It's unlikely the organizers of Newhall's 1967 Fourth of July Parade ever knew they ended up in an FBI file. But they did. It seems they invited a prominent and outspoken FBI informant, who claimed to be a former agent, to enter the parade — and they featured her as a dignitary in the lineup. That alone didn't raise eyebrows at the FBI; rather, it was a complaint from a racist and bigoted conspiracy theorist who wrote to J. Edgar Hoover, challenging the woman's credentials, that secured a place for the 1967 Parade Program in the Bufiles and made it the subject of an internal memo reviewed by the FBI director himself.
Myron C. Fagan — A playwright on Broadway in the 1920s who came to Hollywood in 1930 to write and direct for Joseph P. Kennedy's Pathe Pictures, Myron C. Fagan became a prominent figure in the "red scare" after World War II. Claiming to know in 1945 that Roosevelt secretly agreed to hand Eastern Europe to Stalin, Fagan launched a crusade to drive communists out of Hollywood. (How that computes, we're uncertain.) From the late 1940s until his death in 1972, he distributed literature in which he accused hundreds of celebrities of being "reds" — from Frank Sinatra to Groucho Marx and Edward R. Murrow to Lena Horne — and claimed they wanted to transform the United States into a "Negro Soviet America." The FBI branded him an anti-communist, anti-Negro and anti-Semite. Fagan also distributed pamphlets claiming the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) and the so-called Illuminati were seeking a New World Order via a one-world government run by Soviet communists.
Cinema Educational Guild — A nonprofit corporation founded by Myron C. Fagan. Its address was a post office box in Hollywood.
Marion and Paul Miller — Confidential FBI informants who were paid by the FBI over a period of years for information they furnished about "subversive activities." The couple gave public speeches wherein they claimed to be former FBI agents and discredited Fagan. Marion Miller was treated as a dignitary in the 1967 Newhall Fourth of July Parade, where she was identified as "Former member of FBI." The FBI denied the Millers were ever employed by the agency.
J. Edgar Hoover — The first and only director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation until his death in 1972.
Bufiles (jargon) — Bureau (FBI) files.
Ronald Reagan — Newly inaugurated governor of California (in 1967) who had hosted the "General Electric Theater" show on CBS radio and television beginning in 1954. He was fired from the show in 1962 for criticizing the spiraling costs of the Tennessee Valley Authority, a hydroelectric project.
General Electric Co. — Sponsor of the CBS radio and television show.
Newhall — A nice, quiet community in North Los Angeles County.
Act I: Letter from Myron C. Fagan to J. Edgar Hoover, July 13, 1967.
Click letter to enlarge.
Dear Mr. Hoover:
Some time ago I wrote you with regard to one, Marion Miller who is constantly delivering speeches and addresses to various groups in California and perhaps elsewhere. And she always announces herself, and her husband, Paul Miller, as "former members of the FBI." And herewith I am enclosing a document which lists her as a "former member of the FBI." Now, I have no objection to her trying to glorify herself in this manner, but I do believe that it does not place the FBI in a wholesome aspect, inasmuch as she is constantly ranting and raving about anti-Semitism, etc., and by her very words implying that the FBI supports those rantings and ravings. I read a letter that you wrote to someone in this area, in which you stated that Marion and Paul Miller had provided information about the Communist Movement, and for which they were compensated, but that they were never actual members of the FBI. Furthermore, as you probably know, both of the Millers, Ronald Reagan and the General Electric Company were sued on a charge of plagerism [sic] when Ronald Reagan produced two television shows for General Electric, in which he portrayed the Millers as former undercover FBI Agents. The story was plagerized [sic] from an old motion picture. Whether it was settled out of Court or not I don't know, but I do know that Ronald Reagan was, to all intents and purposes, fired from General Electric for that direct plagerism [sic]. Under the circumstances, don't you think it would be a very good idea for you to notify the Millers not to pose as "former FBI Agents?"
I think I can say with considerable truth that I cooperated with the FBI in many ways, without ever seeking compensation, or without ever claiming any connections with the FBI. I think every loyal American should do likewise, but I think it violates the good reputation of the FBI by having people claim to have had official relationship with the FBI when, according to your own letter, it is an absolute falsehood.
/s/ Myron C. Fagan
Note: Fagan enclosed the 1967 Newhall Fourth of July Parade lineup, with his notations, as shown at the bottom of this page.
Act II: Internal FBI Memo, Initialed by Hoover, July 21, 1967.
Click memo to enlarge.
To: Mr. Wick
From: D.C. Morrell
Subject: Myron C. Fagan
Cinema Educational Guild, Inc.
Correspondent, by letter dated July 13th, complained to the Director that Marion and (redacted) Miller were delivering speeches in California wherein they described themselves as former members of the FBI. An enclosure to Fagan's letter was an announcement of the "Old West Parade" being held in Newhall, California, on July 4th. The announcement listed Mrs. Miller as a former member of the FBI. Fagan noted that he had seen a letter the Director had written to someone in California stating that the Millers had provided information about communist activity for which they were not [sic] compensated and that the Millers were never actual members of the FBI. Fagan also noted that the Millers, Ronald Reagan and the General Electric Company were sued for plagiarism as a result of two television shows Reagan produced portraying the Millers as former undercover FBI Agents.
Fagan suggested that the Director notify the Millers to cease posing as former FBI Agents and noted that he had helped the Bureau without claiming connection with it. He felt the good reputation of the Bureau was being damaged by persons claiming to have official relationship with it, who in fact do not.
Information in Bufiles:
The Millers furnished information on subversive activities to the Bureau on a confidential basis over a period of years and were compensated for their services. Myron Fagan has previously written to the Director claiming that the Millers made speeches containing a smear attack on Fagan's organization as well as himself. Bufiles reflect Cinema Educational Guild, Inc., is allegedly an anticommunist group which distributes anticommunist, anti-Negro and anti-Semitic literature. Fagan has attempted to use the Director's name to further his program and on several occasions he has been contacted and requested to refrain from such activity. Bufiles reflect that a $500,000.00 plagiarism suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by (redacted) against Ronald Reagan and the Millers. Mrs. Miller noted (redacted) lost his story rights to "Underground U.S.A." which he had produced in 1959-60. Mrs. Miller maintains these story rights reverted to her and (redacted) at the end of one year.
In view of Fagan's background and the fact that the Bureau has specifically denied the Millers were employees of the Bureau, it is believed Fagan's letter should not be acknowledged as it appears he is carrying on a personal vendetta against the Millers and is attempting to use the Bureau to further this end.
That Fagan's letter not be acknowledged.
/Initials/ OK. H [Hoover]
(Also Wick, DeLoach and others.)
People across the country frequently wrote to the FBI, asking if the allegations put forth in Fagan's pamphlets were true. The standard response follows:
In response to your inquiries, information contained in the files of the FBI must be maintained as confidential pursuant to regulations of the Department of Justice. I can assure you, however, that Mr. Myron C. Fagan or representatives of the Cinema Educational Guild, Inc., definitely do not have access to the files of the FBI.
/Rubber stamp/ J. Edgar Hoover
• Download Fagan's FBI File.