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KKK in Old Time Radio

The KKK is a terrorist organization which began by resisting the Republican-driven Reformation after the Civil War.

22 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 5 hours, 43 min)
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About this Old Time Radio Show

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2017 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

Although the growth of commercial radio was just that, commercial, there is a tendency to regard the medium during its early decades as being an overall force for good. To be sure, the general "wholesomeness" of network programming came from the sponsor's desire to offend as few consumers as possible, and the way Radio brought the Nation together through the Great Depression and after Pearl Harbor could be viewed as exercises in propaganda, with few exceptions Old Time Radio can be considered as morally upright. The medium's treatment of the Ku Klux Klan certainly bears out this hypothesis.

KKK Nazi Biplane

The Klan began in the days immediately after the Civil War. The group sought a measure of legitimacy by using the Greek term kuklos for circle as a name for their organization, but they adopted the terroristic tactics of the pre-War "slave patrols" which depended upon disguised night riders to put down slave rebellions, hunt run-aways, and keep freedmen in line. The KKK tried to build a reputation as an "Invisible Empire" and used an inefficient hierarchy based on a series of nonsensical titles. One of the early Klan's major objectives was to resist reforms to Southern politics mandated by the Republicans, and in time the South became a Democratic stronghold. However, the group's terrorist tactics were found to violate Federal law, a series of enforcement acts came from the US Congress, and the Klan was effectively marginalized.

D.W. Griffith's major film, The Birth of a Nation (1915) was one of Hollywood's first blockbuster hits and led to an upswing of Klan activity. There was a good deal of native resentment toward the influx of immigrants during the early decades of the Twentieth century, and this helped to spread the Klan's influence from the rural South up the eastern seaboard and into the Industrial Midwest. This "Second Klan" period is where Old Time Radio comes into the story.

During the summer of 1936, Front Page Drama dramatized the founding of the original Klan along with its night-rider tactics as an advertisement for a related story in the Heart Newspaper's Sunday supplement titled "The Invisible Empire". The next year, President Roosevelt nominated the first of nine appointments which he would make to the Supreme Court bench, Hugo Black, who would go on to have the fifth longest tenure in Supreme Court history. Black had been a very effective Democratic Senator from Alabama, and after failing to pass legislation which would have allowed him to "pack" the court, Roosevelt was determined to put a "thumping, evangelical New Dealer" on the bench. Soon after his appointment, the press revealed that Black had been a member of the KKK. During a broadcast from his home in Washington DC, Black admitted that he had indeed been involved in the Klan in his youth, but, "Before becoming a Senator I dropped the Klan. I have had nothing to do with it since that time. I abandoned it. I completely discontinued any association with the organization. I have never resumed it and never expect to do so." Black later claimed that he would have joined any organization in order to get votes.

Superman is not a racistIn the summer of 1946, the Institute for Democratic Education on their Lest We Forget series presented a radio play based on the life of Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian immigrant who fought for the Union Army and later founded the New York World newspaper. The episode revealed some of the secret ceremonies of the reformed KKK and the World's efforts to expose the Klan after the Great War. One of OTR's biggest blows against the Klan was not delivered by the journalists, however, the most influential voice in bringing down the Klan was that of Superman.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's character first appeared in the pages of Action Comics in 1938 and was featured in a daily newspaper strip in January 1939, but the superhero really caught the public's imagination when the Mutual network began broadcasting The Adventures of Superman in 1940. Many of the Man of Steel's characteristics were developed for the radio series, including his catchphrase "Up, Up, and Away!" Along with many other popular fictional characters, Superman fought against the Fascists during the Second World War, but after VJ Day the writers were becoming desperate to find a new villain.

That villain was presented to the writers by human rights activist Stetson Kennedy who had gone "undercover" with the Florida branch of the Klan and was anxious to share what he had learned. The organization which Superman fought was thinly disguised as "The Clan of the Fiery Cross" and did not specifically target African-Americans or Republican politicians, rather the story arc focused on the gullibility of the members and the avarice of the leadership. Although the Klan tried to begin a boycott against the show's sponsor, they were only made to look more ridiculous, and the public began to see the Klan as foolish. Membership recruitment fell off dramatically.

By the end of 1948, as the Cold War began to deepen the government had published a list of subversive and criminal organizations. In his report for December 5, 1948, on The Jergen's Journal reporter Walter Winchell called for the Klan to be added to the list, noting that although their power had abated somewhat, their agenda of hate still made them dangerous. The Klan would rise again in response to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and face the direct attention of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, but the organization was seen more as a criminal and domestic terrorist front than a political organization. The Klan still has a few active members in the deep South and is thought to be only on the fringe of the White Supremacy movement. What little recruitment that goes on occurs mostly behind prison walls.

See also Civil Rights, Racism, Discrimination, and Prejudice in Old Time Radio, KKK in Old Time Radio, Superman Fights the KKKPeople Take the LeadDestination Freedom, Racist Music, Former Slave Interviews, A New World A-Coming, and Minstrel Shows.

