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1956. Called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, actor John Randolph refused to cooperate with the inquisitors. After thirteen years of blacklisting, he was to resurface on "Columbo," "The Bob Newhart Show," "Who's the Boss?" and "Roseanne".
The hearing was like a three-ring circus. You were surrounded by this tremendous spotlight of publicity: newspapers, television cameras, radio broadcasters. And all the hate groups were there every day in the first three or four rows. If you hadn't been blacklisted by that time, you knew you definitely were going to be. I went in with this attitude: You have no right to ask me what my political opinions are. And it's none of your business whether Joe Schlamps is a Communist or a Socialist or a Republican or a Democrat. That's his right. I would refuse to answer questions of that sort. They started with their whole rigmarole: What's your name? Where did you go to school? What shows have you been in? I was concerned that just answering, "Yes, I was a member of the Ibsen Theater," would open up an area. "Who else was there?" Suddenly you're mentioning eight other actors. What if they had some stoolie say the Ibsen Theater was run by a bunch of Commies? As much as you plan, you may open up an area that would lead to other people getting smeared. When they asked, "Are you working now?" I said, "With no intention to comment about this committee hearing, I'm in a play called Much Ado About Nothing."