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'I am not now, nor have I ever been … '

Local man was at center of Army-McCarthy hearings

August 9, 2009
By SHAWN M. TOMLINSON, The Leader-Herald

He was the man who both started and ended the McCarthy era of blacklists and Commie hunts.

And he was born Sept. 11, 1927 in Gloversville to a wealthy and influential family, the Schines.

His name was G. David Schine and his family owned the Glove Theatre, several other theaters and a hotel chain.

Article Photos

Gerard David Schine is shown in his U.S. Army uniform testifying at the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954.

It was the hotel chain that got him noteriety when he wrote and published a pamplet called "Definition Communism?" and had it placed in all the rooms of all the hotels his family owned.

The eight-page booklet got the attention of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's henchman, Roy Cohn who served as chief counsel to McCarthy.

Cohn "employed" Schine as an unpaid associate for the investigation McCarthy was undertaking into the possible exisitence of communists within the U.S. government.

In 1954, Schine was drafted into the U.S. Army and Cohn attempted to get preferential treatment for his protg.

According to the Web site www.glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com, in 1954 "when [Schine] is drafted and comes close to being sent to Korea, Cohn attempts to get him an official assignment on the committee. Unable to pull the necessary strings, Cohn resorts to [trying to] intimidate the Secretary of the Army, Robert Stevens. Charges and countercharges of bribery fly. The Army accuses Cohn of threatening to investigate their ranks unless Private Schine gets a cushy assignment. Cohn maintains that the Army is holding Schine "hostage" until Cohn agrees to ignore its infiltration by Communists."

In April 1954, "McCarthy's committee starts a two-month investigation of the Army. 20 million viewers see the dramatic encounters between McCarthy, Special Counsel for the Army Joseph N. Welch, Counselor for the Army John G. Adams and Roy Cohn. This will be the beginning of McCarthy's downfall," the Web site states.

The hearings were the first governmental proceedings of the sort televised and, according to allexperts.com, 20 million people watched.

In March 1954, legendary newsman Edward R. Murrow went after McCarthy in a broadcast of "See It Now" and McCarthy responded in early April. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Senate turned the tables on McCarthy and investigated him and the Schine incident.

Schine also had some other brushes with fame, although he never spoke about his involvement with the McCarthy hearings. He later served as producer for the movie "The French Connection," and was involved with music projects as well. "Schine's involvement in the hearings is depicted in the 1964 documentary film 'Point of Order!' which edited the 187 hours of kinescope into 93 minutes," according to allexperts.com

The son of J. Myer and Hildegarde Schine died in the crash of a plane piloted by his son. According to allexperts.com, "in 1957 [Schine] married 1955 Miss Universe, Hillevi Rombin of Sweden. They had six children.

Schine and his wife died as passengders in their son, Frederick Berndt's, plane June 19, 1996.

 
 

 

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