June 9, 2010

The McCarthy Hearings

The New York Times reminds us that on this day in 1954, attorney Joseph Welch faced down Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy. On behalf on his young colleague Fred Fisher, whom McCarthy had assailed indirectly as a Communist because he was a member of the National Lawyers Guild, Welch stormed,"[U]ntil this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness." According to the Times, he went on, "If there is a God in heaven, it [the attack on Mr. Fisher] will do neither you nor your cause any good." Members of the audience applauded Welch.

Welch later went on to be cast as the judge in Otto Preminger's film Anatomy of a Murder, opposite Jimmy Stewart as Paul Biegler, Ben Gazzara as Frederick Manion, and Lee Remick as Laura Manion. He also was a guest host on the Kraft Television Theatre and had some other hosting roles on television.