EDWARD R. MURROW SLAYS McCARTHYISM.
In 1954, I was a 23-year-old Korean War vet who just landed my dream job at CBS Television as a designer in Bill Golden’s “Corporate Image” design department. In my first month at CBS, Bill Golden walked in to my office and announced, “George, it’s okay. No problem. The FBI came to see Dr. Stanton (the President of CBS) asking questions about you.”
“Yeah, what do they have on me?” I asked.
“Apparently they’re aware of your corresponding with Paul Robeson while you were in Korea,” Golden replied. “In fact they have copies of the letters between you two. But Dr. Stanton handled it. I’ve never heard him curse before, but he told them in no uncertain terms, 'George Lois is a Korean vet and a wonderful young man. Get out of my office!'”
But in February, 1954, Golden approached George and asked, “You want some revenge?” All America knew that on March 9, 1954, Edward R. Murrow was devoting his entire show to exposing Senator Joseph McCarthy and the shameful period of McCarthyism that gripped the very soul of America. And CBS needed a tune in ad for The New York Times.
Showing Golden my Saint George medallion, I said to my intrepid boss, “Bill, if you really want to nail that son-of-a-bitch, let's ask Ben Shahn to do a drawing of Edward R. Murrow as Saint George spearing Joe McCarthy as a fuckin’ dragon.”
Golden was stunned, and said, “Wow! But George, the Board will never buy it!”
The day before the show was to air, George was waiting in his office at CBS headquarters at 485 Madison after he had his production people send two engravings to The New York Times – one the St. George concept, the other a caricature of McCarthy – as the CBS lawyers argued with Golden, Murrow and Fred Friendly, the shows producer, about running such a cutting edge ad. They were up against a deadline, because he had to tell The Times which ad to run by 9 PM in order to make the morning edition.
At 8:55 PM, Golden finally called, “George, it’s Bill– go with St. George!