Burt Pretlusky’s theory, offered in his post on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood blog, is that producers didn’t realize how politically conservative he was when he wrote for McMillan & Wife, M*A*S*H, Mary Tyler Moore, Family Ties, Rhoda, The Governor & J.J. and Bob Newhart, otherwise they’d never have hired him.
But when he wrote for Jack Webb’s strident cop show Dragnet, Harlan Ellison noticed:
I now recall that a few minutes after my first “Dragnet” episode aired, an acquaintance, writer Harlan Ellison, phoned me. In lieu of “Hello,” he snarled, “I never knew you were a fascist!” Then, in typical left-wing fashion, he hung up. It’s very possible that was when my politics began evolving. It is, after all, a prime example of the sort of fair and open-minded discourse I’ve come to expect from liberals.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]