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How One Suicide Squad Member Evaded McCarthyism and Found A Second Life As A Parisian Artist

A man with light-tone skin and a receding hairline is photographed in a tweed suit jacket
Frank Maliina
(Courtesy JPL)
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The latest episode of our podcast LA Made: Blood, Sweat & Rockets continues the story of how the Suicide Squad fell under Joseph McCarthy’s microscope, and how scientist Frank Malina avoided consequences for Communist affiliations to become a political refugee and artist in France.

What to expect in this episode

In The Red Scare Pt. 2, Malina, an altruistic scientist who did not want his innovations to be utilized for war, appeared to flee the United States as McCarthyism began to crack down on prominent figures with Communist ties. How did Malina manage to avoid being jailed when so many of his colleagues were being convicted for their own Communist affiliations?

Why you should listen

Find out how Malina lost the battle to remain a U.S. scientist, but won the war of being free to create innovations for himself, no longer for the military.

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What kind of creepy stuff are we talking about?

Two men in white button-down shirts stand in an open area next to a standing rocket in a black and white shot.
This photo, taken in 1945, shows Frank Malina and WAC Corporal Project Coordinator P.J. Meeks standing with an early JPL rocket.
(Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Political witch hunts, government surveillance, intrigue, and finding out who your true allies are when the government stops being polite.

That sounds great! How do I find the podcast?

Listen: Seeing Red

It's now available from LAist Studios. Check it out wherever you get your get podcasts!

What questions do you have about Southern California?