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The Road Is Open Again 7 Mins

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(7:22) b/w, sound
A Songwriter falls asleep while writing a song about the NRA. He dreams that Washington, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt appear in his room asking him why he wants to write such a song and they’re reassuring him that FDR is the right way. When he starts singing his new song, he finds himself alone, but he knows that the FDR will lead the USA back on the road to prosperity.

The Road Is Open Again containing a song of the same name was a short subject produced by Warner Brothers in support of the centerpiece of the New Deal’s Depression Legislation, the National Recovery Act. In this motion picture studio known as the ‘workingman’s studio’ management was obviously in support of the New Deal or at least in support of the folks who bought movie tickets and supported the NRA.

Dick Powell is a frustrated songwriter trying to come up with a marching song for the new National Recovery Administration when he gets visited by the spirits of Washington, Lincoln, and Wilson played by Alan Dinehart, Charles Middleton, and Samuel S. Hinds respectively. They explain to Powell what the NRA is and does and Powell responds like an eager student of economics and comes up with a song based on a phrase given him by the Washington spirit. Alan Dinehart assures us that the Federalist George Washington would have approved of the steps that his successor Franklin D. Roosevelt was taking in these times of crisis.

Of course that’s all subject to debate and it is still being debated today as to how effective the NRA was in its life. With its various industrial codes and mechanisms for price fixing and collective bargaining for labor, the NRA was called both fascistic, socialistic, and Communism depending on who you listened to. The labor provisions did survive in the later Wagner Act down to this day. The NRA which was the closest thing to a planned economy we’ve ever experimented with was declared unconstitutional by a unanimous Supreme Court which included the Justices that normally voted to sustain FDR’s New Deal legislation.

The symbol of the NRA was the Blue Eagle and businesses who supported it displayed the Blue Eagle logo. Membership was voluntary, but non-membership could get you boycotted and shunned like a sinning Amish. Note that films produced in this time period showed the logo, Warner Brothers most especially.

Director: Alfred E. Green; Stars: Dick Powell, Alan Dinehart, Samuel S. Hinds, Charles Middleton

Producer Warner Brothers

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