At a “kickoff” banquet for the Crusade for Freedom
fund-raising campaign in Des Moines, Iowa, in January 1954, Libuse Cloud said
that her mother and family did not know of her escape plans and “learned
immediately of her escape over Radio Free Europe, which “sometimes feels
like a voice from heaven.” She added, "I knew the bad life was behind me.
I was free. I was no longer a slave. I was a human being again ... Radio
Free Europe is giving our people hope and courage at a time, when
life is very hard and difficult for them."
The Scrap Iron Curtain
On Tuesday evening, January 12, 1954, the CBS television
network aired a 30-minute drama entitled "The Scrap Iron Curtain."
The drama, part of the CBS "Suspense" series, was written by Reginald
Lawrence and stared Bart Burns as Vaclav Uhlik.
The program's preview description read: "Dramatization
of the true story of Vaclav Uhlik, a Czech machinist who built and armed car
and last July transported his wife, two children and four friends to the town
of Waldmuenchen in the Western Zone of Germany." The program was
"presented in conjunction with Radio Free Europe." Another preview
description read, "Dramatic documentary account of eight Czechs,
prisoners of the Communists behind the Iron Curtain, who made a fantastically
bold dash for freedom in a homemade armored car. Political melodrama, written
for the Crusade for Freedom program, packs considerable excitement."
In Lima, Ohio, Pangles,"Lima's Leading Food
Market", combined sponsorship of a Crusade for Freedom advertisement with
one for its store in the February 19, 1954, local newspaper edition. On
February 26, 1954, the "Freedom Tank" arrived in Lima, Ohio. Pangles
sponsored another advertisement with a copy of the Freedom Scroll, and these
It's at PANGLES -
Tonight 6 p.m. Famous FREEDOM TANK. SIGN THIS SCROLL. See and hear the local
persons who will participate in this big program and history making event!
For the 1956 Crusade campaign, the Advertising Council
produced a two recording set for radio stations in the United States. One was a
15 minute radio “dramatic playlet” entitled “The Tank that Jan built,” narrated
by famed actor Vincent Price. The second recording was that of personal appeals
from Hollywood stars Walter Brennan, Bing Crosby, Alan Ladd, Pat O’Brien, Jimmy
Steward, Robert Stack, Barbara Stanwyck and Dick Powell, plus television stars
Art Linkletter, Dinah Shore and Jack Webb.
The "Freedom Tank" was on display for years at the
Ford Museum in Detroit, Michigan, before it was sold to a local farmer.
Military vehicle collector Jim Gilmore in Pennsylvania now owns the “Freedom
Tank," which is currently located in the state of Michigan.
By Richard H Cummings.
This article originally appeared on the Cold War Radios blog here.
The author has written a number of books on the Cold War.
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