Alan Reed was a very prominent Hollywood actor whose acting career spanned from his first production, Porky’s Romance, in 1937 to his last production, Captain Caveman and The Teen Angels, in 1977 (Gary Brumburgh). He is; however, most well known for voicing Fred Flintstone on The Flintstones. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Alan Reed Papers are the sheer amount of headshots contained within the file as it is strangely ironic that a voice actor would have so many headshots and photos of himself. Among the other interests of this file are newspaper articles detailing Alan Reed’s involvement and eventual renouncing of the Hollywood Democratic Committee, an organization of communist sympathizers. Astoundingly, Alan Reed’s personal life is as interesting as his professional life as he is a man who both used his voice to provide entertainment on screens in every home across America as well as speak out against Hollywood regimes with corrupt agendas.
Alan Reed was born on August 2, 1907, in New York City and surprisingly his birth name was actually Theodore Bergman (Alan Reed Papers). He could speak 22 foreign dialects so he easily found work on the radio working for various comedic programs yet he aspired to do more with his career in entertainment. Because the name Theodore Bergman was tainted by comedic performances Alan had to change his name in order to get roles for movies. He still used the name Teddy Bergman for comedic roles but for dramatic roles he used the alias, Alan Reed. Alan was the name of his eldest son so he named himself Alan Reed sr. It must be a very rare occurrence for a sr. to come after a jr. After changing his name Reed found work in a handful of popular films; Days of Glory in 1944, Viva Zapata! in 1952, The Flintstones in 1960, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961 (Gary Brumburgh). Unsurprisingly, Alan Reed has stated that The Flintstones was his favorite project of his career. In fact, the character, Fred Flintstone, is slightly based off of Alan Reed himself (Gary Brumburgh). He even came up with Fred’s catchphrase, “Yabba Dabba Doo!” (Alan Reed Papers).
In 1950 Alan Reed’s career came to a screeching halt as he had become mixed up in a organization of communist sympathizers. In 1943, Alan Reed, having strong democratic beliefs, joined the Hollywood Democratic Committee in the hopes of ridding the evils he saw in american politics (Alan Reed Papers). He took the name of the committee at face value believing it was a community of Democrats seeking political change when in fact it was a group of communist sympathizers pushing their hidden agendas on the Hollywood platform. It was around this time that the ten largest names in the film industry, known as the “Hollywood Ten”, had communist leanings and used shady practices to include these beliefs in their films. They would include five minute segments in their movies that presented communist policies and to ensure that these segments would not be cut they would use such expensive sets and actors that the film’s management would have no choice but to include it because it would be too expensive not to (Jack Fischel). A few years later, the Hollywood Ten began condemning American society in their films while glorifying Soviet society and this actually led to a Congressional investigation in which the Hollywood Ten refused to answer any questions posed by the House Un-American Activities Committee (Jack Fischel). They were praised for this and seen as martyrs for congressional rights all the while they continued to force their agenda on Hollywood cinema by avoiding the production of any movies that attempted to address the problems with the soviet system. In the following years more and more people began to question the Hollywood Ten’s actions and Hollywood entertainers (including Alan Reed) began to come forward to admit the wrongdoings of the Hollywood Ten. Alan Reed came forward and gave an interview to multiple newspapers in which he outlines the wrongdoing of the Hollywood Ten and his experience in the midst of it (Alan Reed Papers). He also reminds people to remain vigilant of the organizations that seek to manipulate and force their agendas. He finishes his interview with a call to action saying that it is the duty of every american citizen to stand against communism.
Alan Reed had a very successful career that he put in jeopardy when he spoke out against communism. He took the chance because he did not want anyone else to be deceived by shady organizations that force their agenda on unknowing masses. Alan Reed was not only an excellent actor but also a extraordinary man that was brave enough to fight for his beliefs.
Fischel, Jack. “Reds and Radicals in Hollywood.” Virginia Quarterly Review, vol. 79, no. 1, Winter 2003, pp. 177–182. EBSCOhost, lib.pepperdine.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=8815281&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
Brumburgh, Gary. “Alan Reed.” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/name/nm0715284/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm.
Alan Reed Papers, Collection no. 0119, Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries, Pepperdine University