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2017 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:
  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    22 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 5 hours, 43 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      22 shows - total playtime 5 hours 43 minutes
      1. Front Page Drama 360620 0165 Invisible Empire.mp3
      2. Intolerance 371001.mp3
      3. Jergens Journal 481205.mp3
      4. Lest We Forget 460000 08 Story Of Joseph Pulitzer.mp3
      5. Mike Wallace Interviews 570505 KKK Eldon Edwards.mp3
      6. New World Coming 450121 31 Freedom Road.mp3
      7. Superman 460610 e0986 ClanOfTheFieryCross1.mp3
      8. Superman 460611 e0987 ClanOfTheFieryCross2.mp3
      9. Superman 460612 e0988 ClanOfTheFieryCross3.mp3
      10. Superman 460613 e0989 ClanOfTheFieryCross4.mp3
      11. Superman 460614 e0990 ClanOfTheFieryCross5.mp3
      12. Superman 460617 e0991 ClanOfTheFieryCross6.mp3
      13. Superman 460618 e0992 ClanOfTheFieryCross7.mp3
      14. Superman 460619 e0993 ClanOfTheFieryCross8.mp3
      15. Superman 460620 e0994 ClanOfTheFieryCross9.mp3
      16. Superman 460621 e0995 ClanOfTheFieryCross10.mp3
      17. Superman 460624 e0996 ClanOfTheFieryCross11.mp3
      18. Superman 460625 e0997 ClanOfTheFieryCross12.mp3
      19. Superman 460626 e0998 ClanOfTheFieryCross13.mp3
      20. Superman 460627 e0999 ClanOfTheFieryCross14.mp3
      21. Superman 460628 e1000 ClanOfTheFieryCross15.mp3
      22. Superman 460701 e1001 ClanOfTheFieryCross16.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    22 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 5 hours, 43 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      22 shows - total playtime 5 hours 43 minutes
      1. Front Page Drama 360620 0165 Invisible Empire.mp3
      2. Intolerance 371001.mp3
      3. Jergens Journal 481205.mp3
      4. Lest We Forget 460000 08 Story Of Joseph Pulitzer.mp3
      5. Mike Wallace Interviews 570505 KKK Eldon Edwards.mp3
      6. New World Coming 450121 31 Freedom Road.mp3
      7. Superman 460610 e0986 ClanOfTheFieryCross1.mp3
      8. Superman 460611 e0987 ClanOfTheFieryCross2.mp3
      9. Superman 460612 e0988 ClanOfTheFieryCross3.mp3
      10. Superman 460613 e0989 ClanOfTheFieryCross4.mp3
      11. Superman 460614 e0990 ClanOfTheFieryCross5.mp3
      12. Superman 460617 e0991 ClanOfTheFieryCross6.mp3
      13. Superman 460618 e0992 ClanOfTheFieryCross7.mp3
      14. Superman 460619 e0993 ClanOfTheFieryCross8.mp3
      15. Superman 460620 e0994 ClanOfTheFieryCross9.mp3
      16. Superman 460621 e0995 ClanOfTheFieryCross10.mp3
      17. Superman 460624 e0996 ClanOfTheFieryCross11.mp3
      18. Superman 460625 e0997 ClanOfTheFieryCross12.mp3
      19. Superman 460626 e0998 ClanOfTheFieryCross13.mp3
      20. Superman 460627 e0999 ClanOfTheFieryCross14.mp3
      21. Superman 460628 e1000 ClanOfTheFieryCross15.mp3
      22. Superman 460701 e1001 ClanOfTheFieryCross16.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players



    22 recordings on 6 Audio CDs
    total playtime 5 hours, 43 min

    KKK in Old Time Radio Disc A001

    1. Front Page Drama 360620 0165 Invisible Empire
    2. Intolerance 371001
    3. New World Coming 450121 31 Freedom Road
    4. Lest We Forget 460000 08 Story Of Joseph Pulitzer

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    KKK in Old Time Radio Disc A002

    1. Superman 460610 e0986 ClanOfTheFieryCross1
    2. Superman 460611 e0987 ClanOfTheFieryCross2
    3. Superman 460612 e0988 ClanOfTheFieryCross3
    4. Superman 460613 e0989 ClanOfTheFieryCross4

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    KKK in Old Time Radio Disc A003

    1. Superman 460614 e0990 ClanOfTheFieryCross5
    2. Superman 460617 e0991 ClanOfTheFieryCross6
    3. Superman 460618 e0992 ClanOfTheFieryCross7
    4. Superman 460619 e0993 ClanOfTheFieryCross8

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    KKK in Old Time Radio Disc A004

    1. Superman 460620 e0994 ClanOfTheFieryCross9
    2. Superman 460621 e0995 ClanOfTheFieryCross10
    3. Superman 460624 e0996 ClanOfTheFieryCross11
    4. Superman 460625 e0997 ClanOfTheFieryCross12

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    KKK in Old Time Radio Disc A005

    1. Superman 460626 e0998 ClanOfTheFieryCross13
    2. Superman 460627 e0999 ClanOfTheFieryCross14
    3. Superman 460628 e1000 ClanOfTheFieryCross15
    4. Superman 460701 e1001 ClanOfTheFieryCross16

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    KKK in Old Time Radio Disc A006

    1. Jergens Journal 481205
    2. Mike Wallace Interviews 570505 KKK Eldon Edwards

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00

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