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“Our TV show”: Legitimacy, Public Relations and J. Edgar Hoover’s “The F.B.I.” on ABC-TV
Unformatted Document Text:  Cecil  —  “Our  TV  show”    —    21   too powerful and coming from a newsman on the same network where “The F.B.I.” was aired, prompted a petulant response from the Bureau. Three days after Reynolds’ report, an FBI official contacted ABC Vice President I. Martin Pompadour at his home to notify him that Hoover was withdrawing his approval of a seventh season for “The F.B.I.” 96 Pompadour told Crime Records Division official Milton A. Jones that Reynolds was acting out because his contract was not renewed, an explanation that did not change Hoover’s mind. That same day, ABC Vice President James C. Hagerty, former press secretary for President Dwight Eisenhower, flew to Washington to meet with Hoover in an attempt to save the series. It was an extraordinary meeting, with Hagerty begging Hoover’s forgiveness multiple times. Jones notes from the meeting indicate that Hagerty said his purpose was to “apologize on behalf of all of the officials of the American Broadcasting Company for the maliciousness of Frank Reynolds.” Hagerty continued, saying the Director was aware of his “deep personal feeling for the Director and the Bureau, and his personal interest in the television series, ‘The FBI’.” 97 Hagerty’s apology convinced Hoover to rescind his order to cancel the contract for “The F.B.I.” 98 Much of the media coverage of the FBI’s television series questioned the fiscal responsibility of the Bureau’s support system for the series. Hoover’s letter-writers in the Crime Records Division routinely misrepresented the Bureau’s participation in the series. For example, when Washington Post reporter Julius Duscha implied extensive FBI involvement in the production in a 1967 article, Hoover replied by understating the Bureau’s involvement. “We do not have any personnel who are assigned solely to assit in the production of this series.” 99 Hoover responded to a 1969 citizen complaint by asserting, “we have nothing to do with the dramatization and filming of the program.” 100 In 1971, the Bureau responded to a series of written questions from Los Angeles Times reporter Jack Nelson, downplaying its investment in

Authors: Cecil, Matthew.
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Cecil  —  “Our  TV  show”    —    21  
too powerful and coming from a newsman on the same network where “The F.B.I.” was aired, 
prompted a petulant response from the Bureau. 
Three days after Reynolds’ report, an FBI official contacted ABC Vice President I. Martin 
Pompadour at his home to notify him that Hoover was withdrawing his approval of a seventh 
season for “The F.B.I.”
96
 Pompadour told Crime Records Division official Milton A. Jones that 
Reynolds was acting out because his contract was not renewed, an explanation that did not 
change Hoover’s mind. That same day, ABC Vice President James C. Hagerty, former press 
secretary for President Dwight Eisenhower, flew to Washington to meet with Hoover in an 
attempt to save the series. It was an extraordinary meeting, with Hagerty begging Hoover’s 
forgiveness multiple times. Jones notes from the meeting indicate that Hagerty said his purpose 
was to “apologize on behalf of all of the officials of the American Broadcasting Company for the 
maliciousness of Frank Reynolds.” Hagerty continued, saying the Director was aware of his “deep 
personal feeling for the Director and the Bureau, and his personal interest in the television series, 
‘The FBI’.”
97
 Hagerty’s apology convinced Hoover to rescind his order to cancel the contract for 
“The F.B.I.”
98
 
Much of the media coverage of the FBI’s television series questioned the fiscal 
responsibility of the Bureau’s support system for the series. Hoover’s letter-writers in the Crime 
Records Division routinely misrepresented the Bureau’s participation in the series. For example, 
when Washington Post reporter Julius Duscha implied extensive FBI involvement in the 
production in a 1967 article, Hoover replied by understating the Bureau’s involvement. “We do 
not have any personnel who are assigned solely to assit in the production of this series.”
99
 
Hoover responded to a 1969 citizen complaint by asserting, “we have nothing to do with 
the dramatization and filming of the program.”
100
 In 1971, the Bureau responded to a series of 
written questions from Los Angeles Times reporter Jack Nelson, downplaying its investment in 


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