The Man Who Beat McCarthy

He already has Austin's central public library named after him, but any American who treasures free speech should be ready to honor the late John Henry Faulk again and again. On his birthday – Tuesday, Aug. 21 – the man who beat the McCarthyists will be honored with a free 8pm screening of John Henry Faulk: In His Own Words, a new documentary by local videographer Pam Thompson, at the Zilker Hillside Theatre (across the parking lot from Barton Springs).

If you're a latecomer to Austin lore, Faulk was a local boy who made good in the 1950s entertainment world, becoming quite the successful radio host in New York City – until he got blacklisted as an alleged Communist. Faulk learned a group named AWARE had targeted Faulk for his union activities and pressured broadcasters to refuse him employment, so he sued them and was awarded $3.5 million – at that time, the largest libel judgment ever awarded. He spent the rest of his life crusading for the First Amendment, and even made it back into broadcasting with a stint on the television show Hee Haw in the 1970s. For more on the documentary, go to

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