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Liking IkeEisenhower, Advertising, and the Rise of Celebrity Politics$
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David Haven Blake

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190278182

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190278182.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 July 2021

The Biggest Fan in the World

The Biggest Fan in the World

(p.151) 7 The Biggest Fan in the World
Liking Ike

David Haven Blake

Oxford University Press

As it was advising President Eisenhower and the Republican Party, BBDO was grooming Ronald Reagan as a corporate spokesman and the host of an anthology drama series on CBS, General Electric Theater. Experts in the practice of institutional advertising and committed to reducing the risks of its corporate clients, the agency had become such a fierce defender of the television and radio blacklists that it earned the nickname “The Little Court House on Madison Avenue.” As the president of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan had appeared as a friendly witness before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. With his strong connections to Robert Montgomery and reputation as a solid anti-Communist, Reagan had the political credentials to satisfy BBDO as someone who could promote GE’s interests as being vital to American progress and democracy. Reagan’s transition from liberal actor to conservative politician has long been part of American mythology. Aided by internal publicity plans and account reports, this chapter tells the story of Reagan’s rise from the perspective of advertising and celebrity.

Keywords:   Ronald Reagan, General Electric, BBDO, House Un-American Activities Committee, Screen Actors Guild, blacklist, institutional advertising, General Electric Theater

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