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Theater of the MindImagination, Aesthetics, and American Radio Drama$
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Neil Verma

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226853505

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226853529.001.0001

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In Trials

In Trials

(p.203) Chapter 10 In Trials
Theater of the Mind
University of Chicago Press

In the summer of 1950, a series entitled “I Posed as a Communist for the FBI” was published in the Saturday Evening Post. It told the story of Matt Cvetic, a Pittsburgh clerk who was asked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to join the Communist Party of the United States as an informant in the 1940s. Cvetic's experiences were also fictionalized in the radio show I Was a Communist for the FBI. With so many radio programs dealing with disguise and undercover work by both authorities and civilians, the overmeaning of I Was a Communist seems to reside in a romance with the undercover life that underlies its efforts to model civic duty. This chapter looks at stories about undercover men, tests of conscience, and self-repression and argues that each of these narratives reveals new models of the mind emerging out of wartime patterns. It also examines how “psychological tests” became dominant in postwar radio.

Keywords:   Matt Cvetic, Communist, radio programs, psychological tests, undercover men, tests of conscience, self-repression, disguise, FBI

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