restricted access Advertising, the Red Scare, and the Blacklist: BBDO, US Steel, and Theatre Guild on the Air, 1945–1952


Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, the top “institutional” (or corporate image) advertising agency of the 1940s, oversaw the drama-anthology radio program Theatre Guild on the Air (1945–1953) for US Steel to improve its client’s public image at a time of labor strikes and antitrust actions. Drawing on archival sources, I integrate analysis of institutional advertising strategies, particularly the need for tight associations between sponsors and programs, into a reconsideration of the struggle over casting control—or blacklisting—on Theatre Guild on the Air during the postwar Red Scare.