As a U.S. politician, squat, bearded, 63-year-old Sculptor Jo Davidson is something to send an oldtime ward boss tottering off to the nearest gas jet. For one thing, he is living in Paris. For another, he admits that he likes the place. He lived there for 30 years before World War II, and wouldn't mind living there the rest of his life. He has a stone-and-wood workshop in Lahaska, in Bucks County, Pa., a region thickly settled by Broadway wits and literary wights; but his four-story, pink stucco Paris house has two studios. And he likes the talk on Paris' left bank. Last week he was shamelessly spending his time reading dusty old letters from Arnold Bennett and Gertrude Stein and arranging an art show.
His grasp of U.S. public affairs was about what might have been expected from a nice old man who loved conversation of all kinds but thought that all elections were won on issues. He had read the Federalist Papers, admired Tom Paine and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and thought Henry Wallace a fine fellow.
Despite these qualifications, Sculptor Davidson is a U.S. political leader of considerable stature. As chairman of the Independent Citizens' Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions, he has a corner on some priceless ingredients of a modern political campaign: famous names, famous faces, talent and showmanship.
Everybody's in the Act. The roster of ICCASP's Manhattan and Hollywood chapters might have sprung directly from a mad director's loveliest dream. Frank Sinatra is one of its hardest-working speakers. It can call on Gypsy Rose Lee to bare her navel and William Rose Benét to write a script. Lena Horne will sing at any rally and Walter Huston will recite the Gettysburg Address. Fredric March belongs, and so do Eddie Cantor, Charles Boyer, Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Charles Laughton and Robert Young.
Its publicity handouts often bear the names of Comedian Zero Mostel, Pianist Artur Rubinstein, Dancer Sono Osato, Boogie-Woogie Artist Hazel Scott, Harmonica Virtuoso Larry Adler, Radio Writer Norman Corwin, Composer Earl Robinson, Conductor Rudolph Ganz, Astronomer Harlow Shapley, Novelist Thomas Mann. And ICCASP's stable of talent also embraces college professors, atomic scientists, advertising writers, book critics, and coveys of ballet dancersclassic or modern.
In 1946, a year in which show business and politics have been intermingled to a point which would completely horrify both Rudolph Valentino and William Jennings Bryan, this cast of characters gives ICCASP a unique leverage on thousands of U.S. voters. Some men & women, whose every instinct rebels against the sound of a politician's voice, are so conditioned that they are unable to resist when their favorite movie star whoops up an issue.
The Biggest Fact. This week, with the 1946 elections just two months off, ICCASP got ready for its most serious, practical political test. As much as any political organization, it had to face up to 1946's biggest political fact: Franklin D. Roosevelt is no longer around. He had inspired the committee, given it a cause, dazzled its members with invitations to the White House. They had all belonged to the group which felt that F.D.R. could never do wrong.