July 17, 2015 1:00 am -


 (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Oscar Hammerstein who, with Richard Rogers, wrote some of the world’s best music, was on the radar of the FBI because of his left-wing politicsVanity Fair’s Todd Purdum has a Rodgers and Hammerstein bio due out in 2018, the 75th anniversary of their first — and landmark — show, “Oklahoma!”

Purdum has a bulging FBI file on Hammerstein, who was involved in left-wing activities in the ’30s — writers’ causes, the anti-Nazi Hollywood League — “that looked suspicious to the gumshoes in the 1950s,” he says. “It’s heavily redacted, and it stops around 1959. It’s as though the FBI concluded he wasn’t interested in Communism anymore.”

He doesn’t have an FBI file on Rodgers, and doubts there is one: Rodgers wasn’t particularly political. “They were great collaborators, but I don’t think they were great friends,” Purdum says. “To the public they were the General Motors of songwriters, but they were complicated men.”



D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.