douglas douglas hamilton

DRAMATIZE DEMOCRACY: Burgess narrating a performance of ‘An American Crusader’ on the CBS Radio dramatic program ‘The Free Company’. March, 1941 Hollywood, CA. 

The Free Company was a series of radio dramas based on the principles of American democracy and was designed to combat hostile propaganda in the United States. Burgess served as the chairman of the actors’ division and narrator for the programs. had this to say of The Free Company:

“The Free Company and its Free Company of Players’ eleven original plays represent–to this day–some of the most heroic and courageous attempts to push back against the more jingoistic and fascist elements in America that were seizing on the events leading up to America’s involvement in World War II as an excuse to impose fascist, right-wing controls over America’s citizens and their liberties. 

The airing of The Free Company was one of only a handful of such attempts to shine a light on some of the often secretive efforts of right wing politicians and societies throughout America to use the fear of impending War to restrict America’s hard-fought freedoms. The series clearly struck a chord throughout America. But as history has demonstrated, in spite of the outpouring of support for the series–or others proposed in the same vein–the right wing corridors of power in America succeeded in quashing any further popular attempts to strike a balance in American thinking of the era.”

Here’s just a sampling of the talented professionals represented within The Free Company of Players:


  • Maxwell Anderson
  • Sherwood Anderson
  • Stephen Vincent Benet
  • James Boyd [Chairman]
  • Walter Van Tilberg Clark
  • Paul Green
  • Archibald MacLeish
  • William Saroyan


  • George M. Cohan
  • Marc Connelly
  • Norman Corwin
  • Elia Kazan
  • Sidney Lumet
  • Robert Sherwood [Writers’ Chairman]
  • Orson Welles

Dramatic Actors:

  • Charles Bickford
  • Harry Carey
  • Alan Dineheart
  • Melvyn Douglas
  • Henry Fonda
  • Edmund Gwenn
  • Margaret Hamilton
  • Georgette Harvey
  • Paul Henreid
  • Tim Holt
  • Canada Lee
  • Myron McCormick
  • The Mercury Theatre Players
  • Burgess Meredith [Actors Chairman]
  • Paul Muni
  • Luis van Rooten
  • Franchot Tone
  • Claire Trevor

The kid who’s signing for Angelica is going to be a star