, starring Kathleen Turner and Jack Nicholson. Condon wrote the script with Janet Roach. The film follows the novel fairly closely. Charley Partanna, a friend of pasta and a slow-witted hit man from a close-knit Mafia family, falls in love with a woman, Irene Walker, whose husband he had killed as a traitor. The woman turns out to be a freelance assassin. They start to plan a marriage, but finally the both assassins are hired to kill each other. Condon's stories often deal with the theme of loyalty and betrayal. Charley is loyal to his employees, although he do not want to marry one of the Prizzi daughters, Maerose (Anjelica Huston, the director's daughter in the film.) Irene wants to keep the money her late husband stole from the Prizzis. "Rest assured, however, Mr. Condon never allows reality to be too great a burden for the reader. Charley and Irene, in different ways, are eventually undone by the author's delightfully preposterous and perverse plot complications, but throughout the novel, Mr. Condon's wicked sense of humor keeps the dealings and double-dealings in proper perspective." (Robert Asahina in The Nwe York Times, April 18, 1982) Charley learns his lesson-there is no future outside the Family.

PRIZZI'S FAMILY (1986) was a prequel to Prizzi's Honor. Charley Partanna appeared again in PRIZZI'S GLORY (1988), in which Charley marries Maerose Prizzi, and becomes Charles Macy Barton. This time he leaves the street operations for politics and other kind business. PRIZZI'S MONEY (1994) told a story of a woman, Julia Asbury, the daughter of a Prizzi hit man. After a few double-crosses, she is chased by the Prizzis who want their money back. Charley is sent after Julia but he falls madly in love with her: " They made cosmic music together. Why else, Charley asked himself, did he always wear a jacket and a necktie when he saw her?"

For further information: Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers, ed. John M. Reilly (1985); The Reader's Companion to the Twentieth-Century Writers, ed. by Peter Parker (1995)

Selected works:

MEN OF DISTINCTION, 1953 (play, prod. in New York)

THE OLDEST CONFESSION, 1958 - Väärät madonnat (suom. Antti Vahtera, 1960) - film: The Happy Thieves, dir. George Marshall, starring Rita Hayworth, Rex Harrison, Joseph Wiseman, Alida Valli

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, 1959 - Mantšurian sankari (suom. Juhana Perkki, 1960) - films: 1962, prod. M.C. Productions, directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Laurence Harvey, Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury; 2004, prod. Paramount Pictures, dir. by Johathan Demme, starring Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep, Jon Voight


A TALENT FOR LOVING; OR, THE GREAT COWBOY RACE, 1961 - film: A Talent for Loving, 1969, dir. Richard Quine, starring Richard Widmark, Cesar Romero, Caroline Munro, Topol


AN INFINITY OF MIRRORS, 1964 - Mustien kotkien vuodet (suom. Seppo Heikinheimo, 1965)

screenplay: A TALENT FOR LOVING, 1965 - film 1969, dir. by Richard Quine, starring Richard Widmark, Cesar Romero, Topol, Genevieve Page



screenplay: THE SUMMER MUSIC, 1969

screenplay: THE LONG LOUD SILENCE, 1969





WINTER KILLS, 1974 - film 1979, dir. by William Richert, starring Jeff Bridges, John Huston, Elisabeth Taylor, Sterling Hayden, Eli Wallach, Dorothy Malone, Richard Boone, Toshiro Mifune and Anthony Perkins










screenplay: PRIZZI'S HONOR, 1984 - film 1985, prod. ABC Motion Pictures, directed by John Huston, starring Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner, Robert Loggia







Edited by John Bevilaqua
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