World’s Top Anti-Communist Music Company: The Untold Story of Key Records, Cavities and Collusion



If it was the heyday of the Cold War again, Key Records, then the de facto label of The John Birch Society, would undoubtedly issue a spoken-word version of the Mueller Report. Despite the best efforts of #TheResistance, that probably won’t come to pass.

Meanwhile, let’s relive the glory days of what Professor Richard Hofstadter called “the paranoid style of American politics” by perusing the Key catalog, which was emblazoned with the slogan “World’s Top Anti-Communist Records.” It featured a mission statement “dedicated to saving the United States from impending insolvency and surrender to the savagery and slavery of communist collectivism.”

My favorite Key LP is Instant Insanity Drugs, by W. Cleon Skousen (who was a big turn-on for the early Glenn Beck). Unfortunately, I sold my copy on eBay years ago.

I still have Inside a Communist Cell, by the FBI “counterspy” Karl Prussion, but it’s even more boring than the title implies.

Then there’s The United Nations Hoax, by the Reverend Billy James Hargis, who pioneered the televangelist sex scandal genre when he was caught having separate affairs with a woman and her husband.

Ronald Reagan also recorded for Key. His Rendezvous with Destiny is the speech that launched his career. He also recorded The Dangers of Socialized Medicine for the American Medical Association’s private label.

Robert Welch, the ex-candyman who founded The John Birch Society, also warned of the dangers of socialized medicine on his Key LP, Medicine Leads the Way. In case you haven’t guessed, what it leads the way to is Communism.

What I want to focus on today, though, is The Case Against Fluoridation, by Granville F. Knight. According to his archive at the University of Oregon:

“Granville Frank Knight (1904-1982) was a physician and anticommunist activist. As a physician he specialized in nutrition and allergies; as president of the Pure Water Association of America he advocated against fluoridation of public water. Knight was an active member of the John Birch Society, serving as president of the California branch.”

As the liner notes explain, Granville was a natural choice to argue the case against fluoridation: “When Key Records decided it was time to bring the Fluoridation controversy into the penetrating light of patriotic scrutiny, inquiries were made among reliable sources as to who might best project the honest viewpoint. The poll added up to just one name: Dr. Granville F. Knight.”

Before going further, a little history is in order.

In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first U.S. city to add fluoride to its water supply, because evidence indicated that it was effective in preventing dental cavities. Soon afterward, the city reported a dramatic decrease in tooth decay, prompting cities across the country to being fluoridating their own water. By 1960, approximately 41 million Americans were drinking fluoridated tap water and by 2008, 72% of the U.S. population had access, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From the beginning, there was widespread opposition to putting fluoride in the water. Some doubted the alleged dental benefits. Others saw it as part of the Communist conspiracy.

Although Granville’s case never explicitly connects fluoridation to the Russians, such collusion was taken for granted in Birch Society circles even more than Trump’s collusion is taken for granted by #TheResistance. As head Bircher Welch once wrote, “Communist influences are now in almost complete control of our Federal Government,” with President Eisenhower being “a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.”

As the liner notes conclude: “Please study this record, acquaint yourself with the irrefutable facts, then spread the word in your community. See that every patriot understands: once the people in any area accept fluoridation, either by ballot or dictatorial decree, the gate is open for the addition of any other drug which the authorities believe might be good for you. This is the beginning of the Police Stale—and the end of Freedom.”

Fortunately, the mass swilling of fluoride has not yet ended Freedom in the Land of the Free. However, the latest science seems to have validated some of Granville’s case.

As explained in the journal Harvard Public Health, recent studies suggest that the benefits of water fluoridation might be overstated. The article also points out that tooth decay has decreased in some countries without public water fluoridation, noting that the dramatic decrease in tooth decay in the U.S. might be the result of widespread use of fluoridated toothpaste and other dental fluoride supplements.

As a result, the U.S. Public Health Service lowered its recommended levels of fluoride in drinking water for the first time in 53 years.

Or so they would have you believe.

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Howard Rushmore is America's greatest amateur bartender and the spirited remains of the famous Confidential columnist of the same name.