Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive

Political Ads

1954 saw landmark events both domestically and abroad. Brown vs. the Board of Education ruled against segregation in schools; the US went public with its H-Bomb tests in the Bikini Atoll; rock n roll was on the rise; and the USSR, Red China, and colonialist events in Southeast Asia loomed threateningly against America's synthetic utopia of suburbia. 

In Indiana, political ads such as those of Congressman Shep. J. Crumpacker and Governor George Craig reflected the tensions between trying to represent the false sense of the idyllic, peaceful Midwest and the increasingly present reality of anxiety and change the domestic and world stage. 

Crumpacker, for District Three of Indiana, is shown talking to people of color, to the American Legion, to working class people in town and on farms, as well as presiding over fancy dinner events. He is a man for the people. One of Crumpacker's ads utilizes very transparent anti-Communist propaganda. Having established that Crumpacker is a man of the Indiana people-- honest, able, fair, and hard-working-- this ad states that the Communist Party of Indiana has written pamphlets denouncing Crumpacker. The subtle implication of this statement suggests that to not vote for Crumpacker is a vote in support of the Communists. Though the Red Scare would last until 1956, and the effects of the Cold War would be felt far further into the future, in December of 1954, the US Senate did vote to condemn the actions of Joseph McCarthy.

[Click image to watch film]